Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tutorial for a headboard (under $100)


Yesterday I promised you a tutorial on how to make this headboard. I used the little tiny point and shoot camera for these photos so I know they aren't the best but it was easy to stick in my pocket in between steps.

Supplies: Amounts will vary according to what size of headboard you want to make. We spent about $87 on our supplies. The fabric was the most expensive thing. We made one for a King Size Bed so we bought:

  • 1 2'x8' ½” plywood (could go with 3/4”)

  • 1 4”x4” 8' post

  • 2 post caps

  • 3 2”x2” 8' boards

  • box of 1 1/2” screws

  • box of 3” screws

  • 3 buttons to cover

  • batting

  • upholstery fabric


These last three items were purchased at Hancock's Fabrics, while the other items were purchased at our local lumberyard, Menards.


Measure and cut your fabric to size. This fabric will cover the end posts so I need two pieces.


While I was cutting the fabric and one layer of batting for each post, Dennis got our supplies ready and started marking the 4x4, makes sure your lines are straight.


We just cut it in half, to make two four foot tall sections. Make sure to cut straight.


Next we laid the fabric out, wrong side up, along with the batting, then laid the post on top. We tacked one end down along the side of the post, making sure to leave some fabric at each end. Then we wrapped the post tightly, making sure there were no wrinkles. Make sure your batting is not too long or it will bulge on the end and your headboard won't stand up right or it will have a bumpy top. We left ours down from the top just a bit so the cap would fit on without issue.



We used an air stapler to attach the fabric but you could use a hand stapler or even upholstery tacks. We folded the cut edge of fabric under to give it a more finished look, then stapled it. If your fabric is not very heavy you will probably want to use some cardboard in this folded edge to help prevent fraying. Once you've done both posts just set them aside. We'll do the ends later.


Next we attached a 2x2 to each long edge of the plywood with 1 1/2” screws.


That done, we measured and cut 2x2s to fit on each end.


Since the screw will go all the way through these 2x2s we pre-drilled the holes to help prevent them from splitting.


Then attached these pieces to our nearly finished posts with 3” screws at the height we wanted the backboard to be. We left some room at the top to allow for our caps and made sure the backboard was low enough to be below the mattress. Be sure to measure accurately so that the height is the same on both posts.


You will notice the stapled edge of our fabric covering, that is the back of the post, the part that will be against the wall. We placed our 2x2s at the very back of the post but you could do it anywhere you want.


Dennis used this neat little tool to make sure the post and board stayed flush.


Now it's time to attach your end post to your backboard. The 1 1/2” screws can handle this job. Make sure the boards stay snug together while you're screwing them in place.


We pushed against the boards to keep them snug. Me at one end and Dennis on the other, both pushing to keep things tight.


Finally, we finished the ends of each end post by folding the fabric like you wrap the ends of a present and stapled them down.


We did the same thing to the tops.


We cut two layers of batting to fit the backboard. It needs to fit lengthwise perfectly, and be wide enough to wrap around over the top and under the bottom to be affixed on the back. I think you can see where we stapled the ends. Make sure to keep this layer smooth, your wrinkles will show up through your fabric.


Next you cover the batting with your fabric. If it has a pattern like ours does then you'll need to keep an eye on that pattern. Make sure to pull the fabric taunt and keep it smooth.


Wrap it all the way to the back to attach it to those top and bottom 2x2s. We simply folded under the ends, next to the posts and while you could glue them down or something we haven't found any problem with them being simply folded. This headboard has been in use for over a month now.


After covering our buttons in fabric we drilled three holes evenly spaced where we wanted them in the backboard and used small cording to attach them. I happened to have these small spools around so we tied the cording to them to keep the buttons on.


This is the point that if you wanted to you could finish out this back with fabric attached to all 2x2s, but we just left it open as it's going against a wall.


Stand it up and admire your work. This is the point you may want to pre-drill some holes to attach your frame to. Make sure to measure accurately, you don't want your bed to hover, or you headboard for that matter.


We finished off the top posts with the post caps, you could actually use these on the bottoms of the post if you wanted too.

So there you have it a headboard completed in just a couple of hours for under $100. We're using this one in our guest room so of course we had to go out and buy new bedding to coordinate.


  1. Got I just have to find someone to DO it for me !

  2. Very cool! I think I could do the fabric part but I would need assistance with the wood part. this Tutorial Thursday? :-)

  3. Great instructive post Lisa, thx for taking your time.

  4. That was quite a post! Good job on your project; I like it! :)

  5. I could handle the woodworking without too much trouble, but the upholstery is something else entirely.

    Nice job!

  6. Stephanie C ReinicheJanuary 15, 2009 at 4:53 AM

    That looks amazing!

  7. That is so warm and elegant. Who would ever know you did it in 2 hours? Terrific!

  8. I love it - the fabric is so luxurious. I laughed though, because these projects that save us money always lead to the next thing, and we end up spending more anyway!

  9. So handy and crafty you two are! It turned out beautiful!

  10. Your talents never end Lisa, what a great tutorial. That fabric is gorge!!

  11. Lisa...

    What talent you have! Thanks so much for sharing this step by I know what to do with the bed in my guest room:)

    More please,

  12. Tiaras & TantrumsJanuary 16, 2009 at 2:38 AM

    oh - perfection! - I made a headboard for our guest room and used ceiling tiles and velcroed them to the wall!

  13. SO cool! I love it!! Mojo (#5), maybe we should team up. I'm pretty sure I can do the fabric part. The woodworking, not so much...

  14. Wow! That's so cool! Very pretty! An amazing photographer AND crafty, hmm...

    So if you had to buy new bedding, was it REALLY under $100??? haha

  15. Funny, I was just thinking of making a headboard after reading about the building stuff clearing house where they have old doors that people buy to make into headboards. I doubt I will get around to it, but it was funny the idea was presented to me twice today.

  16. I have always wanted to make one for our bed...thanks for the directions.