Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wood & Cloth-Beginnings-Study Remodel

Successful projects are dangerous.  They tend to lead to other projects.  The husband recently finished up a furniture project for a desk console to go in the study.   I love the way it turned out (pictures to come soon).  I now however hate the carpet in the study. 
We had talked about wanting to “someday” rip out the carpet and lay down some bamboo hardwood flooring.  Someday is now...No later than February 4th
Why February 4th?  Because on February 5th we are hosting our annual Superbowl Party.  The husband is quick to point out that new flooring should not be a requirement for a football party and he is also quick to point out that the wife often goes off of the deep end with self-imposed deadlines prior to company coming over.   Not only does it cause me to go a bit manic but it also sets us up for something inevitably going wrong at the last minute leading to an all night DIY mess.

Let the fun begin.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cloth-Quick Project-Felt Valentine Wall Hearts

During all of the headboard shenanigans I got a bee in my bonnet about Valentine’s Day decor in the master bedroom.  After surfing Pinterest for some inspiration I came across a super cute felted heart wreath from The Idea Room.

I then spent the next 2 weeks running around like a crazy person to every craft/hobby store in town trying to find Styrofoam hearts.  Clearly people are stocking up on Styrofoam hearts before the end of the world because NO one had them.  Not willing to give up I decided to make my own.  I ended up purchasing a big flat sheet of Styrofoam and cutting out 3 heart shapes.  My initial plan was to cut out the middle of each heart so they would be “hollow” in the middle similar to the original inspiration but I thought a bigger fuller heart might be fun and it looked so quick and easy…

This is a good time to introduce a new feature on the blog: Project Rankings.

You often see projects given a difficulty ranking.  It is a nice way to figure out if you are going to be in over your head.  However the difficulty ranking alone does not tell the whole story.  So as an exclusive feature of the Wood & Cloth blog you will also get a “frustration” and a “make-ability” ranking.

Difficulty Ranking

Easy = Minimal tools needed, only requires one person,hard to mess-up, so simple you could do it while watching cheesy Lifetime movies (or sporting events if that is more your style)

Moderate =  Power tools or sewing machine may be needed,may require more than one person, a few tricky parts here and there, you will need to pay attention to certain parts of the project so that you avoid either bodily harm or a massive redo/goober

Difficult = Potential for having to buy specialty tools/items, you are most likely going to need help, almost every step needs to have calculations/measurements checked or has the potential to leave you with fewer appendages/fingers than when you started

Frustration Ranking

Low = Project goes together as expected, takes as much or less time than you anticipated

Medium = You threaten to quit the project at least once but fewer than 3 times, seems or nails need to be ripped out multiple times, takes double the amount of time it should

High (aka: Flames of Fury, I Swear to Everything Holy, Kill Me Now) = you threaten to quit the project more than 3 times, takes 10 times longer than you expected, crying is involved

Make-ability Ranking

100% Worth It = Projects are typically easy or moderate with low or medium frustration rankings.  The project turns out great with minimal effort and relatively painless.
Once Is Enough = Easy, Moderate, or Difficult projects with either a Low or Medium frustration ranking.  Project may look great but had a few frustrations or difficult steps along the way, or the project may not have turned out as amazing as desired.

Should Have Just Bought It = (aka: When Hell Freezes Over, Only If Someone is Paying Me to Make It) These projects are typically difficult and almost always have a High frustration ranking.  The project may have turned out perfect but the time and effort to get there was not worth the loss of your sanity or the amount of time wasted from your life.  This category is also used for projects that when finished do not bear even the slightest resemblance to the inspiration piece. 

Felted Valentine Wall Hearts

Project Ranking
Difficulty = Low
Frustration = High for 3 Hearts, Medium for 1-2
Make-ability = Once Is Enough

½ inch thick Styrofoam sheet
Felt (~1 yard for a single 12 inch solid heart)
Upholstery Staples (optional)
Wire (optional)

Step 1:  Draw out the size and shape of heart you want to make on a piece of paper and trace it onto the Styrofoam.

Step 2: Cut out the Styrofoam heart shape. 

Step 3: Using a circle shape as a guide, I used the bottom of a red plastic cup (~2-3 inches) trace and cut a bunch of felt circles.

NOTE:  Step 3 and Step 4 are the reason the Frustration Ranking is so high on this project.  When I stated a bunch of felt circles I meant hundreds.  While I didn’t actually count the circles I know how many pins I had when I began.  For my 3 ~12 inch solid hearts I ended up cutting about 900 pieces of felt.  I probably could have gotten away with bigger felt circles which may have helped but I liked the way the tighter smaller circles looked.  If you are only doing one heart, a smaller heart, or are cutting out the middle of the heart to make it “hollow” this project may actually be enjoyable.  Having small children that can use scissors would also be a plus.

Step 4: Fold each felt circle in half and then in half again so it looks like a fortune cookie.  Place a pin through all 4 layers of felt at the corner you made and stick it to the Styrofoam.  Continue this process placing the felt pieces fairly close together so that you don’t have holes or gaps where you can see the Styrofoam.

NOTE:  I played around a bit with the placement and positioning of the felt tufts.  You want some texture and differences so make sure you don’t pin them all going the same direction and alternate between keeping the folds tight and loosening them up a bit.

Step 5:  There are numerous ways you could make your hearts wall hanging ready.  I simply took 2 upholstery staples, measured equal distance down from each lobe on the heart and pushed the staples into the back of the heart.  I them wrapped a thin piece of wire between the staples and hung them.

Even though I still see felt circles in my sleep the project came out looking even better than I thought it would.  If you have only one heart to make I highly recommend this project as an easy and semi-quick way to put a little love in your home. 

If you want to make three or more…you have been warned.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wood & Cloth - Completion - Wood Headboard with Tufted Panel

After having to do all of the button setting and tufting twice (once with the stupidly weak upholstery thread and once with the amazing polycord) I was extremely ready to be done with the headboard project.  If you remember this headboard wasn’t even something we were keeping for ourselves!

Step 1: Checking the Fit
You will want to see how your tufted panel fits into the space you left in your wood frame.  Hopefully you left yourself enough space and it fits in flush to the sides of your opening!

If your panel is smaller than your gap (like ours was with the 1 inch clearance on all sides) and there is space between the inner edge of your frame and your tufted panel you have some options.  The gap may not bother you and you may decide to leave it.  The gap bothered us a bit as we had envisioned the wood frame butting right up against the tufted panel and didn’t like the way it looked to have the frame-gap-panel.  We ended up cutting an additional piece of wood and attaching it to the frame to fill the gap. 
If your panel is bigger than your gap…that stinks!  Unfortunately we don’t have a fix for that.  If it is off by a smidge you may be able to pull your fabric/batting/foam a bit tighter and nudge it in.

Step 2: Attaching the Panel
Position your tufted panel fabric/front side down on the floor and lay your wood frame down on top of it.   You will need to choose screws that are long enough to go through the plywood of your wood frame as well as part of the plywood of your tufted panel. 

NOTE: Make sure that you do not get screws that are too long and go through both layers of plywood and into your foam on your tufted panel.  That would probably mess-up your tufts!
Take note where your buttons are and place 6-8 screws across the back in between buttons.
That’s it you now have a Wood Headboard with Tufted Panel.

Packing Up

Unfortunately for us we did not get to bask in the glow of the project for long.  The brother was waiting for the headboard so the husband immediately began to pack it up for a trip across town.  As much as I didn’t love the design of the headboard in the first place, the look grew on me and I was hesitant to give it away, after all I did risk needles to the heart and sacrificed my thumb in its creation.

We picked one of the worst days possible to transport a fabric headboard across town.  After a relatively mild few months of winter a wet/snowy weather pattern decided to settle in.  The husband assured me that the plastic-wrap/tarps/blankets/etc. would keep the headboard dry…

I was unable to go on the delivery run so I sent my camera with the husband and instructions on how to take one final super picture that would display how amazing the bed frame looked with the bed all made up.   A picture that would make everyone want to drop what they were doing and make their own headboard...this is what I got.

Crumpled pillows, weird lighting and shadows…

Never send a man to take a picture of a “staged” bed. 

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wood & Cloth-Update-Tufted Panel

As promised the saga of the tufted panel….  While this wasn’t a complete nightmare, I still don't have the feeling back in my thumb.  Hopefully we can save someone unnecessary frustration, time, and their thumbs with a few tips we learned along the way.  Bottom line is that the end product came out great so if you are thinking about doing a tufted panel headboard go for it.

I was not sure how to start the tufted panel so I Googled “Tufted Headboard Tutorials.”  There were a few of them out there and none of them really seemed to follow the same instructions so we combo'd some of them and ventured out on our own in some places.

Fabric of choice
½ inch plywood
Tapestry/Upholstery Needles (2 sizes – one small and one long)
Polycord (must be thin enough to pass through the eye of your needle, we found ours in the upholstery section of Joann Fabric, they sell it in packs or you can buy it by the yard)
*NOTE:  I cannot recommend polycord enough.  We initially used upholstery thread as suggested in the tutorial link.  You will have to read through the rest of the post to find out why upholstery thread is the devil.
Button covers (we used these Button Covers )
Foam (at least 2 inches thick)
Spray Adhesive
Nail/Staple Gun

Step 1: Cut Your Plywood
First we cut the plywood panel to size out of ½ inch thick plywood.  We didn’t want to go any thicker as not only would it cost more but it would also make the overall headboard heavier.
*NOTE:  Technically this note should go into the wood frame portion of the headboard but I forgot!  You will want to give yourself a bit of extra room in your wood frame portion to account for some bulk once you pull your batting and fabric around the edges of your tufted foam panel.  How much you need to leave will depend a bit on the thickness of your batting as well as your fabric.  We planned for 1 inch around all sides….that ended up being too much….. our advice is to plan about ¼ inch to ½ inch on all sides.

Step 2:  Hole Drilling
Next you will need to decide on the pattern you want for your tufts.  We did a diamond pattern verses just a square pattern.  Your spacing is up to you but remember closer you space your buttons the more buttons you will need.  Below is what we ended up doing for spacing.

First row (long row) = 4 inches down from the top of the plywood panel and 4 inches in from the side of the plywood panel.  Buttons were placed every 12 inches.

Second row (short row) = 12 inches down from the first row.  The first button was placed 10 inches from the side of the plywood panel (the original 4 inches from the side plus half of the distance between the first 2 buttons on the first row…4+6=10)

Repeat pattern.  We had 3 long rows and 2 short rows.

NOTE:  We just x’d the spots for where the buttons were going directly on the plywood.  You absolutely want to double check your spacing to make sure everything lines up vertically, horizontally, and diagonally before you drill the holes.  The husband had made a slight error on the first pass and we would have ended up with miss-spaced holes if the wife hadn’t requested a sanity check….just saying!

NOTE:  For the holes you will want to drill a big enough hole to pass through 2 upholstery needles at a time. 

Step 3:  Buttons, Buttons, Buttons
With no possibility of power tool usable the husband quickly found other things to do while I struggled with covering the buttons with fabric. I think the size of the button worked out well but you do have options to go bigger or smaller depending on the type of look you want for your headboard.  Our pattern ended up needing 38 buttons total. 
At this point you can also cut your polycord and thread your buttons.  We cut 18 inch pieces for each button, threaded it through, folded it in half, and tied it with 2 knots.

NOTE:  Covering the buttons was not my favorite part of this project, it was also not my least favorite part.  It is a bit tricky to get all of your fabric edges crammed into the button without them popping back out before you can get the stupid backing cover in place.  The first few are tricky no doubt about it.  Stick with it, by the end I was a button covering fool (emphasis on the fool).  This step could be a real bugger if you have thick or stiff fabric….just something to keep in mind as you are making your selections.

Step 4: Foam
With the buttons covered (no thanks to Wood) we were ready to cut and stick the foam to the drilled out plywood panel.

We used 2 inch foam.  I would not recommend going smaller as you may not get the dramatic indents on the tufts if you go skinnier on the foam.  You could go thicker, but as foam seems to be priced like liquid gold these days and we didn’t want to take out a second mortgage just to buy 3 inch foam, we stuck to the 2 inch variety.

Cut your foam to cover your plywood panel and using spray adhesive tack down your foam to the wood.  Don’t worry if you have to piece together the foam between the spray and the battling (next step) it will stay in place and you won’t even know you have multiple pieces stuck together.

NOTE:  I did find that spraying the adhesive to the edges of the smaller foam pieces as well as the board helped them all stick together nicely.

Step 5: Batting
Get out your nail gun! Now you are ready to lay your batting over the foam, pulling it tight around the edges of the plywood and stapling it to the back.  Try to fold the edges over the corners so they lay somewhat flat.  You don’t want a big goober of batting poking out on all of your corners.

Step 6: Fabric preparation 
The fabric we selected was a microfiber with a bit of a crinkle texture.  I wanted something that would wear well, had a nice feel to it, and wasn’t too thick or stiff.  I wasn’t completely sold on the crinkle texture as I was a bit concerned it would just look “messy” but it was the fabric selected by the brother and it was his headboard. 

Iron out any creases in your fabric before you lay it over the batting.  Make sure you have extra fabric along all of the edges as you will need to be able to pull it around the sides.

Step 7: Positioning the buttons 
We ended up positioning our headboard against our coffee table so that we could work on both sides of the panel.  If possible recruit a helper for the tufting process as it really did make it easier with 2 people.

Be warned this part is a hot mess.  It takes a long time and a lot of muscling through.

**Starting with one of your long rows in the middle of your panel poke your long upholstery needle through from the back of the panel (side without the fabric) through to the front of the panel until you see the needle poke out through the fabric on the other side.  It is helpful to have a second person on the front side making sure the fabric is somewhat taut and lying flat in addition to guiding the needle out.

**Thread the button through the smaller needle.  Both polycord threads should be threaded through the needle. 

From the front of the panel using the large needle that is poking out through the fabric as a guide, poke the smaller needle through to the back of the panel.  The person at the back of the panel can watch for the tip of the needle coming out the hole in the back.  As soon as you can see the needle coming out the backside pull out the longer needle as it is no longer needed as a guide for the hole and it is easier to get the small needle with the polycord through to the back if the placement needle is no longer in the hole.  Because the polycord is rather thick the person on the backside of the panel will most likely need to grip the smaller needle using a pliers and pull through.

NOTE:  Be careful here not to stab yourself as you are pulling the needle with the polycord through to the back.  I had multiple times when I was seriously concerned I was going to impale myself in the heart.  Thankfully that did not happen, but all the same be careful.  At this point you may be asking yourself why not use a thinner thread so that it is easier to pull through…why indeed?  Because it breaks!  We may or may not (MAY) have done the entire panel twice.  Once using the tutorial recommended upholstery thread and once using the polycord.  The thread was a complete nightmare.  We not only had things break while we were setting the tufts but we woke up to find that 4 buttons had busted during the night sending the small projectiles across the room.  After much swearing, and maybe a little crying on my part, we decided to not only redo the ones that had broken but the entire panel.  We were concerned that as soon as someone leaned against the headboard additional buttons would let fly and potentially someone could lose an eye.  (If you hadn’t noticed by now I have pretty good fear of bodily harm…impaling myself in the heart, having a button shoot my eye out…etc.)  Even though the polycord is a bit of a pain to get pulled through we didn’t have any breaks and I never once feared for my eyes.

**Continue placing the buttons for your long rows (just get the polycord pulled through, don’t nail or pull to tuft) until you get them all ready to pull and tuft.  Don’t work on the short rows yet.  Do those after you have your long rows completed so that you can really set the pleats on the tufts.

Step 8: Tufting

Once all of your long row buttons have been pulled through you are ready to set the button and staple it in place.  The husband and I found the best way to do this is again to have one person on the front of the panel pushing the button hard against the board while the other is behind the panel pulling the polycord tight and placing the staples. 

The stapler will make at least 4 zigzags with the polycord and staples to make sure that the cord doesn’t just slip out.  If I had to do this over I would volunteer for the stapling job verses the pusher as this is the step that has the potential to make your thumb go numb.  In order to really get a deep tuft you need to apply a pretty good amount of force to the button.  Don’t let up on pushing the button after the first staple is placed as it will most likely still slip until at least 2 of the staples are inserted. 

After you have your long rows set you are ready to pull through the buttons for the short rows and then the fun of tufting begins! 

You will set your short row buttons in the same manner, however you will want to pay attention to how the fabric gathers as you push in the button.  Work the fabric with your fingers in order to get it to bunch-up how you want it.  Once you get it tufted how you want you will set the staples in the same manner as before.


Step 9: Attach the fabric to the back
After all of the pulling, pushing, stapling and tufting you are now ready to flip your panel over and pull the extra fabric around to the back.  Just like with the battling you will want to pay special attention to the corners.  Try to make it pretty and reduce the bulk at the corners so that your panel will lay flat inside your wood frame.  You don’t have to worry too much about bulk as the screws you will be using to attach the panel to the wood frame will help pull the 2 pieces together nicely.

Place your staples and cut the excess fabric.

You now have a tufted panel!
Next up....securing the tufted panel to the wood frame....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wood & Cloth –Update– Wood Headboard

This past weekend was a 3 day weekend for Wood & Cloth.  That meant we went full crazy on the headboard project.
The wood portion of the headboard went together with relatively few issues.  The same cannot be said for the tufted panel (more on that tomorrow.)

First the plywood for the back was cut to size and additional plywood pieces were placed along the edges to create the basic frame for the tufted panel.  This step is to give the frame a bit more chunk/depth but keep the costs low by using cheaper wood. 

Next step was to miter and cut out popular pieces (prettier than the plywood) to create the outside “visible to the eye” part of the frame.   As the husband has figured out it is always a good idea to spend a little time on the miters so they line up nicely but you can always do a bit of “fill” work with wood filler if they are not perfect. 
TIP:  If you plan on staining your frame it has been our experience that wood filler (even the stainable kind) never looks quite right.  If you are painting no problem…paint hides a multitude of sins!

Next the molding was mitered and attached to create the front part of the frame.  The picture is not the best to show the detail on the molding (as the wood shop/garage door had to be closed due to the hurricane strength wind gusts we were having) but we selected a bulbous design....again we were trying to get a “beefy” frame to really contrast with the tufted panel.

To make the legs for the headboard poplar was used on the outside edge (for look) and a 2x2 was notched into the inner side for additional support.  Because this headboard will be attached to the wall for stability we didn't need the legs to be able to support the headboard as a free-standing item.  If you are not planning on attaching your headboard to the wall you will most likely need to build chunkier legs with a bigger footprint or plan on attaching rails for stability. 

One final piece of poplar was attached to the front of the legs to hid the 2x2.  This addition also brings the leg flush up to the molding on the frame piece.

On to painting!

We used our favorite black (Black (Forever) from Behr) to paint all of the parts of the headboard that would not be covered by the tufted panel in our "paint room."  This is the only room in the house that the pugs and sawdust are not allowed.  Nothing messes up your painting like dog hair!

At this point in the project we were feeling pretty good about how things were coming together.  

Then we started on the tufted panel.... 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wood & Cloth – Beginning – Wood Headboard with Tufted Panel

The husband’s brother made a birthday gift request this year that was just too fun/challenging to turn down.  He wanted us to make a custom headboard for the new king size bed he had just purchased.  This is the first project that we are undertaking that will be for someone else based off of their idea inspiration.  We have made things for others in the past but we are the ones that select the pattern.  While this would not be my first choice for a headboard design for our home it matches his style perfectly.  The inspiration photo is shown below.  Thankfully there are a bunch of tufted headboard tutorials on the web (thanks Pinterest) so we hopefully won't have to figure that out from scratch.

The first steps are to figure out the dimensions needed (the husband), do some recon on fabric options (the wife) and come up with a pattern design and cut list. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cloth - Quick Project - Fabric Valentine Heart Basket Filler

The house always looks so bare when the Christmas decorations are finally put away.  Thankfully Valentine's Day is right around the corner.  I don't really go crazy with decorating for Valentine's Day but I do like to put a few things here and there.

Most people have at least one "basket" around the house that they fill with either decorative balls or potpourri.  This is a simple project to upgrade your basket with some red and pink cheer.


*Assorted Valentine fabrics (Remember you will need to cut a front and back piece.)
*Heart patterns in various sizes (I did a big one and a small one)
*Sewing machine (optional).  I stiched mine using my sewing machine and a zig-zag stich for a little bit of a primitive feel but you could easily just stitch them up by hand.

No real instructions here just remember to leave yourself a hole so you can stuff the polyfill in!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Welcome to the new blog!

We have decided to enter the supersaturated niche of DIY bloggers. The husband and I have spent the past 2 years filling our new home with crafts, DIY projects, and handmade wood furniture. After every project we would inevitably get asked… How did you make that? Where did you get that idea? Why don’t you blog about your projects?

Why don’t we…

My last attempt at blogging was fairly feeble and short lived. I had unrealistic expectations and when I couldn’t meet them I decided to walk away. I will never be a daily blogger. My new goal is to let the projects dictate the frequency of the posts, hopefully at least once a week. As both the husband and I have full time jobs, a 1 ½ hour commute each day, 3 pugs, etc… I can’t be blogging all of the time or there won’t be any time left to make stuff!



The husband takes point for all projects involving wood. Typically he finds an example that he likes (or more likely that the wife likes) and does all of the measurements and drawings on his own. This often makes for some necessary adjustments along the way as well as additional trips to the hardwood store or Home Depot.


For wood projects that do not involve any fabric or other crafty items the wife remains in a support role. I am often summoned to the woodshop (aka the garage) for important tasks like holding things, gluing things, and more often than I would like…carrying heavy wood things into the house for painting/staining.



The wife is behind the steering wheel (really the sewing machine peddle) for all crafty projects. Inspiration is found throughout the blogisphere, Pinterest, stores and catalogs. I don’t consider myself artsy, but I do consider myself crafty. I am not as good as the husband on measurements and calculations. Either I need some sort of pattern or inevitably multiple attempts will be needed. Visualizing in 3D is not one of my abilities.


Non-wood projects typically do not involve the husband as his patience for Mod-Podge and bias tape is extremely limited. However when cloth projects require drilling, routing, or hamming he is quick to pitch in.

Wood & Cloth

These are the most fun as the husband and the wife get to work together on the project. These most likely involve painting, staple gunning and sometimes swearing. These combo projects also tend to be bigger ones, we typically keep the final result for ourselves (verses it becoming a gift) and will often involve some of the actual structure of the house.

We have a list of projects that will keep us busy this year and will hopefully inspire you to pick up a hammer or needle.

Let the projects begin!