We were recently asked by a client to create a tufted headboard.

Finished and installed headboard by Kims Upholstery

We were given a picture as a starting point and some details on what the client wanted. After deciding on the rough dimensions and how the board was to be mounted, Bill began drawing the outline and then constructing the board.

Headboard frame construction.

The first step was to create a full size template on paper and transfer it to the plywood. The plywood was then cut with a jig saw and roughly sanded. Next we glued and screwed 3/4″ x 4″ pine boards to all the edges and cut off the excess, following the plywood for shape. A pine board was also attached just above the center line for added strength and mounting the metal headboard cleat.

We transferred the button pattern, that Kim made, to the face of the plywood and drilled 3/16″ holes at each button mark. Now from the back we could see the placement of each button.
Next we glued 2″ foam to the face of the frame and covered it with dacron to give it a nice smooth look.
Fabric and first button attached.

If you look to the back right in the picture above you can see the paper tufting template we made.
Work in progress.

Tieing the buttons.
We began adding the buttons and pulling the strings through the dacron, foam and plywood. Strings were tied off using puffs of cotton. Once all the buttons are in place and the fabric is somewhat in place it’s time to fold in the pleats and tighten the buttons to a uniform depth. Standing on the back side of the board where you need to work, you can’t see the front to judge the depth of the buttons.

Video makes it easy to see front.
Our solution to that is to set up a video camera with the screen facing the headboard so we can see what is happening as we pull the buttons in to final depth. Some times we wire the camera directly to a television for a larger look.

Judging button movement using video in real-time.
Back on the table for last-minute adjustments, dust cover and mounting cleat.
Tufting the headboard.