Well I have been getting a lot of feedback on my newly redesigned master bedroom (thank you for all the nice comments!) and so I thought I’d better get the headboard tutorial up for those of you who are interested in DIY-ing one yourself. This isn’t so much a tutorial on how to build an upholstered headboard (there are plenty of tutorials out there on that) but more how I handpainted the chevron-ikat pattern onto my plain white headboard fabric. Since I’d never done anything like this before, I pretty much guessed my way through it so my headboard is far from perfect. To be honest, I’m thinking about completely repainting it with my leftover fabric. But, lucky for you, I can walk you through what I did right AND WRONG and you can learn from my mistakes and make yourself something beautiful. The best part is you can use this fabric painting technique to paint anything, headboards, pillows, chairs, t-shirts, whatever.
Cost: Varies by project. Mine cost about $18 for the fabric and paint
- White or other light colored fabric. I used 2 yards of white cotton twill (from Walmart for $5/yd) for my headboard. Natural fabrics work best and allow the paint to bleed a little bit.
- Craft paint in your color choices. I used a limey green and a tealy blue.
- Textile Medium. To mix with the craft paint to make it soft like fabric paint. (Or you could just save yourself this step and buy fabric paint instead).
- A medium sized flat/square tipped craft paint brush.
- A spray bottle with water in it.
- A water bowl to rinse brushes.
Okay then. Heres what I did:
1. I first upholstered my headboard in the white fabric by staple-gunning the fabric around to the back of the padded headboard. Then I layed my headboard flat on the table to start painting.
2. Next I got a square tray I had (you could also use a right angle ruler if you have one) and trace the corners of it onto my headboard lightly with chalk. DON’T use chalk to do this. It sucked up my paint wherever it was and made some really distinct paint lines that I don’t love on the finished project. You could try a pencil or just dots of the paint color you’ll be using to give you the guide you need. I’ll be honest though. I did this only for the top portion of my headboard and then got lazy and didn’t do it to the rest. I wish I would’ve though because some of my lines got whompy because I was winging it without a guide. Thats what I get for being an impatient crafter.
3. Next, working in small sections, spray the fabric lightly with water. I would recommend testing the amount of water you need to be spraying with the amount of bleeding you want to get on a scrap piece of fabric before you try this on the real thing. I didn’t do this and learned as I went. I got the right hand side of my headboard pretty soaked and then learned that “less is more” and so the left side has less bleeding (which I like better). You probably only need to spray a section two maybe three times and no more. You don’t want the lines to become tie-dyed looking, but you do want the colors to bleed slightly into eachother.
4. Now, holding your brush so that the square tip is on its side (or that the tip of the paintbrush looks like a vertical line), dip your brush into the water and then into the first paint color (after mixing it with the textile medium per the instructions on the bottle). Then follow your guide using up and down choppy strokes on your fabric.
5. When you have a section done, switch colors and do the same thing with the next color except push that color into the first color a little bit. You may have to give it a squirt with the water bottle if the fabric has dried.
6. The ikat-ness of the design is dependent on how you’re holding your brush so practice first on a scrap piece until you feel like you’re getting the look you want. Then paint your piece (in my case an upholstered headboard) alternating between wetting the fabric with the squirt bottle and painting on the lines in an up and down stroke. (You can see in the image below where I wet the fabric too much and the paint bled a little more than I would’ve liked.)
And thats what I did! I would like it much better I think if I did it again and really took my time. But, hey, not too shabby for a first try I guess.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed the tutorial! Learn from my mistakes and go do your own! 🙂