DIY: Leather Upholstered Headboards

Written by kate mcfarlin Google
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DIY: Leather Upholstered Headboards
A custom leather headboard can work well in contemporary, eclectic or traditionally designed rooms. (Leonard McLane/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Leather headboards can add a touch of elegance and style to a bedroom. This material goes well with many design motifs, including contemporary, elegant, traditional, modern or eclectic. Designing and building your own leather upholstered headboards is a cost-saver and allows you to pick the shade of leather to be used as well as the design of the headboard. While this particular project will use a rectangular design for simplicity, virtually any design with rounded corners would work with leather upholstery.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Medium-density fiberboard or plywood
  • Glue
  • Upholstery batting
  • Buttons (optional)
  • Upholstery needle and thread (optional)
  • Staple gun
  • Drill
  • Screws

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure for your headboard. You will need to decide how wide and how tall the finished headboard will be. The width of the bed will determine the proper width of the headboard, but the height will be up to you. Typically, it should be tall enough to rest comfortably against when seated on the bed.

  2. 2

    Select the leather for your headboard. There are many different finishes available as well as colours. If you are going for a rustic look, consider using brown leather with a pebbled finish. For contemporary, a sleek finish in dark brown or black would be appropriate. This material can also be dyed, giving you the look and feel of leather with more colour options. The size of the leather piece should exceed your headboard measurements by 1 foot on all sides to give you enough material to work with.

  3. 3

    Order medium-density fiberboard or plywood cut to fit. This will be the base of your new headboard. While you can cut it yourself, most lumber stores will offer to cut it to fit at no extra cost, and this will save you a step, particularly if you do not have a circular saw on hand. MDF is much heavier than plywood, but will offer a sturdier base for the headboard.

  4. 4

    Dot the surface of the wood with glue to help the upholstery batting adhere to it, then wrap the front of the headboard in batting. Use enough to give you a soft surface to lean against. Upholstery foam will also work but should be covered in a layer of batting for extra softness.

  5. 5

    Add buttons to create a tufted leather headboard, if desired. Choose large round buttons in either the same shade as the leather or a complementary colour. They should be placed evenly on the surface of the leather. Depending on the size of the headboard, you can have two or three rows of buttons. Space them out at least 1 foot apart. Using an upholstery needle and thread, sew the buttons onto the leather and pull the thread through the batting.

  6. 6

    Wrap the leather around the front of the headboard and secure it. You can lay the leather facedown on the floor and centre the board over it. Fold back the top and the bottom, and secure it to the wood with the staple gun. Pull the leather tight to ensure there are no wrinkles or folds on the front side. Repeat the process with the sides until the leather is firmly secured.

  7. 7

    Install the leather headboard to the bed frame. Using your drill, insert two screws into the bottom of each side of the headboard to secure it to the bed frame. If you cannot secure it to the frame, the headboard should be anchored to the wall to avoid injury. Simply screw the headboard in at the top and bottom to the wall.

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