Tufted Headboard

I’ve been wanting to make a tufted headboard for our master bedroom since before we moved in, and last week Eddie and I finally got around to making it!

Diamond Tufted Headboard Tutorial

Here in part one, I’ll cover everything involved in getting the headboard ready for tufting. I’ll be back with the tufting and finishing process in part 2 next week (update: see part 2 here)!

I looked at dozens of blogs, online tutorials, and videos for hints, tips, and inspiration. My favorite tufted headboard tutorials are from Addicted 2 Decorating, Schue LoveLittle Green Notebook, Living with Punks, Brick City LoveInvolving the Senses, and Pretty Dubs. I ended up picking and choosing pieces from several of the tutorials, and through that and trial & error we came up with a process that worked pretty well.

Supplies for my queen size headboard

  • Pegboard* 60″ by 40″
  • 2″ foam – I used one 2′ by 7.5′ piece from JoAnn’s (use a coupon – it’s not cheap!)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Hi-loft batting in full bed size package
  • A small paring knife you don’t mind using on foam. An electric meat carving knife like this one is also nice to have, especially if you’re doing a non-rectangle shape.
  • 3 yards of fabric that is at least 54″ wide (I wanted to use skinnier fabric, so I got two 3 yard sections and sewed them together lengthwise)
  • sturdy string or twine (I used 4-ply baker’s twine left over from wedding invites)
  • a fabric button cover kit and wire eye back blanks. I used 45 3/4″ buttons from here
  • heavy-duty staple gun with 1/2″ staples

*A note about using pegboard vs. normal wood, plywood, or mdf: I wanted to use pegboard because there is already a handy grid of evenly spaced holes. However, this does slightly limit your tuft placement possibilities (half of my tufts were directly between two holes to get my spacing how I wanted it – but this wasn’t a huge deal). More importantly, our staple gun at least does not work excellently in the pegboard because it is a higher density. We even got a heavy-duty pro version (this one) which helped, but still about 20% of our staples didn’t work. Plus its a pain to use many times in a row. Some people use staples to attach tufts – which didn’t work for us in the pegboard. Our staple guns both work great in scrap wood though, so something less dense would be better if you want to attach tufts with staples. We still used staples to attach the batting and fabric around the edges – we just pulled out the ones that didn’t work and redid those. I’m still glad we used pegboard this time, but I think if we were doing it again I might use MDF. It would add a huge step in laying out the holes and drilling them in a perfectly spaced layout, but it gives more freedom in button spacing.

First, we cut the pegboard to size for our headboard – you can have them do this for you at the store as long as you know what size you want your headboard to be when you buy the pegboard. We cut it to 60″ by 40″.

Then, I cut the foam to size with my electric meat carving knife – but you could do this with a paring knife or even a bread knife. Since the largest size single piece of 2″ foam sold at JoAnn’s is 24″ by 7.5,’ I worked with that and cut it according to the diagram below. The foam doesn’t actually cover the entire pegboard, but that’s OK because since I wanted the headboard to be able to rest on my box spring, not all of it will show above the mattress.

Tufted Headboard Tutorial Foam Digram

Next, I laid the pegboard on top of the arranged foam pieces and decided where I wanted my tufts. Because I went with the pegboard, I had to work around the spacing already provided. Vertical spacing was pretty flexible because I didn’t care where the bottom row ended up as it would be below the mattress (the headboard is resting on the box spring). Horizontal spacing, on the other hand, had to fit just right to fit on the pegboard with proportional equal borders on both sides. It turned out that 7″ spacing fit evenly with 5″ on each side for the border. Since 7 is odd, though, that meant in every other row the buttons needed to be between two holes – this worked out fine though.

DIY Tufted Headboard Button Arrangement

Once I decided where I wanted my tufts, I used a sharpie to mark through the desired holes onto the foam (marking the holes on either side of buttons I wanted to rest between two pegboard holes),

DIY Tufted Headboard Marking Holes

and rearranged the foam back on top of the pegboard.

DIY Tufted Headboard Foam

Next, I cut through the foam with a paring knife to leave holes roughly the diameter of the buttons. This is really important both for getting nice, deep tufts and to make passing the needle in and out through all the layers while finding the right holes in the pegboard much easier. These don’t have to be pretty – the batting will cover up any imperfections. You want to cut the holes all the way through. I first went over all the holes and cut down on top of the pegboard in a circle and just pulled out a chunk of foam. I found that it really helped to hold up the chunk of foam you’re cutting out as you go around once you’ve cut part of the circle to keep it from just being all pushed down by the paring knife, if that makes sense. Then I went back and cut through the last bits while holding up the foam so I could have clear holes all the way through – this helped when lining up the foam on top of the pegboard and when trying to get the needle through and back for the tufts. It also turned out that some of my tuft holes were right on the seam between two pieces of foam – which also worked out just fine and was covered by the batting (so don’t worry if that happens to you!) Then go outside and use some spray adhesive to attach the foam to the pegboard – but make sure the edges and holes for the foam and pegboard line up!

DIY Tufted Headboard Foam Holes

Well, that covers everything prior to adding on the batting and fabric and starting tufting!

Check out part 2 here!

Tufted Headboard Tutorial

Paper Pieced Hummingbird

I gave my mom her mother’s day present early because she was in town visiting and I probably won’t see her again until after mother’s day – good thing I got it made early!

Hummingbird Origami Paper Piecing on iPad Sleeve

I’ve been wanting to try paper piecing for ages, but it always seemed so intimidating and  while I’ve found tons of adorable patterns, they’ve never quite been something I was willing to pay for/put in the effort to learn how to paper-piece. Sew Mama Sew to the rescue! The recently did a whole series on paper piecing, including excellent tutorial videos here on how to make your own pattern. I found the videos very helpful and easy to follow. I would definitely suggest checking them it if you’re interested in trying paper piecing – whether from a pattern or from scratch. I followed the video’s lead and used this free font full of origami animals/shapes which are angular and great for paper piecing. I used a hummingbird because a) my mom loves hummingbirds and b) I think its one of the most complicated neatest looking origami animals included in the font package.

Paper Pieced Origami Hummingbird Pattern

Above is the pattern I made. I’m not at all familiar with paper piecing pattern convention. I’m sure in real patterns those numbers are in a meaningful order, but I just did them in a way that made sense to me. I’m just sharing my pattern layout here in case anyone wants to see how I split up the shapes. And to show you how tiny some of those pieces are – look at numbers 5 and 10!  Can you even see them on the finished product?

Hummingbird Origami Paper Piecing

I’m in love with how the fabrics turned out. They’re both ones I had in my stash – the blue was from a garage sale and the green is leftover from a quilt that is still in progress. I managed to keep most of the background fabric going the same direction (using those arrows you see on the paper pattern above), and turned the green print to face the direction I’d picture feathers going. The seams aren’t perfect and the lines between ‘origami pieces’ aren’t all the same width, but I’m still psyched with how it turned out as my first try at paper piecing.

iPad case

The sleeve fit an iPad very snuggly at first, so I sewed the zipper on so that the zipper tab is off to the side when the zipper is open. This keeps the zipper from being in the way of the iPad and lets it slip in perfectly.

iPad case for my Mom

I lined the whole sleeve with a blue fleece that I thought looked nice with the other fabrics. I lined my penguin iPad case with fleece when I made it last summer, and I love how it feels a little more cushioned and protected while having a soft surface against the easy-to-scratch screen and back of the iPad.

Fabric Organization

Until recently, I had a shelf in our ‘study’ closet that stored my quilting fabric. (Our study is the extra bedroom in our house that has our desks, Eddie’s piano, and all my crafting stuffs. I love that it has a bedroom-sized closet where I get to keep my unnecessary quantity of crafty things). It was all folded in different sizes and haphazardly squished into the shelf. I didn’t realize it, but it had gotten to where I didn’t even know all the fabrics I had anymore. Last weekend, I brought some shallow shelves up from my parents’ house and helped Eddie mount them on a wall in our study.

fabric shelves organization
I folded each of my fabrics into roughly 5.5″ squares using some cardboard, then loaded them up onto my shelves. I love being able to see all my fabrics, and easily pull out a few at a time to see what goes together. Being able to see all my favorite fabrics at once really inspires me to want to make things with them! Its also made it very clear that my fabric color palette is severely weighted towards a few colors. And now that I can see how much and which fabrics I have so easily, maybe I won’t feel as inclined to buy as much fabric. That’s what my husband suggested, anyways 🙂

UPDATE: Since I’ve gotten a few questions, I thought I’d talk some about how I sorted my fabric. I spent a long time thinking about how I wanted to organize my fabrics, and ended up deciding  that color (instead of designer, fabric type, etc.) would work best for me. I’m a visual person, so that’s ultimately how I pair fabrics, anyways. I also found it really helped to discriminate between colors – for example, the blues aren’t just all mixed in, there are a couple stacks for navys, for bright aqua-type blues, for pale baby blues, and for dusty blues (apparently I have a thing for blue fabric!) I did similar things for the greens and reds as well. For fabrics with several colors – I either folded up the square and decided which color it ‘read’ – which color seemed to dominate – and put it there. If you look closely, you can tell I also have a stack of red & green fabrics on their own (love Christmas fabrics!) and there’s one stack on the middle shelf that is just fabrics which are mostly white with random colors thrown in.

See those cute little penguins up there on my red shelf? They were one of the many many projects I made for our wedding. Here’s a closer look.

Penguin Cake Topper Fabric Red
To make them, I spray painted a small wooden plaque red and wrote on our names.  I shaped the penguins out of polymer clay, and added a tie for the Eddie penguin and a bouquet and hair piece for the Julia penguin (the veil is some leftover tulle from making my actual veil and is hot glued on). They’d been in our kitchen for a while, but I think they’re much happier here. I love having pieces of our wedding scattered around our house for us to enjoy 🙂 Here’s one last picture of them, this time from their main event, our wedding.

Red Penguin Wedding Cake Topper