23 November 2011

DIY: upholstered headboard

Judging from the reports of the traffic on the interstate, I’m going to bet that many of you are already on Thanksgiving break. So happy early holiday to you!

Even though Turkey Day is tomorrow, I’ve made mention numerous times here that I don’t really do seasonal projects aside from Christmas (and oh, will I make up for the lack of holiday spirit as Christmas approaches, just you wait). That’s because my holiday weekends are usually prime time for doing regular projects. And today is an excellent project-doing day! (Well, for you, not for me because of that BFD next week.) Today is one of those magical semi-holidays where stores are actually open, but they are not full of hypercaffeinated people who have been up since 3AM looking to save 30% on a television. Take advantage.

So if you, too, like to DIY your holiday weekends away, here’s one that you can do with almost no preparation at all that makes a huge impact! You start with a bed that needs a headboard. A bed without a headboard just feels like it belongs to a twenty-something in their first home, right?

I wanted to fix up a headboard for this full-sized guest bed to make the room nicer for guests and potential buyers (you roll your eyes, but it’s all about the subconscious cues!). But because we’ll likely get rid of this bed when we move next summer, I didn’t want to spend much on it – or work hard on it. And bonus points for something that could be repurposed later.

Solution: upholstered headboard. Yes, I KNOW, you’ve seen them all over the blogosphere and they can be all fancy and curvy and nailhead-trimmed and gorgeous. But I wanted to keep it simple, for time and money’s sake. And it doesn’t get much simpler than YHL’s upholstered headboard tutorial – Sherry starts with a custom art canvas frame and wraps it in batting and fabric. Easy!

Except it can be a little simpler, just a teensy bit. See, if you are upholstering a headboard for a double bed? NO NEED to hunt down a custom canvas at an art store which may or may not be open on magical semi-holidays. A double bed is about 48” across, and they sell that width at my favorite Lobby of Hobbies. And OH RIGHT, HELLO 40% OFF. Of course, this trick won’t work for a bigger bed, but for a twin or double, you’re set.

So I bought a 3’ x 4’ canvas, which was in the neighborhood of $20 with my coupon:

As you can see, it’s about as wide as the bed. Then I followed Sherry’s instructions to staple-gun two layers of batting (I bought a queen-sized quilter’s piece and cut it in half) and one layer of simple gray cotton fabric onto the frame. For the corners, I just sort of adjusted and tugged and stapled until they looked right and chopped off the excess. Not exactly artful, but they look just fine from the front.

As for hanging it? I’ll be honest, this was one of the main reasons I wanted to go with a lightweight canvas. The ones constructed with plywood required braces and D-rings and goodness knows what else. Whereas for this? I found a stud and hammered a nail into it. Then I hammed in another nail a little ways over. Done.

(Sorry for the bizarre focus; the lighting in that room drives me batty when taking photos.)

Honestly, the canvas is light enough for this setup to be secure, but heavy enough to keep itself in place (you’d have to apply a lot of force in a weird direction to knock it off the wall). The frame is over an inch thick, so I used some big heavy-duty nails and only nailed them as far as the wood frame is thick. That way, the heads of the nails could tuck up in between the batting and the frame in the front of the headboard, if that makes sense. I also got the 3’-tall canvas, instead of 2’, so a good part of the canvas is securely tucked behind the mattress.

My point is, the goal is to keep it from falling forward off the wall and onto guests. We all know it’s bad form to attack your houseguests with furniture.

And finally here it is in place, with the bed made up for guests! I promise it is gray in real life, not lavender.

Compare that to the plain before:

It’s ridiculous how such a small change makes such a big impact! One says “I have a hand-me-down mattress and bedframe and I'm overcompensating with throw pillows”, and the other says, “I have a nice, soft headboard for my guests which makes this room feel polished and complete. I clearly have my life together and officially won my ability to be responsible.” Since I technically fall into the former category, it’s a really great trick.

Note also that I went with super-simple $4/yard cotton fabric – I considered making a statement with stripes, or a little grosgrain trim detail, but thought that might be too busy. Once it was up on the wall with the bed made, I decided that was the right choice. But if I ever change my mind, though, I can just staple over it!

And for the details for your weekend DIY:

Time spent:
Under an hour, easy. Even with my obsessive straightening to prevent nonexistent bunching of the batting and fabric, it took me no time at all. Take that, you fancy Victorian-silhouette tufted nailhead trim DIYers.

Canvas: $24 (perhaps pricier than the frame alone, but easier and sturdier)
Batting: $7
Fabric: $6 (for 1.5 yards, and I had enough leftover to make that matching bolster pillow)
Total cost: $37

Under $40, you guys!

Even IKEA headboards and those bizarre inflatable headboards that I cannot see as anything but a raft on the wall are over $100! Plus, this is one you can easily change up with another $6 of fabric when the mood strikes on your next holiday break. And if you find that you no longer need this headboard? Well... then can I interest you in some DIY canvas art?


Shanna said...

I LOVE the gray - it looks so sophisticated with the green linens. Wonderful job!

And, as always, I admire you for your thrift - it will always serve you well.

Anonymous said...

I followed your directions and made a beautiful headboard for my daugther's room. As it turned out, she did not have enough wall space to use it as a headboard (window was in the way), so we used it as a cornice for the window. It looks great! Thanks for your help - the directions and pictures made the project so quick and easy.

Sarah said...

@Anonymous, glad it worked for you! And OOOH, canvases as cornice boards! What a great idea! Hmmm, might have to think about how I could use that fabulous idea...