DIY upholstered headboard: project complete!

I'm taking a break from my weekend-o-fun to post our finished results because I'm too excited to wait. Here is the bed sans headboard before:

And here is our labor of love, after:
This was my inspiration from JC Penney. I wasn't too happy with the online instructions floating around out there so I'm going to make this post as detailed as possible, to encourage YOU to make a headboard, too. It really wasn't too hard at all but I decided to skip the decorative ridges in the board and made mine thinner, too. I'll explain why later.

Total time spent: 3.5 hours
Total cost: $106 [because of some badass 40% off coupons at Joann Fabric]

Supplies needed [specific measurements for a queen bed]:
~plywood [cut to 4X5 feet]
~4 2X4s: 2 that are 66" and 2 that are 53"
~fabric of your choice [ours was 2.5 yards]
~liner of your choice
~batting [2.5 yards]
~foam [we chose the 1" kind after we discovered the 3" to be VERY expensive. Needs to total 4X5 feet to cover the plywood without anything hanging over the edges]
~buttons to be covered by your fabric [you can buy a kit for this]
~kite thread
~darning needle
~staple gun [or if yours totally sucks like ours, you'll need upholstery tacks instead]
~spray adhesive
~drill and nails

1. Have some handy boys make the headboard for you:) Here is ours made by Nate:
2. Drill holes into the plywood where your buttons will go. Observe said 'handy boy' closely:
3. Spray the plywood with adhesive and stick the pieces of foam onto the board. Next goes your batting, then the liner, then your fabric. They don't need spray adhesive but line them up without wrinkles while the headboard is on the floor. Then you'll tilt it upright for the rest. Here is our layering:
4. Now the REALLY fun part: the stupid buttons! After covering all 14 with fabric [totally sucks!] you need to attach them to the headboard. We did this with our kite string and darning needle. You poke the needle from the backside to the front, where you hook the button on and pass the needle back to the backside:

5. Then you'll pull very tightly on the button and tie a piece of batting in the back so it won't slide through. Each time you add a button make sure your fabric is tight and wrinkle-free. Here is what the back will look like when you are done:And here is the front after the buttons are finished. Now all you have to do is secure the edges to the board:
6. Our staple gun hated us and refused to work so we used upholstery tacks instead. As you hammer them in make sure the fabric is taut in front:
Here it is with just the legs showing. We didn't have to cover our legs because you can't see them anyway but you might want to just in case:
7. Drill the legs into your bed frame [or the wall, I supose] and you are finished!!!

Ah, I feel like such a grown up with a REAL bed! I absolutely love it and I'm so glad Mom is here to help.

As a side note: my newfound love is upholstery stores. I was seriously drooling over the gorgeous fabric and potential projects but I stuck to my guns and got plain old white fabric. Quite possibly the hardest part of the whole project was to resist the fabulous damask pinks and blacks! Our fabric has just a little bit of texture to it and looks perfect with our curtains and comforter.

Anyway, more projects and fun times to follow tomorrow. And it's official: we purchased plane tickets for our anniversary trip! Stay tuned for details:)


  1. Fabulous! It looks gorgeous. Like a swanky hotel bed in Paris... great job! And how kind to share your detailed instructions. Glad you and your mom had a fun project to do together. And can't wait to hear where your plane tickets are taking you!

  2. Wow, that looks awesome Julia! And although it looks like a little bit of project, your step by step instructions look like it could be done by almost anyone.
    :::clap clap::::

  3. First off, kudos to you! It's gorgeous.
    Secondly, I cannot believe you did this yourself, and I no longer like you.
    The. End.

  4. I really like it! You did a great job... very handy!

  5. AMAZING!!!! It is absolutely beautiful! So the next time you are in STL visting can I get you to come over and make one for my guest room?....PLEASE!

  6. VERY COOL!!!!

    What a great idea to DIY... you did a phenomenal job!! And how neat would it be to have several on hand so you could change headboards with the season! FABULOUS!!!

    Can't wait to hear where you finally chose to go for your big trip! EXCITING!

  7. The headboard looks fabulous. You guys have mad skills! :-)

  8. My mom and I made one of those together for my bed in university. I love how easy they are to make and how much they change the way your bed looks.
    It looks great in your room!

  9. WOw, that is ridiculously impressive! I have NO DIY skills!

  10. Julia - it looks fabulous! Can I hire you???

  11. I'm totally sending my mother in law to your site for instructions. She's wanted to do this forever! It looks awesome

  12. Very very cool. Nice job!! You and your mom work well together :-D
    Your place is looking pretty good!

  13. Thank you, lovelies. I'm glad you likey.

    And yes, Jenn. You can hire me. I charge $100/hour:)

    I will NOT make one per season, that's for sure. I'm all projected out [if that's a phrase].

    Someone make theirs and post about it!

  14. Julia that headboard is absolutely fantastic!!!! I can't believe you put that together so quickly. It pulls your room together so well! I was gushing over the pictures! It makes everything in your room look THAT much better!!! You are unbelievably talented and creative! I AM JEALOUS of your mad skills!!!

  15. This is fantastic! And you make it look easy (as in, it would be possible to avoid getting into a major fight with anyone in the process of making it).

    Also, I don't believe for a minute that you're "projected out". Give it a week!

  16. Meghan~tee hee. you are so right. I know I can't go without projects very long. But maybe I'll just stay away from KITCHEN projects and then I'll feel better:)

  17. This project looks do-able. I am not able to see the pictures very well. Any suggestions. Also what do you mean by liner?


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