Easy DIY Upholstered Headboard

I have a pet peeve when it comes to do-it-yourself and home decorating blog posts… My Pinterest is constantly flooded with it. Title: ” Oh Em Gee, Easiest Project Ever,” “You Can Make This Intricate Looking Macrame with One Arm Tied Behind Your Back!” “I Created This One of a Kind Adirondack Chair in One Hour… With the 8 Different Types of Power Tools I Own and Have in My Garage” PEOPLE. I’m a mom. With a normal amount of tools, a budget, and very little time. I’m sure your project DID take you two hours, because your entire shed is full of Kreg Jigs and power sanders. And you don’t have an almost three year-old climbing on you like a rabid monkey the entire time. And, for the love, why is your supplies list SO. LONG!? I have about 20 minutes in between entrance and exit time at the store before my little one finds copper pipes to use as light sabers on fellow shoppers or something. This headboard really is easy. It took me roughly 3 days on and off, which includes shopping for supplies and only being able to work on it for an hour-ish for 2 days during nap time. The only somewhat out of the ordinary item you will need for it will be a staple gun and staples. I borrowed one from my sweet mom, but Home Depot has some options that are cheap and get great reviews here and here.

I based it on this tutorial I found over at The Everygirl. I have thought about upholstering a headboard for a long time… I love the tufted look and different shapes and styles of backing, but I inevitably decided that ain’t nobody got time for that. So, I chose a very basic rectangular style and used some fun fabric to make it pop. The fabric is from the Nate Berkus collection at JoAnn’s, and you guys…. It took me forever to decide on just one. All of them are so so good. The man can do no wrong! I know a lot of home décor fabric is on the pricier side, but I got it for 40% off, so it ended up not being that bad at all!


Supplies List (for a Queen Sized Headboard):

-2 yards of desired fabric (you will have a little leftover)

-1  1″x4″x*8′ wood board, cut in half (This is for the side pieces. Just measure how tall your want your headboard to be on the wall and go from there. I decided about 4 feet high would be good. I had them cut this board into two equal pieces in the store)

-1 1″x4″x10′ wood board, cut into two pieces that are equally 50″ long (These are for the top and bottom horizontal pieces. I measured our mattress as 58″ inches long, subtracted 8 inches for the width of the two boards on the side, and got 50 inches. Yay, math!)

-1 1″x4″x8′ wood board, cut into three equal pieces (For the inner boards. I wasn’t too picky about how far down the upholstered area went, as long as it was longer than 33″ so that it disappeared behind our mattress. You can do more exact measurements, if you prefer. These are to make it more sturdy and to give the foam something to stick to.)

-Foam mattress pad (Twin size)

-2 yards batting (I just used this)

-Staple gun and staples

Spray adhesive

-Mending braces (Enough for each joint where the boards match up. USE THESE AND ONLY THESE! TRUST ME!!)


First, I laid all of the boards out on to the ground to make sure that they were in the correct places. I just placed the three middle boards by sight and didn’t measure them to be exactly the same distance apart. It worked fine for me, but you can always measure if you’d rather!


At first, I used these smaller brackets on the front and back of the joints to hold the wood together. News flash: they didn’t work. I’m sure they would have been okay if I had glued the pieces together first, but they started falling out and shifting and causing all kinds of shennanigans as soon as I started upholstering. After I had a mini freak out, my sweet husband went over to Lowe’s and got me some mending braces… the bigger rectangular metal pieces with two holes for screws on each end. They worked so much better! Most of the photos will show these smaller ones, because they worked okay until the end. Just completely forget you even saw them and USE THE MENDING BRACES!!


After I had attached all of the wood pieces together, I laid out the upholstering materials like so: batting face down on the bottom (touching the floor), then the foam mattress pad on top of that (I put the indentations facing upward so that they would face the inside/back of the headboard, and then the wood on top of that. I left a good deal of batting and foam around the edges (enough to fold up and be stapled) and then cut the excess. Once I figured out even placement on all sides, I lifted up the wood and sprayed a little bit of adhesive on the front pieces that would be touching the foam. Some people choose to use an entire piece of plywood underneath the foam, but I thought the planks worked just fine.





After that, the fun began! Starting in the middle on the top and bottom, I folded the foam and batting up and around the wood and secured it with the staples. I may have gone a little overboard and used lots of staples close together, but I really wanted to make sure that everything was secured. I also pushed down on the wood piece a little bit with my knee while I was stretching and stapling to ensure that everything stayed tight. The top photos are after I had finished stapling and gone around with the scissors to cut off any excess foam or fabric. They should be trimmed pretty close to the staples.


On the front, I took those pieces that were hanging a little on the boards, tucked them up and under, and stapled them (you will need to do this with the fabric covering it, as well. Thankfully, it is behind the mattress, so you won’t be able to see anything!). After this, I laid the fabric out on the ground good side down, measured the same way as I did with the foam and batting (leaving a little more for it to overlap and cover the previous staples), laid the upholstered wood piece on top of it, and then stapled it to the wood support the same way I did with the materials underneath. One thing to be sure of is that your fabric is even and laying correctly! I tripled checked that the pattern was level and matched up horizontally across, but it still looks a little wonky to me sometimes.






Here is the finished product in place behind our bed! Super easy, super fast, and something fun, colorful, and comfortable to lean up against when we are reading (or, really, watching Community) in bed. We have since put up some wall lamps, and I need to paint our side tables to match. Our room is finally coming along!




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