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

January 20, 2014

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This is the quickest and easiest DIY upholstered headboard! And it is under $50!


I am so excited to share with you all a tutorial on how to make an 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, two 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 an upholstered headboard for yourself!  This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read the full disclosure policy.

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 Materials needed to make 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 twin egg crate {I found mine for $14.99 at Target, which is the best price I have seen}
  • Batting
  • Scissors
  • A sharpie or other marker
  • A Staple Gun and staples
  • Circular Saw
  • Jig Saw

How to Make an Upholstered Headboard:

1) Determine the size and shape of your padded headboard-  There are SO many shapes to choose from, as you can see from this handy visual aide that I found from Headboard Direct.

After much deliberation, my husband and I chose the York shape for our DIY upholstered headboard.  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}.

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

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.

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

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 DIY upholstered 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}.

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

6) Cover your DIY upholstered 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!}.  I found mine at Target for $14.99 each.

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

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.

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

{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.

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from 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 DIY upholstered 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 padded 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.

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

10) Hang your DIY upholstered 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.

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from 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.  In fact, we updated the fabric about a year after completing this project because I got hair dye {the downside of multitasking} on one of the headboards AND we wanted a brighter color to pop off the wall a bit more.  You can see the new fabric below!

SO EASY! Come learn how to make an upholstered headboard with this awesome tutorial from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

Cost for 1 DIY upholstered 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 DIY upholstered 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 DIY upholstered 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?

Now that you have a headboard you love, create a room for it to look great in! Click below for my free guide on designing a room you love.
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  1. Cathy Greeen says:

    I love this! Exactly what I was looking for, but I was looking for fabric and was wondering if the fabric had any guidelines like stretch or not? I want to do velvet and there are apparently lots of types and I don’t know what is the best for this project. Please help me!

    • Tasha says:

      My fabric had little give and stretch to it. You can use something with stretch, just make sure you do it tight and stretch it evenly. Good luck!

  2. Suzan Hanrahan says:

    Hi Tasha! I love your tutorial and plan to make this once I manage to borrow or rent the two saws you list. I’m wondering if I can pin this page to my pinterest board. Thanks for you help!

    • Tasha says:

      Hi Suzan! This tutorial is already on Pinterest if you want to save a step! Just search “designer trapped upholstered headboard.”
      Good luck and thanks for reading!

  3. kathy 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.

  4. […] 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}. […]

  5. 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!!

    • My pleasure, Emma! I would love to see how yours turn out. Send me pictures when you are done!

    • And YAY for twin girls! Aren’t they fun?! How old are yours?

      • 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.

        • 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!

  6. 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?

    • Tasha 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!

  7. Great project on the budget,Tasha! Pinning!Xo~

  8. 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!

    • Tasha 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!

  9. Suzie says:

    Love it! Such lucky girls to have you!

  10. Your headboards turned out so great! I have been wanting to make one for my bed but am afraid it will be more work than I am ready for, you make it look manageable. Thanks for sharing. Your girls room is so sweet. I love 3 year olds, it is a great age.

    • Tasha says:

      Hi Tammy! Thank you. I promise, it really is manageable. I was really surprised that it moved as quickly as it did. You should go for it! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. They turned out SO SO good I can’t even stand it. That whole room kills me with its sweetness-without-being-over-the-top. Just perfect. (Also — what is it with Apartment Therapy commenters?! Their favorite thing to say is “Meh. I liked the before better.” They should just make that whole blog a photo of “befores.”)

    • Tasha says:

      Thank you so much, Kelly! I am glad I am not the only one with a weird AT comment experience! I mean, seriously, WHY would I try to mislead people about how long it takes me to do something?! And to say they like a before photo better? Come on people! I am all about constructive criticism and/or suggestions, but some people have something a little different to offer, I suppose. By they way, I am SUPER excited about your closet plans and am impressed with your drawings :) My favorite part is the “this will be clean” writing on the floor space. Hilarious {as usual}. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. So cute Tasha- what an amazing savings to DIY this!! Pinned it!

  13. You guys did an amazing job with these headboards, the whole room is looking great! I love the square wreaths over the beds. Can’t wait to see what else you do!

  14. BabsProjects says:

    Hi Tasha. I am stopping by from the SITS tribe building, to say hello. Your twin headboards turned out great and I am sure your girls must be loving it.

  15. Hi tasha, just popping over to hi as we are in the same SITS tribe building group. I love the headboards (and the cushions ) we were thinking what do for our eldest sons bed so may give this a try later this year.looking forward to reading more

  16. Hi Tasha, we’re in the same bloggy tribe for the SITS tribe building. YAY! I’m so glad to have a familiar face in the group, since I already love your blog :). Using a pool noodle to make the headboard shape, genius! I would have never thought of that and it sure worked great. :) Thanks for sharing this awesome tutorial, you guys did such an awesome job!

  17. Kelly says:

    Thank you for the detailed instructions. I love the look of a padded headboard but they are always so expensive. Might have to use this tutorial to make one for my guest room.

    • Tasha says:

      Hi Kelly! So great to “see” you again :) You should make one for your guest room–I am thinking of making one for my guest room also! It’s an easy and fun project!

  18. Looks great…Such a darling little girls room! Love seeing what you are up to!


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