DIY Upholstered Headboard

Hello Readers,

Wow, 2 posts in a week? This is crazy! Maybe I’ll get used to bloggin afterall. ;p But seriously, this is awesome because I’m such a big procrastinator sometimes (when it comes to my own stuff anyways), so I’m happy I’ve been getting some projects done. What I want to share with you today is something that I’ve been wanting to make since before Christmas 2012, and that is – a headboard! Sounds simple enough, and really it is, but sometimes things can seem more tedious than they really are. It’s weird how that works, but really this was pretty easy and with a bit of careful planning and measuring, anyone can make one.

Here’s how I made mine:

First, and foremost, get a vision of how you want to decorate your room. Keep in mind colour scheme, even if you haven’t gotten everything else done yet (ie- painting), that way when you do get everything finished it will all go together. I picked out a nice sheer grey fabric based on the colour scheme we want for our room in the near future. But before I could pick out the fabric of course, my hubby and I measured the width and height of the headboard as we wanted it to be, then we got a piece of plywood cut for us to those dimensions. We ordered our foam from a family friend who works at a factory, though you can also buy some from fabric or craft stores. I didn’t use batting in mine, but many people use batting and foam underneath their material. That’s totally up to you, but I personally didn’t find it necessary.

What you will need:

  • basic tools like a drill/screwdriver, level, measuring tape, straight edge, hammer, stud finder (if hanging)
  • pencil
  • fabric (dimensions dependent on size of headboard, but add about 10″ extra per side for wrap around)
  • an iron (if you want to make sure your fabric is nice and wrinkle free before upholstering)
  • 2″-3″ thick foam (dimensions also dependent on headboard size, plus 6″ extra per side for wrap around)
  • cotton batting (optional – if using, keep foam dimensions exactly size of board, and add 6″ extra to sides of batting for wrap around)
  • plywood (width of your bed plus whatever overhang you want, height however tall you want it)
  • hooks and eyelets (# determined by how heavy your board is/what size)
  • upholstery tacks or heavy duty staple gun + staples
  • spray adhesive is optional
  • may need a craft knife if cutting foam thinner for wrap around
  • someone to help you out isn’t necessary, but suggested!
  • camera (optional) – to take a picture of your finished product 🙂

So after I bought the fabric, plywood and foam, along with some cute floral tacks from the craft department at Walmart, I was ready to start upholstering!

I laid out my freshly washed and ironed fabric on the floor, good side facing down, then placed the foam and plywood on top, centred it, then cut excess fabric from around the edges. Note: I left about 2-3 inches extra trim around to account for wrap around, but this could have been an extra inch longer to wrap it around the bottom of the foam at the back better. I also ended up using my craft knife to thin out the excess foam that stuck out the sides from my headboard for easier wrap around, and to better accomodate the length of my tacks – I highly recommend it! I trimmed it to about half to a third the thickness of the foam, which overall took about an extra half an hour, maybe less, but worth it. If you prefer to use cotton batting, then you can skip this step and just keep your foam the same dimensions as the board and wrap your batting around the back, so long as it’s bigger than the board. This way was just a lot cheaper.

I researched headboards online first and though many people suggest to spray the foam with a spray adhesive first so it doesn’t move around, I didn’t bother. I take a very simple approach to things and if it’s not necessary, it’s just not. But I did do what many say to do regarding tacking, and that’s to start from the middle of the headboard and work your way outward. This helps with stretching the fabric evenly over the foam and backboard and for tacking purposes. If you prefer, you may also use a handy staple gun – I didn’t, as after my last project, I found out my staple gun is just not that heavy duty and tacks work much better for me. Plus they have flowers on them, so the cuteness factor was definitely a plus. 🙂

I asked my 5 yr-old to sit on the fabric at the side to keep it from moving for the first few tacks, and hammered those things in good. After that, it was just a matter of spacing them out evenly. My one word of caution with tacking, is that the tacks do bend quite easily and can snap apart if bent too much, so get extra tacks! They are cheap so won’t burn a hole in your pocket, and if there’s extra left over at the end, all the more better to have some for your next project. I did two opposite sides at a time, then switched to the other sides, leaving the corners open for the moment.

Since I was running low on tacks after breaking some, my hubby helped me to nail in the corners by folding over the fabric neatly and holding it taught while he quickly and accurately hammered the nails into the board. It takes some skill with a hammer as if your tack is not hit in the center, they will bend and break. I’d recommend making this with a friend for all the reasons above and more – plus it’s more fun with help! ^_^ After getting the corners nailed, I stood it against the wall to admire our handywork.

Below: Laying out the fabric, foam and plywood – foam already thinned out, and tacking down fabric!

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Below: My youngest took this photo me because he wanted to – he’s a little photographer in the making!

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Below: Close-up of fabric and corner of headboard at back.

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The next step was to hang it! So again I got my hubby to assist in measuring where exactly we would place our headboard by using the measuring tape and a straight edge, (in this instance my T-square), to evenly mark out where the edges of the headboard would go with faint pencil on the wall. Next we attached a long board to the back of the headboard (could have done this before we upholstered it, but didn’t think we’d have to). So my hubby screwed on the board (I used some scrap wood salvaged from an old tv-unit), and cut another piece to extend it since it wasn’t quite long enough. Use whatever you have first, provided it’s the right thing for the job; it’s handy and it’s being responsible with your money/resources.

We determined that 4 hooks and eyelets were what we felt comfortable using to hang this board, as it was pretty light and those things can hold heavier stuff than that. Depending on what your board is like, you may decide to use french cleats (sort of like ledges with an angled edge that you hang like a puzzle one atop the other, one attached to the wall, the other to the headboard). Others may decide that they’d like to go the traditional route and attach posts to either side of the headboard and let it sit atop of that. It’s your choice, so have fun with it!

Basically, we took our stud finder, found four spots on the wall that were in line with each other, marked those out in pencil on the wall, then measured out the same distance across the back of our headboard where the added board was, and pre-drilled all the holes in both.

I had tried to use a different type of hanging clip originally with a moveable ring, but that was just too tricky to hang so I ended up getting the correct hanging tool the second time around. But that’s DIY for you – you learn as you go! ^_~ Nothing wrong with that in my book. So anyways, we finally got the right hooks so I finished off the screwing into the headboard and wall this evening and I’m quite pleased with the outcome. I may try to use some of the excess fabric to make matching pillows or curtains. Oh you thought I was done? Never. ;p

Below: Photos of the hooks and eyelets I used. They were 1 3/8″ and 1 7/16″ respectively, though you could use whatever size suits your board.

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And finally – the finished product below!

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