Monday 14 October 2013

DIY Linen Headboard

Hi everyone, I am back from my trip to Brisbane and straight back into updating my blog. I am sorry for not posting while I was away but I really did need a break from the computer. Unfortunately my dry eye condition flared up and I actually had to come home earlier than expected due to the discomfort. However, I really enjoyed the change of scenery, seeing my old friends from Brunei days and thankfully my eyes are now settling down. I had promised to post instructions to the linen headboard I made for my guest bedroom makeover so thought I better get onto this 'pronto'.

Originally I was thinking of purchasing a headboard for my guest bedroom as I am the type of person that wants everything to be just perfect and wasn't sure I could make a professional enough job. However, running out of budget for my room and realising headboards can be very expensive to buy, I decided I would have a go myself.  It is only a small room, I didn't want something fancy so decided to keep it simple.

The most difficult part of this headboard is actually running around to get the pieces you need. There are masses of DIY examples on the Internet, some good, some not so good, I hope that my images and instructions will make the task easy for you.

I also want to add that this was a little bit of a combined effort, it helped to have another pair of hands, 'paws' excluded. The extra pair of male hands helped when it came to stretching the fabric and to mitre the corners, not to mention hanging it once it was completed.

What you will need and how to measure:

  1. 1 piece of 12mm ply board (next time I would use 15mm), however for a double bed 12mm is fine. You just don't want any warping.
  2. The board must be cut to size depending on the size of your bed.  I bought the ply from Bunnings and they cut it to size while I waited.
  3. I measured the double bed in my guest room allowing 1.5" beyond the mattress either side of the bed. Then I measured from the top of the base of the bed to where I wanted it to finish on the wall. Not from the top of the mattress but the bottom of the matress. And remember to allow plenty of headboard to show above your pillows. 
  4. The height of the board is up to you. Also you may want it resting on the floor, however I decided to bring mine down to just below the base of the bed cutting down the cost of materials. My headboard was designed to rest on the base (below the mattress) and be secured on the wall with brackets. My board was 98cm in height. Width of course depends on your bed size.
  5. One piece of 50mm dense foam, I bought mine from Green Park who cut the foam to size. You should be able to find upholstery places that will supply cut to size. Some people cut their own but you really want a clean edge and a shop bought quality to your headboard, I advise having it pre cut. Anything less than this depth would not be sufficient for a quality look and feel.
  6. 1 sheet of finely woven batting (used for quilting). I chose a fairly thin batting, with the idea that I could cover the  foam on the headboard first and then add the fabric later. Make sure it is the size of your headboard plus the depth of the foam and then a further 5" to wrap around and staple.
  7. Enough fabric of your choice to cover the headboard - I would advise a fairly heavy upholstery fabric. I used a beige linen of upholstery weight.  Again make sure your fabric will wrap around the board and foam and allow at least 6" of excess to work with. If you are working with a pattern make sure you have enough to be able to centre your pattern and allow enough for wrapping around the sides.
  8. A piece of fabric the size of your board. I used curtain backing. This will be used to hide the raw edges on the reverse. 
  9. A staple gun 
  10. Spray adhesive


  • Pre cut board ready to go
  • Spray a fine layer of glue or contact adhesive 
  • Place your foam perfectly over the top of the glue/contact adhesive
  • It should then look like this, foam on top board below
  • Then take your batting, in this case Poppy decided it might make a nice bed!

  • I couldn't get any batting wide enough so used two pieces, however one piece would be easier. If you have to join it you could use some contact adhesive along the join by spraying a little along the edge. This would prevent it from moving around.

  • Wrap your batting around the foam and staple on the reverse of the headboard, do not pull too hard, gently stretch out the batting but make sure the batting is snug.
  • You don't want to pull the foam and squash it but keep its shape nicely while stapling on the batting.
  • Once it is stapled in place, neatly cut around the excess and leave around a 3" border
  • Iron your selected fabric, in this case I chose a heavy linen, make sure there are no creases

  • At this stage your headboard should look like this and be ready for the final cover

  • Lay an old sheet on the floor to keep your fabric clean, spread out your chosen fabric

  • Place your padded headboard over the top foam side down and begin to fold in the sides. It is easier if you work with around 6" of overhang fabric. Stretch the fabric as you are stapling but do not stretch too much or you will end up with the foam being distorted and you want to keep a nice edge not a dimpled edge.
  • Continue to staple until you reach the corner (keep the staples close together)

  • Folding the corner is a little tricky, if you have someone to help hold up the board I found it easier to do with it standing up.
  • Fold/mitre the corners carefully, make sure there are no gathers or wrinkles, sorry this is not a good photo. you will need to play around with the way you fold it to get it just so. There is no right or wrong way for the corners although I did find folding the sides worked better.
  • This is the final fold, I was happy with the neatness. You could add a little glue under the top fold to hold it firmly into place if you wished, although I didn't actually do this as I was able to place my finger between the side and top and manoeuvre it neatly into place.
  • Once you have finished the front and the linen is all stapled,  turn your headboard over and place the cut out piece of backing fabric (about 1.5" from the edge of the headboard). Fold the edges of the lining fabric under stapling it at intervals so that it doesn't move.  You should try to achieve a neat edge as above.
  • The reverse of the headboard after completing one side of stapling. You can gently stretch the creases out as you staple around the edges.  It doesn't have to be perfect on the back as long as your front was perfect.
  • To hang your headboard there are several ways, the easiest I found was to put two screws in the wall about 3" from each end of the board width-wise and about 3" from the top of the board. Use a spirit level to make sure they are straight. You will need someone to hold the board in place initially to work out where you want the screws to go.  We then fixed some brackets to the reverse of the headboard and slipped them onto the screws... volia! the perfect headboard, total cost NZ$180. Total time taken 1.5 hour with materials prepared.

As with most DIY efforts, I recommend reading through the instructions several times and to take your time when starting the project. Remember to pull your fabric taut, but not so taut that it causes dimples in the top edge of the headboard. Also make sure your fabric is of upholstery quality, you want a fairly heavy fabric to withstand the wear and tear of a headboard and also make sure it hides the materials behind.

If anyone decides to have a go and make a headboard, I would love to see your efforts and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

I will be sharing this post with the following blogs;


  1. I am so impressed, it looks great Lee. I've just been thinking about adding an upholstered headboard to our bed. We have a large piece of art above the bed, but I've decided there is still room for a headboard too. I don't know if I'm as clever as you, but maybe I'll give it a go. x

    1. Thanks Vic, I am really pleased with it, far better than I had expected. The secret is to take your time and make sure you don't overstretch the fabric and pull in the top and sides as it won't be as nice. I am thinking of making one for my bedroom too and replacing my shutter headboard. Of course you can button the headboard but it is not as simple as you have to pre drill all your holes. This is a simple headboard that is effective enough. I think a large plain headboard with your art above will be fine. I still have some pictures hanging above mine.

      Lee :)

  2. Beautiful headboard and a fabulous tutorial. Love the linen. I would love for you to link up to Inspire Me this afternoon. The party goes live at 2:30 PT. Hope to see you there. Hugs, Marty

    1. Thank you Marty, yes would love to link up my tutorial.

      Lee :)

  3. Looks great and super simple! I love the texture of linen, it looks lovely!

    1. Thank you Abby for taking time out to comment, I love the linen texture too and it perfectly suited the look I was trying to achieve for my guest room.

      Lee :)

  4. Great tutorial, and the headboard turned out perfect. Good for you for doing it yourself!


  5. Fabulous! I love the material you chose, neutral and great texture. Poppy is adorable.


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