More reader projects: Dawn's headboard and Kathy's fireman quilt

More reader projects: Dawn's headboard and Kathy's fireman quilt

Today, I have two lovely DIY projects from readers – a headboard made by Mahomet resident Dawn Coyne, and a quilt by Kathy Wallig. (You might remember Kathy as the one who made this cool parrothead-style quilt.)


Dawn, in fact, gave me the idea to spend a week featuring readers' DIY projects when she sent me photos of the headboard she made. (It's not too late – I'd love to feature your project. Email me to participate.)


Here are some instructions from Dawn about how she did it:

"First I measured my bed and it was 5 feet across. I decided to go with a 6-foot headboard. When I went to Lowes, the plywood was 4-by-8 feet long, so I asked them to cut it down to 4 by 6 feet.


"It was about $15 and they made the cut for free. I used 1/4 inch thick but if I had to do it over I would get something at least 1/2 inch thick ... because I used the headboard in a corner. Had I used it up against the wall, the 1/4 inch is perfect.

"I also grabbed a staple gun at Lowe's, which are surprisingly inexpensive and can be used in a lot of projects. I spent $3 on the staples to fill the gun and $20 on the gun.

"I then went to Hobby Lobby and found their foam (which was a little more expensive than I had planned). I didn't get foam to cover the entire piece of plywood because it was expensive and I figured it wouldn't matter toward the bottom of the headboard since it would be behind the bed. I used 1" thick foam. It covered a 3-foot-by-6-foot' area.

"Also I found batting at Hobby Lobby (the cheapest is fine) and made sure that would cover the entire piece of plywood along with wrap around the plywood for securing it.

"I was lucky that the household decorator fabric was on sale this week at 30 percent off. The regular price of the fabric is around $18 a yard. I picked out a leather fabric in lime green because it goes well with my bedspread and also with my wall color, plus it makes a statement when you walk into the room. I asked for 2 2/3 yards of fabric (7 feet) so I had enough to cover the plywood and wrap around it. The fabric is 54 inches high so I knew that would be fine on the 4-foot side of the plywood. I spent about $65 at Hobby Lobby. 

"I first laid the fabric on my living room floor and made sure it was perfectly straight. Then I laid the batting down and then the foam on top of that, toward what I wanted to be the top of the headboard, since my foam wouldn't cover the entire thing. I did have to trim my batting back a bit to match the size of the fabric. 

"I then brought the plywood in and laid it over the layers already on the floor.

"I made sure my staple gun was loaded up and stretched one side of the fabric layers around the plywood, started with the corners and stapled that side. Then went to the other side. Remember to start with the corners on each side and stretch the fabric before each staple to be sure it stays smooth on the front side.

"I then carried it back to the bedroom and sort of lodged it into the corner to stabilize it and pushed the bed up against it. I knew it wouldn't hurt the wall because of the batting and fabric around the plywood. If someone were to put it up flat against the wall then I would suggest attaching it to the wall in some way. I chose not to because this a temporary headboard until I can buy a new bed.


"I am able to lay upright now against the headboard while reading or watching TV. It's comfortable and stable. I am  happy with the outcome of the project."


Dawn submitted the photos - what a great idea! I'd love to try this one, maybe with a navy velvet fabric? It sounds wonderful.



Kathy also sent me a photo of a quilt she recently made. (It's pictured here.) One of her sons is a Champaign firefighter and she made the quilt for him.

"The department changed its official logo so the firefighters had to buy all new T-shirts and stop wearing their old ones," Wallig said. "He brought me a stack of T-shirts that were all basically the same. (Most T-shirt quilts are made of different T-shirts.) So my challenge was to make different squares with all the same elements.


"There is one square (middle top) that is from a onesie both his sons wore, and the square to the right of that is a firefighter's prayer. The flag was one I had leftover from a folk art quilt I made for a military auction a few years ago. Everything else was made from parts of the T-shirts. He uses the quilt for his duty nights."


I love this project, too - doesn't Kathy's design look cool?


Again, if you have a project that you'd like to share, send it my way. I'd love to share it this week.

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