October 15, 2011

How To: Make a Headboard

Posted by Laura

Featured on Handmadeology

See it. Want it. Buy it Make it. This is something that we at PEC we are quite fond of. A few years back, Kristin made her own headboard and did an amazing job (home tour here). She is mighty inspiring when it comes to taking on big projects so when I mentioned I wanted to make my own headboard, she squealed (I think - she may have just said "cool!", but in my mind she squealed). Anyway, being the good instructor that she is we were off to Home Depot in her dad's gigantic truck to get some of the supplies. Oh, but first, here's the finished product (costing a grand total of $53.43).

Supplies Breakdown: (note, these will be unique to the size of your bed, the look you're going for, etc..This headboard was made for a Queen size bed)
  • Plywood 60"x37"
  • 2 2x4s 48" long
  • Foam 60"x24"x2" (I purchased mine at Joann Fabrics)
  • 2 yards of Fabric (1 piece of thick fabric or 1 piece of thin fabric + quilt batting)
  • Spray Glue (or spray adhesive)
  • Staple Gun
  • Table Saw (or find a friend with a table saw OR see if they can cut the wood for you at the hardware store)
"We don't need a cart!" as Kristin flexes her muscles
I just wanted to quickly point out the type of fabric
I used. It's the really fancy kind in the home decor section
at Joann Fabrics. The front is suede[ish] and the back
is a thick batting.

Here's a quick snapshot of how this bad boy goes down. Ignore the creepy stick figures (my oldest brother got all the drawing talent in my family).

click on picture to enlarge

Step 1: Cut all of your wood, fabric and foam to the right sizes.
"oh, hello workshop-I-didn't-know-existed"
Our friend Dan's basement. He's a teacher so he automatically jumped into
teaching mode when explaining the saw to me.

Safety goggles!

Back in our living room, cutting the foam to the right length

Step 2: Glue the foam to the plywood. Make sure this is done in a well-vented area (even if it's low odor). Also, make sure you have something around the edges of the plywood because the sprayer has a wide angle on it (I took the set up from the above photo, with the old sheet underneath, and moved it to the porch).

Step 3: Wrap the fabric around the plywood and staple it to the back. This step is a bit tricky and works best with two people. Optional: Apply an extra piece of fabric to the back to cover up the plywood. We opted out of this.

Caleb, stapling along the top

manly hands

When it came to the corners, I wrapped them like a present. By the way,
we're watching The Sing Off. Love that show.

Step 4: Attach 2x4s to the back as legs. Make sure you have your measurements right. Each bed will be different.

There are 4, 3.5" screws in each leg.

The edge where the foam meets the mattress height was secured by
pulling the fabric tight an securing with a few staples.

Step 5: Attach that baby! Since our bed is basically made of 2x4s, I got 4.5" nut and bolt screws to go through the 2x4s on the headboard and the 2x4 that makes up the horizontal part of the back of the bed. Everything fit snug as a bug in a rug.

Using a nut and bolt (instead of normal screws) makes
breakdown easier for moving.

Cost breakdown:
  • Plywood $7.94 - Home Depot
  • 2x4s $0 - free from a friend's basement
  • Foam $17.99 - Joann Fabrics with 40% off coupon
  • Spray Glue $3.99 - Michael's with 40% off coupon
  • Fabric $17.51 - Joann Fabrics on Clearance
  • Misc nuts, bolts and screws $6
Total Cost: $53.43

-Thank you Kristin for your ideas.
-Thank you husband for loving me in the clutterness of home projects.
-Thank you Jennifer for saying you would help me with this, even though I spontaneously did it on a day you were working.
-Thank you Dan and Sarah for letting me mess up your basement with sawdust.
-Thank you Owen for hanging out (literally) while I messed up your parents' basement with sawdust.



  1. The headboards looks awesome! So do your triceps in the pic of you stapling fabric onto the headboard - Owow!!

  2. Do you have the plans for your bed frame somewhere?