Bedtime Story… Or how I hacked my Ikea Bed

naomi and hand blocked paisley

A girl,  a Dream and a few yards of DIY Hand-Blocked Fabric

Ok, the time has come for me to tell my bed story.  Note:  I’m not calling this a DIY.  Frankly it was very difficult and involved collaborations with a professional carpenter (dad) and fashion designer/ expert sewer (sister) and I don’t recommend doing the whole thing yourself.   I didn’t read a single how-to post before starting this project, I didn’t prepare at all, I just dove in and realized half way through I was way over my head.  I’m dumb, silly, lucky and a little bit wiser now.

Nevertheless, a lot of you have asked about it.  So let’s get down to it.

wood stamp paisley

It started with a hand-carved paisley wood stamp.  The first thing I did when I put an offer on the cottage was buy this stamp.  I didn’t know where I would use it or what application (curtains, bedding, upholstery, on the walls?), but I knew I needed it in my life.  I bought the paisley block print from HERE on Etsy.  I loved that the scale was large (8″ high) because most of the wood blocks I found were only half the size.

When Linda invited me to participate in the One Room Challenge, I decided to incorporate the paisley into my bedroom design.    My sister and I got together one weekend and had a stamping party.

block printing process paisley- small

A couple of things about stamping with a wood block… Do a practice run to make sure you are getting evenly distributed paint on your stamp.  Coat the stamp liberally with paint.  We used Neo Opaque paint by Jacquard.  Grid out your fabric to ensure even placement of pattern.

We decided to flip our paisley every other row and were pretty happy with the results.  Each stamp is a little different- some heavier, some lighter and I think that makes it more interesting.

paisley fabric finished

I didn’t wash the fabric after we finished.  I did throw it in the dryer and iron it.  Later we took it outside sprayed it with scotchguard to protect it from me.  NOTE- make sure to erase your pencil marks prior to scotchguaring.  I forget and now there are subtle little ticks all throughout the fabric.  whoopsies.  It really adds to the homemade flare.

andrew measuring bed template

Next, I called on my dad to help me with the headboard.  We made a full-sized template of the shapely top and then he cut it out of plywood.  He mounted it onto the existing headboard and the bed turned from this…

bed rast original

to this…

rast bed with curved plywood top

{I used THIS Ikea bed as my base)

Here you can see the back and how he bolted it to the existing frame.

back of plywood headboard

Next I took my template down to Katz Foam in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia.  They traced it on a piece of 4″ foam and cut it out with a little saw.  The process was easy and inexpensive!

bed foam template

bed foam being cut

I took it home and applied it to my headboard frame with a little spray glue.  I sprayed both the frame and the foam.  I don’t remember what kind of glue- something that sprays and you could pick up at Michael’s.

headboard with foam attached small

headboard and foam side

At this point I pretty much felt like a creative genius.  This was a piece of cake, inexpensive and going to look fabulous.

Then my sister and I started to drape the fabric and realized there was no way in hell we were upholstering this piece.  We aren’t pros, the shape was too difficult, the fabric (a cotton duck) was too firm.  It just wasn’t happening.  And we were days away from the One Room Challenge Reveal.  I was about to look like a big fat idiot.

bed fabric upside down

Luckily my sister is an amazing sewer who loves me very much.  She came up with a solution; we would make a slipcover.  So we turned the fabric on its back, traced the headboard shape one more time and cut out the front of the slipcover.  I was mildly hyperventilating while cutting into my fabric.

bed slipcover construction

bed cording

We did the front, top and sides in the paisley fabric with a plain muslin on the back.  We used black micro cord along the edges to make the shape really pop.  We used interfacing along the top and edges to add strength.  Please don’t ask me questions about this part… I was really just the helper, Megan was the mastermind.

bed details

When it was done Megan put it on to show me how it would look.  I wasn’t sure if it would be awesome or ridiculous, but watching her dance around with the slipcover costume sent me into hysterics.  (We may have been exhausted by this point.)

slipcover cape

I took it over to my house, pulled down over my frame/foam combination and was thrilled to see it fit snugly.  I steamed, pinned, shot the room and collapsed into a pile of mush.

orc week 7 bed and nightstand

orc week 7 block print paisley fabric

orc week 7 block print paisley headboard bed straight on

And that’s the story of the Ikea bed that I turned into a little something more.  A big thank you shout needs to be sent to my sister, Megan and my father for enabling my DIY problem.  I always say I’ll try anything once and I guarantee I wont try this one again.

If you want to try this I would suggest one of two things: 1 Do a simpler shape that can be upholstered easily or 2 have a pro upholster it.  Even with that cost the bed would still be really reasonable.

My room continues to evolve, so it should be interesting to see what happens with this little paisley bed.  At least it makes for a good story!

Sweet Dreams

xo Naomi

  1. Kate @ travelmoon

    I’m literally obsessed with this, and I also feel like you read my mind/gave me the inspiration to go ahead with a project I’ve wanted to do for awhile. I bought these white fabric chairs years ago at world market for my dining room that I always thought would reupholster at some point, but I really don’t want to invest in them further. Hence, wanted to try to hand stamp them with a robshaw-esque stamp, but I had no idea where to find or begin. I just may have to try exactly what you did!!

    • Naomi

      Wonderful. Good luck!!

  2. Wow wow wow…Naomi, I am in awe…
    I have JUST cut my own headboard today out of MDF ,and this weekend I plan to get the foam and upholster it myself, so seeing your post has just given me even more encouragement! Here in Dubai we have to do pretty much everything DIY if you want this kind of “look” so I am very used to hunting down foam suppliers etc.
    Thank you for sharing your tips and tricks and step by step journey…I only hope mine can look half as good as yours!!!
    Amazing job!

    Jules, Dubai

  3. So incredible. I know how hard this sucker must have been! I almost always dive headfirst into a DIY always to discover that I am in way over my head. Best way to learn methinks. I make my own blocks and attempt fabric printing from time to time. So labor intensive but also so worth the one-of-a-kind effort. Your pops and sis get mucho love for their contributions but you deserve lots of credit for seeing through the vision. Bravo all around!

  4. Lisa

    Beautiful! I have the same Ikea bed and am always thinking of ways to make it look more custom. I love what you did to yours.

  5. amy


  6. Robin

    I’ve admired your headboard from the start and wondered how it came together. I learned to sew when I was 10 (I was lucky to have a professional seamstress for a grandmother) and have belonged to a few quilting and sewing groups. I think the potential unforgivableness of sewing mistakes (once you cut the fabric there is no going back) makes a lot of sewers better able to come up with solutions like this. Congrats to Megan for her quick thinking and to all of you for a gorgeous end product.

  7. Holy amazingness! 1) Love you’re a Philly girl (I grew up in Worcester and my family is in the Main Line and Bucks County), 2) LOVE the Indian paisley print you used, and 3) Can you make me one?

    Also, I’d love to know what paint color you used in your bedroom.

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Hitha! Always nice to meet Philly peeps. If you are ever on the Main Line you should give me a shout.
      The wall color is Benjamin Moore Naples Blue.

  8. The results are great! Your sister is amazing. Thanks for sharing your Etsy source. I’m thinking about picking up one of their border stamps for drapes.

  9. you guys are rock stars. seriously. so good. (and i will never attempt it, so will live vicariously through your project thankyouverymuch)

  10. your custom headboard is so incredible! i’ve been patiently awaiting this blog post. thanks sooo much for sharing!!! i was definitely thinking an easier shape for my future headboard, b/c i’m only a moderate sewer. your sister is awesome. she did impeccable job sewing it! i especially loved the piping detail, and OF COURSE your hand blocked fabric. incredible, naomi!!

    would you mind sharing how much the foam costed? i’ve searched, and it’s more expensive than i realized. online has good prices, but then you pay arm and leg for shipping. and joann’s is more than i’d like to spend, plus it’s only 24″ wide so i’d have to buy 2 large sheets. anyways, thanks for sharing!

    • Naomi

      Hey Emily, I don’t remember the exact cost, but it was definitely under $100.

  11. Brilliant!! Looks amazing!!!! You’re so damn creative & talented!

  12. Alex

    I love your bed and I love sisters.

  13. Ah, blimey, sorry – you answered both questions already. If I hadn’t been gobbling up the pictures and had paid more attention to the text, I’d have seen that.

  14. This is such an awesome headboard. I love it!!! and am itching to try out that stamp.

  15. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I’m so impressed by your headboard fabric that I’ve nipped over to Etsy and bought myself a paisley stamp with which to make some orange curtains. Thank you so much! I love paisley.

    You wouldn’t fancy doing aNUTHer tutorial on what dye/paint you used (everything I’ve tried on fabric makes it stiff) and whether there’s an easy way to align the block on the fabric?

    Your bedroom looks wonderful – I’ve been watching its development over the months and I’m impressed.

  16. Looks amazing! Great job! I love it when it all comes out good!

  17. This is freaking awesome! I think it was a blessing in disguise about the slipcover, the black trim adds a lot! And the family calabo makes you appreciate it much more I’m suer. I have been thinking about doing some hand painted curtains and this really inspires me. I would have not thought to scotch guard the fabric. You doin it big Naomi!

  18. Your bed looks amazing! I love the paisley pattern and the shape. Sounds like it was a helluva lot of work–but so worth it!

    My partner and I have been thinking about making a tufted grey headboard, but, honestly, I think we would screw it up big time! I’m grateful for your step-by-step story about your own project. It is very inspiring. Maybe we will try making a simpler headboard than we had been imagining.

  19. Naomi a great team effort. the custom headboard is amazing.
    I have seen others say how easy this would be and would I say way!
    The paisley block is perfect!

    2013 Designers Series
    Art by Karena

  20. All the hard work and effort to make your bed even more wonderful is worth it! What I love the most is that your father and sister joined forces to make it possible to finished that project, family bonding priceless.

  21. What a genius idea! Thanks for breaking it down. I love it and the pattern you chose! Perfection!

  22. It looks freaking amazing, but you have confirmed all my suspicions about how difficult a project like this must be… I will admire from afar.

    Great job! And yay for dads and sisters!

  23. I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve been wondering how you pulled this together! I have a similar paisley block and haven’t been brave enough to use it yet, but I’m now totally inspired. This turned out absolutely beautiful- and one of a kind!

  24. Mary

    Love it!
    You owe your sister big time.

    • Naomi

      I know! She wants my wicker stools and I think I have to give them to her.

      • megan

        Score!!! Hehehe. Truly, this was a labor of sister-love. 🙂

  25. The stress was worth it as it looks incredible! Easily one of my favorite things in the room and I love that it was a family project!

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