After our labour-intensive bathroom renovation (see the final reveal of that here), I was in the mood for a a quick and easy, high-impact project. A “quick win” in project management speak. I have had ‘make a headboard’ on the to-do list ever since we moved into our pad in 2009, so I figured the time had come. Keep reading for the full tutorial on how to DIY an upholstered headboard.
See how our pillows had nothing to rest on?
After humming and hawing for way too long about what the accent colour in our gray bedroom should be, I have finally decided on yellow. Such a happy colour that pairs nicely with gray.
I knew I wanted to do a basic upholstered headboard, so I waited for a sale day at my local fabric store, and went on the hunt for some yellow fabric. Sometimes I have no luck, and then other times I hit the jackpot. This was one of those jackpot moments. I came across this pretty gray and yellow ikat fabric by Richloom. The original price tag was just over $25/meter, but sale day meant 40% off. Sa-weet! I thought I had seen it somewhere before, and realized when I got home that it had been a fabric that Sherry and John posted about on Young House Love quite a while ago:
At the same time, I grabbed some hypo-allergenic extra thick batting. I didn’t want to shell out for foam AND batting (some people use both for upholstery projects), so I made sure to grab the really thick double-ply stuff.
For the actual headboard, I went to Home Depot and got some 1/4 inch plywood. They are able to cut it to size in the shop, so we brought our measurements with us and walked away with a piece ready to go. Definitely do it this way – saves a lot of time and hassle. Plus, it means you don’t need any special power tools.
First step was to lay the batting out.
Then I put my sheet of plywood on top and started stapling. Make sure to check the depth of your staples before you start. You don’t want to use ones that are too deep and stick out the other side of the headboard. Might not make for the most comfortable headboard, unless you like the whole piercing your skin on the back of your head thing.
Just staple your way all around the board. Super easy.
Once the batting was all secured, I laid out the fabric with the patterned side down. I gave it a quick ironing to get out any wrinkles before starting.
Now it was time to start stapling the fabric. I started off by doing the two long sides. I made sure to pull it tightly as I was going so that it wouldn’t be too loosey-goosey in the front.
The corners are the part you want to be careful with. My technique (and I’m not sure if this is the “right” way or not) is to approach it like I was wrapping a present. I get one side stapled, and then fold it in to the un-stapled side. Then I bring that piece up and pull it really tightly and staple along the seam. It takes a bit of practice, but I would just do it a few times until I got the perfect seam and then staple ‘er down.
Here she was all stapled and ready to go.
Now came the tricky part of actually hanging it. We wanted to attach it directly to the wall rather than to our bed, so we went through a few different options. We could have hung it using heavy-duty picture hangers, but we worried about it being wobbly and un-level. So we searched around and finally came across this heavy duty E-Z Ancor french cleat (we found it at Canadian Tire, but I’m sure lots of other stores carry them too). It’s 18 inch and holds up to 200 pounds.
You attach one piece onto the back of the headboard, and one piece onto the wall. Then you slide them in together – they have grooves that fit into each other and snap in firmly.
And then you’ve got the finished product! Level and snug on the wall, that baby isn’t going anywhere.
We’re really happy with how it turned out. The colours are just right and it’s nice to bring another textile into the room. Now I’m on the hunt for some zippy yellow throw pillows to tie it all together!
You may also notice that we upgraded our nightstand lighting. The small guys we had there before were never our permanent solution, so when I spotted these gooseneck beauties at HomeSense for $35 a pop, I was sold. They are perfect for reading and don’t take up too much space on our nightstands.
And the budget breakdown? Not a super cheap project, but considering upholstered headboards usually run a couple hundred dollars, this DIY version definitely saves a bundle of moola by coming in at under 100 bones.
- 3 meters of fabric + batting: $70
- plywood: $15
- staple gun, staples: $0 already owned
- French cleat for hanging: $13
Grand Total: $98
What about you guys? Any DIY headboards under your belt? Or any other upholstery projects? I think the best part is picking out the fabric. I’m like a kid in a candy store at the fabric shop.