diy upholstered headboard tips

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Hello and Welcome! I’ve had so many fantastic visitors popping over from Miss Mustard Seed and I couldn’t be more honored to have been featured over there for these headboards. Which is why I’m SUPER excited to bring you a little tutorial and some tips I learned from the whole experience of doing these myself.

I just have to say, I literally did these ALL by myself. My awesome hubby helps me out here and there with a lot of things, but these were my project and I was pretty proud to get them done start to finish. :-) He did actually help hang them though! Gotta give credit where credit is due!!!


OK….let’s get to it!

So, when I decided that I wanted to make these, I did what any sane person does and Googled “How to make an upholstered headboard”. Why reinvent the wheel, right? I was actually surprised at the limited resources I came across! I ended up getting some major help from Kelly at View Along The Way who has literally made an entire series on how to make an upholstered bed. Her bed is GORGEOUS!!! AND Her experience was SUPER helpful!!!

Each of the headboards I made were a little different, but I basically followed the same steps for each other them. Kelly’s tutorial is awesome and much more detailed than mine, but here are the steps I followed in a quick nutshell.


Here’s your supply list:



(remember you can always ask a friend or your hardware store to

help with cutting your material)

Foam and Bread Knife or Electric Knife

(optional, but recommended)

Spray Adhesive




I used: Duck Canvas in Navy 

Tommy Bahama Indoor/Outdoor Harbor Court Mojito

Staple Gun

Nailhead Trim Kit

I used:

French Natural Decorative Nailhead Trim Kit

(as recommended by Centsational Girl)

Needle Nose Pliers


Heavy Duty D-Rings or alternate hanging hardware

Ok. Here we go!

1. Draw your headboard shape onto the plywood. I used Kelly’s template here for the blue one, and then went straight across the top for the green one instead of adding that curve at the top.


2. Cut the plywood shape with a jigsaw.

3. Build up the frame around the edges with scrap wood/mdf. I used 1 x 4, 1 x 2, and 1 x 3 boards. I did this to give the nailhead trim something to go in to. I was using 2″ foam, and nailhead trim will not go into 2″ foam. ;-)



3. Once those are in place, flip it over, and re-cut the shape with the jigsaw.


4.  Ok. Flip it over again to the front and you’re ready to start cutting and applying your foam. The thickness of your foam is a personal preference. Some people even just wrap plywood with a ton of batting. Also, I’ve seen it recommened to use an electric knife to cut foam, but I don’t have an electric knife. After comically attempting scissors, a razor knife, and a reciprocating sawzall (seriously…it’s ok….you can laugh) :-D , I Googled for some more advice and realized that I could just use my good ‘ol bread knife. Things started going pretty fast after that discovery! :-)



5. Using spray adhesive, attach the foam in place. And a word of advice…follow the directions and don’t rush it. Spray the adhesive onto both surfaces being attached, WAIT for about a minute, THEN ATTACH. Just.don’t.rush it. You’ll about cry when it all falls off and you have to attach it all over again…the right way. Take time to make time, right? Ok.




6. As I was preparing all of my layers of fabric and batting, I realized I needed more “squishyness” on the curves as you can see above. So I pulled out some loose filler and used my stapler to secure it in place. It made all the difference in the gap that was there.


7. Now you’re ready to work with your fabric. Working backwards, set your main fabric face down on a flat surface. Layer your muslin and then your batting. I left about 5 inches around all of the edges of my headboard frame.


8. Pull each layer tightly and staple with your staple gun. I highly recommend a pneumatic staple gun! You’ll thank me later…beg and borrow if you have to! And be aware of your plywood thickness and staple length. When you are working around the curves, you will need to cut small v’s in order to keep a smooth line.


9.  Now, if you are using nailhead trim, the kit makes it super easy. Keep your lines as straight as possible. Also, the trim DOES bend. I wasted so much trim on the first headboard because I just didn’t clue in soon enough. You don’t have to break it off in sections like this for the curves. ;-)

I also just about cried when I realized that the fabric I had probably spent HOURS searching for would not work in the direction I thought it would. But I thought it was busy enough to not be super noticeable and decided to just go with it. Lesson learned.


10. I stapled a muslin backing to the green headboard (but nixed it on the blue one) and installed the heavy duty D-rings to hang it on the wall.


And there you have it!

A DIY Upholstered Headboard

Thanks to Kelly and Kate for their tutorials and tips!

I really feel like overall this was an easy and affordable project. It does take

time, but step by step, it’s a 1-2 day project and cost me around

$75 per headboard. For real. :-)

What about you? Have you built an upholstered headboard?

If you are thinking about it, I hope you find this helpful!

Have a great weekend and make sure to come back next week


You won’t want to miss it, I promise. :-)


You can see the reveal of the Beach House Project at the links below.

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5

Thanks for stopping by today!

Anneke from This, That and Life


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  1. Love the headboards! Amazing job. I want one!! Thanks for the tutorial. I’m pinning it.

    • You could make one Kristy!!! It was a little time consuming step by step, but I LOVED being able to pick my own fabric! A couple times on Joss and Main rectangular headboards with nailhead trim came through for sale for about $225. It was super tempting to just get them and keep a solid gray or taupe, but I’m SO glad I stuck with it and tried it myself!

  2. Thanks for all the link love, but this is all you lady! LOVE what you did!!

  3. Wow, this is really beautiful and you provided so many perfect instructions. I’ve wanted to make a large headboard for our bedroom and just might tackle it soon!

  4. great job with your headboards and easy to follow along tutorial.

  5. Great job, Anneke! It’s beautiful! Thank you for linking to my monthly party. I am featuring your project in my post today.

  6. I am about to embark on a handmade headboard this weekend… LOVING your tutorial and the little tips you’ve given to help along the way! Yours turned out beautiful!! Hoping mine isn’t a disaster :)

    • Oh my goodness Meredith! How did your headboard turn out??? I’d love to know and see it!!! I hope the tips were helpful so the whole thing went smoothly. Thank you so much for letting me know ~ I’m sure it turned out fantastic!

  7. Hi! Thanks for the great tutorial and info on making this headboard! One quick question- did you carry the nailhead trim all along the bottom? Thanks!

    • Hi Kelly! You’re welcome! I actually did NOT carry the nailhead trim to the bottom, but to just below where I knew the top of the mattress would be. ;-)

  8. Hi! Love the headboards! I’d love to know where you got the white bedding with the thick navy stripe. Thanks!

  9. How many yards of fabric did you need for the blue headboard?

    • You want to have the width of your headboard + about 5″ on each side and accounting for the depth of your foam and batting. For a queen size headboard, that would be 70″-80″ or about 2-2.25 yards. :-)

  10. Just found your blog today through and Love it! I really want to do a diy headboard but nervous about cutting the initial wood frame :( Is it difficult?

    • Hi Deanna and welcome! When cutting the the frame, of course a more simple design will be easier and definitely one with less sharp curves and tight spaces. If you take it slow you should be just fine! If you’re still feeling nervous, practice on a cheap plywood board first. :-) Best of luck!

  11. Anneke, these are lovely! Found you while searching for DIY headboards, and I love that green patterned fabric!

    I work with Cassity over at Remodelaholic and we are hosting Headboard Week and a big headboard link party that we’d love to have you come join! You can join the party here — we’re picking our favorites to feature on Saturday:

    Thanks! Have a great day!

    Lorene @Remodelaholic

  12. Thanks so much for this — WHICH spray adhesive did you use? There are so many! Permanent, temporary? Enquiring minds want to know…

    • Hi Rachel! I used Duro All Purpose Spray Adhesive (permanent). I wasn’t particular and just grabbed what was available at the store. ;-)

  13. Hi Anneke, I love the green fabric you used. What brand is it? Or where did you buy it. It is really beautyfull!!

    Regards Aleli


  1. [...] DIY Upholstered Headboard by Anneke from This, That, & Life [...]

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  4. [...] can see the full tutorial HERE and the reveal of the Beach House Project at the links [...]

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