Monday, June 23, 2014

Dryer sheets and staples are my new best friends.

I hope you've all been busy knocking out your summer bucket list like I have.  It's been a beauty fest every night, I got some swim time in, got my dirty chai IV drip started and have been stalking Neil deGrasse Tyson.  I've also been building shit the saucy way.  

That way is with no clear direction or skills or hope for a good result...

Things are coming along nicely in that bedroom of mine that I've been talking about for 93849384938493 months now.  This week I upholstered a headboard and all of Pinterest creamed their panties in unison.

After shopping around it seemed like the best deal I could get would be about $200 for a headboard and that's one of those microfiber hellbeds of shame so no thanks, internet shopping.  I have staple gun and an inflated sense of my own ability so I got this.

First up, real fabric.  Guess what? It's beige!  Just a nice simple nubby gold/grey weave I got for about $35.  Nothing fancy.  Although I DID find some hand-stitched wool crewel remnant that was on sale so I was FORCED to buy it as well.  No idea where it's going yet but I feel better giving it a good home. 

THIS is why I'm broke.
Crewel fabric was originally $130 a yard and I got it for $50 so... *high five*
I noticed that my headboard fabric is surprisingly similar to the fabric I covered my couch in a long time ago...  It's just beige everywhere!  

It's like a very bland - YET ELEGANT - spa around here.

Now that the important part was covered (upholstery humor!) I needed to figure out the bones.  My plan was to buy a cheap flat headboard and use it as a frame to screw in my desired shape and height.  Well, lemme school ya that finding such a thing is a lot harder than I initially thought.  

Headboards are everywhere when you don't need them and when you do it's nothing but brass cages of doom and $75 pieces of shit.  But I finally found one for $10.  SOLD!  Then I tried to put it in my car and it was about six inches too tall and no way to get it home. 

They told me by the time I would be able to get a truck it would probably be stolen outside so it was now or never. I then asked to return it and they said nope.  Well, poop buckets.  These people are running our charities, y'all.  I guess my $10 was a donation to their cause.

But THEN I found one at another thrift store for $5.  Suck it, asshole charity!  Or suck it, me, since I didn't think to put it in my car before I paid for it...

That's $15, countless hours of my time and gallons of gas and tears all for this baby.  But at least we could get busy!  As soon as I borrowed a staple gun and watched Orange Is the New Black and mowed the grass and played 2048 for 17 hours.

Fun fact: the genius previous owner of the headboard glued what appears to be fabric softener sheets to the bottom of the legs.  Not only does this protect your floors and makes moving the thing a piece of cake it also just smells really damn nice.  I'm doing it to all my furniture now!

The other supporting characters in this production are:

1. 1/2 inch plywood cut to my desired size free of charge thanks Home Depot.
2. Two-inch thick foam.  It comes in rolls at the craft store.
3. Batting.  Cut the yardage you want at a fabric store.  I splurged for the $6 a yard kind but they do have $3 a yard but you'll want to splurge.
4. Spray paint to cover the legs.

Look I done did a thing!  Legs spray-painted and screwed into the wood to the frame.  We're really rocking and rolling!  

Important thing: you gotta ask yourself some tough questions about how tall you want your headboard.  You gotta know yourself.  Learn yourself.  Sleep with yourself.  Or just totally fucking guess.  I picked a number that was just at the top of where a person's head would touch when sitting on my bed and the average height of some Pottery Barn beds.  That dimension was 56 inches.

What I didn't want was it to end up looking like one of West Elm's headboards...

This proportion sets my teeth on fire.  Maybe you have gigantism of the torso and your top half keeps growing but your legs are stunted nubs.  Maybe you like wearing tall hats when you read at night.  Maybe you just don't give a fuck and love it anyway.  Godspeed, my tall-torso'd friend.

Wanna know something crazy?  That West Elm headboard is 56" tall.  DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND?!?!?  DO YOU EVEN CARE ABOUT THIS RANT??!?!?

Anyway, back to me and some power tools.  I couldn't figure out how to create a smooth surface between where I screwed in the plywood on the back and the front of the headboard.  So I cut up some Styrofoam and made a big gigantic mess in my living room and destroyed my favorite crafting ground protector to make this:

And then I realized I should TURN IT AROUND, YOU BRAINLESS FENCEPOST!  Jesus Christ on a croissant.

Welcome to my world where I only use 10% of my brain about 27% of the time.  

Of course then I had to take the entire thing back outside and spray the back side of the legs because I didn't have the forethought to paint the entire thing the first time.  

Welcome to my world where I'm 127% lazy 100% of the time.

So now that we have the logistics worked out I was ready to soften this fucker up.  It'd already fallen on me once so my already-slow brain needed the extra padding.

I laid the batting on the floor and cut the foam to the shape I needed and laid the headboard on top.  Remember, I'm doing this alone so I only have so many hands.

I would recommend cutting the padding about half and inch bigger than the actual shape it's covering just to make the edges smoother because the foam will squish.  I would probably use a spray adhesive to stick the foam to the wood but I just let gravity work its magic.  Also, I don't want to carry this thing outside anymore.

So now we're here!  And there is STILL styrofoam all over the floor even though I've vacuumed.

And then I remembered I hadn't washed the fabric.  Sigh...  this is why it takes me so long to finish anything. 

Fast forward a day later and shit's on and poppin.  Technically on and staplin.

I wish I had a trick or tip for this part but I don't.  Just make sure the weave is fairly straight then work your way down.  It's way less sexy than it sounds.  Partially because you have a high-powered staple gun in your hands and that doesn't even sound like fun kinky.  

I just did a pseudo hospital corner up top to have as small a crease as possible.  You do you.

But on the bottom things got trickier.  

I was tired and my head hurt from the headboard falling on me again so when I had to wrap the fabric around the legs it soooorta looks like I stapled fabric around a dirty diaper but you can't see it from the front so just deal with it.  

And this is my patented ModernSauce technique.  I call it the DOUBLE RAINBOW of staples followed by the duct tape edge.  The DOUBLE RAINBOW of Staples (TM) actually seems like it would be less stress on the fabric but I'm not a fabric scientist.

Here's the final result! 

Big and beige and flat!  Just what I also dreamed of!  I had to insert some extra pieces of foam if you're wondering why the bottom edge looks weird - I needed a bigger size foam piece but it'll be covered by the mattress anyway.  My spirit can only take so many trips to Hobby Lobby before the Dementors come.

I'm so tired of this being in my living room that I really couldn't get any more/better pictures.  But at least you have process so my work is done for now.  More pictures in situ later.

Even though I complained through the entire process, now that I know how to do it I would totally do it again and recommend it to anyone else too.  The sum of everything was about $110.  I would not recommend skimping on the foam or batting but I bet you could cut corners elsewhere and/or buy cheaper fabric.  

But you can do this!  I believe in you.

I just do not believe in oversized headboards.

I believe in you and proportion and staples and taking the cheap way out.


  1. you forgot the photo of it connected to the bed. it's honestly kind of hard to envision how that's going to look like a headboard. right now it looks like it's waiting for some kids' finger paint art held up with thumbtacks. i'm sure context will make all the difference! ;)

    1. What, you've never seen headboard before?! Use your imagination! Do I have to do everything around here? ; )

      Honestly, I was tired of taking pictures...! Besides, if I show you the headboard on the bed that's like 85% of the completed bedroom! You'll see it all later - whether you want to or not.

      Possibly finger painted...

  2. I want to be all mature and supportive, but my favorite part was when it kept falling on your head. I feel like every piece of furniture has a secret desire to smash frail human parts as often as possible. Hub once squished a friend of ours against the wall with a giant wrought iron bed frame. Friend was not amused, but metal death bed seemed happy.