You live you learn. When I moved to New York City a few years ago I suddenly decided I had to get crafty. Chalk it up to a new apartment to decorate and zero money to do so, and I was set on making things myself despite living in Manhattan…with no car…and in a four story walk up. I decided I would try my hand at my first upholstery project and make my headboard. I trekked around the city gathering supplies lugging sheets of pegboard through Midtown, four feet long foam sheets through LES and batting rolls through the East Village only to get to my apartment to carry it all up my four flights of stairs. Ah New York…
I will say that what came out of that effort was a beautiful headboard I loved that cost way so much less than the $400+ headboards I found in-store. Here’s my how-to with some tips and tricks I learned a long the way.
Not a DIY-er? Scroll down to get the look.
- 2 yards fabric
- Upholstery Foam
- Upholstery Thread
- 5″ Upholstery needle
- Spray Adhesive
- 5/8″ Button Making Kit and Refills
- Measuring Tape
- Staple Gun + Staples
Step 1: Measure Your Space + Buy Pegboard
The first thing you’ll want to do is measure your space and find the right size headboard for you. As a guide, generally double headboards are anywhere from 54-57″ wide, queen headboards are 60-63″ and king headboard are 76-79″ wide. For the height, they can range from 14-29″ inches tall above the mattress. For this project, I created a 56″ wide headboard for my double bed and needed 2 yards of fabric. If you choose a different width, the fabric stores are great at recommending how many yards you’ll need.
Step 2: Measure and Count Your Buttons
Once you’ve purchased the right size of pegboard, measure out where you want the buttons to go and line up that spot with a hole on the pegboard circling the spots. I marked each button spot with a number so I’d know how many buttons to buy and made them 5″ apart.
Step 3: Make Your Buttons
For button making, I’d recommend button kits and refills, but make sure your fabric is not too thick for the kit. Unfortunately, because my fabric was velvet it was too thick to be used in the kit in the size button I wanted – 5/8″, I had to use the button making kit on a thinner fabric and then cover them with hand sewn buttons – instruction here. A great project for TV binging, it took me an hour to do every 6 buttons!
Step 4: Copy Your Button Measurement From The Pegboard To Your Foam Board
To do this, I measured out straight lines on the foam board and then spots for the buttons using a tape measure.
Step 5: Glue Foam Board To Pegboard
Use your spray adhesive to bond the foam to the pegboard. Once the two pieces are attached and have dried, use a knife to cut holes in the foam allowing you to see the corresponding hole in the pegboard. This part of the process will allow for the tufted to be deeper.
Step 6: Cover With Batting
Place your headboard in the middle of your batting with the batting on top. Fold the batting over the foam and secure on the back of the board with staples, trimming excess batting on the back where needed.
Step 7: Tufting
After the batting is secured, it’s time to to tuft starting at the top of the board and in the middle. To do this, you take doubled up upholstery thread, triple knot it around your button loop and feel out the board for your first hole with the needle point. Stick the needle through the fabric, batting, foam and pegboard hole and pull tightly out the back of the board so you button is pulled into the hole. If you pus on the button from the front of the board you’ll get a more dramatic tuft. Using your staple gun, secure the thread on the back of the board pulling the thread at different angles like a constellation and stapling to ensure a tight hold.
Continue with this process of starting in the middle and moving to the edges as you work through each tuft of the board. While I was tufting, I also worked with the fabric to make sure the uniform creases were at the top of the board, and that the diagonal creases were standard from top to bottom.
Step 8: Secure fabric
Once you’ve finished all tufts, lay your board on the ground to secure the fabric on the underside of the foam with staples. My foam was 56″ by 24″, so you’ll see it didn’t cover all of my pegboard. I left some extra fabric below the foam to make sure the pegboard wasn’t visible behind my bed. If you want to cover this you would just need more fabric to start. I was fine with leaving it because the mattress blocked this piece of the headboard.