Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Simple Upholstered Headboard

One of the projects that went into my mother's room makeover was the creation of a simple upholstered headboard. I would have loved to have put a metal headboard into her room, but that wasn't in the cards (or the budget) so I had to figure out how to make an easy headboard so the room would still have a nice, finished look.

My mom's bed is king sized, so the headboard is large but it was still pretty simple and quick to put together. I went to Lowe's after I got into town and bought a sheet of 3/4" particle board then had the store employees cut it down to a piece 36" x 80" -- then because it wouldn't fit in my car like that I had them cut it in half so I ended up with two pieces that were both right around 36" x 40" (the saw blade through the middle took off a negligible amount of width).

Note: If you can get a 36" x 80" piece home, don't cut it! The board will be much stronger if you don't have to piece it back together. Having said that, I think my finished headboard is plenty strong.

I also bought a few 2x4's and primed then painted the bottom section of two of them (that will become the visible legs of the headboard). I cut the leg pieces to 54" which will be the overall height of the board, and I glued then screwed them onto the particleboard base. Next I cut two more 2x4's to 73" and ran them between the legs as horizontal supports to help secure the two pieces of particleboard. I secured them with glue and screws.

Last I added a center piece of 2x4 along the particleboard seam to fit. More glue, more screws.

I flipped the entire headboard over and then added a few more screws through the 2x4's from the front side -- of course, no photos of that! I'm a fan of making things secure.

Next I used spray adhesive to adhere a layer of foam to the board. To save money I purchased a full sized memory foam topper from Walmart for $30 and cut it up. Some people use electric knives to cut through foam but I carefully used a utility knife and it worked fine -- I would probably advise against cutting with regular scissors as the edge will look very ragged and that will be noticeable under the fabric.

Another tip to achieve a smooth edge is to put the factory edge of the foam on the top of the headboard and the cut side on the bottom -- the upholstered part of this headboard goes almost to the box springs so it won't be visible if it's not perfect.

At this point I carried the headboard inside to finish the job.

After the foam was on the next step was to wrap it with batting and adhere with staples This added a bit more softness and will also keep the foam from shifting.

After the batting was securely stapled on, it was time to pull out the fabric. I bought a few yards of linen from JoAnn with a 40% off coupon (plus a 20% off total purchase coupon from a competitor, scoooore!) and had my sister iron it for me since she was a captive helper and I hate ironing.

I carefully draped the fabric over the headboard and lined it up so that the weave was nice and straight across.

I stapled the fabric in the center of each side first to hold it in place and then started working my way around slowly with the stapler.

Whenever I upholster I tend to go side to side, top to bottom, pulling the fabric tight and stapling in a symmetrical pattern as I work my way around until it's nice and secure. I save the corners for last because they're dumb. I'm also a fan of using lots of staples. If you pull it tight and then skip 4 inches before you put the next staple in, the foam will bulge between the staples and you'll have a scalloped headboard (which sounds better than it would look simply because the word scalloped sounds so fancy and crafty. It would look bad, I promise!)

After the headboard was complete I just moved it behind the bed and used the gargantuan weight and height of the bed to hold it in place. It's not going anywhere. However, if you have a less obscenely heavy bed or the headboard doesn't go down as far behind the mattress as this one does, you can attach it to the wall if you prefer. I used a french cleat to hang my guest room tufted headboard and they're wonderful for hanging heavy objects.

And there you have it, voila! All in all the entire headboard probably took a couple hours to build... definitely doable! Headboards for everyone!

Sharing at: Home Stories A to Z


  1. This whole room looks great - love it!

  2. Looks great! I have yet to tackle one of these but when I do I hope it turns out as good as yours did.


  3. I'm curious what was the total cost of this project? The room looks great! I'm here from YHL and I've got you bookmarked!

  4. I read that Post and got it fine and informative. click here

  5. I have bookmarked your blog, the articles are way better than other similar blogs.. thanks for a great blog! platform bed headboard


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