Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Tufted Leather Headboard

The final result.
For my tufted leather headboard project I started out with a piece of 3/4" thick birch plywood. I wanted the finished piece to be sturdy and flat, so I opted for this rather than the 1/2" plywood some people use for headboards. 

I divided the space up into 11" squares, so the panel was cut to a final size of 77" by 33". 
I cut my leather into twenty-one 11" squares (plus an added seam allowance all around each piece). 
 I carefully matched for grain and texture on the front side before sewing, and each piece is marked on the back so it will end up in the correct location and orientation. 
 I sewed the horizontal seams first, then joined the sections together. 
Because this leather is nice and thick, I didn't have to worry too much about stretching. It's such a pleasure to work with this stuff! (It's a white "Sensation" hide from Sav-Mor leather in LA, for those of you who may be interested.) 
The seams just aligned nicely without any difficulty. I love it when that happens. 
I cut 3" side strips for the edge of the headboard, and an additional 2" strip for securing the leather to the back side with staples. 
I sewed the side strips together first, then the side is clipped and sewn to the front panel. 

At this point, I'm ready to start building the headboard. I first glued the 3" foam together and to the plywood backing using spray adhesive. Although you can't see it very well in this picture, I had used a 7/8" punch to create a path for each of the button's twine to pass through the foam. 
I had my 12 perfect leather covered buttons ready to go (See my previous post here if you want to check out the process of making them). 
I pull the leather into place over the foam. 
I put both threads through a heavy-duty sewing needle... 
...and used that to set the button in place at the intersection of each seam. 
I left the thread long enough to have plenty to work with once I started tufting and tying them off. 
At this point I pulled the leather tight and stapled it in place along the back side. 
 For securing the button twine in the rear, I created a set of wooden pieces each drilled with 2 holes. I wanted to have a strong connection point that would lay flat. 
 One by one, I pulled each button tight and tied it in place. 
Overall I'm happy with the way the headboard turned out. I feel like I learn so much every time I tackle a new project, and this is no exception. I have a new found respect for people who do upholstery on a daily basis: let's just say my fingers were sore for days afterwards from pulling on that twine. I do hope to do more furniture, and have lots of ideas involving leather and foam...

Thanks for stopping by!