Upholstered Headboard - Beginner Project

I have been wanting to do this for such a long time.  I finally got the time, money and help of my husband to get it done.  

Last week, we went on a shopping trip and bought all the supplies needed to make a headboard.  What fun!  

Now that I have the flash headboard I need to do something different with the bed - cushions a new duvet, who knows!

If you would like to make this headboard, I've included my pictures and instructions here.  


(to make a Queen Sized Headboard)


Top and Bottom Rails - 2x2" (50x50mm) pieces of wood - 58" (1475mm) x 2

Side Rails - 2x2" pieces of wood - 46" (1169mm) x2

Middle Support - 2x2" pieces of wood - 28" (711mm) x1

MDF - 2 pieces 32x30" (814x762mm)


(for metric measurements fabric requirements are in centimetres, not millimetres.)

Foam 1" thick - approximately 68x40" (173x110cm)

Batting - approximately 70x42" (180cmx110cm)

Fabric - 2 yards x 56" wide (200x150cm)

Calico - 60x32" (132x83cm)






Staple Gun

Note: I made a rookie mistake here - I used the length of the bed measurement instead of the width so my headboard is wider than the bed. I've given you the correct measurements for a Queen sized bed which measures 5'0” x 6'8” (153 x 203cm).

Adjustments for a Different Sized Bed

If your bed is a different size,  measure the width and subtract 4" for the top and bottom rails. The other measurements will be the same.

If your headboard needs to be taller, add the extra height to the side rails.

Make the Frame

We made our frame from 2x2s and a couple of pieces of MDF (mainly because the MDF left in one sheet wouldn't fit in the car!).

Lay out the top, bottom and side rails with the middle support according to the diagram below.

Nail the top and bottom rails between the side rails. The bottom rail sits at about 18" (455mm) from the ground but you will want to measure this on your bed. It needs to sit at about the bottom of the mattress.

Turn the frame over and nail the two pieces of MDF onto the frame.

Next we covered the frame with foam.  I bought a king size topper pad from Para Rubber.  It wasn't long enough so I had to cut it and put it back together.  

Lay the foam on the floor then lay the frame on top, facing down.

Wrap the foam up and around the frame, stapling it as you go. You may need to trim the foam to fit around the legs. Put the staples quite close together.

After the foam comes the batting, this makes it nice and soft as well as smoothing out the staples, etc.  

Wrap it in the same manner as you did the foam. Take more care with the corners to ensure they sit nice and flat. Trim off any excess with your scissors.

Once that's all nice and neat, it's time for the fabric which is probably the trickiest part, just because you need to get it on straight and looking pretty.

You repeat the process for the fabric but this time when you staple on the fabric you need to be a bit more careful.

Start by putting a staple in each of the centres - centre top, bottom and each side. Then work your way around, pulling the fabric nice and tight but not so much that it pulls everything out of shape.

To get the corners looking nice, you will need to mitre the fabric. All this means is that you are aiming to have a diagonal seam. To do this staple the fabric tight one way, then pull it down and staple it tight the other way.

Trim away excess fabric as you go.  This is what the corners should look like from the side.

We also stapled the fabric right down inside the frame as this stopped the foam bulging up at the back and it gives extra strength.

This is what you are aiming for.

Once you have completed the front, make the back tidy by covering it with a piece of calico. We folded in the edges and nailed this down.

All done!  We had fun making this and I'm really pleased with the outcome.  It doesn't really go with the blue walls and yellow drapes but we're house hunting so we're not worried about that just now.

If you liked this project please leave me a comment below.

You might also like this upholstered headboard with nailhead detail.

July 24, 2011