Guest Post: Turning Headboards

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Rae and I found a sad, abandoned headboard outside our apartment next to a dumpster and decided it would be perfect for my headboard-less bed. Here is the story of it’s adoption into our DIY family:


In its original condition, the headboard was nothing special-noticeable nicks and flaws.  What drew our attention, however, was the simplicity of the design- a blank canvas for us to transform into a masterpiece (or at least try).  The minimalist structure made it an easy first project for me to test my DIY skills!


After deciding our general plan, we sanded only the outside edge of the headboard, knowing that we planned to partially spray-paint the piece and cover the rest in fabric.  The key to this step was borrowing Rae’s dad’s plug-in sander.  Sanding everything by hand would have taken FOREVER and really starts to hurt after a while. If you don’t have an electric sander, don’t assume you’ll finish in one sitting and stay hydrated because you are in for a work out.


The other nifty tool we used in this project is Sticky Paper which is kind of like the “Post-It” version of a paper towel.  It has a gentle adhesive that, when wiped across a newly-sanded surface, picks up all the dusty stuff left behind.  With all the sandpaper craft happening in Apartment B, it was a valuable investment but to be honest, you could also use a wet rag and you’d have the same outcome.


Spray painting came next.  If you need tips on how to spray paint, check out Rae’s Spray-Painting Tips– she totally explains everything you need to know.  She also did this entire step while I photographed so you should probably hear it from her.


Ok, so the next steps are what I think is the fun part: the fabric.  Going into it, I knew I was looking for orange and aqua to go with the overall theme of my room.  I also adore the new trend of mixing patterns right next to one another, especially with all the solids already happening in my room.  After agonizing over the rows of fabric at Jo-Ann’s, we finally decided on a classic pattern for the aqua and a modern polka dot for the orange to add to the contrasts already created by the colors and the patterns.

We cut the fabric using a measuring tape and a pair of scissors.  Ideally, I would have loved to have one of those roll-y blade things, but we don’t, so we did our best.  I also have trouble doing anything in a straight line so the drawing and cutting wasn’t the absolute best.  Luckily, there are simple and attractive ways to cover my tracks which you’ll see later!


After cutting the fabric, we move to the Modge Podge.  Again, if you are unfamiliar with this process, I direct you to Rae’s post featuring our love for Modge Podge.   It’s just the best.

DIY headboard modge podge ribbon2

The final touches were mainly to add a little flair and to cover a few noticeable cutting mistake (oops!).   The top edge of the fabric we added was not quite perfectly straight so we decided to add ribbon given that ribbon has the distinct advantage of reliably straight edges.  I bought aqua and black ribbon thinking that I would choose between the two but Karley (our third roommate) came up with the ingenious plan of layering the two- great success!

DIY headboard upholstry tacks

We also added brass studs, courtesy of the LeatherMan on Etsy, and a strip of solid aqua fabric at the top to cover all the crooked cutting I managed.  We first drew a straight line using the edge of a book.  Then we added the studs using a simple, small hammer. This was the most aggravating step and I end with more than a couple of bent studs that I removed with a pliers.  Overall, I think I hammered in about 50 or so studs to line the middle orange section.

and Voila! I had a brand new headboard that melded perfectly into the decor of my room- all all for under $40!
DIY Headboard Final Product

DIY Headboard Final Project-  Room Shot