Upholstered Headboard From Scratch

7 Materials
2 Days

We wanted an upholstered headboard to add some colour and comfort to our bedroom but we weren't willing to pay hundreds or thousands for one. We had a foam mattress topper, fabric and batting which weren't being used and just needed to purchase some plywood.

Cutting backing board

Plywood cut to size

We cut the board down to 60 inches wide (the same width of our queen size bed) and the height 34 inches. You can use whatever you have lying around but we chose plywood as it is light and economical.

Hint: if using mattress topper foam you may want to check it's the same width as the bed so you can cut it in half for the second layer. We originally thought we'd make the headboard wider than our bed but the foam and fabric weren't wide enough.

Building up the layers

I cut two pieces of foam the same size as the board and sprayed the board with adhesive glue and attached the first layer of foam flat side down.

I then put 2 layers of batting on it and placed a second layer of foam on top, flat side on the outside. A piece of foam broke away but it was easily glued back in place.

At first I stapled batting to the outside, covering the 2 layers of foam but found it made the headboard too thick so I removed it.

Attaching the mounting block

Foam layers

I had some small pieces of batting and placed them in between the two layers of foam.

Next, lay the fabric on a flat surface and place the whole thing on top of it, foam side down. You will need assistance to do this. Once centred on the fabric get a staple gun and staple all the way around, about 3 inches from the edge.

Covering the buttons

Covering buttons

I had originally planned to add fabric covered buttons. I had marked on the back of the headboard where the buttons were to go. The fabric I was using was thick and the buttons were flimsy. I had some metal buttons and had to purchase more but could only get aluminium and plastic ones. I had made 22 but I gave up in frustration but they kept bending on me.

Stapled corners

Corner example

Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of the stapling process however, I can show you how I stapled the corner.

Attaching the mounting block to headboard

Headboard mounting block

Because we didn't want to make a trip to the hardware store we decided to improvise. My husband cut 2 strips of plywood approximately 2 inches wide by 40 inches long. Then he cut another 2 strips 4 inches wide by 40 inches long. He glued and nailed the narrow strips to the wide strips and left them to dry overnight. He then centered one on the wall, and using a stud finder checked where the timber wall framing and electric cables were behind the dry wall. After checking the markings were level, he began drilling holes through the timber mounting blocks matching them with the markings on the wall, ensuring the narrow piece was closest to the wall and at the bottom.

He aligned the other mounting block on the back of the headboard, and pre-drilled holes into both the mounting block and headboard before screwing them together.

Attaching headboard wall mounting

Headboard wall mount

Above you see that the double layer of plywood is screwed into the wall. The other piece on the back of the headboard slips over it to hold it securely to the wall.

Attaching the spacer

Back of headboard

We had to add a length of double plywood to the bottom of the back of the headboard so it laid flat against the wall.

Before photo


Above is before photo.

We did this project over several weeks, but think it can be knocked over in 1 or 2 days.

Below is after photo.

Finished headboard

Finished headboard

Here it is.

Thank you for your comments. After reading some suggestions I may put the picture in a larger frame. The picture is upside down as there is no right way of hanging it.

PS. I have corrected my wording errors, too. ;-)

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Diana Collins
    on May 31, 2020

    Is there a way to reupholster your sofa without undoing everything?

    • Ali Kay
      on May 31, 2020

      You can upholster over the original- unless it was originally very dark or a busy pattern and you want to go light-- if that's the case, i would be sure to use a heavier fabric so that it doesnt show through.

  • BelovedsBride
    on May 31, 2020

    Either I saw this one already or I'm a bit senile?? Probably a little of both.LOL! Anyway, I did this for a temp measure 17 years ago or so... We used Naugahyde/fake leather? In off white, and, you can have a sturdy lovely headboard and then, if getting new bedding, order an extra coordinating curtain and staple THAT over the entire finished headboard. The curtain can be removed for washing and changed when you decide to redo your boudoir... What started as a Stop-gap, while I was looking for a new king bed (since we'd adopted 2 babies our Queen ran out of room, FAST) IT became permanent. Our original Queen Brass Bed is still in a guest room, anyone know how to safely attach a Brass Bed in a Winnebago??? Retirement becons!

  • Gail Thomas
    on May 31, 2020

    Yes, it looks very nice but would you know where to find those stick lamps beside the bed ???

    • Amy
      on Jul 2, 2020

      IKEA has some that are very similar - also come in black and white.

Join the conversation

4 of 76 comments
  • Gail Thomas
    on May 31, 2020

    My son painted my headboard on the wall and I love it. Flowers & a little bridge.

    • Sandra R-J
      on Jun 1, 2020

      That's a wonderful idea. Your son must be very talented. I'd like to see a photo of it.

  • Norma Baudin
    on Jun 4, 2020

    I love this! I have been looking for an easy way to make a padded headboard for my 34 yr old son. He has been having seizures since 2007 after he was in a car accident. I have been wanting to make him a headboard that would protect his head from hitting a hard surface. I haven't found anything that even came close to what I imagined about how I wanted to make one until now. YOU NAILED IT!!! Thank you so much for sharing your project with us. Your headboard came out very nice!! Thank you again for this. 😊😊

    • Sandra R-J
      on Jun 6, 2020

      I'm so glad you are inspired to make one for your son. We find it very comfortable and now we are enjoying sitting in our warm bed on these cold winter evenings watching TV or reading. I hope to see a photo of your finished headboard.

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