After close to 10 months, I am here to FINALLY do my bed head tutorial.
To start with I sketched the shape of the bed head on some paper. Full disclosure, I was heavily inspired by a Hickory chair company Fifth Ave bed.
I decided to do a piped edge instead of nail head, like in the picture. I love nail head, but at the time, the interiors world was saturated with nail heads and I didn’t want the bed head to be too trend based and look sad shortly after. But I definitely LOVE nail head. I also have a chair in the room that has nail head trim.
I chose to make mine taller and not do the border. The border is waaaaayyy out of my amateur upholstery skills.
Then I handed over my drawing with measurements to my husband. My bed head is about 170cm tall and about 5 cm wider on each side of a queen mattress.
He then drew it out in his CAD software and sent it to the factory to be cut out.
The 3 beams were 45mm thick from bunnings. The plywood backing is 9mm thick and the fancy shape top are 9 mm thick ply stacked up on top of each other. All glued and screwed together.
This step is obviously not an option for everyone. So you can get out rulers, protractors and pair of compasses to draw the fancy curve shape. It is definitely not impossible and how things use to be done back in the olden days!
Then use a jigsaw to cut it out.
Luckily my brother works at a factory and he ran the project on a CNC machine. He also constructed it for me.
Then my husband also sent his file for the inner part of the bed head for the foam shape to a foam shop who accepts .dxf files and they cut it out so the fit was perfection.
Again, this is also not necessary. You can cut foam to shape like you cut plywood with a jigsaw. You just use an electric bread knife for the foam. This doesn’t even need to be exact. It is going to be inside the bed head, not visible and it is a squishy product.
Once you have the wooden frame constructed and the foam inside. The next thing to do is to cover the rest of it.
Lay it horizontally on a couple of work horses which can be picked up fairly cheaply at Bunnings.
I covered it with a foam mattress topper from Target. I got this for half price when a target was closing down.
The packet says “Foam underlay” and the price is $39 (I paid $19.50) for a queen bed size. But I can’t see it on their website. (They have similar stuff, but it is memory foam, mine is not memory foam) Moving on. You can use a thin foam all over. 2 or so centimetres thick.
You don’t have to use foam here though (as it is expensive!) You can use high loft batting here which can be purchased from spotlight. But use 2 layers.
I went with the thin foam. Lay it on top
The pointy side down. Then with a staple gun (I STRONGLY recommend investing in an electric staple gun, due to the amount of stapling you will be doing. Unless you’re fond of hand cramps or have amazing palm strength then you can use a $20 manual one)
Staple around the perimetre of the bed head minus the legs. Use your fingers to push the foam to find the edge of the timber.
Then trim the excess foam off with good scissors.
Next, lay your fabric over the top. Make sure it is ironed and free from wrinkles. I laid my fabric on its side. So the selvedge (self finish edge) of the fabric is at the top and bottom, not the sides of the head board. As the fabric width was not wide enough to accommodate my bed head. So if you are using patterned fabric, keep this in mind. If pattern is not directional, i.e works in any direction it is then that is fine, but if it needs to go a certain direction and is not wide enough the way it is, you will have to sew pieces together and you will have a seam or seams. So make sure you measure and line it up so that it is centred to the bed head.
You can see the selvedge edge at the top there and just resting on the bed head leg. Then begin to staple! I started at the bottom of the bed head. I just put a few staples in. Then I went to the top of the bed head and pulled the fabric smooth and firmly taut. Not overly taut though, just smooth the fabric up and over the edge and pulling slightly, put a staple in a few places to anchor it. Then move to the sides and place some there. Once you have the fabric stapled on all 4 sides, make sure it is smooth, free of ripples or loose fabric. If it is nice and tight, move in. if you’ve got issues, use needle nose pliers and pull some staples out and try again. Then go around the fill in the gaps with staples.
Obviously, this complies with all the known OH&S regulations.
You may need to cut the fabric to ease it around the pointy parts. Then trim the excess fabric off.
We next move on to covering the legs. For this part. Cut fabric that is big enough to cover the leg the whole way around.
For this part you will need cardboard backtacking strips. These are sold per metre strips. $0.45 per metre.
I bought them from here
Cut the strips to length. BUT DO NOT USE DRESS MAKING SHEARS HERE. Under no circumstances use your scissors for paper/cardboard.
Place your cut fabric so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing up. My picture is too cropped. But you place your piece of fabric on the body of your head board. So the edge of the fabric is lined up with the trimmed edge of the body fabric. Not sitting on the bed head leg. Then place your strip and put a few staples in it. You use the strips to get a nice straight edge. Then you pick up your cut piece of fabric and it folds over the backtack strip and conceals it and you can then drape it over the leg. Staple it in place on the of the leg. There is not foam or batting used on the legs, it is not necessary in my opinion.
Next we move to the sewing machine. (I was scared of this part, but trust me, YOU CAN DO IT!) You are going to make the piping/cording.
I bought my cording from Spotlight. You can get a vast range of thickness for your cording. I chose something quite thick. I wanted it to be prominent. I can’t remember the size number though. Sorry. This is cotton cording. If you are going to do piped edge on something that you will wash, I have been advised to stay away from the type of cording I chose. As it takes FOREVER to dry. In that case you can use soft hollow core plastic.
Measure the perimetre of your project for the amount of cording to buy.
Change the foot on your machine to the zipper foot.
Cut long strips of fabric that is wide enough to wrap around your cording and have over hang. This youtube video shows you how to do it.
I am certain that I didn’t cut my strips on the bias though. I just cut straight strips and it worked fine. In the youtube video it shows you how to sew the strips together so you have one big long continuance piece of fabric.
Wrap the strips of fabric around the cording and line the cut edges up. Make sure your cording is in there snugly and sew with your zipper foot as close to the cording as possible. You don’t want it loose in the channel. I had to move the needle on my machine over to get closer. Once you have it right, it is super easy. Just sew the entire length in one straight stitch. EASY!!!
Then you have piping!!!
Find the middle of the long strip of cording. Place that at the top middle of the headboard. Secure it. Then follow it along the edge of your bed head to the bottom of the leg to make sure you have made enough. Do this on both sides. You don’t want one leg to have a puddle of piping left over and then not enough of the other leg when you get to it. You can’t just cut it off and add it to the other side without a bad obvious join.
Then start to staple the piping in place. You want the piping to rest just on the front edge. You are stapling into the over hang of the fabric.
Continue all the way down.
Cut more strips of fabric. This is to cover the top and side edges of your head board. You may have to sew 2 or more together. I have 1 seam. Be smart about it. place the seam/s somewhere inconspicuous. You don’t want them to be too visible. So lining them up with other joins is best.
Next up. You will need your cardboard backtacking strips.
We are going to be covering up all the staples and raw edges of fabric from the piping to make a nice finish.
Lay your fabric the wrong side up, just like we did with the legs and place your cardboard strip butted up with the piping/cording.
Place staples into the cardboard.
Next up, cut strips of high loft batting. I purchased this at spotlight. Cut strips slightly bigger then the depth of your head board. You need this so you don’t feel/see the staples,the cardboard strips or excess fabric under the finished fabric edge. To give it a nice smooth finish.
Fold back the fabric you just attached. Place the strip of the batting there. Lift a layer of the batting and place the staples inside it. You don’t want to feel these staples or see the bumps when you attach it.
As you can see in the picture above, I am placing the staples in the middle of the batting. Just separating it with my fingers.
Go the whole way around.
Then fold your fabric back over and staple it on the very back of the head board. VOILA! A piped edge that is concealed and the top edge looks beautiful.
Trim excess hanging fabric.
Stand it up and be all like, f**k, I am a f**king GENIUS! Bask in the glory of being an amazing d.i.y QUEEN!!
Lay something over your work horses to protect the front of your bed head. Lay your bed head face down to close up the back of the leg fabric that you can see hanging in the above picture.
I used this metal back tack strip to close the leg fabric over so there are no visible staples.
And to close up the back up, I purchased shark trim to do it neatly, so that there is no visible staples.
I attempted to use it and became frustrated and then I came to my senses – “It is the back Laura, no one will ever see it. Just staple it!”
I purchased an off cut of fabric from the upholstery store that was enough to cover the back for like $4. It doesn’t matter what it looks like.
AND THEN IT IS FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then insist on nagging your husband the minute he walks in the door from work to help you bring it inside the house and place it behind your ensemble mattress. The weight of the mattress and base has been enough to keep it in place for us. I did not attach it to the wall at all. It is simply just leaning.
You can make bed heads minus the legs and then hang them on the wall, but I have no idea why you would do that. You can see it is missing legs and it looks kind of silly and then you have to go to the trouble of hanging it on the wall with brackets and hardware, I would just make your head board with legs.
Then snap a picture because you are proud as punch!
Materials and Cost:
Timber beams: Around $30 from bunnings.
Frame cutting: Freebie.
Foam: $50 for 50mm medium density foam.
Foam Cutting: $120 for cutting. That is pretty expensive and I did “umm & ahh” over doing this. I could have cut it myself and it would have cost $0 but I wanted to make a professional looking head board and that meant it was guaranteed to be the right and perfect shape and I didn’t have to mess around trying to cut it myself, so I personally thought it was worth spending money on. But It is definitely doable. Make a template and trace in on the foam with black texta. Then cut it out with an electric bread knife.
Thin foam: $19.50
Fabric: $200 (I think it was around $50 a metre and I used around 4 metres) Remember, you need upholstery fabric, you can’t/should go to just spotlight or lincraft and buy any ol’ thing.
Cording: ~$20 (I can’t remember, but something like this)
It was around $450 to make it. You can buy bed heads for this price. . . maybe, but it won’t be anywhere near as nice. The fabric will be sad, there won’t be piping and the foam will be thin and hard. My husband questioned me making this one when the price was mounting and slightly begged me to have someone else make it. I was shocked. I trusted my ability, especially after doing the diamond tufted banquette and the professional upholsterer who made the cushion cover for me praised it to no end. Once I completed it, My husband was really pleased with the result and did admit he had made a mistake in not having faith in me. To have someone make this bed head up for you in your own custom shape, you are probably looking at $1200 at least. I think I did well.
Time: This bed head took me around 2.5 days to upholster. I was the primary carer of my 1 year old whilst doing it too. I did it on my own. (besided the construction of the frame)I got my husband to help me put it on the work horses before he left for work. But when it came to flipping the bed head over onto its front. I did that on my own and I could have really used another set of hands, but I am too determined. And I have plastic work horses and a couple collapsed as I was exercising poor judgment and restraint, but I managed to get it on and get it done because it was so close to being finished.
If any Aus peeps want to give making a custom shaped bed head a go and need some assistance getting the bed head frame made, you can speak to me, even if your aren’t in Sydney.
LINK TO THE ORIGINAL REVEAL OF THE BED HEAD