DIY Home & Décor


March 15, 2016
DIY Headboard

7 Steps to your own DIY Upholstered Headboard

If you’re looking for an easy DIY project to take on this spring, why not consider making your own headboard. Headboards add such a lovely finishing touch to bedrooms and upholstered ones have become very popular in the past few years. That being said, they can be an expensive investment, though a good one. On the other hand, a DIY headboard can vary in price, but ultimately save you dough. Not to mention they are fun projects that with the right preparation and material take very little time to completion. I made mine in 7 steps within a few days and thanks to savvy recycling of materials and shopping sales mine cost be about $50.

Let’s start with what you will need for this project!


  • Plywood for back of headboard – measured to the width of your bed and the desired height
  • Two pieces of 2×2 for the legs
  • Paint or wood stain
  • Foam – about 4 inches thick to cover back
  • Adhesive spray
  • Quilt batting large enough to cover and fold over the back of the headboard and foam
  • Fabric also large enough to cover and fold over the back of the headboard and foam
  • Staple gun (preferably an electric one)
  • Iron, scissors and measuring tape or ruler
  • Craft Cover Button Kit (optional)

Now let’s walk through this step-by-step.

Step 1 – Prep your headboard back

Start by determining how large you want your headboard, mine measures the width of my queen size bed and about 3 feet high to ensure it looks in proportion with the bed. You’ll want to use plywood for this and cut exactly to size. Get your dad’s handy power tools or ask your local hardware store to cut the wood for you.

Step 2 – Prepare the legs

For the legs you will want two 2×2 pieces of wood cut to the height of your bed + height of headboard.  These can then be drilled onto the back of the headboard running along each side. I suggest you stain or paint these beforehand so they look finished when seen from the top side of the bed. Once complete, the legs can be free standing between your bed frame and wall or you can screw them into the bed frame to make it sturdier. If you have hardwood floors, you may want to add some felt padding to the bottoms.

Step 3 – Prepare the padding

To make a headboard that has substance you’ll want to use foam that is thick and firm. I recycled foam from couch cushions. These were actually TOO thick, so I had to cut them in half width-wise using an X-Ato knife. Then I used black marker to mark and cut the foam to cover the entire surface of the back making sure each piece was even in thickness.

Step 4 – Adhere the padding

Once your padding is cut to shape I suggest using an adhesive spray to attach the padding to the headboard back. I suggest a 3M multi-purpose spray, which is about $10. Follow the instructions and it will work like a charm.

DIY Headboard

DIY Headboard – Step 1, 2,3 and 4 all done!

Step 5 – Adding quilt batting

Don’t worry if the surface is not 100% perfect, that’s why we will be covered all of this with 1 or 2 layers of quilt batting. The extra thick quilt batting will cost roughly $20 at Wal-Mart. After cutting to size, lay this out on the floor and place your headboard foam side down on top. Then using an electric staple gun, hold it taut all the way around as you staple away.

DIY Headboard

Step 5

Step 6 – Prepare your fabric

Guess what… the hard part is done! Now you want to find the perfect upholstery fabric. This is a heavier weight fabric than what you use for sewing clothes. I found a roll in the clearance section that matched my bedspread perfectly and it was only $15. I cut it to the right size and then ironed it out to ensure there were no creases.

DIY Headboard

Step 6

Step 7 – The last step!

Now, lay your fabric down with the right side (the nice side you want to see) facing the floor. Place the headboard on top foam side down. You will repeat what you did with the quilt batting. Make sure you pull taut, but evenly along the edge. After my first time around I went a second time to add steps where the fabric was a bit loose or not smooth. Lots of staples may be necessary, hence the electric staple gun!

DIY Headboard

Step 7 and finishing up

And now you’re done! You have yourself a headboard that will last years to come and you saved yourself some money along the way. And if you are a handy woman, then I’m sure you enjoyed tackling this project.

The great thing about this is you can make it your own. For instance, you may want to add tufting with fabric covered buttons. I actually drilled holes into my headboard back for this purposes but never ended up doing it, because I liked the smooth look.

The other great thing is you can switch the fabric out after years pass and you get board of it. I also have to say that the fabric I chose is very easy to keep clean. I can easy vacuum it and wipe it down with a damp cloth if necessary.

DIY Headboard

The finished product

Since making this headboard I have moved to a new place and because I chose a fairly neutral fabric to cover it, it still matches my new bed spread. So make sure you consider these things too! Best of luck if you decide to take on this project this spring.

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