This is the infamous Malm, compliments of IKEA. A regular in broke college students’ apartments, this fine piece of furniture is about as plain and boring as… well, an assembled bed made of medium-density fiber board.
We inherited this bed from a college friend, but weren’t excited about it. Here’s Futile Attempt #1, where we tried to hide the ho-hum frame with some colorful pillows and a headboard slipcover. I sewed both from IKEA fabric, and yes, the words are upside-down. No, not on purpose.
So we lusted over this DIY project with the hope that maybe, someday we could have a lovely tufted headboard of our very own. And maybe we could glam up our Malm with some sort of attachment.
I bought a giant swatch of slate gray corderoy fabric, snipped some fabric for custom buttons, and sewed through several layers of foam and batting with a magic knotting technique I learned in my quilting days. That is the extent of my contribution. Josh (and friends) took over the rest:
They drew out a part of a circle by hand and traced it on a 1/2” ply 59.5” x 15” to fit the frame of the Malm.
Then they sawed that shape on both sides. On our carpet. Which they promptly vacuumed.
Then they measured and drilled 3 rows of 4, 5, and 4 holes for the buttons. I think tufting looks best with staggered holes, but aligned holes are fine too if you’re into symmetry.
They chopped up a pine board into three 1.5” x 3.5” x 10” pieces and mounted 2 metal tie-downs from Home Depot to the front and 3 to the back.
You know that egg crate stuff you buy to make the beds in college dorms feel less like pavement? It’s a far cry from a thermapedic, but it’s the perfect thickness for the headboard and easy to cut too:
We used some low-grade batting to smooth out the egg texture and stapled it to the back of the headboard. Doesn’t it look all cute and fuzzy?
Time for the main event. Josh’s buds draped the shell fabric, cut it to size, and staple gunned it to the plywood.
Meanwhile in the kitchen…
We use a pack of fabric button kits from JoAnn Fabric to press together 13 custom buttons. It looks complicated, but the process was (ahem) a snap!
We made sure to buy thick embroidery thread that would stay put through 2 layers of thick fabric, foam, and batting. Instead of making ginormous knots to hold the buttons in place in the back, we made a knot a few inches out and double stapled it to the plywood.
And ta-da! The bed with a pretty head and no guts.
Too bad you can’t cuddle with a headboard— this fabric is softer than our pillows.
And that’s a wrap!