14 January, 2013

DIY Upholstered Headboard for CHEAP! (Tutorial)

My FAVORITE Christmas gift, probably ever, was the upholstered headboard that Steven and I made together on Christmas day. My gift was a trip to Joann to pick out fabric (on Christmas Eve) and the rest of the materials (purchased at Home Depot and Joann) displayed all cutely by the tree on Christmas morning. I had told Steven a few weeks before how badly I wanted an awesome headboard, but hadn't been able to find anything that I loved/was affordable. Plus, all of the tutorials I found online were either insanely complicated and time-consuming, almost as expensive as just buying one, or required tools that we don't have/don't want to buy for a one-time project. I'm all about making life easy simple.

If you are OCD about pictures being perfectly centered, FORGIVE ME! I hung this weeks ago and realized how off it was right away, but haven't made time to correct it. I know that can be like nails on a chalkboard to some people (like Steven, poor guy)

We wanted to simplify this year and really search out meaningful gifts for each other, so we decided to put a limit on spending so there would be no last minute crazy purchases. So with a budget of $50 each to spend on the other, I doubted that we would be able to accomplish making something like a headboard without going over budget. But my husband is amazing, and not only did he get ALL of the materials/fabric for only $25.00, he ALSO got me the easel that I really wanted (on sale, with a coupon - I love this man) and a beautiful, large canvas for me to try it out with. Did I mention that I love my husband? All for a few cents less than $50.00!

So anyway, the headboard. Oh, how I love it. Ever since I saw the simplicity and chicness of an upholstered headboard at Pottery Barn years ago, I have dreamt of my own. I like to think of myself as a minimalist, so I didn't want anything overly stylized or complex.

There are a few alterations you can make from the directions below to stylize your own headboard a little more if you're the fancy-shmancy type, and I'll post one idea below.

For a Queen-Sized headboard, you will need:

- A piece of 1/4" thick composite wood measuring 5' long by 3' tall. Purchase the wood and then they will cut it to size for free at Home Depot or Lowe's.
- Two yards of fabric of your choice. I used the kind of material you make quilt squares out of - super cheap and on sale at Joann for only $3.00/yard. You CAN use upholstery fabric, but it is NOT necessary
- Quilt-length batting (I bought the pre-packaged stuff, though you might save if you measure and get it cut there, because I did end up cutting off a bunch and could probably have saved money there)
- A screw driver
- Four screws that are no LONGER than your piece of wood is thick
- Strong glue. Hot glue would work just fine, though we used this weird super glue that I found at Wal-Mart, which also worked just fine

Assuming that you already have a screw driver, screws, and glue, it is absolutely do-able to spend only $25.00 on the materials.

Okay, so here's how you do it. I was so excited that I didn't take pictures of the project, so if my explanations don't make sense, feel free to post questions in the comments section or email me.

Step 1:

Lay wood on the floor and arrange batting by doubling it over and then cutting off the excess from the edges. Note that you may want a little extra batting over the top edge of the wood to avoid conking your head on a sharp surface.

Step 2:

Place material over the batting and with the help of another person, flip it over so that the material is face down on the ground.

Step 3: Using the glue, secure the top flap of material to the back of the wood and then repeat with the bottom flap, pulling tight.

Step 4: Now pull one side of the material over and using two of the screws, screw it at the corners, OVER the already-glued down bottom and top flaps of material. Repeat on the other side, pulling tightly as you secure it.

That's it! Easy, right? Depending on how tall you want the headboard to be, pull EITHER your box spring forward, and rest it on the frame of your bed (that's what we did). You can bolt it in this way. We did not, because I am a perpetual mind-changer and can't decide whether I want it taller than it is right now. OR you can rest it behind the box spring, on top of the boxspring... whatever you like, and push the bed against it to secure it. Since it's pretty lightweight it secures easily.

Now, if you want to add some bedazzlement to your headboard, here's an idea:

- Using the same size screws, drill them into the headboard at carefully measured intervals, then glue buttons over the indents to create a more textured look.

I am loving this headboard. It's simple, cute, and ties the room in together perfectly. The HARDEST part of this whole process was deciding on the fabric! I am a terrible decision-maker when it comes to things like that. Luckily, though, this is something that you can easily change in a few years if you don't like it by repeating the process and simply placing a different kind of fabric over the original.

My FAVORITE part of this process was creating something amazing with Steven. He is the ultimate handyman and I love him to pieces. The whole process, including buying the materials took about two hours. How's that for efficiency? Thanks for the best gift ever, Steve-o! Love you!

Now. If you decide to make your own, PLEASE let me know! I'd love to see pictures!


  1. That is awesome! YOu are an inspiration! Missing you all the time. When the weather gets a little warmer we'll have to make a trip up to visit. :)

  2. very cool and easy and maybe someday...


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