A Different Headboard Tufted the EASY Way

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a nice lady who was interested in having a custom headboard built for her. This is the inspiration photo she sent me. I'm sure you all have seen it floating around Pintrest. Very beautiful, classic, and clean.

I started with a sheet of 3/8 in OSB that I cut to size and shape. This is for a California King, so the measurments are 46 in tall and 78 in wide. My husband didn't believe me at first that a Cal-King is actually narrower than a traditional King. A traditonal King mattress is 76 in x 80 in and a California King is 72 in x 84 in.

 Why only 3/8 in? Partially, for weight (she wanted to hang it on the wall) and partially because the next step.

Looking at the inspiration photo, I noticed that the sides were nice and thick. To get that look, I needed to add a frame around the edge. To do that I started with the curves first. I took a wide piece of 2x lumber ( It was actually a  2x10 that had broken in half) and screwed it on the back side of my headboard, over the curve, making sure to extend past the edge a bit. I drove screws in from both sides to make sure it was attached very well.

Next, I used flipped the headboard over, and used my jigsaw to trace the curve and remove the excess 2x. Have I mentioned I HATE using jigsaws?

Now that I had a pretty, smooth curve, I took some 2 x 2 and framed out the straight edges. Since my boards I used for the curves were cut square on the ends, I just cut my 2 x 2 at 45 degrees to butt up into it. This is what the back of the headboard looked like when I was done.

Don't worry if you have a couple small gaps. As long as they are small, the batting and fabric will cover them up and it won't make a difference.

I then traced out the area  I wanted the foam to be placed. For this headboard, I wanted a 6 in frame. I got several good tips from this video from GACMKC on YouTube. I would definitely recommend checking out some of their other videos too. Very informative!

I decided I do enough upholstery to justify buying an electric staple gun. I do have a pneumatic staple gun I use, but it's not always convenient to use inside. This is the gun I bought. It sucks. Don't buy it. About every 4th staple, I can't get it to shoot. I had the power turned all the way up and it wouldn't sink the staples flush unless I put all my weight with my shoulder on it.

Anyways, I used my staple gun to attach 3 layers of upholstery tack strip around the inside of the shape I traced, Following the video. Why? I'll explain later.

Next, I cut my foam to size, using an electric bread knife. I attached my foam, using spray adhesive and lining up my edges with the tack strip. If you are only using 1 in thick foam, you can skip this next step. If you want a thicker, more plush headboard and are using 2 in or thicker foam, you need to round the edge of the foam. If you watch the video, it shows what to do well. I took my staple gun, and on the very edge of the foam shot a tight row of staples. Be careful to catch enough foam to pull it down, but not too much to deform the shape.

Once that was done, I draped my batting and fabric over the face of the headboard.

I lightly marked where I wanted the buttons to be place with a pencil. Then, using screws and washers I tufted each mark the easy way, like I show in the tutorial here.

Once I had all my tufts in and even, I pulled the fabric taught and began to staple around the foam. Remember the tack strip? It made it super easy to get a straight line of staples. I simply pushed my staple gun up to the tack strip, which I could feel under the fabric, stapled and moved down the line. To make sure you don't get any funny fold or creases, start stapling from the TOP and work your way down the sides. Don't worry, the nail head trim will cover the staples.

Around this point I looked at the headboard. Although, it was looking beautiful, I realized that it looked NOTHING like the inspiration photo! I don't know what I was thinking ordering 2 in foam! It was WAY too plush! The inspiration headboard had very clean lines and shallow, more contemporary tufting.

So at that point, I just about had a breakdown. Do you know how many staples I put in this thing already?! Plus, I would have to buy new foam, new fabric, and new batting! My wonderful husband talked me down from the ledge and offered to rip everything off for me. I decided I really wanted to give my client what she requested, so back to the fabric store I went.

Thankfully, 1 in foam is substantially less expensive than 2 in. I usually order my foam from Ebay, since its cheaper and I can get specific sizes, but I didn't have time to wait for it to be shipped. The next best place to buy 1 in foam, hands down is Wal-Mart. It only comes in 1 in x 24 in x 72 in sheets, but is only $14 a roll. Even though I had to buy 2 rolls it was still cheaper than Joann's with a coupon.

So, then I got to start the entire upholstery process over again. To make sure I wouldn't have unwanted folds and to get contemporary tufts, I wrapped the batting and fabric around the headboard and attached it to the back first.

Then I stapled around the tack strip and made my tufts.

Much better! The tension from the staples and screws pulled everything smooth and the tufting looks like smooth, even marshmallows.

For the nail head detail, I chose to use nail head trim strip. I prefer the look of individual nails, but the trim strip is SO much better for getting a straight line! Don't worry, the trim strip is flexible and will bend around curves.

I stapled some backing to the frame on the back side and screwed on a cleat I made to hang it from the wall.  There is a good tutorial here on how to make a cleat and hang it on the wall.

Here it is all done! (notice how I just leaned it in front of my headboard to take a photo? It will be a few inches shorter hanging on the wall instead of sitting on my mattress).

Here is the inspiration photo again.

Good thing it's going to another home. I have a feeling it wouldn't stay so white and clean around my boys for long!

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  1. Great way of doing it. I pinned it!!!

  2. So beautiful!!! Oh man you are my hero! I hate it when I do something wrong in my project that makes me have to start all over again! I am glad you did, it looks amazing! Such a good tutorial too! Great job Elisha!

  3. Fabulous tutorial. I lvoe it. I host a weekly party called Inspire Me Tuesday that will be live tomorrow evening. I would love for you to link up. www.astrollthrulife.net. Hugs, Marty

  4. Hi,
    I love the tutorial! New GFC follower.

    -Brittany Ruth

  5. Your headboard turned out so lovely! Thanks for the easy tutorial!
    Selene @ Restoration Beauty

  6. Beautiful! What a lot of work but it looks like it was worth it. I'm visiting you today from a Stroll Thru Life. I co-host a Linky Party Tuesday (open thru Sat). I hope you get a chance to stop by my blog, leave a comment and Link Up, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206
    Join me each Tuesday for Brag About It Link Up Party

  7. Wow that is gorgeous!! You are talented, girl! LOVE!

  8. Gorgeous headboard & great tutorial Elisha! I would love for you to add the Pretty Things Party to your Tuesday parties!!

    xo, Tanya

  9. Great tutorial and we appreciate you linking up with us at the BeBetsy BRAG ABOUT IT Tuesday party. You've got really great ideas and we love your site. Hope to see you again at BeBetsy! Sharon and Denise

  10. This is such a great tutorial and I am dying over how cute it is! Found you through shabby nest link party and I am your newest follower! Your blog is great! I would love if you'd share some projects at our linking party! http://www.fidlersunderoneroof.com/2013/05/linking-party.html

  11. I love DIY projects like this, your headboard turned out beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial with Saturday Spotlight. Hope to see you at this weeks party!

    Angels Homestead

  12. Love how it turned out...I'm a sucker for tufting! So glad you linked up at Give Me the Goods Minday link party!
    Amy @commona-myhouse.blogsppot.com

  13. You did an amazing job. I will be featuring this tonight at my Swing into Spring party that opens at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up an I've Been Featured button. Thanks. http://diybydesign.blogspot.com

  14. I love your headboard. You have been featured at Craftionary. :) Yay! You can share the excitement or grab a featured button if you like! Can't wait to see what you share today!


  15. I've wanted to do this FOREVER! Thanks for the inspiration -- kick in the butt! Featuring your awesome project tomorrow. Thanks for linking up. xoxo

  16. Your EASY TUFTING METHOD Is wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing. Have you used it with leather?

  17. I love the method you used for tufting with screws and washers! Just wondering how you attached the button head after? This looks a lot easier the drilling holes in plywood first and then "sewing" button on to create tufting.

    1. Thank you! This is my go-to method now. To attach the buttons, I simply use fabric glue and stick them on. I haven't had any trouble with them so far.


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