Build a DIY Headboard and Create the Bedroom Sanctuary You Deserve


Building a headboard is an excellent DIY project for builders of all levels! If you have a few tools and a willingness to learn, you can build a DIY headboard and create the bedroom sanctuary you deserve. Whether your style leans classic, trendy, or somewhere in the middle, this handy how-to article will guide you through the process, step-by-step with a variety of DIY headboard ideas.

DIY Headboard (pixabay)

Step 1: Decide the Size and Style of your DIY Headboard

The first step in building a DIY headboard is to determine the size and style you want to make. Do you want a tufted or upholstered headboard? Would you prefer solid wood? Also, which size? A queen-sized bed needs a queen headboard, but perhaps you’re ready to upgrade to a larger bed with a king headboard. There is no wrong answer, but it is worth considering the look you are trying to achieve as well as the size that will best serve your needs. Let’s examine some pros and cons of both upholstered headboards and solid wood.

The Upholstered Headboard:

An upholstered headboard typically has a wood frame covered entirely or partially with padding and fabric.

DIY Upholstered Headboard (Jessica Coplen)

See post: Jessica Coplen | DIY Headboard


A tufted headboard is also upholstered, but there is an additional decorative step of stitching fabric-covered buttons or placing plain stitches at regular intervals. Doing this causes the fabric and padding to settle into a classic diamond pattern also known as “tufting.”

DIY Tufted Headboard (Stephanie Shore Fisher)

See post: Stephanie Shore Fisher | How We DIYed Our Velvet Diamond-tufted Headboard


Upholstered or Tufted Headboard Pros:

  • Since there are so many types of fabric, your headboard will truly be one-of-a-kind. Although sturdy upholstery fabric works best, any material or even inexpensive canvas drop cloths will function as the fabric covering.
  • You can cover almost anything as long as it is close to the correct size.
  • An Upholstered headboard is currently on-trend


Upholstered or Tufted Headboard Cons:

  • The fabric can collect dust which could be problematic for people prone to allergies.
  • Fabric headboards are not always pet-friendly, especially for cats. 


Solid Wood Headboard:

A solid wood headboard is made entirely from wood, reclaimed or new. This style of DIY headboard can be painted or stained.

DIY Wood Headboard

See post: Amye Mae | DIY Headboard

DIY Headboard Ideas (Engineer Your Space)

See post: Engineer Your Space | DIY Headboard That's Easy to Build and Install - No Holes Required!


Solid Wood Headboard Pros:

  • This type of headboard can be cleaned easily.
  • Wood headboards are classic and timeless.
  • They can be painted or stained according to your preference.
  • Using re-purposed wood can keep the cost low.


Solid Wood Headboard Cons:

  • Wood is dense and heavy, so building a DIY headboard out of wood may be a two-person job.
  • Making a headboard out of wood can be more expensive if you use all new materials.


Once you decide which type of headboard to build, you are ready to move on to the next step.


Step 2: Take Measurements and Shop for Supplies

While you will need exact measurements to purchase the correct amount of supplies, there is a lot of creative freedom in determining the size and shape of your new headboard. Consider the height. Do you prefer a sleek low-profile headboard, or would you like a taller one that serves as more of a full wall treatment?

Fireplace Mantel Headboard (Amy Ogden-Paparone)

See post: Amy Ogden-Paparone | DIY Fireplace Mantel Headboard


How about the shape? There are so many options: A plain rectangle is the easiest to build, but modifying the corners with a jigsaw is not difficult, and adding some detail creates character in an otherwise very simple design.

DIY Headboard Process (Amber Oliver)

See post: Amber Oliver | DIY Headboard

Upholstered DIY Headboard (Ashley Rowlands)

See post: Ashley Rowlands | DIY Upholstered Headboard


Once you decide what type of DIY headboard you want to build, make a quick drawing of your headboard design on a piece of scrap paper. When you take measurements, jot them down directly on the sketch. This drawing will become your blueprint for the entire project, so keep it handy.


Taking Measurements:

  • First, measure the width of your existing bed frame. Most headboards extend past the width of the bed frame by a few inches on each side. The exact measurement is up to personal taste. If you are upgrading from a queen headboard to a king headboard, make sure you know the dimensions of your new bed frame before you begin. 
  • Next, determine the height. Again, this is a subjective measurement. Even though you will anchor the headboard securely to the wall, we suggest adding legs or extending it all the way down to the floor for extra support. The important part is noting this on your sketch and jotting down the correct measurement
Headboard DIY (Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus)

See post: Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus | DIY Headboard for Under $30


  • If you have a hard time visualizing the size of your finished headboard based on your measurements and drawing, you can map out the actual dimensions with painter’s tape directly on the wall behind your bed frame.


Once you have taken the proper measurements, it is time to make a supply list. In addition to the major components such as wood, be sure to add all the building hardware and anchoring supplies to your list.


Additional Supplies for an Upholstered or Tufted Headboard

There some special considerations if you plan to build an upholstered headboard or a tufted headboard. In addition to the supplies you’ll need for the frame, add these items to your list:



  • Padding - You can use a variety of products for padding. Several Hometalkers have used egg crate covered in batting. Another option is seat cushion padding from the fabric store. All padding should be cut the same size as the frame of your headboard, so purchase accordingly.
  • Fabric - For an upholstered headboard, the material should be three to four inches larger than the measurement of the headboard frame plus the padding depth all the way around. The extra fabric will be secured on the back side of the headboard. For a tufted headboard, you’ll need a lot more fabric than that. This full tutorial from Hometalker Stephanie contains an excellent formula for determining the correct amount of extra material required for tufting including covering the buttons.
  • If you are adding decorative nailhead trim or buttons for tufting, put them on your list.


Most of your supplies will come from the hardware store and the fabric store. Alternately, you can re-purpose supplies from second hand stores or from something you already own. 


Step 3: Build Your DIY Headboard

Now, it is time for the fun part. Let’s build a headboard. Whether you are making a solid wood headboard or an upholstered headboard, first you’ll build the general frame.

DIY Headboard Building Process (Jessica Coplen)

See post: Jessica Coplen | DIY Headboard


Refer back to the drawing that you made in Step 2, and mark your wood for cutting. Cut the wood with the power saw of your choice. If you do not know how to use a saw, you may be able to get the wood cut by an employee at the hardware store. Many large chain stores offers this service. You may have to pay per cut or sometimes not at all.


Fasten the headboard frame together with wood screws. Pre-drill the holes to prevent the wood from splitting. Also, use a speed square to make sure that all of your angles are 90 degrees. The headboard will look amateurish if it lists to one side or the other. Once you have built the basic frame, the steps vary depending on whether or not you are building an all wood headboard or an upholstered or tufted headboard.


Note: If you are making a tufted headboard, you may want to use pegboard on your frame instead of plywood or particle board. You’ll be threading buttons through the fabric, padding, and the wood back. If you use plywood or particle board, you will need to drill holes in it during the tufting step. The pre-drilled holes in the pegboard eliminate that requirement.

DIY Diamond-tufted Headboard (Stephanie Shore Fisher)

See post: Stephanie Shore Fisher | How We DIYed Our Velvet Diamond-tufted Headboard


To Finish a Wood Headboard:

After you have built the basic frame, it is time to add decorative trim or molding if that is in your plan. The DIY fireplace mantel pictured below makes great use of this technique.

DIY Fireplace Mantel (Amy Ogden-Paparone)

See post: Amy Ogden-Paparone | DIY Fireplace Mantel Headboard


For a more traditional DIY headboard, you may want to add side posts like Hometalker Amye Mae

DIY King Headboard (Amye Mae)

See post: Amye Mae | DIY Headboard


The final step is to paint or stain your headboard before you attach it to the wall. (See Step 4)


To Finish an Upholstered Headboard: 

Add padding to the front of the basic frame.

How to Finish an Upholstered Headboard (Jessica Coplen)

See post: Jessica Coplen | DIY Headboard


Center your fabric on top of the padding and attach it to the back with a staple gun.

Cheap DIY Headboard (Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus)

See post: Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus | DIY Headboard for Under $30


Add decorative nail head trim if you desire.

Upholstered Headboard (Ashley Rowlands)

See post: Ashley Rowlands | DIY Upholstered Headboard


To Finish a Tufted Headboard:

For a tufted headboard, you’ll add the padding as if you are making an upholstered headboard. Follow the steps outlined above.


Next, you’ll notch out the padding where you will be placing fabric-covered buttons or plain stitches. If you used pegboard as a backing board on your frame, make sure you are notching the padding directly above a hole.

DIY Tufted Headboard Process

See post: Stephanie Shore Fisher | How We DIYed Our Velvet Diamond-tufted Headboard


Next, assemble your fabric-covered buttons. You may make them with a snap-together button kit from the fabric store or feel free to DIY.

DIY Velvet Headboard (Stephanie Shore Fisher)

See post: Stephanie Shore Fisher | How We DIYed Our Velvet Diamond-tufted Headboard


After you make the buttons, center your upholstery fabric on top of the padding, and begin the tufting process. Work in a circular pattern starting from the center of your headboard radiating out toward the sides. Working from the center out will keep the fabric from shifting too far towards any one edge.


To prevent uneven bunching, follow Hometalker Stephanie’s tip and ease the creases into uniform folds before securing the buttons in place. 

Tufted Headboard (Stephanie Shore Fisher)

See post: Stephanie Shore Fisher | How We DIYed Our Velvet Diamond-tufted Headboard


Always use strong upholstery thread or waxed button thread for tufting. Secure it snugly on the back of the headboard with a staple gun.

How to Make a Tufted Headboard (Stephanie Shore Fisher)

See post: Stephanie Shore Fisher | How We DIYed Our Velvet Diamond-tufted Headboard


After you are done securing all of the buttons, attach the leftover fabric on the sides to the back of the headboard with a staple gun following the same method as shown in the upholstered headboard directions above.


Step 4: Attach Your DIY Headboard to the Wall

Now that you have completed all the hard work of making your new DIY headboard, it is time for a critical step. For the safest headboard possible, you must attach it to the wall. Although your bed frame and mattress may be substantial enough to keep the headboard from toppling over, securing it to the wall will reduce the chance of a preventable accident especially to a child. Do not skip this step.  


For best results, we recommend using a French cleat screwed directly into a stud to attach your new headboard to the wall. You can make your own or buy a metal one from a hardware store. Alternately, you could anchor the headboard to the wall with an earthquake safety strap or an anti-tip kit.


Step 5: Dress Up Your New Bed

No matter which style of DIY headboard you make, dressing up a brand-new bed is one of the best parts of decorating a bedroom. Layer soft seasonal bedding and add some throw pillows in the mix for fun.

Finished DIY Headboard (Amye Mae)

See post: Amye Mae | DIY Headboard

New Pillows for a DIYed Headboard (Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus)

See post: Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus | DIY Headboard for Under $30

How We DIYed Our Headboard (Stephanie Shore Fisher)

See post: Stephanie Shore Fisher | How We DIYed Our Velvet Diamond-tufted Headboard


With a brand-new DIY headboard, you’ll be one step closer to the bedroom sanctuary you deserve. This handy step-by-step article, full of DIY headboard ideas, provides the perfect leaping off point for you to begin your own bedroom transformation. Pin this article for later, and be sure to browse Hometalk for more inspiring bedroom DIY project ideas!


Written for the Hometalk community by: Stacy | BlakeHillHouse

Top Hometalk Projects

31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
20 Easy Concrete Projects You Absolutely CAN Do!
15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
15 Quick and Easy Gift Ideas Using Buttons
If Your Stairway Walls Are Empty, Here Are 25 Ways To Change Them Now!
17 DIY Decor Ideas To Get The Party Started
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
30 Creative Ways To Repurpose Baking Pans
30 Genius Ways To Make The Most Of Your Closet Space
31 Space Saving Storage Ideas That'll Keep Your Home Organized
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
30 Ways To Use Old Jeans For Brilliant Craft Ideas
29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made

Have a question about this project?

Join the conversation

Your comment...