Headboard happiness

My sister drove up from Austin this past weekend so she, my mom, and I could all create headboards. It was a nice weekend to do it because the weather was great and Mike left to visit his family in New Orleans so I could spend all my time on the project. Also, my dad loves helping and using all of his tools – and if he thinks we don’t have the right tool for the job, then he gets to take a shopping trip to Home Depot and come home with something shiny.

On Friday evening after work, we drove to Joann’s to get foam, batting, fabric, cover button kits and nail heads. An hour later, we walked out with just foam and batting and called it a day. It was foreshadowing for our next day, that’s for sure!

Saturday my sister and I motored over to my parents house and went to Home Depot with dad while my mom was finishing another project of her own. My parents had a couple of pieces of plywood, but my bed was a few inches wider than both and I didn’t want to take any chances. We nabbed a fresh piece of plywood and went on a half-hour hunt for nail heads. Apparently, nobody has ever finished upholstery before because the sales people, while very willing to help, couldn’t figure out what we needed. The third person finally understood what we were talking about but said their selection wasn’t really up to par – and they were right. I wanted a bronze look versus gold or silver, so we left with just the plywood – and a Snickers.

When we got back to my parents, all the ladies went out to get the rest of our materials. At this point my mom chickened out of making a headboard and just wanted to refinish the upholstery on a chest she had. First, we went to the best area of town (aka Harry Hines) to Best Fabrics. We all found our fabrics but struck out again on the nail heads. We tried a couple of other stores like Hobby Lobby and couldn’t find them (although we did get upholstery thread and a needle for Liz). We decided to try Lowe’s as a last resort, and if we couldn’t get nail heads I would have switched to tufting. Luckily Lowe’s had the nail heads so we were ready to roll!

My dad cut the plywood to the right size while we were out, so when we got back we set up the sawhorses and got to work. First we had to cut the foam to the right size.

Liz’s laid flush with the plywood but I cut mine two inches in so I could put the nail heads around it. Liz also measured out where her tufted buttons were going to be and drilled those holes.

Notice I am wearing green because I originally intended to spend the first part of the day with a few friends at the St Patrick’s Day parade and festivities on Greenville. Although I’m sad I missed it, it was probably for the best since it took us six hours to ride around the metroplex to get all the stuff.

After everything was cut correctly, we spray adhesive’d (is that a verb?) the foam to the plywood and laid down the batting.

At this point, we dragged everything inside and went for sushi. When we got back, we laid the fabric over the batting and got to work.

I put an initial round of staples to hold the fabric down.

Liz pulled her fabric tighter since she was tufting.

And then I got to work. I definitely should have practiced hammering the nail heads in before going after it, because they were wily and I wasn’t sure what spacing I wanted. After about 45 minutes, my headboard looked like this:

And I had about 20 nail heads that looked like this:

My dad stepped in to help. We tried all kind of tools (you can see them in the picture above) and finally settled on a real hammer, versus a mallet, and pliers to hold the nail heads steady while we were hammering. We still had a busted nail head every once in a while but we got into a rhythm.

I liked the non-perfect look since it shows that we did each nail head individually. I was a little bummed that I started right at the top, front and center, so all of my mistakes are right there. But, overall I’m happy with the way they look.

Meanwhile, my sister tufted her first button:

It was a two-person job. My mom would push the needle through the back, eyehole-first, and then Liz would thread the needle with the button and my mom would pull it back through. My sister would make sure the button was in the right position and pulled tight, and my mom would staple the thread down, adding a bit of batting to keep it strong.

I finished first so I hung out while they finished tufting.

By that time it was pretty late and we all had a few beers, so we went to bed ready to finish fresh the next morning.

We woke up, ate breakfast and got back to it. Liz and I took a quick trip to Joann’s (that’s our sixth store of the weekend if you’re keeping track) to get cheap black fabric to back the headboards. I stapled that on and was done! Excited, we lugged our headboards behind my parent’s bed to admire.

Liz’s looked great – very professional.

You can see the imperfections in the nail heads but I still really like it, and the foam and silky fabric make it really cozy. Overall, it was a fun weekend and it made us all feel great to actually accomplish something. My kitten felt a bit deprived since I was at my parent’s all weekend, but we made up for it with a Real Housewives marathon on the couch Sunday afternoon. Liz’s cats were happy since they moved into a new apartment and got a new (albeit slightly-too-small) cat bed.

I’ll give an update to our bedroom shortly with the headboard, mirrored nightstands and updated stained dresser.

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