In part one, I talked about how I made my tufted headboard up until the actual tufting – and here I’ll cover the rest!
Where I left off, I had a pegboard with 3” foam sitting on top of it, and the foam had holes where I wanted by button tufts to be.
Next, smooth on the batting and fabric centered on your headboard. I used 2 layers of high-loft batting – I got one queen-sized package and this turned out to be just the right amount. Make sure you have some space (at least about 3”) extending off the edges on all sides so you will be able to attach it around the back. I wanted to use a quilting cotton fabric which was not quite wide enough (only 42”) to fit across the height of my headboard and still have enough extra to attach it on the back, so I sewed two lengths of it together. This turned out to still be cheaper than décor-weight fabric, and now I have plenty of scrap fabric to use for quilts/other projects. If you used a wider home décor or other fabric though, you wouldn’t have to worry about this step. I found that three yards of fabric (doubled for me as I mentioned above) was plenty for my 5’ wide queen headboard.
At this point, you also need several prepared cover buttons. I got mine here – it’s the cheapest price I could find, and since I was already ordering something else from them shipping was no extra. You can buy them from a store like JoAnn’s with coupons – but you will need several coupons (they only come in small packages) if you’re using as many as I did and even with coupons, I found them to be significantly more expensive than the website I ordered from. I used 5/8” (size 24) buttons – make sure you get the ones with the wire loop backs. You will also need a tool to do the actual covering step, like this one. I ended up needing about 40 buttons – covering this many can be tedious, but is a great project for while watching tv. Keep this step in mind when selecting fabrics too – as thicker fabric can be quite difficult to push through the cover button tool.
Once you have your buttons and prepped soon-to-be headboard, it’s time to start tufting! Many tutorials I read online suggested using upholstery thread, but that didn’t work out very well for me. I’m sure it’d have been fine if I’d stapled on the back, like here, but I had a pretty difficult time getting my staple gun to work well into the pegboard I used (described in more detail in part one). I decided to knot the thread instead, but the upholstery thread is quite waxy and just slid out of any knots I tried! I ended up using some baker’s twine I’d gotten on clearance from Crate & Barrel after Christmas one year, but any cotton twine should be fine – you want something thin enough to thread through a needle but sturdy enough that it will not break under pressure.
I had a bag full of plain buttons I’d gotten for cheap at a garage sale, so I used these to stabilize the knots on the back of the headboard. I used a 3” upholstery needle with a large eye (from JoAnn’s) threaded with my baker’s twine. This is definitely a two person job – having one person on each side of the headboard (front and back) makes this a much easier process. For each button, I’d start by arranging the fabric on the front of the headboard to make sure the tufts looked even and smooth. Eddie threaded the needle through one of my plain buttons then threaded it through one of marked holes in the pegboard, through the pre-cut hole in the foam, and through the batting and fabric. Then I would make sure the needle was coming out at the right place and thread the needle through a covered button, and the back through to the other side of the pegboard. Once the needle and baker’s twine were through the back of the pegboard, I threaded the needle through an opposite hole in the plain button and tied several knots. Eddie then glued over these knots with superglue just as an extra step to keep them from slipping. The holes in the foam make this much easier to navigate, and if you have a hard time finding the path for your needle you can peel back layers as necessary – just be careful to smooth them out in the same place when putting them back! We started with the top row and worked our way down – going from the center outwards within each row.
Once all the buttons were tufted on (hooray!), it was time to attach the fabric around the edges. For the first round, we stapled every inch or so through the fabric and batting about 1-2” from the edge of the pegboard. To make the edges look nicer, we then trimmed the batting shorter than the fabric and stapled just through the fabric again, this time only every 5” or so and about 4” from the edge of the pegboard. Not all of the staples went in very well, so we pried out the ones that looked insecure and replaced them.
On the bottom edge of the headboard, the foam did not cover the entire headboard. Since this section will be hidden behind the bed it doesn’t need to look as nice as the rest of the headboard, but I still wanted it to look tidy. I stapled the fabric and batting right at the edge of the foam along the bottom before stapling it smooth from the back of the headboard.
And voila! Fancy custom tufted headboard!