How To Make A Headboard

By Molly Freudenberg, March 6, 2010

When I was shopping for a new bed, I wanted something that was cozy and stylish.   I looked at the construction of a lot of the available headboards and beds (and looking at the steep price tags!) I decided to figure out how to make a headboard myself.  Most of them seemed to be constructed in a similar way and had three elements: a wood frame, foam padding of various thicknesses, and a fabric cover.

I figured out how to make a headboard that was just my style – this one is padded, but there are many styles you can make. (Click Here For More Headboard Ideas you can make.)

These are surprisingly easy to build, and definitely lovely to own! Here is exactly how I made it:

How To Make A Headboard

This is the headboard I made…we have had it for a few years now and think it suits us perfectly! In this tutorial you will learn how to make a headboard for cheap!

The frame

I  started with the “width” measurement of the bed which was approximately 54 inches. The height can be whatever you would like — I chose to make mine about a yard higher than the top of my mattress…the same height as a standard piece of foam.

My frame was built using 5 2 x4’s of varying lengths:

  • Two for the height from the floor to the top of my headboard
  • Two for the width minus 2 inches, and
  • One to brace the center…two inches shorter than the height from the bottom horizontal piece to the top one.

small wooden dowel pins, wood glue, a drill with a pre measured tape line to control depth and a small template I made for drilling holes (so they would all be the same.)

The Padding

Next I got my foam which was a 4-5 inch thick foam, and cut it to the size of the frame.  Then I used spray adhesive to carefully to attach the foam to the frame. Easy!

The Fabric and Slipcover

After attaching the foam, I upholstered a cotton duck fabric from front to back with heavy duty staples and a hand staple gun.

I found an upholstery grade fabric I loved at Hancock Fabrics for the slipcover and got a few yards of it plus some cotton cording so I could give dimension to the seams. I cut three pieces…2 narrow side pieces and one long, wide piece of fabric to cover the front, top, and back of the headboard. I wrapped fabric over the cotton cording and sewed it to the edge of the long, wide piece of fabric. Then I machine stitched the side pieces and sewed a 3/4 inch hem around the bottom to it would slip over the headboard like a dress.

My finished DIY headboard is exactly what I wanted and had been a very useful and cute addition to my bedroom. It also cost me about a third of what it would have to buy a new headboard as nice in the store!

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  1. [...] construction of the frame is very similar to that for making a headboard (See How To Make A Headboard) and uses dowels and wood glue to hold together. I find the dowel pin and glue method both easy and [...]