Your bedroom should be a refuge of peace and tranquility, and having a well-designed space can help you find that peace you so desire. A great bed is a fantastic starting point for the décor of your room. An upholstered headboard adds a thoughtful, classic design element, completely changing the look and feel of any bedroom or guest room.
If you’ve ever bought a custom upholstered headboard you know that they can be pricey, but making one on your own doesn’t cost a lot of money and is super easy to tackle in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Tools & Supplies
- Plywood cut to desired size of headboard
- Two pieces of 2-inch by 4-inch by 6-foot board
- 3-inch high-density foam, in same dimensions as plywood
- Spray adhesive
- Arrow T50elite™ ™ Staple & Brad Nail Gun
- Arrow 3/8-inch T50® staples
- Fabric scissors
- Arrow EBN320R.E.D.™ Electric Brad Nail Gun
- Arrow 2-inch BN18™ brad nails
- Screw gun
- 2-inch wood screws
- 3-inch wood screws
- Stud finder
Upolstered Headboard: Steps to Build
- Finish the shape of your headboard. A basic rectangle is going to be the easiest shape for a first-time upholstery project, but you can create rounded corners or a curvy detail on the top (just plan to give extra attention to detail when securing fabric around headboard curves).
- Trim the foam to the same size and shape as the plywood base (an electric roast cutter is great for this step—it goes right through the foam like butter!).
- Attach the foam to the plywood base using spray adhesive.
- Roll out the batting onto your work surface and place the headboard foam-side-down on top of the batting (this layer of batting will give the headboard a bit more cushioning since the foam can be a bit dense). Wrap the headboard with the batting and secure to the back of the plywood about 2 inches from the edges using your Arrow T50elite™ Staple & Brad Nail Gun and 3/8-inch T50® staples. Place the staples parallel to the edge of the batting every inch or so to properly hold the batting in place. Trim any excess batting from headboard.
- Place your fabric face-down on the work surface. Place the headboard on top of the fabric, making sure to properly align the headboard edges with any linear patterns in the fabric. Wrap the fabric over the edge of the headboard, starting on the side that is farthest from you, pulling the fabric toward you as you work to ensure that it remains smooth. Fold the edge of the fabric over by half an inch so you have a clean, non-frayed edge to staple into; then pull the fabric up and onto the back of the headboard and staple in the center. Work your way out toward each end, stapling every inch or so and stopping about 2 inches from each corner.
- Turn the headboard around so you are now working on the edge opposite the one you just stapled; then fold over fabric edge and staple to headboard. Repeat on remaining sides of headboard.
- To finish headboard corners, gently pull the fabric up and over a corner so that you have a smooth and clean face at the corner and place a staple just inside of the corner. Next, neatly gather any fabric that extends from the corner to the area on the side that has already been stapled so you have a smooth edge on the side (this will be seen when the headboard is attached to the wall). Staple in place and repeat for the remaining corners.
- Create a cleat system to attach your headboard to the wall by cutting one of the 2-inch by 4-inch boards in half at a 45 degree angle along the 4-inch side, creating two long, right-triangle boards. This is best done with a table saw; if you have one, set your blade at 45 degrees and run the board down the saw. Otherwise, you can ask the pros at your home center or lumber yard to make the cuts for you.
- Attach one half of the 2×4 to the backside of the headboard 6 inches from the headboard’s top edge. Mark a level line on the back where this part of the cleat will go to keep it straight. Place the cleat against the back so that the long side faces out to the wall and the shorter edge is against the back of the headboard, with the point of the triangle facing down. Secure the cleat in place with wood glue and your Arrow EBN320R.E.D. Electric Brad Nail Gun and 2-inch brads. Add a few 2-inch wood screws for extra strength.
- Mark a line on the wall where your cleat is going to be placed, then use your stud finder to locate and mark the locations of wall studs along the line. Hold the remaining half of the cleat to the wall so that the longer edge faces into the room and shorter edge is again the wall,and the point of the triangle facing up just above the line on the wall. Drive 3-inch screws into the cleat at the stud points.
- The last 2×4 is for the bottom edge of the back of the headboard. You can attach the 2x4x6 from the bottom of the headboard back using your Arrow EBN320R.E.D. Electric Brad Nail Gun. The purpose of this piece of wood is to properly align the headboard so that the bottom edge doesn’t tip back toward the wall.
- Hang your upholstered headboard on the wall by sliding the cleat on the back of the headboard onto the cleat secured to the wall. The pieces will lock into one another and hold the headboard in place.