Headboards are expensive, yet relatively easy to make which makes them a great candidate for a DIY project. DIY headboards can be made of pretty much anything from old painted doors on their sides to standard paint drop cloths. That’s exactly what this Pottery Barn knockoff headboard is made of — a large drop cloth and that’s exactly why the price is right. This project cost about $165 as opposed to more than $1300 that similar headboards on the market run for.
Here’s how to make an upholstered headboard.
First, gather your supplies: plywood (dimensions are a personal choice, but this king size headboard we made was 78 inches wide by 59 inches tall), enough 1″ foam to cover the entire plywood surface, batting, at least a 6×9″ canvas drop cloth, upholstery nails, spray adhesive, a staple gun, jigsaw (if you want a curved headboard), and a hammer to tack in the nail head trim.
First, draw out the dimension of the headboard on a piece of paper (click the picture in the slideshow to see my exact headboard plans for a king). Once you have all your dimensions get your plywood cut to size. The hardware stores will cut it for you – but only straight lines. If you want a curve you’ll need to use a jigsaw.
Next, draw half of the curve on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Then trace the curve directly on one half of the plywood before flipping the cardboard over and doing the same thing on the other half to make sure the curve is the same on both sides. Now, use your jigsaw to cut out the curve. If you want legs, cut them out from the plywood — my recommendation is not to have legs and to simply leave the bottom of the headboard squared off. This will give it plenty of support when it’s standing against the wall.
Lay the plywood out and start attaching the foam to cover the surface area using the spray adhesive glue. After it’s completely covered, cut foam down to shape around the curve. Then cover the entire foamed area with batting. Use the staple gun to tack the batting around the back of the headboard.
Now, lay your washed, dried, and ironed drop cloth down flat on the floor and put your headboard (front side down) on top of it. Starting from the middle of the top start stapling it to the back of the plywood pulling it tightly as you go. Fold the material neatly around the corners (or legs if you opted to add them).
Once the headboard is upholstered flip it over and start adding your upholstery nails. There are tons of options on the market. The craft and hardware stores even sell nailhead trim kits so you only have to hammer in ever fifth nail. If you’d like something bigger, like is used in the example, you will likely need to order it from an upholstery supplier. The distance between the nails and exactly where you place them — on the front of the headboard or on the side — is up to you.
And that’s all there is to making a DIY upholstered headboard.