There are a million tutorials on how to make an upholstered headboard on the internet but it’s seriously so easy that everyone should try it! With this blog, you’ll learn how to make more than just the typical rectangle of wood wrapped in batting and fabric. You’ll learn how to add some interest to the shape, thicken it up to make it more substancial and trim it out with really easy nailheads! This project takes between 3-6 hours to complete
–plywood: 3/4 thick and 4 foot by 8 foot (buy the cheapest you can find. Our’s was about $20.)
–fabric (look for sales and coupons for your local fabric stores. Mine was about 2$ per yard and you’ll only need about 3 yards. Standard fabric is between 44 and 60 inches in width (we will turn our fabric sideways and use the width of the fabric for the height of our headboard). Since my headboard is only 44 inches in height and our fabric was 54 inches wide, it worked out perfect to only by 3 yards to run along the width of the headboard. If your fabric is narrower than your desired headboard height, you will have to buy double the amount of fabric and sew them together.)
–batting: I went with one of the thicker options. It was about 60 inches wide so I only purchased 2 yards total ($4.20 per yard on sale)
–nail tril on a spool (about $20)
–1 inch screws (you’ll only need about 20 so don’t buy a huge package)
–6 foot length of 2×4 ($5, this is what we used to secure the headboard to our bed frame so if you plan on doing it a different way then don’t purchase)
-stapler and TONS of staples (like 1000)(any size staple length should work, just make sure they work in your staple gun…. we might have had an issue with this initially 🙂 )
-electric screw driver
-hammer with sock covering it or a rubber mallot
-2 saw horses
-dining table or large table to craft on
-a yard length T ruler
– 24 inches of some form of string or yarn to use as a compass for circular cut outs in the corners
-1 tac for the compass
1. We made 8 cuts and 23 screws for this entire project. (It’s all about the stapler for this headboard) Prep work can make or break a project like this. So gather all of the tools, extension cords, have everything plugged in and set up before beginning.
2. First set up two saw horses a few feet apart and lay the plywood on top.
3. We have a queen size mattress and a wood bedframe that we previous made (instructions to come later) that is 64.5 inches in width. We wanted our headboard 44″ inches in height. To make life easiest, we cut a 4 inch piece off of the entire length of the board (the board was 48 inches wide and we wanted our head board to be 44 inches… 48-44=4 inches) Use the T ruler and make a straight line down the entire length of your board at this mark and cut using the circular saw.
4. Here is a diagram of how to cut the remainder of the wood.
5. You should now have 4 boards total (4 pcs: Piece A) 44″ x 64.5″, Piece B) 44″ x 15.75″, Piece C) 44″ x 15.75″, Piece D) 4″ x 33″). One main headboard rectangle (piece A), and 3 other boards that we will use to add some bulk to the entire headboard and will be on the backside of the piece A. We will now cut the circle out of the corner of 3 of those pieces using the jig saw. With a pen and tac tied together with about 12 inches of string in between, place the tac in the upper outer corner of one of the 15.75 inch boards (piece B or C), hold the pen out as far as you can and draw the quarter circle.
6. Place this board on the saw horses and use the jig saw to cut this circle out.
7. Use the newly cut piece of board as a template for the other 15.75 inch board… place it on top and trace. Then cut.
8. We cut into the 15.75 inch boards first so that we could get warmed up before cutting into the big piece (piece A), which will be the piece in the front and therefore the most important. The 15.75″ pieces will actually lay ON piece A, making it two pieces of plywood thick. When we are finished, we will end up w/ 4 circular corners cut out in total ( 2 cut outs on piece A, and a single cut out on both piece B and C). Now place the 2 already cut pieces onto the main board and use them as template to make marks on the larger board. Cut the circles out of the larger board (piece A).
9. Now it’s time to put the boards in the proper places, glue and screw them onto the large board. We lined up all three boards perfectly (pieces B and C go on the out and piece D is used along to top to join them and make the headboard seem thicker around the entire outter edge. You might now say “but we didn’t add anything to the bottom to make it 2 pieces of wood thick” . The short answer is that ‘it’s not going to show so who cares!’. After laying the boards out properly, glue the boards in place with wood glue, then use 1 inch wood screws (4 per piece of wood) to secure the smaller pieces (B, C, D) to the large board (A).
10. YEY! The base is complete. Now drag it into your bedroom and hold it in place (preferably using some strong men) and make sure you like the height. If not, cut a little off the bottom till you like it.
11. Now we prep the fabric. Iron your fabric! Don’t even think about wasting all this time constructing a headboard and then just staple on the sort-of wrinkle free fabric direct from the store… IRON! Maybe even STARCH! I had fabric that was 60 inches wide so I used that width for the height and then ran the 2.5 yards of fabric across (right to left) of the board… that way I didn’t have a seam. If you decide to make a giant sized headboard, you might need to sew two pieces of fabric together before starting this process. Either way… IRON!
12. We used our dining room table as a working table but if you are concerned about scratching your’s, set up a folding table or even put a tarp on the floor. Then lay your fabric face down, batting then board (in that order). The front of the headboard (not the back side with screwed pieces) should be facing down.
13. Cut the batting and head board so that it hangs past the edge about 5 inches.
14. Now gather your staple gun and million staples (just make sure you have a lot) and start with the batting. I like to staple the batting completely and then staple the fabric second. The fabric is a little tricky to get perfectly smooth (but do-able) so I think having it in its own step makes life easier. Trying to staple the batting and the fabric ALL at once is not my recommendation. I like to start with a single staple in the center bottom of the batting. Then pull taut the top and place a center staple there. Next, pull the sides taut and place a single staple in each. Now go back to the bottom and work your way out to the sides. I like to place a few staples across and then go back and work in more staples until there are staples every inch or less. After the bottom is finished, repeat these steps on the top and then the sides, take your time and check that the batting is nice and smooth on the front.
15. Once you get to the two circle cut outs… everything else should be taught and stapled. I like to cut down the center toward to the board. Then do a few more in rays out from the circle. This makes it easier to pull each piece tight around the cut out before stapling.
16. Now the batting is done… hold the board up and double check that the batting is smooth.
17. Now you are ready for the fabric. I do basically the exact same thing with the fabric as I did with the batting except I take more TIME! Really make sure it is smooth before continuing. At the circle cut outs, be very careful not to cut the “rays” too close to the wood or your cut fabric will show on the edge of your headboard. Less is more and you can always cut more if you need to, you just want to make it easier to pull tight. At the corners, take your time to pull some of the fabric and get a perfect line at the edge of the board before stapling.
18. When you are finished, hold the board up and double check it’s how you like it. The best advice I can give is really evaluate if you are satisfied, if not, pull the nessessary staples out and try again! It’s that easy and you’ll be happier when you look at this headboard EVERY DAY!
19. You are almost finished! Time for nail trim. You can purchase nail trim at Jo-Ann’s and probably many other places that is a strand of nail heads and you only have to nail in every 6th nail. This helps make it look straight and it takes far less time. Start by unwinding the nail strand. We will work in 5 separate sections… right side, left side, top, right circle, left circle. Start by drawing a line around your head board where you’ll lay your nail heads. I measured 4 inches into my headboard and then drew a straight line with my t-ruler and a pencil (use a pencil so you can clean it off easier if you mess up or use a sewing chalk), stopping short of the circle cut out. To make the perfect round shape around your cut out, use one of the pieces of wood that was left over from this cut out, push it in about 4 inches and draw you line. After you have this perfectly layed out around your board you are ready to nail.
20. Start by holding your nail strip up to your board and measuring the side… between the circle and the bottom. Use sissors to cut the nail strip at the desired length. Make sure that you have one of the nails with a hole in it at the top by the circle cut out. This way you can end with a securing nail. The bottom can be a little short so that you can end with a securing nail as well. The shortness will not show behind your bed.
21. After you cut the nails to length, take your time to straighten the strip before nailing. The strip is rolled up and can also get a little kinked. I used a scrap piece of wood and lined the nails up with the edge untill it was a straight piece of nails. This makes it MUCH easier and straighter to line up on your headboard.
22. Now it’s time to lay the nail strip on your drawn line on the head board and carefully nail in the few securing nails. Use a rubber hammer or cover a hammer with a sock. Lay the strip down on your draw line and nail the end. Then nail the other end and make sure to double check your line is straigh before nailing each securing nail in between. Repeat for the rest of the headboard.
23. The last step is to either secure your headboard to your bed frame or to the wall. We used two 2x4s cut to about 2.4 feet long. We held the headboard in place (ours rested on the bed frame we had previously made), then screwed them up and down, overlapping from our bed frame up to the headboard. You could also scure it to the wall using piano hinges but we didn’t want to deal with that.
24. NOW YOUR DONE!!!! YEY! Lay in bed and ENJOY all the money you saved and the design that you created!