Decorate a Vintage Inspired Lampshade

vintage-inspired-lampshadeEvery room in my house is chock full of midcentury antiques or midcentury replications. I’m obsessed. From the vintage Fire King Peach Luster plates on my wall to the acid green couches I bought directly from their original owner, I am so deeply in love with this period of design that I couldn’t leave it out of my bedroom. Plus I needed a little femininity in this room so I thought a little tulle was exactly what was in order to restore the careful balance of feminine masculinity I’m going for. Lampshades are so much fun to customize. You buy the cheapest thing available and with just the simplest effort you can make it perfectly fit your room.

 

step-1Cut your tulle to be as tall as the shade plus a little extra, and wide enough to fold in half and still give the look you want. Mine measured 18″ tall by 12″ wide. Cut wice as many pieces as you’ll need to go around your shade so that you can double layer each section. The tulle needs a few layers to really show up. Fold the sides in to meet in the middle so that all the raw edges will be in the back.

 

step-2Your lampshade will probably have a binding, so if it does, rip it off. Glue the tulle to the top rim. I used hot glue because it dries super fast and you don’t have to hold anything in place, but that glue will seep right through the tulle so watch your fingers. Keep the glue line as thin as you can so it’s easy to cover up later.

 

step-3Glue each piece overlapping the one next to it to get all the way around. The more you overlap the better as it really adds to the look, but remember to space them out evenly around the shade.

 

step-4Glue the other end of the tulle to the bottom of the shade. If your shade flares out like mine does you’ll have to pull the bottom of the tulle out to get the same overlap look. Just don’t pull it out so much that your raw edges break through to the front. When all your pieces are glued down, trim the edges to be flush or just below the edge of the shade.

 

step-5Pinch each panel around the middle to gather it. Use a coordinating ribbon or thread to bind it in that position.

 

step-6Make sure that when you tie your knots after you’re done binding the panels, you turn it around to the back so you only see a nice smooth decoration. I even used a dot of hot glue to keep it there so the knots couldn’t slide around to the front.

 

step-7Glue a ribbon or bias tape around the top and bottom of the shades to cover up all the cut edges. Fold the end of the bias tape over before gluing to hide that cut edge too.

 

vintage-lampshadeI love how this lamp looks, especially on top of my bookshelf bedside table. The table is so dark gray and clean lines it’s almost industrial, I’m a little obsessed with the contrast. Which is exactly what I’m going for in this room, which is why doing things yourself is just so. much. fun.

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Build a Bedside Bookshelf Table

bookshelf-bedside-tableAll my life I’ve had trouble keeping my books corralled. When I was a kid I used to spend the whole summer moving from one spot in the house to another carrying a large cardboard box full of my library books. These days the books are in piles next to every one of my chairs. You can even usually find one propped open on the bathroom scale waiting for me to need to spend a while on the john. I don’t like to waste a moment.

So obviously with that kind of a habit, my bedside table was drowning in books. Stacked up on each other until they fell over, piled up on the floor until the cats got to them, Atti has grown up playing with books like they were building blocks. The bedside table of my dreams had to be as much bookshelf as bedside table, so I had to build it myself.

 

step-1Pictured here:

The tabletop, which is a piece of 1/2″ plywood cut to 24″ x 24″, with 2″ squares cut out of two corners to fit table legs.
The bookshelf, which is a 5 x 8 cut 24″ long
The leg braces, which are 3 2 x 2’s cut 21″ long
The legs for the bookshelf which are 2 2 x 2’s cut 11 1/2″ long

 

step-2Pictured here:
Pieces for the table apron which are 4 2×4’s cut 21″ long
Front legs which are 2 2×2’s cut 30″ long
Back legs which are 2 2×2’s cut 42″ long

 

step-3I wanted all my screws to be hidden so I drilled each pilot hole with a countersink bit. This drills a wider hole around the smaller pilot hole so the head of your screw can hide down underneath the surface of the wood. You just fill this hole with wood filler and no screws to mar your paint finish.

I used 2 1/2″ screws for most of the assembly, accept for attaching the plywood tabletop where I used 3/4″ screws.

 

step-4Start with the front legs and sandwich one of the apron pieces between them. Drill countersunk pilot hole and attach with 2 1/2″ screw. Attach the other front leg to the other side of the apron piece.

 

step-5Attach the side apron pieces to the front legs, offsetting the screws so they don’t run into each other. Make sure your apron pieces are lined up and check for level as you work. You need the plywood tabletop to lay flush, so the apron pieces have to be even.

 

step-6Line the back legs up so that one end is flush with the front leg and the other side extends beyond the apron pieces by 12″. It’s important to get these pieces positioned right or else your table will wobble and your bookshelf won’t be straight. Measure, check for level, measure again. Then screw into the side apron pieces, and attach the last apron piece in between the two legs.

 

step-7Before you attach the tabletop, you have to attach the legs that will hold up the bookshelf. Lay the bookshelf piece on top and mark where the edge hits. Line the legs up with that edge on one side, the side of the tabletop on the other. Then screw up from the bottom of the tabletop into the legs. This part doesn’t have to be countersunk of course, so be sure and switch your drill bit before you drill right through your tabletop.

 

step-9Check the table legs for level. Here’s where you do any fixing that you need. Sand the aprons that aren’t lining up, sand the legs that you measured funny *ahem* (me), check your bookshelf for level and repeat the process. When you’re happy with how things are laying, attach the tabletop to the apron using the 3/4″ screws. Attach the bookshelf to it’s legs in the same way. Fill in the holes with woodfiller and let it dry.

 

step-8I used the woodfiller around the whole project. It helps make cheap lumber not look so cheap, covers up any sins from your cuts not being perfect, it just gives the whole piece an airbrushing. Sand it all down once it’s dry and blend the woodfiller in to the rest of the surface. Then paint the piece in whatever way you like best. I primed it (because raw wood requires it) and then used a few cans of spray paint to build up the color.

 

bookshelf-tableI love the industrial gray color that came out of my experimenting. It almost looks like one of those old file cabinets to me, which, for this project, in this bedroom, is perfect. Now my books are safe from Atti chomping, from cat barfing, and all I have to do is limit myself to the books that can fit inside this space. Which is already proving to be difficult. My next step is just to start sleeping in the library.

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Make a No Binding Blanket

no-binding-blanket
I am obsessed with snuggly blankets. They are piled on every surface in my home, spread across my lap during every binge watch of the Golden Girls, and fought over with Atti as he tries to claim them for his own. A fuzzy blanket is a prized commodity in my house, which is why I had to make one for my dream bedroom.

While I was at it I tried to solve a mystery that has been plaguing me my entire sewing experience. I knew there had to be a way to make the back of a blanket wrap around to be both the back and the binding. If you’ve never sewed a quilt or baby blanket before, there are basically two ways to finish it so that there are no raw edges to interfere with the snuggling. You can sew two pieces of fabric together and turn it right side out, with all the raw edges inside, or you can put a binding on it to coverup the raw edges after the quilt is finished. Both techniques have their pros and cons, but I find the binding to be too important to the life of the blanket to leave off. That’s the part that rubs up against your chin when you’re sick. It’s the outline to the drawing. But it’s also a lot of extra work. I wanted to create a technique that had the ease of the inside out option, with the benefits of a binding. So I did.

step-1

This technique will work on any sized blanket with any sized fabric. As always, my haphazard measurements are done after the fact. I was working with scraps of fabric I had on hand so I just went with the sizes they came in. If I was measuring for this I’d cut the soft minky fabric to be the size I wanted the finished blanket to be, plus the size I wanted the binding to be. Then the lining fabric I’d cut to be the finished blanket size minus the size of the binding. Just remember to account for seam allowances or your finished size will wide up being an inch smaller on all sides than you meant it to be. So let me do a math problem for you so you can see what I mean. Let’s say we want the finished blanket size to be 50″ x 50″ (which would be a horrible size for a blanket but an easy size for a math problem). And let’s say I want a 4″ binding on each side, and a 1/2″ seam allowance on each side too. That would be 50″ + 4″ + 4″ + 1/2″ +1/2″ = 59″  And then the lining would be 50 – 4 – 4 + 1/2 + 1/2 = 43.

Once you get your fabric cut to the size you want, fold each in half to find the middle point, then lay them right sides together by matching those middle points and pinning them in place. By matching the middles you make sure that all the extra binding fabric is evenly distributed on both sides. Sew the pieces together and repeat for all four sides, making sure to leave a few inches open in the middle of one side so you can turn it right side out.

step-2

It starts to look like a bit of a bunched up mess as you sew each side together, matched up in the middle each time. All that extra fabric that will eventually become the binding can start to look like a nest. Keep the faith, it will all work out.

step-3

You can see the natural miter that starts to take place in the corners. There is totally a point in this project where looking like a mess means you’re doing it right.

step-4

Lay the blanket out on the floor pulling the lining fabric taut and evenly distributing the binding on all four sides.

step-5

Now is when we turn our attention to those corners and make the miters. If you lay the corner out smoothly it will fall into place pretty obviously. Take the time to smooth everything out well to get it to lay right and you’ll see a triangle made up of the leftover fabric from each side.

step-6Use a row of pins to make the diagonal line from the corner of the binding to the corner of the lining fabric. Take it to your machine and sew a line right where those pins were and then cut off all that extra fabric to leave a 1/2″ seam allowance.

 

step-7

With the corners finished, turn the blanket right side out through the inches you left open where the lining meets the backing binding section. Lay it back out flat and then sew a line where the lining meets the backing binding. This will not only close up the part you left open, but provide enough quilting to keep the two pieces from shifting around and keep it as one solid piece.

Quilting and binding will always be my favorite technique, but sometimes the clock just won’t allow it. This technique results in a great looking, great to use, and easy to make blanket. I’ll be using it for every baby shower I go to from now on.

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Make a Mosaic Medicine Box

mosaic-medicine-box
The timing of this project is just too good to resist. I’m still cranking out tutorials for my big bedroom makeover, and after last weeks big announcement, I knew the next project just had to be this one. After sharing that I’ve been diagnosed with MS I got such overwhelming support and love that I had to hide a little bit. It was almost too much to take in. I feel so loved and encouraged and I’m once again endlessly grateful for this community of readers and friends I’ve got backing me up. You all are the very best and I can’t thank you enough.

Even before the MS diagnosis I had a world of pills by my bedside. My health has been a problem for a very long time which means that I’ve got sleeping pills and pain pills and mental health pills and so many more all crowding my bedside table. It took up a ton of space, it was an ugly eyesore, and I really don’t need the visual reminder of how much is wrong with me. I needed to solve this problem and make it beautiful, so I made myself this mosaic box. Now I can stuff all the medicine away until I need it and just keep myself surrounded by pretty.

step-1

I found this box at Target, but just about any box will do. This one was light wood with an inlaid blue plastic top, but it was on clearance and I knew I could do something with the rim around that top, so I snatched it up and spray painted the whole thing white. Because of the materials it was made of I started by spray painting on a primer, and then following that with a couple coats of glossy white.

step-2

Spread a tile adhesive across the top of the box and lay your tiles in position, spacing them evenly across the top. I bought my mosaic tiles at Home Depot so they came preinstalled on a mesh backing that automatically spaces them for you. Since I had to keep my tiles inside that rim and I didn’t want to have to cut any in half, I cut the tiles off the mesh backing so I could space them as close together as I needed to to make them fit evenly. I put a tile in each corner and then filled in the sides to get the spacing right, then just filled in the middle by following the spacing in the finished rows. Clean up any excess glue before it dries and let it set for at least a full 24 hours.

step-3

With the glue dry it’s time to add the grout. I used a non-sanded grout because that’s the kind that works best when the spaces between the tiles are very small. Add water to the grout until it’s the consistency of frosting. Spread it over all the tile with a float or putty knife, making sure that the grout gets worked all the way down between each tile. Let it dry for around 15 minutes or so, and then use a wet sponge to clean the majority of the extra grout off of each tile. Just focus on removing big globs, don’t try and get the tile too clean yet. Until it’s drier it will be impossible and you’ll just wash your grout away. Run your finger along the outside edge to create a nice smooth finish. After letting the grout dry for another 15 minutes, come back with a dry sponge or a piece of a foam pool noodle and buff the leftover grout haze off the tile. Let the whole thing cure for at least another 24 hours before disturbing it.

mosaic

I love how clean and crisp this box looks. Mosaics just look so elegant to me, and such a vast improvement from the row of bottles I had before. A row of bottles that would inevitably get knocked over by a cat or my sleepy hands and wide up scattered on the floor. Plus, I always feel better when my spaces are beautiful. Having a box like this for all my pills is like taking a shower and getting into fresh jammies when you’ve been sick for awhile. You start to feel a little more like your old self and that there’s a world beyond being sick. In that weird overthinking way I have, this box actually gives me hope.

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Blinged Out Rhinestone Pillows

Blinged Out Pillow
A couple of Christmases ago I got a text from Jared with a picture of a pillow. It was from a designer Orange County boutique super expensive and ridiculously overpriced and his sister fell head over heels in love with it. CAN U MAKE THIS? It said. :scoff: :pshaw: Can I make this. Please. Don’t make me laugh. Not only can I make this, anyone can make this.

Step 1
Cut your fabric to the size of the pillow you want to make. I think mine is 18 x 18, but literally any shape can be made without trouble. Then draw your pattern on it by tracing circular dishes. I like how it looks with large and small circles overlapping together.

Step 2
Use a heat tool to set your rhinestones in place. There’s no magic whatsoever. Just lay out your rhinestones along the circles you’ve drawn, space them out evenly, and use the heat tool to stick them down.

Step 3
To make the envelope closure for your pillow, cut two pieces of fabric the same length as your pillow front and half the width, plus two inches. Hem one side of each of those pieces, then lay them right sides on top of the right side of your pillow front. Line up the edges with the front piece so that the hemmed sides overlap, and sew all around all four sides. Turn them right side out and stuff your pillow form inside.

Step 4
These work best as decorative accents in places where they won’t get a lot of use. The rhinestone glue is far from perfect and the rhinestones can pop off over time or with a lot of wear and tear. Leave the netflix binges to the knit pillows and let these just add the bling.

Rhinestone Pillow
This is one of my favorite parts of being a craft educator. People act like it’s magic to know how to do things yourself, when really it’s just about knowing what tools exist and what they do. If you can curl your hair you can make some blinged out pillows. You just had to know that a heat tool exists. And now you do, so there’s no limit to the bling you can bring into your life.

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How to make a cable knit pillow

Cable Knit Pillow
I asked Lion Brand to send me some of their gorgeous Hometown USA yarn in Cape Cod Tweed for the next pillows for my elegantly masculine bed. I love a big man in a sweater, so I wanted to put that influence right up next to all my suits, and I knew the Hometown USA would be bulky enough to work up fast but not so bulky I’d have to make enormous pillows to have a pattern show up. I loved how this yarn looks in a cable. If you’ve never knit cables before it can be intimidating, but just pay close attention to the pattern, recognize you’re going to have to rip out some mistakes, and just go for it. A little pillow like this one is a great first cable project because it’s as close to instant reward as you can get.

Step 1
In the video I made below, I walk you through the knitting in laborious detail. Give that a view if you’re a newer knitter or have never had to knit from a graph before. If you’re cool working with a graph, than here you go:Cable Pillow Chart
The graph starts on a right side row. Blank rows mean you just knit in pattern. Knit the knits and purl the purls.

Cast on 57 stitches.
Repeat the pattern three times to make a row, ending with a purl 3

To do the crossover:
sl 4sts to needle and hold in back
k 2
bring needle front
return 2 p sts to needle and p them
k2 from cable

Knit in pattern until the piece is roughly square. Weave in ends.

Step 2
My knit pillow measured 16″ x 16″, so to make my envelope closure I cut two pieces of fabric 16″ tall and 10″ wide. Hem one end of each of the pieces of fabric.

Step 3
Lay the fabric pieces on to the knit piece, right sides together. Match the edges up so that the hemmed sides overlap across the middle and sew around all four sides.

Step 4
Stuff with a pillow form and give the whole thing a fluff.

Pillows
Knit pillows are a revelation. They’re so snuggly!! I think I might have to make versions of these for the living room, because these pillows are begging to be smooshed up and laid upon for a weekend long binge watch.

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Turn old suits into pillow shams

Pillow Shams

I’m going for elegant masculinity in this room, and there is little that is more elegantly masculine than a suit. I already made the bed pinstriped in honor of it and it looks like a million bucks, eh? But I didn’t want the bedding to be slick and matchy matchy. That seemed like it would venture too far into the clinical and be too sterile. So I wanted to add a bit of a hodgepodge to the pillows, but still working with the elegant masculinity suit theme. So I decided to use the suits in a homespun way by piecing them together to make the shams. First step: To the thrift store!

 

Step 1

I bought a bunch of sportscoats and suits and took them straight to the washing machine. Suits are the worst for hanging on to the thrift store funk, so you might want to give them a couple washes. I’d avoid any wool suits for this project because they’ll felt before you can get the funk out, and won’t hold up to any future washings. Tear these apart on the seams and cut them into 3″ x 3″ squares. I tried to include any cool details like pockets or buttons and even some exposed interfacing because I think it’s cool to see all the stuff that these suits are made of, and I wanted to preserve the suit look through the pillow.

 

Step 2

I didn’t want to come up with a pattern for how the different fabrics were used. Different suits yielded different numbers of usable squares, and I didn’t feel like doing a lot of math, so I just threw all the pieces into a bag and shuffled. Pick out two squares and sew them together. Do that over and over until they’re all used up.

 

Step 3

Throw the pairs back into a bag and pull them out to sew together in a chain 10 squares long. Make 6 of those chains of 10 squares.

 

Step 4

Iron the chains flat. Depending on the fabric content of your suits this can be tricky, but iron all the seams in one direction. The flatter you can get these the neater the finished product you look, which will be important if you used some super heavy weight fabric mixed in with a lightweight one. Take one of the chains and flip it in the opposite direction before pinning it to the long side of another of the chains. This should let all those seams nestle up next to each other instead of on top of each other and decrease some of the bulk you can get working with these fabrics.

 

Step 5

For the front of a king sized sham I used 10 squares across and 6 squares down. Give the whole thing a good ironing.

Step 6

For the back I used an envelope closure. So that means I made two pieces of 6 x 6 squares and hemmed one edge of both of them. Lay them out on top of the front piece right sized together and match the edges, letting the hemmed sides overlap. Sew around all four sides.

Step 7

Trim the corners before turning it right side out and you’ll get nice sharp points in your pillow.

 

Suit Shams

I love how all the details look once it’s all pieced together. The little bits of pockets and cuffs and buttons make it obvious these are suits and not just a bunch of fabric pieced together. Just be sure when you’re laying it out that the buttons wind up on the sides and not right in the places you’re likely to lay your head.

 

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Build a DIY Hanging Lamp

Drum Shade Lamp

This corner of my bedroom needed some help. It’s furthest away from the light, and it’s right where I read. Plus, every time I looked at the furniture in my room, I just knew something tall needed to be in that space. I’m sure there’s a design principle I should reference, but I wasn’t going off of one. I just knew this space seemed to beg for something to take up space near the ceiling and I knew a fabulous light would solve both those problems.

Supplies

To make this light fixture here’s what you’ll need:

2 16″ macrame hoops
a roll of floral mesh
3 rolls of rhinestone bling
thick wire
a lamp kit
lamp harp
fabric for lining

Step 1

Cut a piece of the floral mesh long enough to wrap all the way around the outside of a hoop with a few inches overlapping. Wrap the long end around the hoop and sew in place. I found using a zipper foot really helpful so I could get right up to the hoop easier. This project does take a bit of wrestling with the machine, between sewing materials that aren’t flexible and the mesh that is so open it can get caught on things easily, so maybe don’t do this with small children around so you can swear as necessary. Sew the other hoop around the other end the same way.

 

Step 2

Pin the center together, folding the edges to the inside as you do. Sew in place. Doing this in a different order might make more sense to you, so by all means, do it in the way that works. I went this route for two reasons. 1) My math skills are shaky and determining circumference is not second nature to me, so this method means I don’t have to do that and 2) It helped me to keep the top and bottom the same size so I made a drum shade and not a cone.

Step 3

I cut my rolls of rhinestones into a bunch of strips and arranged them onto the mesh. When I was happy with where I put them, I sewed them in place by sewing over the layer of rhinestones and mesh with my sewing machine, just going around each side of the rhinestone rectangle. After making a bunch of mistakes I hit upon this method and I’m so happy it worked out this way because I like it so much better. Mistakes for the win!

Step 4

I didn’t want the naked bulb to show through, so I decided to line my shade. I died this fabric with Rit Dye Pearl Gray so it would match a bunch of other stuff I was doing in the room, including the bedskirt. I folded the fabric in half and then cut it 26 1/2″ long and as wide as the drum shade with room enough to hem both edges. Sew the ends of the fabric together at 25″ to leave 1 1/2″ seam. Make a french seam by rolling that extra fabric in twice to encase the raw edges and then sewing it down.

Step 5

Attach the lining by sewing it to the drum shade just below the hoop. Sew on both ends.

Step 6

With your shade finished, it’s time to assemble the lamp. Run the wire through the lamp harp before attaching any other lamp parts.

Step 7

Follow the package instructions to finish installing the lamp kit.

Step 8

For the shade to be suspended, we have to give it something for the electrical works to hang on to. Run a piece of wire from one end of the shade to the other, wrapping it around the hoop and then twisting it over itself to make it extra secure. Keep the wire as tight as you can.

Step 9

I repeated this until there were four wires crossing over each other, and then fed the plug up through the center of that criss cross. The wires will hang on the lamp harp nice and sturdy.

Step 10

Hang in place and run the cord down to a convenient plug.

Lampshade

I think this looks so elegant and brings such a great bit of class to that spot of the room. Bedroom chandeliers were so in for a second there and those were never quite my thing. But a midcentury inspired drum shade with rhinestones reminiscent of a city skyline? Oh yeah, that’s got my name all over it.

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How to make a custom bedskirt

Bedskirt

If you put all the effort into a gorgeous bed like this one, you can’t just throw old dorm sheets on it. I have spent way too many years with my mattress on the ground and my comforter dragging on the floor, but now it’s time to do things right, which means I don’t want an old mattress with pet stains around the bottom poking out from my beautiful bed. The solution is to use a bedskirt, which is a layer that sits between the mattress and the box spring just to cover up the box spring. You could buy a bedskirt as part of a bedding set, but you all know I’m not going to be content with that.

Step 1

Because most of the bedskirt will be covered by the mattress, you don’t want to use a fancy fabric. You could use anything cheap, but I went with muslin because it’s pretty much the cheapest you can get, but I’d avoid a lining fabric or something slick so that it doesn’t move around on you too much. Depending on the size of your bed you might need to sew a couple pieces together to get the fabric the right size. Box spring manufacturers save money too, so the muslin should be the size to cover the cheap fabric the manufacturer uses because that’s the part that won’t ever be visible.

Step 2

The fabric you want to be visible will need to be the same length as your muslin piece, and about 17″ wide. 17″ is what will be long enough for hemming, seam allowance, the side of the box spring, and the couple of inches of the top of the bed it will have to cover. Sew your side fabric to the muslin piece.

Step 3

Hem the three sides that aren’t sewn to the muslin.

Step 4

The corners of your box spring will poke out if you only have the four sides covered, so you need a corner piece to bridge that gap. Mine measures 8″ wide and 17″ high, although if I was making it again I would make it a few inches wider, so I had plenty of room to overlap. Hem the three sides that won’t be sewn to the muslin.

Step 5

Find the center of your corner piece and pin that to the corner of the muslin. Pin the rest of the corner piece down so that it overlaps the side pieces. Snip the corner piece right in the middle, just to the seam allowance. This will give you more room to change directions easier around that corner. Sew it in place.

Step 6

That’s all the sewing there is, it’s pretty simple. Now you can lay it out on top of the box spring and place your mattress on top.

Step 7

Here’s a closeup view of that corner piece. It’s a little confusing to write out, but it’s really simple in practice. You just need to make this piece bridge the gap.

Step 8

I still have a lot of bedding work to do on this bed, but I am super happy to have the mattress completely covered up. Now I can go crazy with quilts and pillows and I won’t have my relaxing oasis marred by the eyesore of something as functional and unattractive as a box spring.

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How to make an upholstered wingback headboard

Wingback Headboard

So, I promised this a couple weeks ago already, but travel and doctors appointments and first days of school have foiled all my good intentions. But I’m getting my feet back underneath me, so let’s pick up where we left off in this bedroom makeover, shall we? I made a bedframe, and now we’re going to make the over the top fabulous headboard that goes with it. To recap, the theme for this bedroom was feminine masculinity. So in keeping with the upholstered bedframe, I knew I wanted an upholstered headboard that would look like a pinstriped blinged out suit, and evoked the big wingback armchairs of an old-fashioned library or smoking lounge. The only problem is that the one I wanted cost over 10 thousand dollars. So what was a girl to do? Make it myself of course.

This does require a bit of woodworking, but it’s my kind of woodworking where you can be a little sloppy with things and it won’t matter because it will all get covered up with fabric. Even if you’ve never cut a piece of wood, I think you can do this.

All the lumber I used were simple 2×4’s. You might also see them labled as “studs” in the lumber aisle. Since this is all getting covered up, save yourself some cash and use the cheap stuff. All the screws I used were 2 1/2″ wood screws.

Step 1

The headboard is made up of three pieces: the two wings and the center piece. Each are built pretty much the same way, just build a box with a cross piece to keep things square. The crosspieces go inside the long pieces, and everywhere two pieces meet gets secured by drilling pilot holes for two screws and then attaching the pieces with the wood screws. Build two boxes exactly the same to be the two wing pieces.

Step 2

Because the center piece is so much bigger, it needs some more support on the inside. Pay special attention to how the pieces are arranged because that would really mess up all your measurements. Build the box part first, with the top and bottom pieces inside the side pieces. Then add the center vertical post. Measure so that you’re installing it right in the center because that will matter in a couple of steps. Pilot holes and two screws in each spot where they join. Then you need the two cross pieces, but they need to be offset so you can attach them to the center post.

Step 3

Here’s the three pieces all framed out. Attaching them altogether won’t happen until they’re upholstered.

Step 3a

And a closeup on how those screws are used to keep the crosspieces in place. Drilling pilot holes with a drill bit the same size or just smaller than your screw will keep the wood from splitting and save your sanity from trying to screw in a screw that refuses to go where you want it to.

Step 4

Next each of these framed boxes you’ve made need to be covered with plywood. I could not find plywood big enough to cover my center piece in one piece, so I had two pieces of plywood cut just wide enough to meet in that center post and then screwed them into that.

Step 5

Wood screws all around the sides until the plywood is stuck for life.

Step 6

From this point on I brought it in the house to upholster. You don’t want to attach anything yet because that will make upholstering a million times harder, but you do want to know *where* you’ll be attaching things when it’s time for that. So it’s time for more pilot holes. Drill four holes along each side where the wings will attach to the center. Line the side of the wings up flush with the back of the center headboard piece, and drill a hole through at the top, two throughout the center, and one more at the bottom. Put more pilot holes along the bottom of the headboard where the bedframe will attach. One hole on the left, a couple straddling that center beam, and one more on the right. REMEMBER: Don’t use wood screws yet. You’re just leaving a mark to upholster around.

With the holes drilled, upholstering can begin. I neglected to take pictures of this part of the process. Sometimes I get on a role with the making and forget that some parts of this aren’t common knowledge. Each of the three pieces needs to be covered with a layer of batting. This adds a layer of softness to the whole thing while keeping the fabric from wearing out by rubbing against the unfinished wood. Lay the batting out and then place your wood piece on top of it, plywood side down, bringing the extra batting around to the back and then staple it in place.  Remember, the batting will not be visible so it can be ugly as ugly in there and as long as it’s not lumpy no one will ever be the wiser.

For the center piece, upholstering with the final fabric is done in the exact same way. Lay out your pinstripe fabric and place the center piece over it, flat side down. Being careful not to pull so hard you warp the fabric pattern, pull the extra fabric to the back of all four sides and staple it in place. For my king size bed and the fabric pattern I chose, I had to sew a couple pieces together to get it wide enough to cover the whole piece. For a bonus technique you could sew three pieces of fabric together so that the seam doesn’t run right down the middle of the headboard. Two seams are better than one if they are off to the sides and out of the way.

Step 7

To upholster the wings, it looks best if you do a little sewing. This tutorial might help if you’ve never had to do this kind of thing. You’re basically just sewing a bench cushion while leaving one end open. For each wing, you need to sew two side pieces to the gusset, which is the piece that runs down the middle. Sew each side to the gusset on the top, a long side, and the bottom, leaving the other long side open. When you’re done you’ll have a little cover ready to slide right on to the wing.

Step 8

If you press your fingers over the fabric, you’ll find the pilot holes you created. Cut out a square of fabric and batting to reveal the hole without any fabric in the way. Drills and fabric are mortal enemies, so you want to make sure you’ll be able to get the wood screw in place without any of the fabric snagging and ripping your beautiful creation. These holes will be sandwiched behind the other pieces and won’t be visible. Cut the same holes in the headboard where it will join the bedframe.

Step 9

Now that the upholstery is on all three pieces, you can attach them together. It takes a little bit of wrestling, but pull the outside wing upholstery back just enough to get the drill in and screw through all your pilot holes. When the piece is attached, you can then bring all the extra fabric around to the back and staple it in place. Remember, if you’re using a pattern like pinstripes you don’t want to pull so hard you pattern gets out of alignment, but you do want it nice and snug.

Step 10

Now it’s time to address the back. Theoretically, you can leave this alone, but my brain will never allow that to happen. On the sides without plywood I like to add a layer of muslin to add another layer the wood has to wear through before it makes a mark on my pretty fabric. So with a piece of muslin, and a piece of suiting material, both wide enough to cover the entire back piece, I take the top edge and staple it along the whole back of the headboard. But! You can do it in a way that hides all your staples if you lay your fabric out right. Lay the patterned piece over the front of the headboard, right side touching the right side of the front. Then lay your muslin over that and staple away. Flip the fabric towards the back and all your staples will be on the inside.

Step 11

For the other three sides you could get some fancy upholstery tools involved, or you could just neatly fold the edges in and neatly staple it in place. I went for the neat staples. This will be facing my wall, after all.

Step 12

I wanted to finish off my headboard with a row of nail head trim along the wings. The trim comes in a long roll that you bend in to place and then nail every 4th nailhead. It saved me a ton of time and looks great.

Step 13

With my headboard finished we brought the bedframe back in and attached it through the pilot holes we created.

Upholstered Headboard

I’m pretty much obsessed with it. It is such a grand statement and super comfortable, and I saved myself about $9500 off my dream bed. Now I need to outfit this bed with more pillows than a person needs.

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