Sunday, July 10, 2011

The upholstered headboard

The more I thought about doing a red, black, and white bedroom for my sister's condo, the more I realized that the hand-me-down brass bed she was currently using just wouldn't look right. Especially up against a red accent wall. Instead I decided that this would be a good opportunity for me to do a DIY upholstered headboard. I found a black, white, and grey graphic fabric that my sister loved. I also bought enough yardage so that we could make a tailored bed skirt, this way we would only need to find coordinating pillow shams and bedspread. I volunteered my mom to make the bed skirt, since she was out of the country and couldn't protest, and Mr. W agreed to help me with the assembly of the headboard.
My mom was returning from France Saturday evening so my original plan was to have the headboard completed that day so that she'd be impressed with all my hard work while she was gone. The more I thought about it though, I realized a toddler and a baby stuck in the condo with us working with power tools was a bad idea. Plus the ocean was calling me. So Saturday we took the boys to the Hug Point for the day and Sunday my mom watched them while Mr. W and I went to work on the headboard.
I wanted a really curvy, feminine shape to the headboard and while I was looking online to find a shape I could use as a guide, I found a step by step tutorial video. The only new step that she did that I hadn't considered was using spray adhesive to keep the foam in place. I'm not sure that I really needed this step though since I have one large sheet of foam rather than a patchwork of three smaller, cheaper pieces. We had mocked up a template with craft paper the previous weekend. Today we finessed it with a DIY compass of string, a push pin, and a pencil to make sure we had perfect curves. I originally planned to have the headboard at 40"h, but today we decided to make it an even 4 feet because both the plywood and the foam were already 48" and we could save ourselves some cutting. After we transferred the template onto our materials, Mr. W cut the plywood while I cut the foam. Here's a tip: make sure to use a new blade at the beginning of the project rather than halfway through. My first few cuts were pretty rugged looking. After I replaced the blade it cut smoothly through the 2" foam.Next we used the spray adhesive. I only sprayed the foam first which didn't adhere well enough so we sprayed both the wood and the foam getting them nice and tacky before putting them together.A twin size piece of batting was all we needed for the headboard with lots of excess for another project. Doll bed quilts perhaps?
Because fabric comes in 54" widths and the queen size headboard is 54"w I thought that I'd have to sew together a few pieces of the fabric so that we'd have enough to wrap around the 2" foam and staple to the back of the board. I was not looking forward to this but had packed my 1954 New Home sewing machine. Mr. W and I decided though that the graphic fabric was non-directional enough that we could use the fabric going up the bolt saving me from having to piece it together and having seams ruin the look.Everything was going smoothly until I got to the inside corners of the the first curve. I knew from regular sewing projects that you need to cut in at angles to get the fabric to go around the curves. However I was not getting the trick for getting in there. We kept worrying that I was going to cut to much fabric. I decided that perhaps I ought to hold off and check the internet to see if I could find a DIY tutorial that would show exactly how to cut into the fabric to make this corner. The brackets I bought for mounting the headboard to the wall did not include screws anyway so we wouldn't have been able to complete the project anyway. So I'll wait and come back with my mom to finish up.

So far though I am happy with our work. I think it will turn out nicely once I solve this problem. At one point my sister and I liked the idea of a nail head trim, but I decided to hold off on that in the interest of saving money and not getting too carried away with the project. Once we get all the furniture placed and the curtains are up we can re-evaluate whether the headboard is complete or not.
Thanks to craigslist I was able to score queen size bed rails for her mattress for $3, although I did have to go to two different sellers' locations.


  1. Hi, You're a very nice sister btw... :-)

    So I've been searching high and low on how to solve the inside corner dilemma...How did you end up figuring it out? From the pictures, I see you did on one side =D but you didn't mention how...Please let me and everyone else stuck @ the inside corner know. I don't want to ruin expensive fabric experimenting... Pleaaase Help :-/
    Thanks! Martha

    1. I cut a couple of slits in the fabric so that it could bend around the curve. It worked out okay on one side, but on the other side I ended up cutting another piece of fabric to layer underneath. It was really a lot of trial and error. I also figured that since that curve would be high enough up AND against the wall that the little bit of layered fabric wouldn't be so noticeable.