Friday, March 16, 2012

Using the Nailhead Trim Kit

When we made our upholstered headboard, we used a nailhead trim kit. The beauty of this product is that instead of it being individual nails that you tack in one by one, it is trim on a spool like ribbon. You only have to use a tack in every fifth "nail", saving you lots of time and agony. And, it helps keep your lines straight.
I scoured all the local craft and hardware stores in town and eventually ordered it online from Beacon Fabric. I called them to discuss the different color options and they were very helpful. I was originally looking for Pewter, but they don't carry it any more due to quality control issues. So we went with Nickel. I think it was around $30 once shipping was included and I used about half the roll.

Here's how we did it.

Upholstered headboard
Nailhead Trim Kit

Straight pins
Nylon-tipped hammer or rubber mallet
Flathead screwdriver

Optional prep step: Find a scrap piece of board and practice tacking in a small strip. This will help you get the feel for the trim and make sure you like how it looks.

Step 1: Determine where on your project you want the nailheads to go. We measured in from the edges around two inches for our headboard.

Step 2: Unroll the trim, trimming pieces equal to the length of each side. You can see in the before and after pictures - it comes off the roll a little round. Use your kitchen counter or a board to flatten it out. This will help keep things flat and straight when you start tacking down.

Step 3: Use the ruler and straight pins to pin the trim where you want it to go. Place a tack hole at the point where you want to start. I suggest starting with any straight edges. We started in the upper right and upper left corners, doing the sides of the headboard first, before attempting the curve on top.

Step 4: Have one person hold the trim down, tight and flat. Place a tack in the hole and tap it in with a nylon or rubber-tipped hammer, trying to get the tack in as straight as possible. Make sure the hammer is clean! You want the tack to completely cover the trim. The nice thing about this trim is how easy it is to adjust a line if it is crooked. You just pop up the tack with a screwdriver or other flat metal object and then re-tack it in a new position. The tacks do bend easily, so you'll likely have a pile of oops tacks, but we still had plenty to get the job done.

Keep pulling the trim tight and flat while you work across the project. Don't forget to measure each time before you tack.
Use the pins to help keep things in line, but be sure to hold everything firmly in place when you hammer!

Step 5: When we got to the bottom, we wrapped the trim around the bottom of the headboard and tacked the final nail into the back. This helped give it a finished look, and covered up the tiny raw edge left over from the upholstering.

Step 6: To begin the top curve, we started with a fresh tack just to the side of the row we just did. It looks slightly different than the rest because there isn't a small metal connector there, but from far away you don't notice it at all.

Step 7: The curve is a little trickier. We slowly worked our way up and down, making sure to measure along the way. We originally hoped that we could end that line on a tack hole, so that we wouldn't have extra trim that was loose, but we couldn't make the spacing look right. So, we simply tacked down the end of the trim, then pounded in a few extra loose tacks to finish the line. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so this took a few tries. I can still see where things could move a millimeter or two to make the line straighter but you can drive yourself crazy if you keep adjusting it all day.

And here is how it looks with all the trim in place.

The perfectionist in me sees a couple crooked tacks, but overall not bad!

I am so happy with how this turned out and I love that my mom, dad and I did this together. This was a fun project and certainly something you could do!

The finished headboard!

Friday, March 9, 2012

DIY Upholstered Headboard

There hasn't been much blog posting around here lately, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been a lot of projects! Look for a few posts coming soon, including ones about a baby shower, some dining room updates and a couple other craft projects.

First up is a new upholstered headboard for the bonus room. We have this great big fourth bedroom above the garage that is the perfect space for guests. We've been in the house for about six years now and up until a couple weeks ago, this room (as well as most of the second floor) still had the builder paint on the walls and the guest bed was nothing more than a mattress and a frame. It always bothered me that our guests never had an inviting, cozy place to stay.

I came across a DIY upholstered headboard tutorial from one of my favorite blogs, Centsational Girl. I really liked the look of the nailhead trim and thought it would be a cute, inexpensive addition to the bonus room. And, my parents were coming in town and I thought this would be a fun project to do together. I LOVE how it turned out!

Here's how we did it:

1 piece of 1/2 inch plywood cut down to size
1 6-foot piece of 1x4 wood cut in half 
4 yards of 8 oz batting - enough for two layers
1 nailhead trim kit in Nickel finish from Beacon Fabrics
2 yards of upholstery fabric - I used Cameo Ovals by Dwell for Robert Allen (available at JoAnn's by special order in the upholstery section or online)
12 bolts and nuts and washers
1 yard of 72" wide felt

A jigsaw
A drill
A staple gun with both 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch staples
A rubber mallet or nylon-tipped hammer
A ruler
Spray adhesive
Hot glue gun

Step 1: Measure the bed frame width and determine how tall you want the frame to be. 

Step 2: Go to Home Depot or Lowe's and buy a piece of 1/2 inch plywood. If you use a softer wood and not an MDF it will make it easier to put the nailhead trim on. If you don't have a saw at home, ask them to cut it down to your size (in my case 62 inches by 36 inches for a queen). They will do this for free (Menard's won't cut it for you.)

Step 3: Draw your design out on the wood and use the jigsaw to carefully cut it out. Use some sandpaper to smooth out the edges.

Step 4: Cut the 1x4 boards in half. These will be the legs that connect the frame to the plywood. Hold the legs up against the bed frame and mark where the holes should be drilled. Drill the holes.

Attach these legs to the frame and then hold the plywood up against them to give you an idea of how tall you want the finished headboard to be. Mark the back of the board, and then use bolts to attach the board to the legs at this height. We used some furniture grade bolts for this step - they lay flatter than the cheaper bolts and hide better underneath the upholstering.

Some tutorials I've seen skip this step and have you attach the finished headboard to the wall instead of the frame. I wasn't too excited about attaching things to my newly painted walls, so we opted for the bed frame method. It gives you more flexibility when rearranging furniture and I think it looks less like a hotel room that way.

Step 5:  Spray a thin coat of spray adhesive on the front of the plywood. Be careful of overspray because it leaves a gummy residue on everything it touches. Place the batting on the front and wait for the adhesive to dry just enough to hold it in place while you flip it over, batting side down on the ground.  (Make sure the batting is big enough to cover the wood with a few inches extra on all sides.) Some people skip this spray adhesive step, but I think it helped hold the batting in place for the next step.

Step 6: Using the staple gun, pull the batting tight around the plywood and staple to the back side. Make sure you have strong staples. We used 1/4 inch for the batting step and 1/2 inch for the fabric step. The 1/2 inch staples were MUCH easier to use.

Step 7: Place your upholstery fabric face down on the floor and lay the batting-covered plywood face-down on the fabric. If your fabric has a pattern, make sure to line it up where you want it to be.  Pull the batting tight around the plywood and staple in place.

We started with the curvy parts at the top because we thought it would be easiest that way. We did some creative folding on the corners to make sure the fabric lines were clean and tight. Also, we had to trim the fabric to fit around the attached legs. We wrapped the sides around the board, then folded them under as best as we could to maintain a finished edge. Then, we cut the fabric up the legs just to the bottom of the plywood and then wrapped it up. There was a little bit of a raw edge left but fortunately it's at the bottom of the mattress where no one will see.

You could probably upholster around the legs too, but I wanted to conserve as much fabric as possible for other projects in the room. I'll probably stain or paint the legs at some point. 

Step 8:  Affix the nailhead trim using the rubber mallet. Look for a separate how-to post on this coming up soon. The nailhead trim kit makes it so easy - it looks intimidating but it isn't!

Step 9: Flip the headboard over so that it is face-side down. Spray the back with adhesive and attach a piece of felt to hide all the staples. Trim as needed and use a hot glue gun near the edges of the felt to ensure it is securely attached. Again, you could skip this step but I think it makes everything look much more polished.

Step 10: Bolt to headboard. Stand back and admire your handiwork!

I love how this project turned out. The total cost was about $125,  about $80 of which was the fabric and nailhead trim, so you could probably do it for much less depending on your fabric choices. The room now has paint and a new headboard and is well on its way to being an inviting space. Next up is new window treatments, wall art and replacing the TV stand with an actual bedside table.