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Tag Archives: Upholstery

DIY Upholstered Greek Key Headboard

DIY Upholstered Greek Key Headboard

When I saw this headboard from Serena and Lily, I knew two things: 1. I had to have it; and 2. I could TOTALLY DIY this bad boy for less than $1650. Way way less.

DIY Greek Key Upholstered Headboard

DIY Greek Key Upholstered Headboard

So I made the bad boy above. That’s right. For about $100.

First, I made the frame out of plywood. I used 3/8 inch plywood. I had the hardware store cut down the plywood sheet to the desired size (I think it was overall four inches wider than my king size mattress).  I attached 2×4’s to the edges of the board to create room to put foam, and also give me a hard surface to put nails into. I wanted a hard edge so I could add the nails, but wanted this headboard to be really soft and cushy and super comfortable. So I had to make enough space for both foam and nails.


The width of the 2×4’s and the 2×4 squares was just enough to allow me to nail in the Greek Key squares in the corners.

IMG_0705I screwed the 2×4’s into the plywood. Pretty straight forward and simple. (I screwed from the back through the plywood and then into the 2×4’s).


I used two memory foam egg carton mattress pads to fill in the inner square. I had to trim the corners of the memory to get the memory foam to fit. I used two layers of egg carton memory foam to make sure the frame was completely filled out and that the headboard was super comfy/squishy. I got the memory foam on clearance from Walmart, I believe – I spent like $30 or $40 on all the foam.  Once I had the piece cut into the proper shapes, I sprayed the plywood with spray adhesive (outside) so that the memory foam would fit.


Then, I covered the whole thing in a layer of batten, stapling around the backside.

Next, I wrapped the whole thing in this gorgeous sea-foam velvet that I bought ages ago. I’m not including this in the price of the headboard since i have had the fabric for over two years. But, we are counting, I think I used about 3 yards of the velvet, which would add about $60 to the overall price.  I stapled the velvet to the backside of the frame, starting in the center of each side and slowly moving towards the edges. I folded the corners carefully, like how you would fold a present.

Then I started adding the nailhead trim. I used one where you simply nail one in five of the nails, not all of them.  Though I usually love gold or brass finishes, I felt like silver was the better color to compliment the sea-foam.




Each Greek key corner took a lot of time to lay out. Measuring out the distance from the side, getting the spacing perfect. ensuring everything was square took a LOT of trial and error and lots of calculations (and recalculations). The corners were definitely the hardest part of the whole project.


Eventually I got everything where I wanted it, as you can see in the picture above. Or at least, I got it close enough. One of the corners is not perfectly square, but I finally said, “Enough!” Then i had a glass of wine and stopped worrying about it.

Then four months later I took some pics of the bedroom. Here is one of those:



And a little vignette, where you cannot see my bed frame that has no bedskirt covering it…



Price breakdown:

Wood and screws = about $40.

Foam and batten = about $40.

Nailhead = $21

Total (not including fabric I already had) = $101.

Total savings from the original version = $1650 – $101 = $1549!!!! OMG, I’m rich! And accomplished. And modest.

So later, I will post about these dressers. And maybe about the pillows. Both the dressers and the pillows were a DIY.  Get excited…?

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

Greek Key Love,


PS. There are big changes a-brewing for Ole Rachel here. Really exciting ones. Coming soon.

How to Iron Velvet – sorta

OK. I have no pictures for this one, but I have some advice on wrinkles and velvet.

I have this large piece of velvet that’s been sitting around, in a box, folded and super wrinkled. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with this velvet, but it was destined for something good. So when I finally decided what I was going to use it on (coming later), I had to figure out if I could get out the horrible wrinkles.

OK, I lied.  This post has one picture. Here is a picture of a chair I reupholstered with this same velvet (before I knew how to get rid of wrinkles).  IMG_0090

Apparently, one is not really supposed to iron velvet because it will RUIN IT! So here is my PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Every velvet may be different, so you MUST TEST THIS PROCESS ON AN EDGE OR SMALL SCRAP OF VELVET. Do not – do NOT – dive right in on the middle of an expensive piece of velvet – it might get ruined. So always test this.  Got it? Test on a scrap first.

First, I spread the velvet out on the carpet. I wanted to work on a carpet, because it’s softer than an ironing board and would reduce the risk that I would crush the nap of the velvet.

Second, I folded the velvet over on top of itself. The bottom layer was facing up, and the top layer was facing down (good side to good side, nap to nap).  Set the iron on the coolest setting that produces steam. Very lightly – barely putting any pressure on the fabric, run the iron lightly over the BACKSIDE (the side should be facing up) to get the wrinkles out.

Third, turn the velvet right side up. This step is just for problem areas because it could damage the fabric if you are not very careful. Do NOT touch the velvet nap with the iron at all – it will ruin it. Hold the iron just above the surface of the velvet, close enough so that the steam is hitting the nap, but the iron is not touching. After an area is steamed, let cool for a bit so that it’s not going to burn your hands, and then use your hands to smooth the nap and smooth out the wrinkles.

You may have to repeat these steps a few times. The key is patience so you don’t ruin your expensive velvet. But after a few goes, the fabric should be looking much better. Now, when you do your upholstery job, the wrinkles will smooth themselves out with enough stretching and time.

I cannot wait to share my next project with you.



How to Upholster a Blue Velvet Chair

How to Upholster a Blue Velvet Chair

Some of you may remember this chair that I found at a garage sale for only $10! (If you recall, I turned into a cartoon wolf and my tongue rolled out of my jaw like a carpet unrolling, and I had to use my hand to roll my tongue back up and then to shut my jaw. The metaphor was maybe a tad long, but what are you gonna do?)

Here is the chair again.

The guy I bought it from had already removed the previous upholstery and had started putting on some new upholstery but hadn’t gotten very far. Something amazing about this chair (I mean, besides the fact that it’s beautiful and everything)? The padding is actually HORSE hair! That’s how you know for sure that it’s an antique. It’s maybe a little gross, but it also means that this chair is pretty darned old. And I’m going to pretend like the horse hair was washed and stuff before they used it for the chair. Don’t tell me otherwise.

Here is what I turned it into:

Some of my readers may also remember that I am SUPER into blue velvet. I was visiting my ‘rents in the Bay Area, and my friend, Molly, and I were driving from San Francisco back to the East Bay when I saw a discount fabric store that was having a sale. Though Molly and I were supposed to meet a friend for lunch in like 15 minutes, I flipped a U-turn last second (ignoring Molly’s screaming protests that we did not have time). As I parked the car (while Molly kept asking, “Rachel, are you serious?!?”) I told Molly that I would be in and out in 10 minutes. Max. I just needed some blue velvet. Real quick. Just a blue velvet fix and I’ll be damned if you stand in my way, Hussie!!! Just a yard. Or seven.

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Adorable Vanity Re-Do

Adorable Vanity Re-Do

Despite the fact that I am now incredibly busy with school, I put in a good many hours trying to get this vanity re-do done quickly for two reasons: 1. I need to finish unpacking. I have been living in my apartment for almost a month. This is getting ridiculous. And 2. I really really REALLY wanted to enter something awesome in the Crafting with the Stars contest on Sew Dang Cute, and TODAY IS THE DEADLINE. So I scrambled. And this is also the reason that this post is not as witty as my usual posts – I just want to enter the contest super badly so I am writing quickly. I will try to edit this post later, and maybe make it better.

Here is the finished product:

Isn’t she adorable? She was SOOOOOO much work, you would not even believe. And about half way through, I decided that I hated her. And then I kept working on her and fell in love with her again. It turns out the selections for Crafting with the Stars are being decided by judges, not just by vote. However, you can go to this facebook page, and tell the judges which projects you think are awesome.

I am having a hard time figuring out this button thingy – so here is the link for the contest too in case the button doesn’t link you:

Now gather around children, and I will tell you all about the saga of this vanity… Read the rest of this entry

A dream come true. AKA – How to Upholster a Blue Velvet Ottoman

A dream come true. AKA – How to Upholster a Blue Velvet Ottoman

It’s ALIVE! I finished my first *real* upholstery project, and it’s BLUE VELVET!! In case you forgot, I am OBSESSED with blue velvet. And now I have my very own piece of blue velvet furniture, and I made it myself.


Here the ottoman is picture with this awesome reclining wingback chair that I got for just $40 on craigslist. The chair is in perfect condition, minus on tiny rip in the upholstery that I sewed up. Anyway, this recliner was a pretty easy project. Read more to find out.

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Blue Chairs!

Blue Chairs!

Sorry for my long absence! I have had a crazy last month or so. Not only did I spend 11 days in Paris (poor me, right?), but I also moved from DC to Princeton, NJ, to begin graduate school. This has meant that my adoring fans (all three of you), have had to make do without my blog. My humble apologies.

Blue chair with white and black damask upholstry

Anyway, since my absence, I have been BUSY with MANY projects that will eventually be posted on this blog. Because I have been furnishing a new apartment, this has been a great chance for me to employ many of the techniques and take inspiration from my two new favorite blogs: and Here is the first of such projects: My 6 dining room chairs!

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