DIY Upholstered Headboard

Updated April 17, 2017

Upholstered headboards not only create a comfortable backdrop for a bed, they provide presence, a way of creating the look of furniture without the expense. Upholstered headboards can be costly, however, and there is no guarantee that you will find the look you desire, from vintage to modern. Despite the assumption that making your own headboard is complicated, just about anyone can make one. Create your own custom made upholstered headboard using household tools, and achieve the look you want.

Measure and mark the midpoint of each edge of your plywood and upholstery fabric, using a marking pen. Mark within 3 inches of the edge of the fabric so the mark will not be visible.

Lay the plywood on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area, and attach the batting to the plywood using the spray adhesive. Leave the overhang edges of the batting flat, as they will be folded to the back when the fabric is applied.

Lay the fabric flat, pattern side down, on your working surface. Lay the plywood and batting on top of the fabric, with the batting facing toward the fabric. Match the midpoints of the fabric and plywood together.

Pull the fabric around the back on the top side of the plywood, encasing the extra batting as you fold. Staple the fabric down at the midpoint mark, being sure to go through the fabric, batting, and into the back side of the plywood, placing the staple approximately 1 inch from the edge of the fabric. Do the same on the opposite side of the headboard, pulling the fabric taut at the midpoint mark and stapling the fabric and batting to the back side of the plywood. Continue on the other two sides of the plywood, pulling the fabric taut and stapling it down to secure the fabric and batting to all edges of the back of the plywood.

Pull any remaining loose edges of the fabric to the wrong side of the plywood and secure them with staples approximately 1 to 2 inches apart around the perimeter of the plywood. Be sure that the fabric is not wrinkled or loose on the front of the headboard while stapling.

Trim any bulky excess fabric, leaving approximately 1 inch of fabric beyond the staples.

Attach the frame mounting hardware to the plywood, in the centre and in the top corners. Hang the headboard on the wall so that the lower edge of the headboard falls just below the top edge of the mattress.


Upholstery fabrics are more resilient to wear than apparel fabrics, and are recommended for this type of project. Buy enough batting to cover both the width and length of the entire headboard, including at least 2 inches extra on each side, to wrap around the wooden frame. Add 6 inches to each side for the upholstery material. Be sure that the staples are not protruding through the plywood and into the padding on the front side of the headboard.


Abide by all recommended precautions when using spray adhesive, including goggles and masks. The adhesive bottle will give all necessary safety precautions. Use caution when spraying the adhesive, so that it does not adhere to anything other than the plywood.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood
  • Batting
  • Measuring tape
  • Marking pen
  • Spray adhesive
  • Staple gun with staples
  • Scissors
  • Frame mounting hardware
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About the Author

Kelli Nottingham has been a freelance writer for more than five years, with published works on topics ranging from international travel to home decor DIY projects. A graduate of Duke University and the University of Colorado, Nottingham holds degrees in anthropology of religion, with a focus on religious ritual. She is also a recognized professional speaker with national experience.