DYI Headboard

DIY Headboard

Im not one to decorate my bed typically, but this just seemed like an interesting project, and my girlfriend really liked it and I’m always up for a challenge. So here it is, 1 more DIY project for the books – my DIY headboard (disclaimer – image above is not it). Also, forgive me, I lost half of the photos I had originally shot reformatting my computer, so imagery is a little sparse.

There are tons to choose from. Pinterest is a great source for brainstorming ideas, collecting and sharing. Our final decision was to try a tufted cloth based headboard. They always seem to have a clean attractive look to them we both appreciate. Based on my rooms constraints I was limited on height due to the thermostat being in the middle of the room.

Stuff you will need

Lumber – your choice – I used…
1/4 plywood – firm backing for foam
5in x .5in pine board – as a frame for structure
foam – again, your choice on thickness/density
batting – this prevents the foam and the fabric from deteriorating.
fabric – upholstery fabric – do not use regular fabric, it is too thin/weak.
1 dowel rod


wood screws (various lengths depending on your choice of thickness)
wood glue
foam glue
staple gun – a 20$ heavy duty gun works great.
upholstery needles – for the buttons
buttons and button press – they come in kits
wax string – for the buttons
utility knife


Lets get started. I didn’t do any sketches this time. Mainly because the shape I landed on is a pretty standard rectangle with a slight modification for a small shelf at the top. First thing I did was grab a spare piece of plywood and cut it down to size, roughly – 60inches in length and 36inches in height. When the plywood was squared off, I marked the center and gridded out where my buttons would be.


With the main backing cut. I cut the pine to length and framed the edge of the plywood. This added some structure and rigidity to the headboard and gives the staple gun something to press into when its time to attach the fabric. I glued it into place and drilled from the plywood side.


The shelf was a prefabricated shelf an old roommate left behind that I would typically have never used/bought in the first place. But for this project it’s perfect. I traced the shape of the shelf along the top and cut it out using a jig saw.


All of these steps are pretty straight forward – make a square cut down, drill it on. Here is a shot of the shelf after i cut the negative out of the wood. It was the last thing to be assembled but it’s good to see how it will fit.


Once the frame was finished, it was time for foam. For the standard consumer there are 2 densities to choose from, you guessed it – soft and thick. And by that – the soft is still pretty dense as a whole. So basically choose which one you like. I had the intention that I wanted to lean against my headboard and watch movies, or read a book or something. I also doubled the foam up adding to the thickness. Foam can be fairly expensive, but the fabric store I go to has some really good deals on precut rolls for around 30$. I was able to get a single roll and get double thickness out of it. If i had chosen something that needed to be cut down it would have been twice a much for a single layer.

Using the frame as a guide, I cut the foam down to size. This stuff cuts fairly well with some good house scissors, but it never hurts to use a good utility knife. Cutting out the negative space for the shelf as it wasn’t needed.


When the foam was cut to shape, using the spray can of foam glue I put down a thick layer of glue on the plywood, and the first layer of foam. And did the same thing for the second layer of foam, applying on the top of the first and the bottom of the second. This glue is super tacky, sprays unevenly, gets everywhere and smells like chemicals, consider where you are using this.

Let the foam dry for a few hours. It needs time to fuse with the glue. From here, it’s time for batting.


I don’t typically pull it too tight, but you don’t want any motion for friction. wrap the entire side of foam with batting. Cut down any excess amounts make sure to leave a few inches to work with and staple gun the batting to the frame. It should look something like this.


When the batting is on, it’s time for the fabric. I wanted the fabric to be fairly tight, so I measured to length and stapled one side down pulling it tight across. It is a lot easier with a second person.


The corners can be a little tricky if you don’t want any giant lumps from layers and layers of batting and fabric. I cut them down fairly shorter and stapled them as I folded. This help reduce the amount of fabric, kept it clean and minimal. here is an example with the batting.


When all is said and done, you should have a solid face of fabric, clean with no wrinkles and fairly taught. Enough so that you could mount it as is without the tufting. But we wont stop there. It’s time for buttons.

Like everything else, they come in various diameters, I chose some that were just over an inch. In the kit, it should have 3 parts. the front and the back of the buttons and a crappy cheap plastic tool used to put them together.


Something I noticed that wasn’t included in my kit was the diameter required of cloth, so I used a piece of cardboard and eyeballed it until i had an appropriate size.


Using the button press is fairly straight forward as well.
Step by step button making directions –
1. Place the fabric faced down in the center of the larger crappy piece of plastic cup (clear in the image above).
2. Press the front rounded piece of the button firmly over the fabric, it should want to wrap over the edges (see image below).
3. Place the back of the button next, making sure to tuck all the fabric in between the two metal sides.
4. Using the other crappy smaller plastic cup press firmly until it pops in place.


Finished buttons should look like this. Clean with no wrinkles.


Through the loop on the back of the button thread a piece of wax string long enough to pass through the foam, wood and have about 4in extra to staple down on the back.


Using the predrilled holes I made at the beginning of the build, I threaded the upholstery needle starting from the back, this punctures the fabric marking the spot i should thread from the front. I looped the wax string and pull it back through from the front side.


To get an even depth for each button use a small bowl, jar, case or anything that will press the button into the foam. Pull the string through and staple it down 4-5 times in a zig zag pattern to keep it from pulling back out. Using the same object will allow each button to have the same depth in the face of the headboard. This finished the headboard. Now its time to mount.

I wanted to mount the headboard directly to the wall as tightly as I could with no edges or gaps showing. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this, but I will try to explain it as well as I can. For the mount – it is a simple board 1/2in pine board mounted to the wall with 4 short dowel rods protruding from the top edge, kind of like a janky upside-down comb.

First, I chalked the wall where the studs were located. I don’t want this coming loose in anyway. I centered the mounting board to the back of the headboard and marked the centers so I knew where to line things up when it was mounted to the wall. Next, using a shim to drill at a slight angle, I drilled 4 holes along the top edge of the mounting board and glued 4 pre-cut 3in dowels into the holes hammering them into place. I placed the mounting board back on the backside of the headboard and marked where the dowels lined up and drilled a slightly larger hole at the same angle using the same shim. This way when I slide it down onto the mount it pulls it tight against the wall the closer it gets to the bottom.

All that is left is to screw the mount onto the wall and slide the headboard into place. Here is the headboard finished and mounted.


Again, I am sorry for not having as many pictures as I typically would. Hope this helps those interested in making something similar. As always if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate.


1 thought on “DYI Headboard

  1. Pingback: DIY Headboard | NDW Design Blog

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