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What Supplies Do I Need to Make an Upholstered Headboard?

Updated February 21, 2017

Making your own upholstered headboard is not a challenging project, as long as you have the right tools and supplies. Make a lush, padded headboard with your choice of decorative fabric to coordinate with your room's decor If you prefer a more streamlined design, omit the padding, but use the same fabric to cover the headboard.

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Tools for making an upholstered headboard vary based on the design of the headboard and the material used to make the support structure. A measuring tape, scissors and spray adhesive are basic tools you'll need to measure, cut and attach upholstery foam and fabric. Cutting tools for the project vary from a circular saw or hacksaw to cut plywood or a craft knife to cut foam board. If the headboard design calls for thick upholstery padding, cut it to size with an electric knife. A heavy-duty staple gun works to attach upholstery materials to plywood; duct tape works to attach the same to foam board. If you plan to add tufts to the headboard, you'll need a drill and 1/4-inch drill bit, along with an upholstery needle, upholstery thread and buttons.

Support Structure

The support structure is the backbone of an upholstered headboard. Sturdy material such as plywood works best if the headboard design contains tufts. Foam core board is a lightweight option for upholstered headboards without tufts. Join plywood pieces to size with metal braces and wood screws. Join pieces of foam core with duct tape to make a headboard support structure. Creating the support structure to the desired length and width for the headboard design is the first step in making an upholstered headboard.


The basic padding for any upholstered headboard is batting. Batting creates a cushion between the fabric and the support structure. Thick padded headboards use upholstery padding up to 2 inches thick to cover a heavy support structure, such as plywood. Attach the thick padding directly to one side of the plywood with spray adhesive, and then cover it with batting before adding the fabric. Wrap the batting around the front side of the headboard support and attach it to the backside with staples or duct tape.


Cover the layer of batting attached to the headboard support structure with upholstery fabric. Upholstery fabric is available in wider bolts and is often more durable than other types of fabric. Thick upholstery fabrics such as leather or cotton work well if you are tufting the headboard design. Chintz and polished cotton are light weight and work well with foam board designs.

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About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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