I considered just painting the bed that we had, but I knew that wouldn't be enough of the change that I was looking for. Plus I knew I wanted no footboard, as I wanted to be able to have my bedding cascade over the foot of the bed.
After googling "how to make a tufted headboard" we found enough basic tutorials that we decided the project couldn't be too hard, so if we could find the supplies for cheap enough, we would give it a go.
As I mentioned earlier, we got fabric and foam at great prices, so we were able to keep the entire project around our $100 - goal.
We started by measuring the wall behind our bed to decide what we wanted our dimensions to be. We decided on about 63 x 30 inches. Then we bought a basic sheet of 1 inch plywood at Lowes, and had them cut it to size.
We decided ahead of time that we wanted our "tufts" to be two rows of five, and that we wanted the rows to be about 8 inches apart. We kind of just eyeballed the distance to whatever looked right, and decided 8 inches was good.
We drew two straight lines across the board to mark the button "rows", then marked five evenly spaced marks for where our buttons would go.
Brian got his drill and selected (I think) a 1/4" bit. He then drilled holes straight through the plywood, on all 10 of our "button marks".
If you see a can of Bud Light in the background, just ignore it. Or, perhaps cans of cheap beer will enhance your drilling experience.
If you look closely here, you can see our two lines (in green) with almost all 10 holes drilled. Oh wait, if you look closely you might also notice lottery scratch tickets.
For entertainment during our project, we decided to try our luck at some scratch lottery. We decided that any winnings would go toward beefing up our room budget.
We beefed it up a whopping three dollars! Woo!
Now that our wallets were flush and we were a little buzzed, we needed to trim the foam to the right size. We placed the foam on top of the plywood, lining up one corner and two sides. The foam was a bit long and narrow.
For the long end I used a serrated bread knife and just cut the extra right off. (An even better option would have been an electric turkey knife...but I don't think I've had once since around 1988.)
Brian then flipped the foam over, sprayed a coat of spray adhesive, then flipped the foam back over and pressed it firmly onto the board. (That stuff is toxic, so make sure to do it in a highly ventilated area, like we did.)
To fill in the sides where the foam was too narrow, we were going to measure and cut equal strips.
Spray, hold, cut...repeat.
It's okay that our cuts weren't perfectly smooth, as we would be covering everything with batting and fabric.
Next we brought everything inside to a clean, flat surface. We placed our batting on the floor, and then placed the plywood on top of it, foam side down. Making sure the batting was completely smooth underneath, we began pulling the ends up over the plywood and stapled it tight.
We did the same thing for our fabric, which was an upholstery-grade velvet (on clearance for $4/yard). We started on the long sides, working our way from the middle to the ends. We didn't want the fabric to start to pull at a weird angle, so Brian and I worked opposite each other, pulling the fabric tight, folding it under (to create a more finished edge), then stapling. We first stapled about 12 inches apart to secure everything evenly, then went back and added staples about every three inches.
I wish we had better pictures of how we actually folded our corners. I'm not gonna lie, it was a headache and we had to experiment a lot until we got something we liked.
For the buttons, we bought a kit for about $10 at JoAnn to make fabric-covered buttons. It was a great idea, but our fabric was just too thick and wouldn't work in the kit. Thankfully we have an upholstery shop near us and were able to take a piece of fabric and get the buttons professionally covered for $20. They turned out great, and it was worth it to know the buttons are well-made.
Next is where our pre-drilled holes come into play. We took a long (about 3 inches, but even longer would be better), upholstery needle, and double-threaded upholstery-grade thread, with plenty of extra length. From the back of the board we stuck the needle all the way through the plywood, foam, batting and fabric and out the other side, making sure to keep a long "tail" on the backside. We then threaded a button on the needle, then stuck the needle right back into the fabric in the same place it came out, through to the back again. After cutting the needle off, we had long tails hanging from the hole.
We did this for all 10 buttons, being careful to make sure they stayed in a nice, straight line (if the needle went in at an angle it was easy for the buttons to get uneven). Then, one at a time, we pulled each tail tight until we liked how much it indented on the front side, then secured the tail with staples.
The last step was to "mount" the headboard to our bed. Our original plan was to put it on 1x4 "legs", then screw the legs to our metal bed frame. For now, we just have the headboard on the legs, leaning against our wall. This works, although it does have a little movement and bangs slightly against our wall when we, ahem, move. So we are thinking about mounting the headboard directly to our wall.
We completely love how the headboard turned out. The project really was quite simple, and took us probably 2-3 hours to complete everything.