Introduction: 2 Hour Upholstered Headboard!

Picture of 2 Hour Upholstered Headboard!

That title may be a bit 'sensational' but this is a really fast project that takes next to no time. Easy, inexpensive and a great focal point for your bedroom, this is a fun project that you can start and finish in just a few hours.  (Visit my other Instructable for the platform bed to complete the look!)

Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies & Get Started.

Picture of Assemble Your Supplies & Get Started.

You will need a 4x8' sheet of plywood (or other sized plywood that fits your particular bed)
A cheap foamy mattress pad from a discount store (about $9 for a twin, I bought a queen for $14)
Fabric, staple gun, staples, scissors, loooooong needle (teddy bear making supplies, upholstery needle, something like that)
Upholstery thread or some other really strong thread...fishing line could work, maybe.
Buttons, cotton batting or felt in a similar colour to your fabric  ( only if you want covered buttons on your headboard)
Disposable chopsticks or bamboo skewers & pair of pliers

I measured my plywood and decided I wanted the headboard to be a smidge wider than the bed. I cut it into a 70"x33" rectangle.

You can get creative here and do all kinds of swoops and curly-cues in your headboard, just be forewarned, this will be a pain in the butt to staple your fabric around and have it look neat, tidy and non-bunched. Don't say I didn't warn you!  A better idea, I think, is to splash out on some spendy fabric. You only need a couple of metres, so you can splurge on something really grand. The stripe I chose has a kind of pearly, organic, nature-y feel to it.

Decide now if you want to put buttons in your headboard. You can add them later, it's just easier to drill before adding the foam. I found the very centre and drilled a hole. I then went out to each side, 8", then made a diamond pattern, adding another row above and below the centre row. More on this later...

Lay your plywood out onto your foam. You may need to trim excess off in one spot and use that piece in another spot. You can see in the second image (at the bottom, right side) where my seam is. I didn't worry about glueing it or stapling it on the front. Overlapping it would leave a visible ripple through the fabric, so I simply butted the new piece up beside the other one. This worked well in the end and you'd never know I had to cut & paste my foam!

The staple job can be somewhat cursory at this point. You want to do a neat job when stapling on your fabric, but at this point, you just want the foam to stay put. No need to overdo it.

Step 2: Centre Your Headboard Over Your Fabric Piece.

Picture of Centre Your Headboard Over Your Fabric Piece.

Tip your headboard up and get it out of the way. At this point, if you've done any major kind of screw up on the foam, you can fix it, but as you can see from my pic, it doesn't look super-fantastic, but the fabric is going to make it look awesome.

Lay out your fabric on the floor, doing your best to smooth out any ripples or wrinkles.  **Important** Make sure if your fabric has a right or wrong side, that the right side is facing the carpet.

Lay the headboard back down, centred over the fabric.

Step 3: Start Stapling.

Picture of Start Stapling.

Start stapling. I stapled in the middle of the end, working my way to each corner. Then I went down to the other end and pulled the fabric taut to be sure there were no ripples under the headboard. I stapled that end as well, out to each corner. Then I went back to the middle of the top and bottom of the headboard and started working my way out to each corner again. I didn't pull too hard...you don't want visible 'dents' in the foam.   I stapled all the way around, not really leaving any gaps bigger than 3" between staples.  I tried to do a neat job at the corners, but they really aren't seen once the headboard is hung, so no big whoop.

Tip it up and admire. You could quit right now and have a quality headboard on your hands! Well done!

Orrrr, you could  say to yourself "that would look super swanky with some covered buttons!" as I did.

Step 4: Cover Your Buttons With Fabric.

Picture of Cover Your Buttons With Fabric.

This is a bit of a finicky step, but worthwhile, as it yields some professional looking results!

Get out your button jar and dig out some that are roughly the same size. I needed 13.

Cut out 13 little circles from your cotton batting or felt, then 13 (or however many you need) circles from your matching fabric.

Thread your needle and do a quick running stitch around the edge of the circle (as in photo 5). Set your cotton in the fabric circle, top with your button, then draw the thread tight and knot several times. Repeat until your buttons are all covered. This took me about 1/2 hour.  You could totally skip this step and deck your headboard out with some cool, vintage buttons.

Step 5: Get Ready to Add Your Buttons

Picture of Get Ready to Add Your Buttons


Get your bamboo skewers or chopsticks, your long needle, thread, your buttons and pliers.

In the second photo, you can see where I marked with a dried up old Sharpie, then later, for your benefit, an orange crayon, the holes I pre-drilled for the buttons. I don't know how big the drill bit was, but you don't want to be fishing around, blindly trying to pass the needle back through the tiniest of holes, so be sure the drill bit is around 1/16th to 1/8th". (I hope that makes sense & is not totally off the wall).

Step 6: Adding the Buttons

Picture of Adding the Buttons

Can I say I loved and hated this step?  It was kind of tedious, (kind of? Who am I kidding?)  but every button added gave me a glimmer of how great the end product would be!

First step: pull a long piece of your sturdy thread through your needle and knot it so that your thread is doubled.

Ok, starting on the back of the headboard, pass the threaded needle through to the front.

Pull it out the other side, but don't pull all of the thread through.

Pass the needle through the fabric button.

Push the needle back into the headboard and back through the hole to the back side.

You should have the knotted end of the thread hanging there.  Poke a 2-3" piece of bamboo skewer through your two strands of thread and pull the needle towards you until the knot is held fast against the skewer, thus stopping the thread from pulling through to the other side and popping through the fabric, or leaving the button droopy.

Now cut the thread off your needle. Bring one tail of the thread around each side of the skewer and pull snug, knotting several times.  Look over the other side to see how snug you want it pulled, and how tucked you want the button to be into the foam of the headboard.

Doing this step assembly-line style makes it go quicker.

Step 7: Hang That Bad Boy Up!

Picture of Hang That Bad Boy Up!

Hey, you did a great job! It is looking fantastic. All we need to do now is hang it, and that's simple.

We used a piece of 1x4 that DH ripped a diagonal cut lengthwise down it.

Put half on the wall and the other half will go on the back of your headboard.  Locate your studs and insert one screw. Level it before putting the next screws in.  Measure and decide where you want your headboard to sit on your wall. That is how you will decide where to mount the reciprocating half of the 1x4 on the headboard. Don't forget to level it as well.

Step 8: Stand Back and Admire!

Picture of Stand Back and Admire!

We added some inexpensive IKEA lights at each end.  It looks fantastic! Get ready to tour all the neighbours through your bedroom! You're gonna want to show it off, just pick up the dirty socks beforehand. 
 

Comments

Anne1967 (author)2015-12-13

Thanks !

djhs1958 (author)2015-11-07

Thank you for making my project so much easier...doug

rkelley7 (author)2014-06-26

So easy to do and thanks for your post. I'm planning to do this project for our king size bed. I love the softening effect of the fabric for a headboard instead of wrought iron or wood. Glam!

rkelley7 (author)2014-06-26

If your fabric has a particular design such as toile, lay it face up on the headboard first and pin or mark corners and the center. Then you can flip the headboard and on the wrong side of the fabric and know where to lay it out for your design. ;)

rftek (author)2013-12-30

Hi, We made a upholstered cushion to mount on the headboard (inspired by this https://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-40-headboard/). thanks for the detailed instructable.

jreaton (author)2013-07-04

Totally just made this. Great tutorial!! One suggestion for anyone else: I did the skewer trick for the first couple buttons but it was driving me crazy. So I took some old oversized wood buttons I had left over from another project and used those as stoppers instead. Basically, I knotted the fishing line (which works fine) into two of the holes of the wood buttons, then sewed them onto the back as tight as I wanted the tufting. Worked slick!

This was a 3-hour project that turned out AWESOME. Thanks!

jessandstavro (author)2013-04-21

More padding would be comfier, for sure. I have a few pillows for sitting up in bed reading, but thicker foam would definitely be plush! We are pretty rural, but if we did have an upholstery shop or fabric store that carried thicker foam, I would say it would be an added bonus. You'd just have to tie those buttons stronger so they don't pop out, but definitely would look richer.

lmno101 (author)2013-04-19

Looks great, although I wonder how it would look with more cushion/foam. Maybe It might be harder to hold the buttons too.

newroger (author)2013-01-10

adorei esta ideai! vou fazer e postar!!!

Maybe you could put a screw through the button and put the fabrics over it and then screw drive it in next time?

bigjohn1a (author)2012-06-04

I am still using a plain old sheet of plywood for my headboard and have been wanting to do somthing like this. Now that I see yours I have an idea as to how it would turn out. However, I sit up and read sometimes and even with the pillows behind me, it seems that the buttons would dig into my back and be uncomfortable so, are the buttons absolutely needed? If they aren't would the material hold up good without them?

jessandstavro (author)bigjohn1a2012-06-04

LOL, I sit up and read too, and haven't noticed a problem with them digging in. They are padded, so that may make a difference. I have seen nice headboards without button-tufting. You could add a row of decorative tacks around the edge instead...that would look just as nice!

CatTrampoline (author)2011-10-12

Excellent job! The buttons really give it that professional look. I bought some material 5 years ago for a headboard project and this makes me want to finish painting and get to work on the headboard. You 'ible will be very helpful.

recyclegrandma (author)2011-10-05

VERY NICE!! Buttons add an elegant appearance to the project.

sandraellis (author)2011-10-05

very cool! I believe I've seen something like that on tv. Very artistic

mikeasaurus (author)2011-10-05

looking good!

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Bio: We moved to the Crowsnest Pass 10 years ago to start our own business. We now have two little boys (and a girl!) and a ... More »
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