DIY an Upholstered Headboard

A floral upholstered headboard in a bedroom.
What You'll Need
Board cut to desired size
staple gun
5 yards of fabric
Foam padding
Wooden board or plywood
Stick pins
Fabric or wood glue
Mounting hooks or D-rings
Heavy-weight nails or screws

Create your own headboard with materials available at your local hardware store and fabric shop. An upholstered headboard can customize a bedroom's décor and match just about anything, from furniture to blankets and curtains, and can be hung behind your bed for a unique, one-of-a-kind accent in your bedroom.

Step 1 - Pick Your Fabric

Choose the fabric you would like to cover the headboard with. When choosing your fabric, consider what colors will be best for your room. According to Robert Brantzeg of Vintage Headboards and, "Antique White is the most commonly ordered color from our customers, interior decorators and end users of our headboards."

A thicker fabric is ideal, as it will prevent the board from splintering or damaging the fabric. Foam padding should also be available at a fabric or craft store, in a variety of thicknesses. Choose a thin or thick padding, depending on how much of an impression you would like to make on the front side of the board, if you decide to press pins into the material and the board. A padding that is too thick will make it difficult for the pins to remain in place.

Step 2 - Glue the Foam

In this next step, lay the board flat on the ground on top of the foam padding. But before you select your cut board, check the wood's quality. When looking for plywood for any project, Brantzeg says to ask yourself the following questions: Is the plywood going to be painted or stained? Are any parts of the plywood going to be a structural component like a shelf, for example? If it is going to be stained, do you want to see the wood grain? If yes, what type of grain do you like? Oak? Birds Eye Maple? Or will you be buying cabinet grade plywood and adding your own veneer like a riffed white oak, for example?

Line up the padding with the board, and trim any foam away from the edges of the board. Glue the foam to the board so it doesn’t slide or slip around once it is covered in fabric. Once the foam and glue are set, leave the board and foam to dry for several hours.

Step 3 - Prepare the Fabric

Place the fabric on the floor, with the pattern side face down. Set the foam side of the board down on top of the fabric. If there is any pattern to the fabric, make sure the lines are even with the edges of the board and not crooked or diagonal, unless that is the desired effect.

Step 4 - Wrap the Fabric

Wrap the fabric around the edges of the foam and board to the back side. This will be the back side thais against the wall. Pull the fabric around to one of the back corners and staple it, about two inches in from the edge so that the staples cannot be seen from the front side of the headboard.

Step 5 - Staple the Corners

Pull the fabric tightly at the corner diagonal from the one you just stapled. Pull it tightly around the back side of the headboard and staple it the same way, about two inches from the edge. Be careful not to pull the fabric too tightly, and instead pull it taught so the fabric is tight and flat on the front display side of the headboard. Do the same steps for the last two corners, pulling the fabric around to the back then tightly folding the edges over and stapling so that no creases stick up around the corners or edges.

Step 6 - Staple the Remaining Fabric

Staple the rest of the fabric around the back side of the board, following the 2-inch guide around the edges, as with the corners. Any bumps in the fabric can be smoothed by folding the fabric slightly over itself on the back side and stapling it into place. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of staples. There should be a staple about every half an inch or so to hold the fabric tightly in place. When finished, the fabric on the front side of the headboard should be smooth and even, all the way to the edges.

Step 7 - Create a Stick Pin Design (Optional)

Use a pencil to mark where you will place the stick pins on the front of the headboard. Select a design and draw it on with the pencil rather than a pen, so you can erase and correct any mistakes. You can create a border with stick pins an inch or two from the edge, or space pins evenly to create a vintage look. Otherwise, you may choose not to use stick pins at all.

Step 8 - Hammer the Pins

Use a mallet to hammer the stick pins into the headboard where you marked the points with your pencil. Make sure that they go all the way through the fabric and foam and into the wood of the board.

Step 9 - Mount the Headboard

Now that you’ve finished your headboard, mounting hooks must be attached to the back in order to hang it on the wall. Screw D-rings or heavy duty mounting hooks to the back side of the board. Use heavy-weight nails or screws to hang the headboard on the wall.

Your new DIY upholstered headboard will perfectly tie your room together. And, the best part is that it didn't break the bank!