Much Ado About a Headboard

Are you tired of hearing about our headboard yet? Trust me, the hubby is too. Big time. We spent several hours this weekend, and a few more hours on Tuesday night, turning this day dream into a real-life fixture in the Lottery House.

We started by using a little painter’s tape to test the right headboard height. We settled on 72” wide and 32” high for our king-sized bed. Off we went to our local Orange to purchase a 4 x 8 sheet of PureBond plywood (with no gross formalydehyde in the glue), for around $45. The nice folks there even cut it down to headboard size for us.

Once we figured out how to get this behemoth home in my tiny car, we were ready to get crackin’. I knew I wanted legs to make installing our headboard a snap, and since we had 2 x 4s on hand, we figured those would be a good bet for quick-and-easy headboard legs. We started by cutting two boards to the height of the headboard, plus 24″ to accomodate for the bed height. Then we used drywall screws to attach the legs to the PureBond plywood.

We also addded another piece of 2 x 4 across the top so that all 3 visible edges of the headboard would be even in thickness.

With the legs in place, we primed, painted, and clear-coated them. We knew that with our Malay dressers as nightstands, the legs would be nearly invisible, so I didn’t bother to use wood filler on any of the knots or cracks in the legs. We also marked and pre-drilled the spots for our covered buttons.

Once the frame was complete, we (ok, Tony) hauled ‘er inside to get started upholstering. After four layers of batting, we were satisfied that the headboard was fluffy enough for our covered buttons to get the tufted effect we were going for. Then it was time to put on the fabric.

We centered the headboard in the middle of the fabric and got to stapling. We started with a single staple in each of the four sides, and then we stood the headboard up to see where the fabric needed adjusting. There was a lot of stapling and unstapling, thanks to the lofty layers of batting, a busy pattern, and a bit of perfectionism (that’s me). If you’re planning your own upholstery project, my best advice is to pull the fabric snug, but not overly tight, because it will leave you with lumpy sides and a skewed pattern. Yuck.

Then it was time to add the buttons. I threaded a needle with 10-pound fishing line and ran it through one of the pre-drilled holes, making sure to keep one end of the line on the backside of the board. I threaded the button the front side of the headboard, making a couple of passes around the button’s shank for good measure and ran the needle back through the hole. Then I put a washer onto one end of the string and tied them both together, while Tony pressed on the button on the front side to make sure it was at the right depth. And, after 8 more reps, the old headboard was done. If you’re tackling a project like this, I definitely don’t recommend going solo. It helps to have an extra pair of hands for just about every step.

Enough chit-chat. Here’s the headboard in its full glory.


And in case you’re wondering, that little swatch of chevron fabric isn’t some wonky pillow. It’s me, trying to trick you with a folded-up swatch of fabric. Sneaky, sneaky.

I promise to share more pictures this weekend, when I’ve got daylight to snap some photos. It’s tough to see the tufting when you’re working with a flash at night-time!

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2 Comments

Filed under Projects

2 responses to “Much Ado About a Headboard

  1. Pingback: Where Green Meets Design | thelotteryhouse

  2. Lauren R.

    I’ve been thinking about tackling this kind of DIY project myself…thanks for the tips!

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