DIY Upholstered Headboard {you can make in one afternoon}!

Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

DIY Upholstered Headboard by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

I am so excited to share with you all a tutorial on how to make a DIY upholstered headboard.  This project was so fun and it was SO MUCH EASIER than I anticipated.  YOU CAN DO THIS!

I knew I wanted to make upholstered headboards for our twin girls for two reasons: 1) I love the soft, cozy look of upholstered headboards and 2) we could not afford to purchase two beds, to mattresses, etc.  We had to use some elbow grease to make their big girl room affordable!   If you have not seen it already, you can click HERE for details of their “big girl” room reveal.  Now, read on for the tutorial of how to make a DIY upholstered headboard for yourself!

Materials needed to create 1 twin size DIY upholstered headboard:

  • 1/2 inch thick, 4x 8 foot piece of OSB  {you can also use MDF or plywood if you already have some–we had to purchase it so to save $, we went with OSB}.  NOTE THAT THIS WAS ENOUGH TO MAKE TWO HEADBOARDS, SO YOU MAY BE ABLE TO HAVE THE BOARD CUT IN HALF TO SAVE $ IF YOU ARE ONLY MAKING 1 HEADBOARD.
  • Fabric of your choice {the amount you need will depend upon the dimensions of your headboard AND the width of the fabric}
  • 1 egg crate
  • Batting
  • Scissors
  • A sharpie or other marker
  • A staple gun and staples
  • A circular saw
  • A jig saw


1) Determine the size and shape of your headboard-  There are SO many shapes to choose from, as you can see from this handy visual aide that I found on the wonderful blog, Thrifty Decor Chick:

After much deliberation, my husband and I chose the York shape.  We like the simplicity of it and felt that it was “soft” and “sweet” enough for a 3-year-old girls’ room.

2) Decide on the size of your headboard- After choosing the shape, we took some very crude measurements and opted to make our headboards 39 inches wide {the width of a twin mattress} and 44 inches tall {at the tallest point}.  The height of your headboard can vary.  We knew we wanted to mount our headboard on the wall and that we wanted the bottom portion hidden behind the mattress, so those are the factors we considered when deciding the height of our girls’ headboards.

3) Cut your wood to size- We started by cutting the OSB to size.  This meant cutting it to 39 x 44 {our selected width and height}.  We used a circular saw and straight edge for this step.  If you do not have the ability to cut your headboard to size, the friendly folks at Lowe’s or Home Depot will do it for you {sometimes they charge a small fee}.

Make a Custom Headboard

DIY Upholstered Headboard

4) Mark your shape- This was the hardest step for us, believe it or not.  After trial and error, we realized that using a large mixing bowl and pool noodles {ummm, yep, you read that correctly} was the best way for us to get the soft curves we wanted.  We marked the top center of the wood and two points on each side to ensure that our curves were symmetrical.  Then we traced the shape of the curves with a sharpie.

DIY Headboard

5) Cut out your shape with a jigsaw- This is kind of fun, if you like power tools.  I just followed the lines we had drawn with our marker and VOILA, we had the base of our headboard ready to go!  {If you are making two headboards, like we were, lay the first headboard on top of your second piece of wood and trace the shape onto the second headboard–so much faster than figuring out the curves all over again}.

DIY Upholstered Headboard

6) Cover your headboard with the egg crate- First, we cut the egg crate in half length-wise so that we could double up the thickness to make our headboard nice and plush.  Then, we laid both pieces of egg crate on top of each other, with the “egg” sides facing in toward each other.  Finally, we placed both pieces of egg crate on top of the cut out headboard and stapled it in place.  You CAN use foam from the foam and fabric store, but it is WAY more expensive than purchasing egg crates.  Using egg crates is another brilliant idea that came from Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick {love her!}.

DIY Fabric Headboard

7) Trim the excess foam- Next, using scissors, we trimmed the excess foam off, using a line we had traced onto the foam with a marker as our guide.

DIY Upholstered Headboard

{I wish I would remember what Joe was laughing at in this picture.  Probably something hilarious that I said because…well, I’m hilarious}.

8) Cover the headboard with batting- After trimming the excess foam away, we covered the entire headboard with batting, wrapping it around the back of the headboard and stapling it in place.  I used 2 yards of batting for each headboard.  The batting was 48 inches wide, which gave us plenty to wrap around the back.

Make Your Own Upholstered Headboard by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

9) Cover the headboard with fabric- Ahhhh, this was the moment we had been waiting for.  Truthfully, up to this point, our headboard looked like a hot mess.  I was starting to worry it was going to be an epic fail.  But, we pressed on and covered the entire headboard with our lovely fabric {white flannel with teeny tiny blue polka dots}.  The fabric I chose was only 41 inches wide, which was just barely wide enough to cover the headboard, but it did work.  I used 2 yards of fabric for each headboard, which was more than enough, given that the headboard at it’s tallest point is only 44 inches.  Just like with the batting, we wrapped it around the back of the headboard and stapled it in place.

A couple of tips for this step:  The more hands available, the better.  Why?  Because you want to pull the fabric TIGHT.  To accomplish this around the curves, you really need someone to hold the fabric tightly with two hands while the other person staples.

Make Upholstered Headboard by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body


10) Hang your headboard- We used D rings to hang our headboards on the wall.  We were also careful to use appropriate, heavy duty drywall anchors since we did have studs where we needed to hang the headboards.

DIY Upholstered Headboard

How to hang an upholstered headboard by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

Make your own upholstered headboard by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

Hang an Upholstered Headboard by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

11) Stand back and admire your beautiful DIY upholstered headboard- I LOVE our girls’ headboards!  I also love that if we ever tire of the fabric we chose or it gets dirty, we can simply cover it in a new fabric without having to start from scratch–all the hard work is already done.

Cost for 1 headboard:

  • OSB: $10 {$20 for the entire 4 x 8 board, but again, we were able to make two headboards out of that}
  • Egg crate: $15
  • Fabric: $6.98 (2 yards at $3.49/yard–on sale}
  • Batting: $4.98 {2 yards at $2.49/yard–on sale}
  • Hardware for hanging the headboards: $6.00

TOTAL: $42.96

Not bad for a totally custom headboard!  You can find upholstered headboards for sale all over the place, but they are EXPENSIVE, like this one from Pottery Barn Kids that sells for $424.00 {JUST for the headboard}!  That’s almost 10 times more than what mine cost!

Source: Pottery Barn Kids

Make this yourself and save tons and tons of money!


Let me first mention that when my laundry room reveal was recently featured on Apartment Therapy {SO exciting}, someone posted a comment saying that he doubted I could have completed the project in the amount of time I had said.  Folks, I PROMISE you this.  I will never mislead you about how long it takes us to complete our projects.  I will be honest when something is hard and laborious and I will tell you when something was easy and fast.  That doesn’t mean you will have the same experience, but I hope it will give you some guidance when you are making plans.

That said, Joe and I both felt that this project was quick and easy.   Bearing in mind that we had purchased all of our materials and had selected our shape and size ahead of time, we put our girls down for a nap one day and hopped to it.  We completed Steps 3 through 9 for two headboards DURING ONE AFTERNOON NAP {about 3 hours}.  That means we completed a single headboard in less than 2 hours!  Like I said, you can do this!

What do you think?  Is this a project you might tackle yourself?  Have you already tackled a DIY upholstered headboard?  If so, that was your experience like?  Which headboard shape is your favorite?

DIY Upholstered Headboard Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body



  1. says

    Hi Tasha,

    You guys did a really nice job on the headboards. Most DIY headboard makers go with the simple square. I am glad you went with a more complex shape. It is much more interesting. We always struggled with wall hanging headboards. It can be very tricky to get it level and then getting the hooks to line up with the wall hangers is always a challenge. After trying different solutions, we found that cabinet hangers works really well. They also call them French cleats.

  2. Emma says

    This is sooo cute! I have twin girls also who almost old enough to switch out of their toddler beds and an older girl who would love a headboard lol. I am soo going to do this and the $$ that I will be saving will convince my husband that it is totally worth it. Thank you for the plans/instructions!!

      • Emma says

        mine are about to be 3yrs old. They’ve grown soo much but are still a bit small :) They love to help with all of the things i try to do so I know that they will be trying to help mommy with this one lol.

        • says

          Wow! Ours are so close in age! Mine turned 3 a couple of months ago. One of my twins is really small for her age and the other one is not. Their size difference cracks me up because they were SO CLOSE in size at birth (5 lbs 10 ounces and 5 lbs 11 ounces). Now they are 6 pounds and 1 1/2 different. My gils love to help with stuff, too, which is why we tackled this project during their nap time :) LOL! Fortunately, there current bedroom was empty at the time, so they were still in their old bedroom and had no idea that we were creating a new room for them and they had somewhere quiet to nap!

  3. Andrea says

    Looks good. Daughter’s DIY headboard has been on the to do list for some time now. I have all the supplies except the wood. What am I waiting for?

    • says

      Thank you, Andrea! You should definitely go for it, especially since you have everything on hand but the wood. I would love to see how it turns out!

  4. Sarah M says

    I love your girls’ room! I have 2 daughters who share a room, and I’ve been copying your ideas since you posted the room reveal. The idea of using a sheet as a duvet cover? Genius! And I have made an upholstered headboard before myself and it only took an afternoon. I don’t understand why people post comments if they don’t have anything nice to say. Just move on, rude people! I do have a question, though: What did you use as the duvet insert and/or where did you get it? That is the part I’m having trouble with currently. Thanks! Love your blog, I’m a dentist and I love to DIY and I’ve always dreamed of doing my own blog, except I forget to take photos of steps!

    • says

      Hi Sarah! I am so thrilled that you found my blog and are enjoying it! I agree about the rude people :) I used an Ikea comforter. Here is the specific one that I used, but there are TONS of different options. You could use pretty much anything–a down comforter or an old twin comforter that isn’t being used anymore and you want to cover up. I hope that answers your questions. You SHOULD start blogging. It is such a great creative outlet for attorneys and dentists alike :) Nice to “meet” you. I hope you will stop by often!


  1. […] I used two additional flat sheets from Macy’s to make the girls’ no-sew, tailored bed skirts.  I also purchased two plain white, ruffled shams from Bed Bath and Beyond for $15.00 each with a gift card that I had on hand.  I then personalized them with my girls’ names and some ric rac trim.  I made the wide-striped pillows with $2.00 kitchen towels from Ikea {you can find the tutorial here}.  Finally, we made the DIY upholstered headboards ourselves {the DIY headboard tutorial can be found here}. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *