A couple months ago, I featured my good friend Jamie Antonioli and her amazing DIY projects here. I received an overwhelming response from all of you on the gorgeous turquoise tufted headboard. Remember this beauty?
Well I am thrilled that Jamie agreed to write a tutorial for all of us today! Like all of you, I've been dying to learn how she created this masterpiece and I'm so glad we get to share it here today. So I am going to hand it over to Jamie...take it away!
A few years ago, when Mad Men first started, I saw the Draper’s amazing turquoise tufted headboard and decided that I had to own one! Custom furniture is not in my budget, so my dad suggested that we make one. I searched online and checked out every upholstery book I could find at the library and wasn’t able to find very much information on how to do this. Fortunately, my dad came up with a great idea for how to make the tufts. Not only was he the brains behind this operation, but he also had endless patience during this project, took most of the pictures, and helped write this tutorial!
Now, this isn’t a quick afternoon DIY project, but I think the results are well worth it. It took us 2 1/2 days to complete this headboard. I am confident we could make another one much faster but we took our time to figure out the process and not rush through it. The instructions below will help you make your own tufted headboard.
- 3/4 inch plywood
- 3 inch thick foam - the foam doesn’t have to be this thick but I think it really creates the deep tufted look
- Polyester batting
- Fabric - for my queen size bed I used 3 yards of 54” wide fabric for the headboard and buttons, make sure to buy enough extra fabric to compensate for the tufts
- Spray adhesive
- Circular saw or jigsaw
- Staple gun
- Upholstery needles - like these
- Button kit - like this
- Upholstery twine/thread
- Zip ties - mine were 8 inches long
1. Cut your 3/4 plywood down to size. You can keep it as a rectangle, do a curved top, or even a more intricate design. We made a queen size headboard so it ended up being 60 inches wide and 34 inches tall at the highest point.
2. Lay out your button pattern on the plywood. We started our first row 2 1/2 inches down from the top of the plywood and spaced the buttons 9 inches apart. Make sure to not get too close to the edge of the plywood with your spacing. Also, for the diamond pattern, you need to alternate your rows - so the next row of buttons will start 4 1/2 inches below and to the side of the first button. Keep in mind that the more buttons you have, the more work it will be - so space out your buttons accordingly (I had a friend do 12 inches in between buttons and it looks great too.) After you have your pattern laid out, drill small holes through the plywood where each button goes. Make sure the holes are big enough to pass through a zip tie and upholstery needle.
3. Cut your foam down to size and use the spray adhesive to secure it to the top of your plywood.
4. Wrap the batting around the front of the foam and staple it to the back of the plywood
5. Use your button kit to cover buttons in your fabric. For this step, follow the directions that come with your button kit and make the appropriate amount of buttons for your headboard. Keep in mind that the thicker your fabric is, the harder this will be. I used velvet so this was the hardest step for me!
6. Cut your upholstery twine in pieces about 8 inches long and tie in a knot to the back of each button.
7. Now it is time to start the tufts, so drape the fabric over the headboard and find a comfortable place to work. I started in the middle of the headboard and worked my way out from there.
8. From the back of the headboard, push an upholstery needle through the hole until it starts to come out of the foam on the front side. This is where you will attach your first button.
9. With your smallest upholstery needle, thread the button through the fabric in the spot where the needle poked through. Then on the back side of the fabric, securely tie the button through the eye of the zip tie.
10. Now tape the end of the zip tie to the upholstery needle and from the back side of the headboard, start pulling the needle slowly through to the back.
11. Untape the zip tie from the needle once it comes through the plywood. Using a second zip tie, slip the eye end over the zip tie coming through the headboard - holding the tie in place while you tighten the button from the back
12. Before you fully tighten the button, start to work with the fabric on the front of the headboard to get your folding/pleating in place to get the diamond tufted look. The fabric should do this for the most part on its own as you start to form the diamonds, but you may need to adjust the fabric in places to get it to lay right. I got the best results doing this as the button was about halfway tightened and then fully securing the button once I was happy with the fabric.
13. Repeat this process, working your way out from the center of the headboard until all tufts are complete. Then wrap the extra fabric around to the back of the headboard and staple it into place.
You can hang your headboard from the wall or build a frame for it to sit on the ground between the bed and wall when you are finished.
Please do not reprint this or use any of the images without the permission of Jamie Antonioli and Natasha of Schue Love.
Amazing right?! My husband and I have been talking about making a headboard for as long as I can remember...I really want to make it happen now!
Thank you to the talented Jamie for sharing with all of us today!!