The DIY Headboard

I try to make every project a learning experience – weather I retain it or not is questionable, so I am taking a stab at some instruction: specifically, how to make a fabric headboard. Inspiration comes from Pottery Barn, implementation comes from a blog with a very similar post.  We I finished this in about 5 hours of solid work.

For a Queen Size Bed:

Materials:

1.)  4′ x 8′ 3/4″ thick, Piece of Sanded Pine Plywood = $29.67 (Home Depot)

2.) 3 Yard of Fabric of Choice = $44.50 (Local Fabric Store)

3.) 10′ x 2.5′ sheet of high-loft batting = $24.99 (Local Fabric Store)

4.) 4 – 5/16″ Carriage Bolts with washers (I suggest 2 washers per bolt) and nuts (The size should match the holes in the bed frame, where the legs of the headboard will be attached) = $2.00

5.) 30 – 1.5″ screws (Many call for nails, however if we want to disassemble or change fabric we can easily do so using screws) = $ 7.00

Tools:

  • Hammer
  • Sturdy staple-gun and staples with 1inch stables.
  • Fabric or sharp scissors
  • Power Sander and 80 grit sandpaper
  • Power Drill – with  corresponding bit for drilling pilot holes for nails as well as the hole large enough for your carriage bolts.
  • Circular Saw – This is an option, however some home improvement stores will make the cuts to your plywood for you, but if you need a challenge – this is the tool to use (Be Safe).
  • Safety Glasses, mask and ear pro.
  • Saw Horses – or sturdy table.

Instructions:

  • Cut the plywood piece into 5 different pieces

  1. Main Headboard  piece (A): 5′ x 42″
    1. THE WIDTH WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE SPACE BETWEEN THE BED FRAME AND BOLT HOLES – BE SURE TO MEASURE BEFORE YOU DETERMINE THE WIDTH OF THE MAIN HEADBOARD (A). For example: my frame was 60″ or 5 ft.
  2. Backing Piece (B): 5′ x 3/4″
  3. Gap Filler for Legs (C): Two 6″ x 8.5″  – This may very depending on the height – we made ours a bit taller due to large bedding and pillows. This width should match the width of D.

The following diagram is a snapshot of how the pieces should be cut:

This how the pieces should be cut from one piece of plywood

The following diagram is a snapshot of the back view assembly:

Back View

 

How to make a headboard - back view.

Main Headboard, top piece and legs without spacers

 

  • Drill holes for the carriage bolts to be connected to your bed frame (D):

  1. After cutting the legs (D) measure them up against your bed frame and mark two points to drill the hole for your carriage bolts.
  2. Use a drill bit 1/16″ larger than your bolts.
  3. Be sure to mark each leg (Left of Right) to determine how it should be attached to the main headboard later on.
  4. Set these to the side – these will be put on in the last step.

 

Drill holes in the legs - making sure they are large enough for the carriage bold (1/16 larger)...I actually took the legs in and measured each one against the bed frame.

  • Attaching Fabric/upholstery to the legs

  1. Cover the bottom 21″ of the leg piece (D) with fabric (no batting) and stable the fabric in place. The seam should be on the back (the back side will be against the wall when attached to the bed frame).
  2. When covered, use an exact-o knife to expose the holes you drill earlier.

 

Wrap the material around the back of the legs (D)

  • Attach the backing piece (B) to the back of main headboard piece (A): 

  1. Ensure that the backing piece (B) is flush with the main headboard (A).
  2. Drill pilot holes and attach with 1.5″ screws.
  • Attach the gap filler pieces (C) to the back of the headboard (A):

  1. Ensure that the gap filler piece (C) is flush to the to the backing piece and the edge of the main headboard
  2. Drill pilot holes and attached 1.5 screws.
  • Sand the edges and knock of any imperfections

  1. Sand off and round out the corners of the main headboard and backing piece
  2. Sand the legs and the carriage bolt holes
  3. Sand the exit point of each pilot hole.
  • Attaching the batting

  1. Lay the headboard on the saw horses with the back side facing down
  2. Measure your batting so that it covers half of the headboards length and leave enough to hang over the edge and the sides
  3. Have a partner wrap the sides and hold the batting and attach to bottom side with stable gun leaving room to attach the legs later on.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 by measuring and laying the batting on the bottom half of the headboard so that the seams in the middle line up. Wrap and staple to bottom.
  5. Wrap and staple top and bottom – leaving room to attach the legs later on.

Lay the batting over the entire face of the main headboard piece (A), making sure that it lies flat. Wrap surplus batting to the back of the main headboard piece (A) and staple along the top and then the sides.

Measure and cut the 2 pieces of batting so they cover the headboard.

 

Staple the batting once you have attached the legs.

 

  • Attaching the material/upholstery

  1. From the bottom, attach the fabric/upholstery over top of the batting -leaving room to attach the legs.  Repeat the previous step, but with the fabric. Make sure the fabric lies flat – pushing out any imperfections, but don’t stretch it excessively. We actually took an iron to our material at this point. This step is best done with a helper who can hold the fabric in place while you staple. You can trim excess fabric and batting from the back if necessary. When you’re done with this step, you should have a finished-looking headboard that looks like this from the back:

 

Wrap the material over the batting and staple from the bottom

 

Make sure you go back with a hammer and nail down any loose staples..

  • Attaching the legs (D)

  1. Flip over the headboard (material and batting side down) and attach both legs using pilot holes and screws – you may have to have a partner hold down the bottom end – pushing down the batting and material to make the leg flush to the headboard.
  2. Screw in the leg pieces (D) to the main headboard piece (A), again from the front, making sure the pieces are snug. (Refer to the “Back View” and “Front View” diagrams if necessary.) Before nailing, make sure to check the marks you made in step 2, which indicate the front/back of the leg pieces. *Based on the thickness of the batting – near the bottom of the legs where it sits on top of the bottom edge of the batting and material of the main headboard, I had to use larger screws to secure the legs to the main headboard.
  3. Remember to cut a hole in the fabric where the holes are for connecting the headboard to the frame.

Wrap the material around the legs, attaching it in the back.

Screw in the leg pieces (D) to the main headboard piece (A), again from the front, making sure the pieces are snug. (Refer to the “Back View” and “Front View” diagrams if necessary.) Before nailing, make sure to check the marks you made in step 2, which indicate the front/back of the leg pieces. *Based on the thickness of the batting – near the bottom of the legs where it sits on top of the bottom edge of the batting and material of the main headboard, I had to use larger screws to secure the legs to the main headboard.

 

All material, batting and legs should be attached - and you're done!

Bolt the headboard to your frame:

Bolt the headboard legs to the bed frame – everything should match up based on the measurement you took in the beginning. There you go! Congratulations! Hopefully you enjoy your headboard and the money you have saved in the process!

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