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Reinvent a Room: Budget Decorating Projects

How to Make a Fabric Slipcover Headboard

See how we turned a painter's drop cloth and an old piece of crewelwork into a pretty headboard for a girl's bedroom.

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Courtesy of Design by Joanne Palmissano, Photo by Susan Teare

We covered an old wood headboard with a slipcover made from an inexpensive canvas drop cloth. The slipcover is held on by ribbons tied at each side. To give the slipcover a shabby-chic look, we placed a piece of old handcrafted crewelwork in the center of the drop cloth.

Materials and Tools

pinking shears (or plain scissors)
painter's cotton canvas drop cloth (size depends on size of bed)
embroidery piece (family heirloom or an old fabric piece)
4 to 5 packages of wide hem-facing tape or wide ribbon
roll of wide iron on hemming tape
thread — color that matches embroidery piece
long tension curtain rod
sewing machine (optional)

Prep the Centerpiece

Remove the needlepoint or crewelwork from its frame, or if it is a pillow, remove the stuffing. Iron it. If necessary, trim or sew the edges to make sure each side is even and square.

Add Ribbon Ties

Choose a piece of fabric that will fit over your headboard. We used a canvas painter's drop cloth. Lay the canvas on a work surface front-side up. Horizontally lay the hem-facing tape in rows across the slipcover. You don't need a full row of tape on the backside of the slipcover — just enough on the ends for the tie. Sew the ribbon into place or use the wide iron-on hemming tape to adhere it onto the canvas.

Add Centerpiece

Place the embroidered piece down and use iron-on hemming tape to keep it in place around the edges. Then hand stitch or sew the edges with a decorative stitch.

Put Slipcover in Place

We placed our slipcover over a post headboard. To hold the slipcover in place, a spring-loaded curtain rod was placed in between the posts, then the slipcover was placed over the rod and tied on the sides.

Joanne Palmisano is the author of Salvage Secrets (W.W. Norton, September 2011). Visit her blog, also called Salvage Secrets.