Tufting Lessons: What NOT to Do

Ok, FIRST OF ALL, I carried that one hundred ton headboard upstairs all by myself. That’s the big deal here. Points.

But before I even covered it, I measured (gasp!) and marked the spots for the — tufting buttons? — what are they called? And I drilled holes in the MDF before covering. Behold.

Transported upstairs! ALL BY MYSELF!

And it sat there behind the bed sadly untufted for weeks.

I had already made the buttons, which was really fun and slightly mind-blowing. I went to the craft store last month with no clue what to buy for tufting buttons.  After staring at all the actual buttons I found this kit to make fabric covered buttons.  Seriously, guys, I had no idea this technology existed.  I brought it home to give it a try and just LOOK how fun and easy it is.

I finally found a long enough needle to do the tufting. Kind of. Mostly. The longest actual needles I could find in the stores were four inches long. This is something called a Ball Point Bodkin. (A quick Google taught me that bodkins are used for pulling ribbons or elastic or whatever you want I guess through fabric corridors. Fascinating.) I still had to really push it through and then pull out the other side because I clearly made the whole thing too thick.

LESSON ONE: You do not need heavy MDF. Use plywood.

LESSON TWO:  You do not need 4″ padding. Use 2″. It will be fine. No. It will be BETTER.

For the actual tufting, I turned to the internet. The internet actually had lots of ideas about how to secure the thread to the back of the headboard, because the internet is smart.  My favorite plan suggested I tie a washer to a piece of heavy duty thread, send it through the back with my needle (bodkin), grab the button, push the thread back through, pull taut for the tufting effect, and tie the loose end to the washer to keep it tight. Love it! And I had washers so didn’t even need to go to the store.

When I finished with them all, there were buttons evenly spaced, but not really tufted. It was difficult to tie the string to the washer after threading the button while simultaneously keeping it pulled tight through that four inch upholstery foam. (Seriously. Don’t use that. Use something else.) Still pretty.  But I wanted that bounce, y’all.

I figured out that I could pull the washers a bit and then duct tape them to the MDF board to get a little more tufting action. Voila.

RECAP: This the opposite of the correct way to tuft a headboard. It doesn’t need to be so big. I bought this cool french hook clasp thing to hang it on the wall but it is so big that it just sits on the floor. It doesn’t need to be so heavy. Regular plywood is much lighter. It might be a little bendy at first but once you staple the batting around the foam, and then add fabric, I’m sure it will steady itself. Don’t use four inch think foam. This headboard is super padded, and that’s nice and all, but I think it could be just as padded with half the foam, and I would have been able to use a regular upholstery needle. Learn from my mistakes.

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Back From LA

Back on the East Coast, hoping Sheryl Crowe’s ‘All I Wanna Do’ will finally get OUT OF MY HEAD. We were actually in West Hollywood (or WeHo, which I refuse to say). And we kept crossing Santa Monica Blvd, so OBVIOUSLY that song would get stuck in my head for days. That part was less than awesome (sorry, Ms. Crowe).

Had a blast regardless of my brain’s attempted musical sabotage. We lucked into thecutest hotel, the Palihotel on Melrose. It had accordion lamps at the bedside, a cute desk with a fun metal chair and an Edison lightbulb lamp (that was impossible to capture on the iphone camera), and a patio full of succulents. It also had a fun blue velvet tufted couch that I apparently forgot to photograph, but it was like all of my favorite things in one room.
Aside from the LA toursity tapings we attended (Craig Ferguson and Wayne Brady’s Let’s Make a Deal), we got to know the neighborhood surrounding the hotel. My favorite surprise was a fun flea/antique/handmade market Sunday morning two blocks down Melrose.
There were so many things there that I loved, including this beauty that just wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin for the plane trip home.
But I did pick up a few things to bring home, including five gorgeous terrariums. Succulents, of course, because that is clearly how LA rolls.  We packed them all nice in bubble wrap, as they are glass and we were scared. Husband and I had different flights, but he was checking bags, so we decided he would bring them on board as his carry on to keep them safe.
The terrariums were pretty much glass spheres with openings on the side, hung from twine, with succulents planted in a bit of soil covered with pretty rocks and moss. The two smallest just had air plants sitting on top of colored sand with some colorful moss. Husband didn’t break a single one on the trip home, but he did turn the bag sideways to fit it under the seat in front of him. Remember I said they were spheres? Filled with dirt and sand and rocks? Know what happens to tiny things when you turn them sideways inside round things? Yep. I REALLY wish I had taken a picture of them when we bought them.
I am kind of surprised they weren’t worse:
I found them on etsy and realized that these are usually sent through the mail as build-your-own terrariums so I tried my best to put them back together again.

I hung them in the kitchen, and they make me very happy in the mornings. They look best when the sun streams through the window at about 8:15 – 8:25am. I never can work buttons that early so you’ll have to use your imagination.

And now I can’t find them again on etsy so I hope they’re ok….