Design, DIY

Lean on me . . .

With our new mattress that I told you all about last week, I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do for a headboard. Since we upgraded in size our old headboard was too small, and I didn’t want to spend too much since after our frame and mattress we had $752 left for the headboard and all of our bedding. After looking at prices for some I liked and realizing the prices were high (like over half of my budget) . . . my DIY mind dreamed of making one myself, but I just didn’t know where to start . . .

. . . Until I talked to my husband about it. Seriously, if you get a good one they just make you see what you can’t sometimes. I don’t remember how the conversation came up or what we talked about except he said ‘ I just envision this amazing upholstered headboard that you create for us, and it’ll be so cozy.’


And so that’s exactly what I did. I relied fairly heavily on a tutorial from Young House Love, but they attached their’s to an older headboard/frame they had. So the frame and how we hung ours was different – and for that I used knowledge I have from other projects.

Here’s what you’ll need to make one like mine –

78×36 piece of plywood

1×3’s – (2) 36” long and (2) 78” long – to make square frame around plywood

5 yards 1” batting

3 yards fabric

4 screws (already had)

A few nails (already had)


Staple gun

2 small French cleats.

I knew I wanted plywood instead of a canvas frame so it would be sturdy throughout and last a good long while. I choose the sizes because that is the width of the bed and how long my husband’s torso is. We sit up in bed to read or watch TV a lot so I wanted it to support his full back so he would be comfortable. Side note – ours is really tall because of how long his torso is. I like it, but it definitely makes a LARGE statement on the wall. If you don’t want your headboard to make such a large statement, I would cut it to 32” or 27”.


The plywood was a little flimsy and I was worried about how to hang it to the wall. So the 1×3’s were attached right on the edges of the back to create a frame. We simply hammered a nail in thru the plywood to the 1×3 every 5” or so, and drilled screws in on all the corners.


After the frame was built, I laid out 2.5 yards of the batting underneath the plywood – pulled it taught – and stapled it to the frame. Then I did it again for 2 layers of batting. The corners are super easy just wrap it like a present – fold the corner in and staple then pull down the excess and staple. BOOM.


After each layer we checked it out to be sure it was as tight and smooth as possible – like how you want your thighs to look.  Above is after 1 layer of batting . . . nice, smooth, taught, supple. . .  no cellulite.

Next up was the fabric, the fabric I chose was a nice deep purple color to match the drapes . . . (clearance at Joann’s) . . . moving on. I chose it because I love the color, and it gives me the freedom to change out other fabrics in the room  – like pillows – with some patterns as I feel the need. It’s also a nice thick cotton so it’s gonna keep up with the durability. Since I got 3 yards of fabric at 44” wide, it was almost exactly what I needed. So I didn’t have to trim it before we started stapling. It was a little long, but I trimmed that once it was stapled instead of accidentally cutting off too much.


Once it was good and ironed out – I also let it run through a good wash and dry session. We stapled it just as we did the batting – being careful to pull it extra tight as we went around each side. There’s a picture of the corners for you – lots of staples so nothing moves . . .


While I snuggled with it in the dining room, Scott and my dad hung up two small French cleats on a horizontal stud 70” apart. And attached the other side to the top of the frame – 70” apart. Our bed is 25” off the ground so I had them hang it so that the bottom hit right at 25”.


I was a little worried that it was only being held up by two little brackets. So once it was hung I proceeded to jump on the bed, fling myself onto the bed in sitting position, ram my entire body into the headboard (some things on the opposite wall fell off after this attempt), and I even sat gently down like I usually would to see how it handle it. Just as I suspected, it didn’t budge.


Our total budget for the headboard is . . .

purple fabric $20.14 –

extra loft batting $10 –

wood $23 –

French cleats (2 packages were $5) we only used one $2.50

Total of $56

So far we’ve spent $803 of our $1500 budget on the bed. And all we have left is the bedding – holla!

If I could back I would hang it lower. I wouldn’t make it any shorter because of my husbands torso, but I would hang it about 5″ lower so that it would go behind the top of the mattress not hit right on top. He would still have the back support he would need and we wouldn’t get things stuck in between the two . . .

I have debated moving it now, but it’s not a HUGE deal. Our lease is also up in 5 months . ..  and do I really want to move it for 5 months just to move it again . . .


So there you have it, my DIY upholstered headboard inspired by my husband. Is it weird if I’m in love with it? Is it weird that I’m in love with most of our projects? next week I’ll tell you all about our new bedding . . .


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  • Reply Pamela Williams

    Love it! I love the designs and ideas 🙂

    January 24, 2015 at 3:11 am
    • Reply Bex Stark


      January 28, 2015 at 7:12 am

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