Introduction: Padded Reclining Headboard

About: Do you really care?
This is an old crappy headboard my wife and I built 13-ish years ago.  It was a lot better than the headboard we didn't have at the time.  But there were issues with it.  It wobbled when you leaned against it.  It was kept upright by being bolted directly to the bed frame, but not a very solid feeling headboard.  The other problem was we only have 2 pillows, and to lean against it to read or watch TV in comfort, one person would need both pillows.  We wanted a sloped and padded headboard, but never could find just what we wanted at any furniture store.

Step 1:

I had some 2 X 6s on hand, so I figured I'd turn those into braces or brackets, but I didn't know what dimensions would be needed, so I just used some blue tape on the floor and just messed around with it until I got what I felt was the right size.

Step 2:

At the end of the 2 X 6s, I measured out 2.5".  Then I measured 17" down and made another mark.  Drew a line between those marks and made my cut.  The overall length wasn't all that important, just as long as it was long enough for the mattress to butt up against the 2 X 6s a few inches below 17" mark.  This was done so that when the headboard is installed, it overlaps a little bit on the matress so there is no gap for the pillows to drop into.

With the old headboard, there was a 2 or 3 inch gap and my pillow would always work its way into that gap, thus my pillow would get smaller and smaller during the night.   So no gaps this time!

Step 3:

Purchased a cheap sheet of 4 X 8 ply, had them (Lowes) rip it into two 24" wide strips.  Ignore the 3rd piece of smaller piece.

Step 4:

Picked up 2 sets of these brackets as well to mount everything up.  Oddly, there is a warning about not putting the contents of the package into your mouth... like this is some real issue that happened often enough to be a problem that the manufacture felt was something to be addressed.  Do people often just put random hardware into their mouth?

Step 5:

Several steps here....  Locate studs.  I mounted 2 brackets to the wall first.  I used different screws than what came with the kit so that I could hit the studs.  The mounting holes in these brackets are wider than a stud, so I had to go in at inward angles.  Since I had the chair rail, I took one bracket and rested it on the top edge of the chair rail and used that as a spacer for the bracket that was screwed to the wall.

With the top 2 wall brackets mounted, I put a piece of tape on one of the 2 X 6s where I wanted the top of the mattress to be, then shoved the mattress towards the wall (it is away from the wall in this photo), lined up my tape mark, then marked on the 2 X 6 where its bracket would need to be mounted.  Transfers the mark to the other 2 X 6 and then attached the brackets to the 2 X 6s.

Cut notches out of the 2 X 6s to clear the chair rail.  Hung 2 X 6s as seen in this photo.  Used a bubble level to get them vertical and then made pencil marks to outline them where I wanted to mount the lower wall brackets.

Step 6:

Removed 2 X 6s, mounted the lower wall brackets.  I then dropped the lower 2 X 6 brackets into the lower wall brackets, put the 2 X 6s back onto the wall and market where the lower 2 X 6 brackets lined up onto the 2 X 6s.  Removed 2 X 6s and screwed those lower brackets to them.

Step 7:

To make sure the plywood didn't flex when we were leaning against it, I wanted to put a 2 X 4 brace between the 2 X 6s.  I hung the 2 X 6s on the wall and measured the distance and then cut and mounted the 2 X 4  with 2 screws at each end.  Note how the 2 X 4 is flush or flat with the sloped edge of the 2 X 6s.

Prior to mounting 2 X 4, the two 2 X 6s had a very sloppy loose fit on those metal brackets.  After securing the 2 X 4, everything got very solid feeling.  There was not free play or slop on how this was attached to the wall.  I had to kind of use my fist to bump it a few times to pop the wooden assembly off the wall or put it back on.  This was just what I wanted, something that felt very solid and anchored, not wobbly.

Note the tape on the wall now.  This was done so I would know where the 2 X 6s are located....

Step 8:

I ended up having to cut the plywood down to the correct length.  So for my bed, it ended up being 24" tall and 64" wide.  With the 2 X 6s mounted to the wall,  I pushed the bed against it.  I put a strip of duct tape along the bottom edge of the plywood to keep it from rough edges snagging my sheets.  I just rested the ply wood on the mattress and pressed up against the 2 X 6s, got it centered up to the windows and level (note bubble level) then screwed it into place.

The headboard overlaps the mattress maybe 2 or 3 inches at most.

Step 9:

Popped the headboard off the wall.  Note that 2 X 6s are not centered on the headboard.  Having the wall bracket mounted directly to the wall studs was more important that centering up something that you simply can not see when hanging on the wall.

It was at this point I noticed the sharp right angle corners on the plywood and figured that might be a problem.  So I grabbed a can of beans from the kitchen and used it to mark out nice curved lines and then cut out rounded corners.

Step 10:

For the padding, we purchased a memory foam mattress topper from Wal Mart for about $30, this was the most expensive item.  I cut one piece to cover the ply wood, flush with the edges.  The second piece of foam was then wrapped around the edges of the plywood and stapled in place as shown in this photo.

Step 11:

Padding all done, it turned out a bit "poofier" than I expected, but a test leaning on it, I didn't feel like I was leaning against a hard piece of ply wood.  You can also see the how the corners were rounded out.

Step 12:

Last part, staple the cover into place.  I started on a 24" side, then did the other 24" side, pulling it pretty snug.  Then stapled a 64" side, then the opposite 64" side, again pulling it snug. 

Note how I stapled the materiel in several inches from the outer edge.  I did this in case I have to remove the cover in the future (cleaning for example), I should have plenty of good material to work with to put it back on.

Step 13:

And our new headboard.  Well, new as in I did this last July, so 6 months ago now.  The outer material we got from some sort of "scratch and dent" type place for fabric and upholstery.  It set us back about $10 and a 2 hour round trip.  It was the first material we both agreed on and by far the cheapest of anything we had looked at.

If I were to do this again, one thing I would do different... while the angle is nice, I wish it was angled back just a little bit more.  On step 2, instead of measuring 2.5", I would maybe do only 2".