Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To: Make a Fabric Covered Headboard

This weekend we not only packed up and moved DP out of his apartment but we also built our headboard. I wouldn't recommend undertaking a massive craft project while you are in the midst of packing boxes but that is just how it all worked out- oh well.

One sheet of 5/8" plywood
Staple gun
2" thick upholstery foam
Quilt Batting
10 1" screws
Spray Glue
Utility Knife
Sharpie Marker
Scrap piece of wood

Step 1: Take your sheet of ply wood and have the store cut the piece to the length you need. We have a queen bed so we got the wood cut to 64" which is 4" wider than the mattress so the headboard will stick out 2" on each side (which is what we wanted). Take your ply wood and with a sharpie marker draw the center line. You will need this as reference as you are drawing out your pattern. We found an image of a shape we liked online and just worked to figure out how it should be shaped. We actually ended up drawing two different versions because we didn't like the first shape.

Step 2: In order to draw the round shapes we wanted on our headboard we needed to make our own compass. This was actually pretty easy. We decided that we wanted three even half-circles: the center convex and the outside ones concave. In order to accomplish this, we used a piece of twine, a nail, and a sharpie marker.

Step 3: Then we took the nail and secured it 14.5" down from the top on the center line. We took our 14.5" string with sharpie and drew a half circle. This created the middle arch. Just make sure you pull evenly on the string so that the circle is smooth.

Step 4: Because we live in New York City and don't have the endless room for tools that many people do, we had to be inventive with some of our resources. We needed an perpendicular straight line for the second piece of the shape so we used an old picture frame as a t-square. We mirrored this on both sides.

Step 5: In order to draw the concave ends of our design we had to use the screw and string again. We didn't want to crack the wood by going to close to the edge so we just used an extra piece of scrap wood with the string. Again this was cut to 14.5" so the curve would be the same as the center curve.

Step 6: Follow the lines of the pattern and cut with a jig saw (Thanks to our friend Eddie, DP owns this awesome cordless jig saw.). DP didn't have protective goggles so he wore a pair of ski goggles which were pretty awesome. We also used boxes packed for the move to hold the board up in lieu of sawhorses.

Step 7: Cut left over wood into 4" wide legs for the headboard. We cut ours to be 14" high because that is the height of the bed frame we purchased. DP also cut some small squares to use to attach the legs to the actual headboard. Line up the legs with the outside edge of the base of the headboard (one on each side) and attach by screwing the top of the small piece of wood to the headboard and the bottom to the legs. We used six screws (three on each side) on each piece to ensure they were secure.

Step 8: Even though I seriously planned out this project I made one large error in my planning. I purchased fabric that was only 54" wide. Since our headboard is 64" wide this was obviously not enough fabric. I had to order 2.5 more yards of fabric and sew three panels together to get the width I needed. I attempted to line up the pattern as best as possible so it still looked okay. I also made sure the seems were even on the board with one on both the left and right side.

Step 9: Take the foam and lay it out staggered on the floor. make sure to buy enough foam for whatever size and pattern you plan on creating. I bought 2" x 24" x 54" pieces of upholstery foam that worked really well-- if you want a taller or more padded headboard there are many different sizes available.

Step 10: Lay the wooden headboard face down on top of the foam and cut around the wood. There are utility knives that work well for jobs like this but I did not have one of those. I actually ended up just using a steak knife, which worked but made the edges very jagged.

Step 11: Flip over the board in order to glue the cut foam pieces to the it. Take the spray mount and spray the foam and then quickly place the foam pieces in place. The glue lets you move around the pieces a bit which is nice. For this step make sure to have a window open and the floor covered with some sort of plastic. The glue tends to spray everywhere. Also make sure to cover your mouth with a mask of some sort. I just pinned a towel around my face but it served its purpose.

Step 12: Take the quilt batting and lay it over top cutting around the shape of the headboard leaving about 5" excess. You will be pulling the batting taut over the top and stapling it to the back so you just need enough excess to let you do that comfortably. Flip the board over on top of the now trimmed batting and begin stapling. Pull hard but not enough to rip the material and staple about 2" - 3" from the edge.

Step 13: Clean off the plastic and lay down some sort of base fabric. I used an old duvet cover. You are going to need to iron your fabric and want a very clean surface so this seemed the best option. Iron the fabric as best as possible. If you have seams like I did, make sure to iron those flat and open. Do the same step of trimming the excess material.

Step 14: The most important step here is to make sure that you are lining the center of the pattern up with the center of the board. Begin stapling at the top so if you are nervous you and look and pull the material to fix it if you need to. Now go around the board pulling the fabric very taut and stapling about .5" - 1" from the edge. Go slowly because it is very important to make sure everything is straight. After you complete this trim any excess material.

Step 15: This final step will be the install which we haven't done yet but I believe we are going to just hang it on the wall and use the weight of the bed to help keep it upright.


  1. Hi
    I assist with you, All the above factors that are depicted by you in the above blog............
    Utility Knife

  2. I can't wait to see everything in person in a few weeks!!!