June 29, 2009

DIY Upholstered Headboard

If you like the look of an upholstered headboard without the custom price tag, why not do it yourself like I did? I built this wall-mounted design with a few straightforward steps and materials. (Be sure to check out my patio makeover, too, as well as the rest of my loft in the August 2009 issue of House & Home.)

Materials and Tools

  • 3/4″ “select grade” plywood
  • High density foam (2″-3″ thick)
  • Batting (see below to measure quantity)
  • Fabric (see below to measure quantity)
  • 3/4″ staples
  • 1 set of heavy duty “d” rings (for either end of the headboard)
  • 3/4″ nails or screws
  • Tape measure
  • Electronic stud finder (optional)

Step 1

Determine the width of your headboard. Start by measuring the width of your mattress; then add two inches to either side. (Once you have your duvet on your bed it appears wider, so you want your headboard to cover this width.) For example, a queen mattress width is 60″, so your finished headboard width should be 64″. (Remember the old adage: measure twice, cut once. Ensure your measurements are accurate before cutting any materials.)

Step 2

Determine the height of the headboard: on average, between 28″ and 36″ tall. You can give the illusion that the finished headboard is slightly taller or shorter by adjusting how high or low you hang it on the wall.

Step 3

Once you have the height and width dimensions, head to a home improvement store. Have them select a piece of 3/4″ “select grade” plywood and have it cut to your dimensions. (MDF is not suitable, as heat will will warp it over time.) Select-grade plywood is clean and smooth on at least one side. The smooth side will face the wall.

Step 4

At a fabric supply store, purchase a piece of high-density foam at least 2″-3″ thick. This should be cut to the exact finished size of your headboard. You can expect to pay $80 to $100 for good-quality foam, which is worth investing in because it’s plush to lean against. Also, purchase enough batting and fabric to cover the surface area of your headboard, plus add 8″ on both the width and height. This will ensure you have enough batting and fabric to wrap the headboard. So, for a 64″ x 36″ headboard you’ll need enough batting and fabric to cover a 72″ x 42″ surface. (Keep in mind fabric is generally 54″. So, if you choose a fabric with a pattern, you will have to seam the fabric together into pieces to get the overall desired width. A better choice might be to go with a solid fabric or one with an overall pattern that has no particular direction. I chose a white vinyl fabric that has the look of tufted leather.)

Step 5

On a flat, clean surface, lay down the fabric with the “right side” facing down. Lay the cotton batting on top of the fabric. Lay the foam down onto the centre of the batting, and then the plywood (smooth side up) on top of that.

Step 6

Begin wrapping the fabric and batting over the foam and plywood as you would wrap a gift. Pull the fabric so it is taut, and staple the fabric and batting together onto the plywood, starting at the sides (three and nine positions if it were a clock.) Continue stapling at the top and bottom, and then at 1″ intervals until the entire frame is done. The corners can be cut back and folded so that they form a neat, tucked in edge. (This may take some practice.)

Step 7

Determine the spacing of the studs within the wall where you will hang the headboard. (You can use an electronic stud finder tool for this or tap on the wall.) Installing your hanging hardware into these studs will ensure the stability and safety of the headboard. Install nails or screws into the studs. Then, attach the “d” ring hanging hardware onto the back of the headboard according to measurement of the studs and hanging nails or screws. Once the set of d rings are installed, you can hang your headboard.

Visit her website to see more of Sabrina Linn‘s style and pillow collections.

Author: Sabrina Linn

Sabrina Linn