I’m here today to talk about a long overdue project I completed over the weekend: a headboard for our bed!
I took my time figuring out exactly what I wanted for this one (over a year, to be exact), and I think it’s a perfect fit for our room.
I found a handful of tutorials such as this, this, this, and this, began to gather my supplies.
First thing to get was a large piece of MDF from Lowe’s (around $20, they cut it to size for me). We have a King size bed, so the measurements were around 78×35 for ours (I actually could have made it a few inches narrower though)
Next, I stopped by Walmart to pick up a few foam mattress toppers (the tutorials said it was much cheaper than 2″ or 3″ foam, and worked just as well). I wanted it extra thick, so I grabbed three for $10 each, and then headed to the fabric section just for kicks.
And then, I saw it:
It was beyond perfect. Not only was it $2.50/yard, it was the perfect mix of grey and tan and woven texturedness I had dreamed of. I knew I wanted something natural and woven, and not the typical orangey-yellow burlap, but more of a soft gray. I seriously lucked out with this one.
And look, it matches our couch!
I bought 2.5 yards, along with a roll of batting and the three mattress covers. The total came to around $50, but luckily I still have some Christmas gift cards leftover… so my total: free.
Next I headed to Joann’s and picked up the rest of my supplies:
A button cover kit, decorators needle and upholstery thread. It was around $13 (after a coupon) for these.
Once home, I laid out my fabric and ironed it out as best as I could (this is an important step that people tend to forget):
Once it was nice and smooth, I began drawing my template for the headboard shape. I used a large piece of cardboard, measured to the center of my headboard, and made the cardboard exactly half the width it. I then freehanded the curved shape I wanted:
Once I was happy with it, I used an Xacto knife and traced over the line, then traced the shape onto my board:
Then I lined it back up to the middle, flipped it over, and repeated:
The next morning I woke up to find Brad in the garage, cutting the shape with our wireless jigsaw.
Unfortunately, wireless power tools are worthless, and it only got this far before the battery died:
So he borrowed our neighbor’s jigsaw to finish the job.
The edges weren’t perfect…. which isn’t a huge deal, but I took my hand sander out and smoothed out a couple small areas just to be safe.
Next it was time to measure for the buttons. I decided to go with two rows: 3 on top, 4 on the bottom, in an alternating pattern.
I already had my center line marked out, so it was an easy process from there. I placed them 15″ apart from each other, made my marks, and drilled holes all the way through.
Here’s a visual of the intended placement:
Next came the hardest part of this entire project… trying to ar
range the foam and cut them all perfectly to size.
But there was a problem.
I didn’t pay attention to the length when I bought them… oops.
So I had to revert to plan B: using just two layers, and cutting a small section to fill in the gap from the third.
Luckily, the width was the exact height of the headboard… I lucked out here.
The problem with these things though is that they are flimsy, don’t lie completely flat, and the factory edges are not straight at all. Also, I don’t think I had the right tools to cut these… I was using a steak knife.
Here is a tip: apply pressure to the foam when you are cutting. The flatter and more condensed it is, the easier it will be to slice through.
After a good 30 minutes though, I finally had everything as smooth as I could get it, and it was time to wrap it all up with batting.
I lined everything back up as best as I could, set the batting down, trimmed the excess off around the edges, and stapled it up.
And it was starting to come together!
I repeated the batting process with the fabric, and then it was ready for tufting:
I went inside to figure out this button covering process, which was actually really simple…
After all 7 were completed, I headed back into the garage and got to work. I don’t have any in-progress shots of this because Brad wasn’t home, but here is the basic process: thread the needle, attach a washer to the end, push it through the hole and through the button, come back through the same hole, pull it tight, use a staple gun to hold the thread down, and wrap back around through the washer and around the staple to secure. After breaking the threads a couple times from pulling too hard, I double threaded my needle (so there was 4 strands). Make sure to push the needle through as straight as possible, so your buttons stay level.
Finally, I attached a french cleat (my favorite method of hanging large objects… super easy!)
I measured and attached the other half to the wall:
And we had ourselves a headboard!
After this pic was taken, we ended up spraying some of the areas down with wrinkle releaser, which smoothed everything out perfectly.
And now, for the first time ever, this bedroom has a headboard!
Now for the cost breakdown (these are rough estimates, since I suck at keeping receipts)
MDF board – $20
Fabric, batting, foam: $55
Buttons – $13
-$55 gift card: $33
$33 for an upholstered tufted King size headboard… I’ll take it!
It looks good. Nice heads up about the wireless tool.
Brenda J. says
Just completed mine. Thanks for the tutorial!!!
This is impressive! Loving the color and texture.
Thomas Watson says
How did you attach the headboard.
Star @ A Load Of Craft says
Thank you so much for the beautiful, inspiring headboard and the great tutorial! I linked to this post on my site at https://www.aloadofcraft.com/2014/08/tutorial-how-to-make-tufted-fabric.html
I completely agree with you. I really like this article. It contains a lot of useful information. I can set up my new idea from this post. It gives in depth information
Jenna Sue says
Yes, it's my favorite rug ever! I bought 3 of them!
Thanks so much for the information! I was browsing your blog and noticed you have this rug in your new home. Would you say this is softer / less scratchy than the Ikea rug? https://www.rugsusa.com/rugsusa/rugs/rugs-usa-chunky-loop/bleached/200NCCL01-P.html
Jenna Sue says
Hi Kate—it's the Ikea Tarnby rug. It's a natural fiber jute rug so it's not exactly soft. For the price I would recommend one of the natural fiber rugs at Rugs USA instead. More sizes and a better deal IMO!
Hi, I just discovered your tutorial via a google search. I do have a question that is completely unrelated to headboards. Where did you find the rug in your bedroom? Also, is it scratchy at all? We are working on redoing our bedroom and this tutorial was very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!
You could also cut in half and put back together when you get home.
Jenna Sue says
I don't remember exactly but there's no exact formula you need to follow, it's whatever you like! Just from looking at the photos it seems like somewhere around 12-15″ from the top is in the ballpark.
I never noticed the MDF smell so I'm not really sure about that, maybe we got a different type/brand of MDF?
I do have a specific question that might help me figure out the template. We start off with 35 inches on the side but what was you finished length after you made your final cuts? I feel like my template is cutting off too much on the edges. Thanks again. I can't wait to get it finished and put it up!
It is taking me forever to get the template to look right. Do you have any tips? Also, someone mentioned in an earlier post about the strong smell from the MDF board. I did a little research too and I am going for a different material because of the off gassing of ammonia that which supposed to be hazardous. There is a product called safe seal that is recommended to seal it if you are going to use the MDF board. I love this headboard! If I can only get past the template! Please help 🙂