Monday, 11 July 2011

DIY: Upholstered Headboard

Here is Part 1 of my Fourth of July weekend extravaganza DIY!

Behold:  Upholstered Headboard, with nail-head trim!

It will look more impressive when it is attached to a bed, and I will do this post again properly then, but I just got really excited and wanted to post it for you.

This is a project I did with/for my sister, to adorn the master bedroom of her new house in Cleveland.  we decided on a silver grey dupioni silk, which we ordered from the excellent company JBR Silks, with a knit fabric backing.  This silk was beautiful, and absolutely perfect for upholstery.

First we cut the plywood to shape (** NOTE: DO NOT USE THE SHAPE I PICKED UNLESS YOU WANT TO SEW A CUSTOM COVER FOR THE HEADBOARD.**)  Then, we wrapped the plywood in batting, and muslin, and stapled the muslin down to the plywood.  We used a staple gun powered by a compressor, which we are lucky enough to have access to because my father is a fiend for tools.  Even though he hates the compressor intensely.  But I digress.

please note:  I look really gross because the air conditioning was broken in my parents house, and I had been working for almost 2 days straight at this point, on project number 2 to be disclosed later.)

Then we covered the muslin with silk.  I have no photos of this process, because frankly I was terrified the whole time.  The fabric was not outrageously expensive, and we had loads extra, but I certainly didn't want to waste my sister's money, and basically began to panic when it became obvious the shape I had chosen was destined for failure.  But I am a stubborn little bastard and I made it work; ie, I sent Lisa away and I muscled the fabric into (relative) submission.  So you'll just have to believe me:  it was tricky, and if I had picked a shape that did not come to a hard inside corner, it would have been a cakewalk.

When I was finished with the silk, the headboard looked like this:

Then on to the fun part, the nail-head trim.  Or I thought it would be fun, until it cut my fingers to ribbons.  I don't have photos of that either, you'll just have to trust me. (What is it about the internets, that without photos it didn't happen?  I tried for photos of my hand covered in bandaids, but unfortunately my left hand cannot, on its own, operate a camera.)  Nail-head trim is SHARP.  Exercise extreme caution.  DO NOT run your hands along the edges of the trim.  DO NOT press your fingers down along the edge of the trim.  DO NOT come in contact with the edges of the trim for any reason, if you can avoid it.

Once I figured out how to touch it without bleeding all over the silk, laying it out became a fairly easy process.  Just trim to length, and nail it in with the handy tacks provided, in every 4th nail.  I had to do some splicing of irregularly spaced pieces in the middle, but it worked out pretty well.

So there you have it.  4-ish hours, ~ $125 and a completed headboard.  When we move Lisa into her house, I'll give you an update!


  1. seriously are you on speed or something? you kind of always remind me of whatshername from Empire Records, I just imagine you saying "there are 24 useable hours in every day, thankyou!" haha. but wow, really nicely done! If I had a grown-up bed I would totally want that headboard. it's too nice for my $85 ikea bed though.

  2. There are 24 hours a day and then there are the nights! I need to figure out what shape to use for Charlottesville!

  3. thanks guys...I think? I love Empire Records, great movie of its era :)

    Lisa has no bed at all, just the metal frame, (now) and this headboard. Its going to sit against a teal blue wall, so it should really stand out.