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DIY Headboard in a Day

Lail Hossain helps you add a unique personal touch to your bedroom decor.

Whether you have a large or tiny bedroom, a headboard can instantly become the focal point of your room, boosting its overall wow factor. If you want a headboard that is truly unique, you can display your creativity with an innovative, personalised DIY headboard. Now, wouldn’t that be much cooler than one from a showroom?



There are many incredible headboard ideas out there: a framed canvas, curtain panels, barnyard planks, mirrors, doors, photo frames, wallpapers, stencils, you name it – all have the potential to become a personalised headboard. Let your imagination fly. Depending on your creative ingenuity, DIY headboards will almost always save you money, too.




Custom headboards retail for big bucks but it is easy to get a customised look with a little creativity. We had a piece of wood lying around from our first apartment which had sentimental value, and we didn’t want to throw it away. After much thought we turned it into a headboard for one of our guest bedrooms. My guests love waking up to a chic bedroom with a boutique style headboard.




Depending on budget, use wood, plywood or MDF (medium-density fiberboard) if you want to recreate this exact headboard or one similar to it by adding your own spin. The headboard has three parts – a main panel with two upholstered side panels. We like clean straight lines, but you can customise yours by adding curvy lines if that’s more of your style.




For the fabric, you can choose satin, silk, velvet, a cotton/polyester blend, or practically any upholstery weight fabric. It really depends on the look you are trying to achieve. I used an old sari that had the perfect bright and cheery colours I was going for for the guest room.




The level of difficulty to make this headboard in a day is moderate. If you get all your wood pieces cut at the home improvement store when buying the supplies, some of you may even rate this project as easy. One person can finish the job but it’s always great to have a husband, sibling or friend alongside while putting all the pieces together.




The headboard can easily be constructed in one day. I would recommend buying your supplies ahead of the day you will be making the headboard. Make sure you have all your measurements and know what kind of fabric, pattern and colours you want before setting out for the shops. It will be a busy day, so you don’t want to waste time at the store looking at hundreds of options.




There are a number of ways to attach your headboard to the wall or bed. We attached the headboard to the bed frame using bolts. Many attach the finished headboard to the wall using construction grade glues or mount using cleats. Use the method that’s convenient and practical for you and your space.




To determine the size of the headboard and upholstered side panels, measure from the lower edge of the bed frame to the height you would like for your headboard height and add six inches to it to determine the headboard height (H). The length (L) of your bed frame is the length of the headboard.




For the two upholstered panels, decide the shape (square, rectangle, triangle, hexagon, etc.) and the length (L1) and height (H1) you want.  For the sake of clarity, let’s assume the panels to be of rectangular shape in this article.  Add 12 inches to the four sides of the rectangle to determine the fabric size. Note the fabric height (H2 = H1 + 24 inches) and length (L2 = L1 + 24 inches) for the fabric. You can choose to buy two H2 x L2 pieces of fabric or double the length (L2) to buy one piece. In the latter case, you’ll have to cut the fabric into two pieces for the two side panels. Similarly, if you chose a triangular panel, you would need to add 12 inches to three sides to determine your fabric size.




• H x L x 1” thick headboard panel made of wood, plywood or MDF (1)
• L x 2“ thick x 4“ high wood or plywood board (1)
• Sandpaper
• Paint or stain of your choice
• H1 x L1 x 1″ thick side panel (2)
• H1 x L1 x 2″ thick density foam (2)
• H2 x L2 fabric of your choice (2)
• H2 x L2 standard quilting batting
• 2″ screws (4)
• 2 ½” bolts (4)
• Screwdriver
• Staple gun
• Iron
• Fabric scissors
• Fabric glue
• Fabric marker
• Tape measure
• Hammer



1. Prepare main headboard panel
Sand the main panel to smooth any rough edges. Stain or paint panel and set it aside. Stain or paint the 2×4 board and set aside. Iron each piece of fabric.



2. Construct upholstered side panels
Line each side panel with foam. Spread batting over foam and frame leaving excess on all sides. With your staple gun, staple the batting securely to the wood, pulling the batting tight so it is not loose.


Centre fabric over batting and frame with excess extending beyond all sides. Adjust fabric placement to ensure pattern is equal on left and right of the side panels.


Fold excess batting and fabric under the frame at each corner to create a clean corner.


Fold fabric over back of frame and using the staple gun, staple trim along to secure. To create a placement guide for the staples, you may want to draw a straight line with fabric marker. Continue stapling until a border around the entire panel is created.




3. Attach upholstered side panels to main headboard panel
Determine the placement of the side panels. We placed ours in a way so that there are four inches above the main headboard. Apply heavy-duty construction adhesive to back of side panels. Attach to the headboard and let glue set.




4. Attach headboard to bed frame
The 2×4 wood or plywood board attaches the headboard to the bed.  Attach the board to the bottom of the headboard using 4 screws. Secure your headboard to the bed frame firmly using bolts between the bed frame and the 2X4 board attached to the headboard.

Your bed is ready to use as soon as the headboard is secure. Decorative accent pillows will always add interesting depth and colour to your finished headboard.


Happy DIYing and snoozing!



Lail Hossain is a mom, wife, daughter, sister, niece, management consultant and blogger.  She is a committed lover of family, nature and shares her journey to tackle and celebrate everyday life through food, creativity and family on her blog With A Spin (www.withaspin.com).





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