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building a headboard in the master bedroom

Easy Upholstered Headboard

January 9, 2012

I am so excited about how this project turned out! I have been wanting a headboard for my master bedroom ever since we moved into our new home in Lehi but I didn’t want to spend $500-2,000 for a new headboard. There are tons of great tutorials online on how to make your own, so finally I decided to take a chance and try it. I am happy to say that I love my new headboard AND it only cost about $75.

Here’s the inspiration headboard. 

headboard 1

(You may recognize it from the Cordova home in Lehi, Utah that I showcased from the 2011 Utah Valley Parade of Homes. I love the nailhead trim and the clean, simple lines.)

Here is my version.

headboard 2

And here’s how I did it.

I mostly followed this fabulous tutorial from Isabella and Max Rooms but with a few changes. The biggest change was that I downsized the headboard quite a bit because I still wanted to show off all that stenciling work I did in the master! I also changed the way I mounted the headboard to the wall. (See Step Six.)

1/4″ sheet of plywood
3- 2x4s
LOTS (about 400 pieces) of nailhead trim that I bought online here.
3 yards batting
3 yards home decor or other wide width fabric
2 large pieces of 3″ high density foam from JoAnns or Hobby Lobby (use coupons!)
scrap piece of mdf or other sturdy wood

Step One
Create the frame for your headborad by cutting down the length of the plywood sheet to fit the length of your bed. I made mine for my (future) king size bed so I needed 80″ width. Then cut down the 2x4s and screw onto the plywood to create a border.

headboard 3

Step Two
Cut down your foam to fill the space between the 2x4s. I like to use an electric carving knife to cut foam. You can use spray adhesive to attach the foam if you’d like. Mine is held in place by the batting and fabric.

headboard 4

Step Three
Lay batting and fabric over the top of the frame. Have a friend/hubby help you make sure the fabric is straight. The fabric can be the biggest expense of this project, but I actually found mine for only $6/yard in the remnants section of JoAnns home decor fabric. It was the perfect gray color with a slight hounds tooth texture. LOVE it!

headboard 5

Step Four
Starting at the top center of the headboard, attach the nailhead trim by hammering it in along the edge of the 2×4. I would suggest using a nailhead trim spacer, which you can find online. I was impatient  and did mine freehand so there are some imperfections. This is the hardest and most tedious part of the process. Luckily, my husband helped some so things went a little faster. Make sure your fabric is pulled tight as you go and that it is straight.

 headboard 6

Once the top of the headboard was done, I pulled my fabric tight and stapled it to the bottom. This helped keep things nice and tight as I continued down the sides.

headboard 7

Another thing I learned about nailhead trim is that it can be difficult to hammer into the wood where there are knots or other imperfections. I bent MANY nailheads trying to force them in. After awhile I figured out that I could get a nice hole started by hammering in a small nail first, then removing the nail and hammering in the nailhead trim piece. I only did this in difficult areas, but it really helped!

Step Five
After all the trim was installed I simply stapled the fabric and batting to the back of the headboard, pulling tightly. At the corners, I made a small fold, which is hardly noticeable at all.

headboard 8

Step Six
To install the headboard you could add legs and attach it to your bedframe, but I wanted mine mounted on the wall. The tutorial I followed suggested gluing the headboard to the wall, but I wanted mine to be removal so that if (when) I want to change up the decor I won’t have to rip a hole in the drywall to remove the headboard. An EASY way to do this is by cutting a 45 degree angle into two pieces of wood. Screw one to the headboard and one to the studs in the wall, as shown. Then just lift your headboard up onto the wall so that the wood pieces fit into each other. It only took a few minutes and it is sturdy as can be! (Thanks to my friend, Roger for cutting the angles for me. I still don’t have a table saw…)

headboard 9
headboard 10
headboard 11

That’s it! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the notes and I’ll respond as best I can. Good luck!

headboard 12
This post is brought to you by McArthur Homes, a local home builder in Utah.
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