DIY Upholstered Headboard

I absolutely love the look of upholstered headboards but I was not willing to pay at least $300+ for one. I had been thinking of making my own for awhile and recently decided to pull the trigger. I made a drawing and decided on the dimensions based on the width of my bed and how high I wanted it to be on the wall. We have a chair rail/ledge on the wall the bed goes against so I decided to have the top lay just below the trim. I recruited my boyfriend TK to help with measuring and to pick up the plywood.


  • plywood
  • foam
  • quilt batting
  • fabric or canvas drop cloth
  • upholstery nail heads
  • staple gun and staples
  • spray adhesive
  • hammer or rubber mallet

We bought a 1/2in thick plywood board cut to 48in x 64in. TK used his jigsaw to cut out a piece 18in x 44in to accommodate our wall outlet and to save material that would be hidden by the bed anyway.

I used a queen size foam mattress pad from Walmart which is less expensive than craft foam. I also purchased my quilt batting from Walmart

I was at a FabricLand closing sale recently and scored nail heads for 50% off which I was pretty pumped about. They come in packs of 18 so I bought 4 packages, using a total of 68. Their fabric was also on sale but I decided to purchase a canvas drop cloth after seeing tons of projects and tutorials using a drop cloth for fabric. I picked one up at Canadian Tire for $30 but failed to notice that it had a laminated back. BIG MISTAKE!! I needed to iron the drop cloth and obviously couldn't do this with plastic backing. I started this project on a Saturday morning and was convinced to finish by that afternoon. I was not willing to drive back to the store to replace it. So, I decided to peel the plastic backing off. What seemed like an easy task at first, became a two hour ordeal! This was the most time consuming part of the project. Once I was done, I ironed it to remove the creases from being folded.

Now that I had my materials ready, I could finally start making my headboard.

I laid my plywood on the floor and placed the foam on top of it, bumps down. I cut off the excess and then used spray adhesive to attach it to the plywood.

I laid the quilt batting over top of the foam & board, leaving a few inches of excess at the edges to wrap around the back. I flipped the board over and secured the batting with my staple gun. *Pull the batting taut but be careful not to rip it, which I did more than once!

Once the foam and batting were attached, I lifted the plywood off the floor and laid out the canvas drop cloth. I then laid the plywood with the foam and batting face down onto the canvas. I had cut the canvas down to about 60in x 72in leaving lots of room around the edges to secure at the back. Again I used my staple gun to secure the canvas, pulling it taut and using LOTS of staples. The most challenging part for me was around the legs. I had some difficulty getting a smooth seam at the corner but thankfully this part is covered by our bed.

Next, I used a pencil and measuring tape to mark where my nail heads would go. They are larger so I decided to place them every 1.5inches. I used a level to ensure they were applied in a (mostly) straight line.

I poked them through the canvas at their mark to make sure they were straight before hammering into the wood. I used a small hammer and attached a small furniture coaster (adhesive piece for chairs to keep them from scratching floor) to the end to ensure I didn't damage the nail head. You can also use a rubber mallet for this. I had a bit of difficulty making them go in straight, but they are pretty easy to pop off and hammer in again. I only managed to bend 5 of the nails doing this. I simply used pliers to straighten them back out.

(I am terrible for taking photos of the steps which is something I hope to improve on! If you want to see a tutorial with more pictures, head over to 'Two it Yourself'

My work is far from perfect and when you look close you can see where my lines aren't perfectly straight or the nail heads start to go off in their own direction. Oh well!


We did not attach the headboard to our wall or bed, we simply pushed our bed up against it and it has stayed in place.

I am so thrilled with how this looks in our bedroom and for only $108 + a few hours of my time! I love being able to recreate an idea within my budget. I will be sharing the rest of our bedroom details soon.

Jess xx