I have been wildly addicted to nailhead furniture design for a long time. When I had to pcik out all teh furniture for the family cottage after a flood, almsot everytime I saw nailheads, I HAD to get that piece of furniture! Now I am starting to MAKE nailhead furniture! So here is my story on how to make a headboard…. with nailheads.
1 pkg of thick Quilt batting
2 yards of plain broadcloth
2 yards of final fabric (possibly more if you need to match a pattern)
13 packages of nailheads (if 25 nails per package)
staples and staple gun
long metal yardstick
1 1/4″ screws (screw hanger board to headboard)
2″ screws (screw hanger board to wall)
TIME TO COMPLETE: 6-7 hours, cost about $60
I first researched headboards online. Pinterest, Flickr, Google Images, Houzz all give you great ideas, but I didn’t love any one of them entirely. So I sketched out my favorite parts of all of them.
A queen headboard is 60″ wide (Twin is 39″ wide, Full/Double is 54″ wide and Kings are 76″ wide). I measured on the wall how tall it should be at the center, which was 40″. This allowed for quite a bit of the headboard to be below the mattress line too. I bought a piece of 3/8″ plywood from Lowes, and got them to cut it to the 60″ width.
At home, I drew out my pattern on my plywood. To draw the round parts, I used a pencil, nail and a string to make a large compass.
I then cut out the pattern with a jigsaw. I always use a fresh blade, and go slowly to prevent ripping and tearing of splinters on the edges.
For the upholstery, I used a scrap piece of carpet padding I had. I used spray glue to glue it to the plywood. Lay your padding over the board, then lift half of the padding, and spray, then lay down the padding. Then do that for the other side. This way you can easily keep the padding centered to the board.
I then trimed the padding 1.5″ on the inside of the plywood with an exacto knife. Since I want to use a nailhead trim, I don’t want to have the nails go through such a thick layer of padding.
There is a layer of carpet padding, a trimmed layer of thick quilt batting, and another layer of thick of quilt batting that will wrap around the edges. All of these layers have spray glue between them. Then I put a layer of plain broadcloth on top of that, and began to pull and staple the edges. The broadcloth is a wrapping base under my final fabric. You don’t have to do these two layers, but the two layers will help me get a very smooth front.
I cut strips of cereal box cardboard to help me staple and pull the fabric taught. I intended to fold it inside the fabric, but there wasn’t enough fabric around the edges to do that. I still used the cardboard though so the broadcloth would be less inclined to rip under the pressure of the staples.
HINT: make sure the staples you use are not too long (or too short) for your thickness of wood.
HINT: you must hammer in every staple as far flush with the headboard as you can. You don’t want to cut your hands on the staples sticking half way out.
Here is how I folded my edges to show as little bulk as possible on the corners. I wanted really sharp corners.
When you are wrapping an inner curve, you have to clip the fabric.
Since my headboard is 60″ wide, and the fabric is only 54″ wide, I needed to seam together some pieces. I did not want a seam down the centre, so I seamed two small pieces on either edge. Since this is a patterned fabric, I made extreme caution to match together the pattern in my seam.
I took my stapler, and stapled the final layer of fabric. Make sure you are pulling the fabric as taught as you can with every staple. Also ease the fabric around outer curves. Put a staple about every 2″ all the way around the headboard.
This is the first project I have ever done with nailheads. My only mistake was beginning a the top centre of the headboard. I should have started at a lower edge that wouldn’t show. Within 10 nails, I was doing them perfectly. You MUST use a rubber mallet to hammer them in as a regular hammer will marr and destroy your finish on the nailhead.
In the above photo you can lightly see the pencil line I traced with a ruler on the fabric for my target line. That helped tremendously. If the nails bend at all, or aren’t perfect, take it out and do it again. One badly placed nail will make your line look worse and worse as you go. Use needlenose pliers to hold the nail straight as you LIGHTLY tap each nail in. You do not need hard pressure at all. In fact hard hammering, will almost always bend the nailhead onto an angle and it won’t look right.
The nailheads took me a lot less time than I thought it would. Probably 3.5 hours but I still did have very sore knees and back. You can also get readymade nailhead trim where you only have to nail every 5th head in, but up close, you can tell it just doesn’t look nearly as good as the individual nailheads. Plus that type of trim cannot go around curves like I have here. I probably could have done mine a touch closer together.
To hang the headboard onto the wall, I cut a 1×6 board in half lengthwise with a 45 degree bevel. One half of the board gets attached to the headboard, and the other half gets mounted to the wall. This allows the board to hang onto the wall. I also cut a few square pieces of board to prevent the headboard from bending up or down if someone was to lean on it, or the mattress jammed up against it.
Here is the board mounted to the wall. Also, note the crackle wall finish I did about 12 years ago!
Here is the final product. This headboard was for my old bedroom in my parents home. It needs some further updating too.
Now I just have to sew some accent pillows with my leftover fabric, pick something else for above the headboard, but lets stick to one job at a time! I am just happy that stupid brass headboard that creaked soooo loudly everytime I turned over in bed is GONE!!!! WooHoo!