Last January, my husband and I bought a house in Rogue River, Oregon so I could spend more time with my grandparents, who live very close by.  Much of the time we spend there has been taken up by home improvement projects.  On this last trip, we made an upholstered headboard.

There are lots of tutorials online for making an upholstered headboard.  Here are two I used:,,HGTV_3439_1391743,00.html

While we didn’t follow the instructions in these tutorials exactly, I kind of used ideas from both in our headboard.

Here’s what we did:

1)  Took the measurements for our headboard using the size of our bed (California king) and how high we wanted it to rise above the bed.

2)  Went to Lowes, found the lumber section, and asked the nice man to cut us a piece of 1/2 inch plywood to our measurements.  We also picked up a couple of 1x4s while we were there, which would be the legs of our headboard.  We cut the 1x4s ourselves when we got home.

3)  Went to the fabric store, picked out our fabric, and asked the nice lady to cut enough of it to cover our headboard, allowing for about a 4-5 inch “overhang.”  We also bought batting here, which came in a package large enough to cover our headboard (and probably a couple more).

4)  Mick figured out where the legs to our headboard would be attached.  Here’s where we made our first mistake–originally we’d intended to attach the legs of the headboard to the metal bed frame.  However, in measuring for the wood, we didn’t account for much beyond the edges of the mattress.  When we got home, we realized that if we wanted to attach the legs to the bed, the 1x4s would have to be attached to the plywood at the very edges of it.

In retrospect, we should’ve done one of of two things:  One–decide we weren’t going to attach the legs to the bed at all, or two–measure the plywood a bit bigger so that the legs wouldn’t have to be attached to the edges.  In the end, we attached them right to the edges, still intending to attach it to the bed, but when we actually set it up we ended up just resting it against the wall and pushing the bed up to it.

5)  Mick drilled holes and attached the legs to the plywood using woodscrews, thus finishing the wood frame that the batting and fabric would be attached to.

6)  Here’s where the fun part began.  I measured out the batting that would be stapled around the frame.  I wasn’t too exact about it, but left about 4 inches all around to allow it to be stapled to the back.

7)  Next, I got out my handy-dandy staple gun and stapled the batting as neatly and tightly as I could around the frame.

After doing this, we weren’t happy with the thickness of the padding, so we stapled another layer of batting around it.  Note:  Some tutorials for upholstered headboards say to attach rubber foam to the plywood using spray adhesive, then covering that with batting.  In retrospect, I wish I would’ve done that, but only because I think it would’ve felt a bit more luxurious.

8)  Finally, it was time to attach the fabric we’d chosen, which was a gorgeous taupe ultrasuede.  As you can see, we kind of had to work around the legs.  In the tutorials listed above, the legs are attached after the batting and fabric are done, which is a better method, but since we’d had the problems with the placement of the legs and knew the 1x4s would show if we didn’t cover them with fabric as well, we attached the legs first.

9)  The finished headboard, which Mick caresses lovingly:

10)  And here you have it, our lovely new bed:

Mistake #2:  We need to put another 1×4 near the top of the headboard so it all sits flush against the wall.  It’s not a big deal but it will make it feel more sold.

5 Replies to “Making an Upholstered Headboard”

  1. Kimie says: June 2, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I love how you posted your mistakes as well as the things you did right–very, very helpful! And I love the new headboard :). Looks great.

  2. Julie says: January 23, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    I love it! I’ve never tackled a project that big. The headboard came out great. What’s next?

  3. Antoinette says: January 19, 2007 at 10:49 am

    That looks really great! I love the suede fabric you picked. If you’re going to put a 1×4 along the top, I would personally do it on the sides as well to give it a “framed” affect and then stain the wood a rich chocolate color to compliment the tan suede. But that’s just me. I also think it looks great just the way it is. I love seeing fun DIY things that you’ve done to the place. I often wish that I would have taken before and after pics of things we’ve done around our house. Ah well.

  4. Mick says: January 17, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    As well as putting the 1×4 along the top, we should also have had the side 1x4s got all the way up to the top, to avoid that little kink in the side.

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