3 steps to make a DIY upholstered headboard

After the success of my first DIY upholstered headboard with a lovely nail head trim project, I couldn’t wait to try it again. So here’s my next attempt and a further simplified tutorial.

(It really is this easy!)

1. The shape

I wanted this headboard to be different to my last headboard, so I chose a simple squared shape.

No need to cut any angles – yay! Some assembly of the MDF was required.

  • Join two pieces of MDF

I didn’t have one single piece of MDF but instead two separate pieces, which I had to cut to size and join together. I followed the same process as last time, using Prydas on both sides of the MDF to ensure a secure hold. Plain glue won’t do the trick.

  • Cut the legs

I wanted thick 20cm wide legs, so I used an old jigsaw to cut out legs shapes. This section will never really been seen so it doesn’t need to be perfect. You don’t really even need to cut out legs, but I liked the look and was happy to spend another 20 mins to make it happen.

2. Layer the pieces

With a simple shape like this, putting together your headboard is really just a simple process of layer, then staple, and repeat.

Layer 1 – MDF (12mm thick)

Layer 2 – Foam (2 inches – 5cm thick). Use spray adhesive on the MDF surface to hold the foam in place, and then finish off by stapling down the edge of the foam for a round finish. This will make it MUCH easier to hammer in the nails for the trim detail.

Layer 3 – Batting, then staple in place around the back of the board.

Layer 4 – Fabric (2m wide by 1.6m high), then staple in place around the back as well. What you see below is the back of the headboard. You could staple a piece of fabric here to cover the ‘behind-the-scenes’ look but you’ll never see it once it’s in place. Save yourself the extra 30mins.

3. Nail it!

I used under 1000 nail heads for this double trim nail detail (don’t remember the exact number but it was definitely less than 1000).

I used leftover nails from my last headboard project, which I bought on eBay, and bought the extras from a local upholstery shop in Melbourne called Padgham Upholstery. It was more expensive than eBay, but I wanted them straight away.

 Click here for a detailed upholstered headboard tutorial.

What kind of fabric would you use?

Tell me in the comments below, send me a private email or message me on Twitter @decoreducation.

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  1. Pam,

    how think was the foam you used? I am planing to make my headboard like this one, but not sure about the thickness.

    And how tall is this headboard? I am not sure how high to make it, since my bed is semi-double (120cm wide). Any tips?

    Gracias 🙂

  2. Ooh good questions – I should have mentioned that in the post!

    The foam was 2 inches (5cm) thick. The MDF was ~12mm thick.

    The whole headboard was 140cm tall and 170cm wide.

    I spent a lot of time thinking about the size and was really happy with what I chose. Good height when you look at it and also when you’re sitting in bed.

    Make sure you make the width 5-10cm wider than the width of your actual bed.

    Send me pics when you’re done!! Good luck!

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