How to make upholstered headboards

Nov 12th, 2012

How to upholster a headboardMaking headboards for my girls room was the only way to go because I just couldn’t find anything that was cute and girly enough for me. I found some cute beds at Costco that I liked, but they were $399 EACH {no can do}.
So we went for it. I knew I wanted a headboard shaped like this. The shape is called “Portman”.

Items you will need for this project:
1 piece of 4’X8’ piece of 1/2” MDF {about $23.00, but you will have a lot left over}
A Jigsaw to cut the MDF {borrow one from friend. Smile}
1 piece of 4” outdoor foam from Home Depot {by far the best place to get foam} I can’t remember the price, but it seems like it’s about $16.00 for a huge piece.
An electric carving knife to cut the foam {cuts it like butter}
Canvas or Home Décor Fabric {we used 2 yards}
Cotton batting big enough to cover your foam
A staple gun {I use an electric staple gun or my air staple gun and our compressor}
An extra person to pull the fabric during the upholstering process {you cannot do it alone}
Hardware to hang the headboard. We use D-ring hooks and drywall anchors.
how to make an upholstered headboard
Step 1: Have the folks at Home Depot cut MDF as wide as the size of your bed. If you want a full size {like ours} it will need to be 54” wide. They are super nice and will do it in a jiffy. We wanted ours to be quite tall. Ours are right around 44 inches tall. The Home Depot guys will cut it to be whatever size you tell them. {Measurements for other sizes: Twin: 39 inches wide, Full/Double: 54 inches wide , Queen 60 inches wide, King 76 inches wide }
Step 2: Trace three large circles on your MDF sheet to make the shape.
We simply laid a large round toy bin on top of our MDF board and traced three circles with pencil. Then we connected the circles with a straight line.

how to make an upholstered headboard upholstered headboard plan
Step 3: Cut out the MDF with a jigsaw. If you don’t want this shape, you can just have the folks at Home Depot cut your board for you in the size you need.
how to make an upholstered headboard how to make an upholstered headboard how to make an upholstered headboard
  how to make an upholstered headboard 
Step 4: Next, lay your MDF sheet on your foam and trace it with a marker. how to make an upholstered headboard how to make an upholstered headboard 
Step 5: Cut the foam with an electric carving knife {believe me, it’s worth it}. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a neighbor. It won’t damage the knife, I promise. I speak from experience here. I’ve cut foam with a serrated knife, an olfa cutter, and sharp scissors. An electric carving knife is much easier to cut foam than any of the other options.
Sidenote: Since we made two headboards we pieced foam together for one of the headboards. We just glued it with hot glue and it worked like a charm.
how to make an upholstered headboard how to make an upholstered headboard
Step 6: a) Lay your fabric face down, b) spread out the cotton batting on top of the fabric, c) set the foam on the fabric and c) lay the MDF on top of the foam. We like to upholster inside our home so that the fabric doesn’t get dirty.
how to make an upholstered headboard how to make an upholstered headboard 
annie selke pillowannie selke fabric
Picture Source
The fabric I used for the headboards is Annie Selke fabric from the Raspberry Fields Collection. I bought it a year ago in Las Vegas at Home Fabrics and Rugs.
Step 7: Next we used the same techniques that I have explained before in my bench upholstery lesson.  But, it got tricky in the corners. It is the same concept of upholstery from that lesson.
TIPS: Just be sure that the corners of the MDF are protected so that your fabric doesn’t rip while you pull it tight. We put a small corner of extra batting to cover each sharp corner of the MDF.  When you do the inside corners, make sure that you don’t trim the fabric too much.
You need enough fabric to staple, but you have to trim the fabric some or you won’t be able to get it tight in the corners. It’s really hard to make it look perfect. We got better on the second headboard, but the first one looks pretty good on the front too. We had to crease the fabric in some of the corners, but it isn’t noticeable on the front. I’ve provided pictures below of the areas I’m talking about.
making a headboard upholstery instructions
Just remember that the front needs to be completely tight for it to look professionally upholstered. NEVER upholster something by your self. You won’t be able to pull it tight enough without a helper. You don’t want any loose spots or it will look homemade.
Step 8: Install the D-rings to the back and make sure you hang your headboard on studs or your wall has dry wall anchors.
d rings
You are done!!!

 DIY headboard instructions girls room
I am in L.O.V.E. with how my girls’ room is turning out. If you missed the makeover process, check out PART 1 and PART 2 of the process.
The headboards ended up being about $60 each, but it would differ depending on the fabric you used and the size of the headboard you made.
girls room ideas
Hope you had a great weekend!
Linked this project to: Beneath my Heart and Home Stories A to Z.
girls room1 with text girls room ideas copy

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