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Make Your Own Headboard

Updated on September 30, 2012
DIY Headboard
DIY Headboard | Source

Before you Begin:

Determine the size of headboard you want. Mine is 72 inches wide, and 48 inches tall, and sits on the floor against the wall. Mine is meant for a queen sized bed, and I made it a little wider in case I wanted to upgrade to a king. If you want to save on material, consider making it about 24 inches tall, and hanging it to the wall above your bed.

Things you will Need:

Tools

  • Staple Gun: You will need a staple gun, and lots of extra staples.
  • Drill: You will need a drill and drill bits to pre-drill holes into which you will insert screws. Most power drills come with basic drill bits and screwdriver heads. Choose the bit size to match the size of your screws.
  • 1" screws with flat heads: Purchase a pack of 1" screws; you will use these to attach the frame to the back of the pegboard.
  • Screwdriver: If you don't have a corresponding bit for your power drill, you will need to pick up a screwdriver which fits the heads of your screws.
  • Hand Saw: You will need this to cut the lumber for the frame down to size; trust me, it's very hard to get the exact cutting measurements prior to purchasing the lumber; so getting it cut at the lumber store isn't a practical option. In other words, the best way to measure lumber is to lay it on the floor and mark it with a pencil. I recommend a crosscut saw.
  • Kitchen Knife: You will need a large chopping knife to cut the foam down to size.
  • If you are Hanging: Purchase some picture frame hanging hardware, and make sure it's heavy duty; the finished product is surprisingly heavy, especially if you are making a headboard for a Queen or King sized bed. I highly recommend buying the bulky ones that hold at least 20lbs, and I encourage you to buy two of those; one for each side. Even if it seems excessive, it's better to have more than you need than not enough. Also, if you are hanging, I highly recommend finding the drywall studs, and attaching the hardware according to where those are located.

Materials

  • Pegboard: Purchase enough pegboard to account for the size of headboard you want. Places like Home Depot will cut it down to size for you, too. I chose pegboard because it is lighter than other boards, and you can also easily add tufting if you choose to.
  • Frame: Purchase enough lumber (we used 1x2x8) to make a frame across the back. This adds thickness to the headboard, and a place to staple the materials to. Also, if your headboard uses multiple sheets of pegboard, or is large, I highly recommend you purchase enough lumber to have an additional horizontal portion of the frame across the back, to ensure structural stability (see images below). For ours, we needed four boards; the boards were 96 inches tall, and we ended up with some leftovers.
  • Foam: Purchase enough foam to correspond to the size of your headboard. A great way to save money on this is to purchase afoam mattress pad instead of the by-the-yard foam available at fabric stores. We needed two foam pads.
  • Spray Glue: I highly recommend grabbing a can of spray glue to hold the foam in place on the board while you are working. Foam tends to slide around, and may end up sagging if you are making a smaller headboard to hang on the wall.
  • Batting: Pick up a roll of batting from the quilting section. A twin sized roll of batting was more than enough for me. Make sure you add about 8 inches to your headboard dimensions, to ensure you have enough to staple to the back. The batting packages will have the dimensions listed along with the sizes.
  • Fabric: Purchase enough fabric to cover your headboard, the same size, or bigger, than your batting. In other words, make sure you have plenty of extra around the edge to completely cover the headboard and all the foam and batting. A great way to save money on fabric is to flat bed sheet. We used a twin-sized bed sheet, and that was more than enough to cover our board. You could also hit your local Goodwill and see if there are any awesome quilts or sheets for cheap. Wash the sheet prior to using to remove wrinkles and fold lines from the packaging, or any musky smells that may come along with second-hand linens.


Step 1: Assemble the Frame and Board

I recommend finding an enthusiastic male acquaintance to assist with this portion of the process, as this kind of work requires some serious arm strength! Assemble the frame and the pegboard. We started by laying out the pegboard on the floor, then measuring the lumber on top of it. Then, we cut the lumber to size, and assembled the frame. When assembling the frame, remember to pre-drill holes for the screws. This prevents splitting of the wood. Finally, we screwed the pegboard to the frame. Remember to pre-drill here, too, but use the pegboard's holes as places to insert the screws; this keeps everything smooth and flat!

Cut to Size
Cut to Size | Source
Pre-Drill and Screw Together
Pre-Drill and Screw Together | Source
Attach frame to pegboard.
Attach frame to pegboard. | Source

Step 2: Attach the foam

  • Begin by laying the foam flat on the floor, then laying the board and frame face-down on top of the foam. Take a marker and trace along the outside, marking where the foam needs to be cut down to size.
  • Leave the board and foam where it is, and take a large knife and begin scoring along the line you just drew. No need to press hard; just make multiple trips down the line.

Score and cut the foam.
Score and cut the foam. | Source
  • When you get about halfway through the foam, take the board off, and pick the foam up of the floor. Begin a sawing motion, pulling towards you, but not pushing away, and work your way down the line. This is essentially the same, consistency-wise and texture-wise, as cutting through angel food cake (yum).
  • When the pieces are cut out, lay the headboard face-up on the floor. Take your spray glue, and spray all over the headboard.
  • Lay the foam on top, and press down firmly all over. Don't worry if it doesn't exactly line up; the batting will take care of that (we had about a 1/8 inch discrepancy on one side).

Start in the middle, and tug tightly
Start in the middle, and tug tightly | Source
Tug the corners, creating a rounded effect.
Tug the corners, creating a rounded effect. | Source

Step 3: Batting

  • Measure first, cut later! By measuring I mean, staple it to the board, then cut it down to size. Lay the batting over the headboard, then being by stapling once or twice in the middle of the top, horizontal part of the frame. Flip the headboard 180˚ and tug on the batting, pulling it up and over the frame, as you add staples to the opposite horizontal side. This should create a rounded corner effect along the edge of the foam.
  • Repeat for the vertical sides; then work your way outwards towards the corners, pulling the batting up and over the frame, as well as outwards towards the nearest corner: Ensure that there are no bags or ripples in the batting. In other words, when you get to the corners, you should have a sizeable amount of batting to cut off.
  • After you have attached the batting, cut off the extra batting, leaving about 1/2 an inch, so it doesn't slide out from under the staples.


Your headboard should now look something like this.
Your headboard should now look something like this. | Source
Staple on the inside of the frame, working your way outward towards the corners.
Staple on the inside of the frame, working your way outward towards the corners. | Source

Step 4: Fabric

  • Be sure you have plenty of extra staples; I ended up needing hundreds!
  • Measure first, cut later! Just like the batting, it is important to do this, because with the amount of tugging and tightening involved with making a headboard, you could easily find yourself with not enoughto grab on to. For the fabric, we pulled it up, over, and around to the inside of the frame; this way, no staples will touch the wall. Just like the batting, Lay the fabric over the headboard, then being by stapling once or twice in the middle of the top, horizontal part of the frame. Flip the headboard 180˚ and tug on the fabric, pulling it up and over the frame, as you add staples to the opposite horizontal side.
  • Repeat for the vertical sides; then work your way outwards towards the corners, pulling the fabric up and over the frame, as well as outwards towards the nearest corner: Ensure that there are no bags or ripples in the fabric. In other words, when you get to the corners, you should have a large amount of extra fabric at the corners; stop about 4 inches before the corner.
  • With the corners, I encourage you to play around with ways to fold the fabric prior to stapling the corners. I folded the fabric over, similar to wrapping a Christmas present, ensuring that the 'fold line' was along the corner of the foam. There are many ways to make a corner, just do what looks good to you!
  • Remove any extra fabric, leaving about 1/2 an inch to ensure it doesn't get pulled out from under the staple. Then, go around and add MORE staples! This ensures that the tightly-pulled fabric stays on for good.

After attaching, trim the extra fabric in the back.
After attaching, trim the extra fabric in the back. | Source
Your complete headboard.
Your complete headboard. | Source

You're Done!

  • You are now ready to set up your headboard: If you are hanging it, I recommend scooting your bed away from the wall. This makes it easier to make sure it's level, and also prevents any drywall dust from falling on your bed.
  • The headboard doesn't stop here; you can add garnishes to it (I added flowers to the corners), purchase or make matching bedding, or drape a quilt over it if you want to change the color.

My completed headboard, garnished with flowers and contrasting colors on the bed.
My completed headboard, garnished with flowers and contrasting colors on the bed. | Source

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    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      What a nice headboard! I have been wanting to make my own for a while now.. so will be bookmarking this tutorial.. The instructions are easy to understand and the photos are great too. I noticed the fabric flower embellishments.. I love those! I've actually been working on a hub and will be publishing soon on how to make flowers similar to those but out of old t-shirts. Thanks again for this great tutorial.. voting up, awesome and useful!

    • kathleenkat profile image
      Author

      kathleenkat 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Thank you! I have instructions on making those style flowers linked at the bottom, if you are interested :)

    • joedolphin88 profile image

      Joe 4 years ago from north miami FL

      Great article my gf keeps bugging me about buying a head board t this would be a lot more affordable for me.

    • kathleenkat profile image
      Author

      kathleenkat 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Thanks! And, she can choose the fabric :)

    • profile image

      Syed Awn Muhammad 3 years ago

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