Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Making an Upholstered Headboard

I don't often DIY outside the kitchen, but sometimes I get inspired by all the awesome home blogs in my feed. After several internal motivational speeches, I was finally ready to take on the project I had my eye on for years... an upholstered headboard.

You see, we had a very collegiate mattress up against a bare wall thing going. Not cute. With all the furniture-buying we've done in the past few months, I was grateful to find a chic AND affordable solution for our bedroom. Howard approves.

My instructions below, but I heavily referenced the House Updated how-to. The size of this can be completely customizable. I didn't want it to be too tall (mine is 53" tall and we have a low-profile box spring), but whatever you choose be sure you measure everything twice. So here's what you'll need:

  • 1 - 3/8 inch piece of plywood, cut to size (mine is 66" x 33")
  • 4 - 2"x4"s, cut to size 
  • Wood screws
  • Electric drill
  • Paint and brush for legs
  • 1 large roll 2" foam
  • Spray adhesive
  • 1 large bag batting
  • Muslin
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Staple gun (electric will make it a lot easier) 
  • Upholstery nail trim
So I took the easy way out and had my Dad make the frame. Most hardware stores will cut the plywood and 2"x4"s for you. I picked up my supplies at my neighborhood Ace Hardware. Once the wood is cut and measured, it wouldn't be too hard to assemble, but I'm super grateful to have that handy guy in my life. Didn't he do a good job? 

I had lots of helpers on this project...my Dad made the frame and my Mom helped me with the upholstery. Here she's spraying the adhesive, using a grocery bag to protect her manicure. Naturally she is wearing chic leopard shoes while constructing furniture. Naturally. 

You simply spray on the adhesive and then apply the foam to the board. We did this outside, since the adhesive has a rather strong scent (#DontGetHighWithYourMom). Once the foam was adhered, I used a pair of sharp scissors to trim the excess foam overhang.

I'd seen multiple tutorials on this project and some used just batting, rather than thick foam. I can't recommend the thick foam enough. It really makes the finished product more comfortable and expensive-looking. After the foam, you'll simply lay down a layer of batting, set the frame on top of it and pull around the overhang to staple on the back. Two people is helpful here, so you can pull each layer taught before stapling. After batting, you'll repeat with a layer of muslin. Just wrap the corners like you would a gift.

Helpful tip -- iron your muslin and upholstery fabric before applying. This helps ensure you'll have a smooth final product. Your fabric choice should definitely be heavy, upholstery weight, since you'll be pulling it taught.

Once you've pulled and smoothed, just staple the crap out of it.

For a bit of extra flair, I picked up some nailhead trim on Amazon. This is a product by Dritz that is one continuous strip, so you don't have to nail-in each individual tack. Total lifesaver. You simply line it up and use a rubber mallet to hammer in every 5th nailhead.

Hello gorgeous! Doesn't this look legit?

While you can't see the trim from the front, it adds a chic detail that we see every night when we get in bed. It's the little things. Howard is grateful that he now has a more elegant and comfortable place to nap. 


  1. Love this! Great job Care. Can't wait for you to show me how to cook AND diy headboards :)


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