Tag Archives: Upholstery

Loosen Up My Buttons, Babe

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons


Ah yes, this was my anthem for the second half of our headboard project.  Curse you Pussycat Dolls and your catchy lyrics that get stuck in my head for days!  For those of you up-to-date, you know our latest endeavor has been creating a winged, tufted headboard for the guest bedroom (for those of you needing to catch up, check out the project breakdown here).  You may also remember my oath to do this all without touching a sewing machine.

Well, I had reached the final portion of the project – covering the screws with matching fabric buttons.  We decided to take a day’s break from the project… and the day turned into a week… I’m sure you DIYers know how that goes.

The main source of my procrastination was the fact that I was waiting on my button making kit to arrive in the mail… okay, so maybe that only accounted for 2 days.  The other 5 days involved me dreading the creation of 67 buttons.  Yup, we had 67 screws to cover.  Yippee…  While the ultra-tall headboard makes quite a statement, it came with quite the price.  In the end it was worth it and I love the look, but for those of you with the same mindset I had of “the bigger, the better,” here’s your warning:

Big tufted headboards = a heck of a lot of buttons = a heck of a lot of work.

The process isn’t really that bad.  It takes about 1-1.5 minutes per button.  I sat and did mine while catching up on Real Housewives of Orange County because nothing makes dreadfully boring tasks like button making more interesting than a room full of overly-tanned, plastic-faced women screaming at each other.

So, here we go:  how to make fabric buttons without busting out the evil beast also known as the sewing machine.

First things first, you’ll need a button making kit, button shells, and button backs.  The least expensive option I found was a set from eBay for 100 buttons (buy extra because you’ll inevitably screw a few up).  I chose to buy size 24 (or 5/8″) buttons.  For those of you using the “tufting via screwdriver” method like we did, this size works great or you can go a little larger, depending on your preference.  For this method, I recommend buying flat backs (instead of wire backs) as you’ll be gluing rather than sewing it to the headboard.


  • Button making kit which consists of a pusher (the pink item seen bottom left) and a mold (the clear item seen on the bottom right): $2.99 from eBay
  • Button back (seen at the top left)
  • Button shell (seen at the top middle): this plus the backs are $15.99 from eBay for a set of 100
  • Fabric swatch
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step One: Take the mold (the clear piece), placing the flat side down.  Put your piece of fabric over the mold.  Place the pusher (the pink piece) on top of the fabric (flat side up).

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Two: Push the pusher (who would’ve seen that coming?) so the fabric is pushed down into the mold.  I gave the pusher a good twist too to really be sure the fabric was wedged in there.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Remove the pusher and you’ll see your fabric swatch is beginning to make the button shape.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Three: Place the button shell with the rounded side down, on top of the fabric swatch (still placed in the mold).

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Four: Place the pusher on top of the button shell and push down.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

When you remove the pusher, the fabric and shell should be lodged in the mold.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Five: Without removing the shell and fabric from the mold, trim the excess fabric from the edges.  Don’t trim it too close as you’ll need to fold the edges over the back in the next step.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Here you can see how much fabric should be trimmed.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons 

Step Six: Next, fold the edges in, covering the back of the button shell and use the pusher to push it into shape.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Meet my best friend.  The hot glue gun.  In theory, you can use the pusher to push down the button back and it should pop in, securing the fabric in the back.  My fabric, however, was too thick to successfully do this so I found gluing the back on worked just as well.  If your fabric is thinner, you may be able to use the pusher instead and skip this step.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Seven: Use a hot glue gun to put glue on the back side of the button.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Eight: Quickly (before the fabric unfolds or glue cools), place the button back on top of the glue, securing the fabric ends.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Nine: Warning!  The hot glue will make the button back very hot so don’t use your finger to push it into place.  I used my pusher again to be sure the button back was secure and pushed it firmly in place.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Voilah!  Fabric button!

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

To finalize the headboard, I used my trusty friend again to put glue on the backs of each button then simply placed it on each screw on the headboard.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

I gave it a little extra push with my finger for good measure.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

It’s held great was SO much easier than sewing the buttons through the headboard.  That’s just nonsense, people.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Happy button making!



Filed under Bedroom, Easy DIY Projects

Take a Seat


Dear friends,

I’d like to introduce you to the epitome of ugly, hotel curtain fabric.

CAUTION: this image is not for the weak of heart.

I think it’s ferns… on a base of some coral chevron pattern… but let’s just call it hideous.

So, I paid $20 for that.  WAIT, I’m not crazy.  Let’s pan out.

I paid $20 for THAT.  Yup, another CraigsList find.  From the most unsuspecting seller too.  We drove up to the place and found a 20-something single guy living in a new, downtown district, sky-high-price-per-square-foot townhome.  I was kind of curious how he came to own this chair… but, at the same time, assume I wouldn’t want the chair if I knew the whole story.

I made Chris make the obligatory test sit.

The picture is actually in our garage some time later but you get the idea.  The chair held sturdy so a $20 bill later and we were the proud owners of the fern beast.  Still not sure how I convince Chris to go along with all these crazy schemes.  You see, I had grand plans for a sitting area in our bedroom.  I was coveting a beige linen wingback chair from Pottery Barn.

Oh, hello cute chair!  Oh, hello exorbitant price tag.  Seriously?  $899 for this sucker?  Not in this life time.  I was determined to replicate this, complete with my own nailhead detail.

I found a great fabric with the linen look AND got it 20% off because I hit up a semi-annual sale.  At $70 for 7 yards, it was a done deal.  I called up our amazing upholsterer and he whipped it out in a week, complete with nailhead trim!  I keep waiting for the frequent upholsterer discount as this was the third chair I’ve brought to him… guess I need a few more before that happens (probably won’t be a problem considering my chair addiction).

Before it was upholstered, I had to fix up the legs.  I decided the cure would be a fresh coat of paint over the cheap-looking wood.  I painted it black for now but will probably go back and paint white over it then distress it.  Eventually.


Ah, much better.

I found a great numbered pillow to complete the look.  A score at Stein Mart for $19.99.  Not too shabby!

I also need to spend some time explaining the “sitting area” to Chris.  He doesn’t understand why I never sit there yet insist on calling it the “sitting area.”  Ugh, boys.


It takes a lot to surprise me, even from Julie. So when she suggested we drive 20 miles to go look at a $40 chair, I didn’t think much of it. We have two compact sedans, so I knew I’d need to source a larger vehicle if we wanted to actually bring it home. I asked my boss if I could borrow an SUV from work and he agreed, but was curious as to why. I told him Julie’s grand plan and he replied, “wait… are you even old enough for a wingback chair?”

Anyway, we went downtown and looked at the chair and decided it had potential- after all, it held me up without anything breaking, which is more than can be said for the chair I had in my college apartment. I chatted the guy up about his car and motorcycle and talked him down to $20. I tossed it in the back of the car and away we went, trying to figure out exactly what the smell was.

The first order of business was to paint the legs, mostly to hide all the nicks and bite marks (I’m serious). Next, we called the upholsterer, who is a little bit crazy but also does excellent work. We got the chair back in about a week and as soon as I texted Julie that it had arrived, she called me in a frenzy wanting the know if they installed “the buttons.” I confirmed that there were indeed nickel buttons. I’m not really sure what all she said next, but I do remember hearing the phrase “AAAAHHHH I LOVE BUTTONS!!”

This chair has now been placed in a “sitting area” in our bedroom, but no one ever really sits there (except the laundry).


For more information on those fabulous chevron curtains you see behind the chair, check out our no-sew curtain tutorial here.


Filed under Before & After, Master Bedroom

The Bold and the Very Beautiful


Chris didn’t bring much along with him once we got married.  There was a guitar, an entertainment center, a lot of dirty laundry, and his great grandparents chairs.  The list sounds like a version of “Which of these things is not like the other.”  When Chris’ mom told me the chairs were ours but needed a lot of TLC, I wasn’t sure what to think but I knew that I loved the idea of the chairs being passed down three generations.  The chair made its big journey from Tennessee to Houston then Houston to Dallas.  The chair didn’t look so bad… until I saw the big stain on the seat cushion.  We needed to find an upholsterer.  Fast.  The chair had great lines and is hands down the most comfortable chair in the world (Chris and I are in accordance on that one).  It just needed a little help (in the form of an awesome fabric print) to bring it back to the glory days.

After browsing hundreds of fabrics, going back-and-forth between samples, and finally getting the much-needed stamp of approval from my mom, I purchased a bold blue fabric called Lisbon Linen from Calico Corners.  And by bold, I mean very bold.  Our living room needed a punch of color but I wasn’t sure if I had gone too far.

Waiting a whole week to get the chair back killed me.  And then I was faced with the debate of the century.  The upholster called to say the chair was ready one afternoon.  They could deliver that day but no later than 5:30 pm.  I couldn’t get home that fast meaning if we wanted the chair that day, Chris would have to accept it.  So… do I wait and have the chair delivered on another day when I’m home or do I have Chris accept the chair thus seeing it first?  I didn’t really have much of a reason to be there when it was dropped off so I told them to go ahead and deliver it.  As I made the journey home, I called Chris to ask his thoughts on our newly recovered chair.  His response?  “I dunno… it looks different but it’s still the most comfortable chair in the world.”  Well, thank you, Captain Obvious.  Seriously.  I soon arrived home, took a look at the chair, and immediately swooned.  The fabric was perfect and the chair is now the lovely accent it was meant to be.


This is the most comfortable chair in the world. With a bottom slope of 17* and a back arc length of 24″ coming together at a base angle of 98*, it’s made to hold you up in an excellent TV watching position with absolutely no effort on your part. I don’t really like to recline but I do like to lean back a bit, so I find it ideal. It’s also quite supportive, so it’s not a workout to get out of.

This chair originally belonged to my great-grandfather and was, admittedly, in rough shape when we first got it. It was some sort of white that had a good 50+ years of wear on it, nevermind the weird stain (I assume it’s either tea or moonshine, or possibly both). When Julie suggested we recover it with a “loud blue pattern,” I was somewhat apprehensive. When the upholsterer (who looks exactly like Kahn from King of the Hill) dropped it off, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the stain gone, but it looked like something you’d find in one of those trendy high-end furniture stores that I have to keep my hands behind my back in.

Most importantly, it’s still the most comfortable chair in the world.


One last note, for those of you wondering how precise those angle measurements are that Chris provided above, let me say this:  I walked into the room to find him, measuring tape in-hand, calculating the exact angle of the chair’s slope.  Enough said.

I’d like to say that we spend a ton of time lounging in our fabulous chair… but unfortunately, someone else usually beats us to it.  Meet Chloe, our cat.


Filed under Before & After