We had a headboard that I really, really didn’t like.
Now I love it!
I lived with this wicker headboard for umpteen years.
I could live with the wicker, but I never really liked it. It was in the guest room, so I didn’t see it every day.
But when I was spring cleaning, I noticed that the wicker was only attached with screws and a plywood backing.
The wheels started turning…and before I knew it, I had removed the wicker insert.
I had fabric that I knew would work for an upholstered headboard insert, so I just needed supplies.
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- 1/4-inch plywood, cut to size – see note below
- 1-inch thick upholstery foam (1-1/2-inch foam is also ok, but it doesn’t need to be that thick)
- spray adhesive
- spray paint if needed for the frame (I only use Rust-Oleum spray paint – it’s the best!)
- fabric (I already had – from IKEA)
- staple gun
- screwdriver (This is my favorite screwdriver (it’s a ratcheting screwdriver) – I use it for everything!)
Note: I went to the hardware store for supplies and figured I’d have the plywood cut to size there. The big box hardware stores will cut the wood for you.
I went to Lowe’s, got the plywood, and the nice person there cut it to the size of the insert. Or so I thought.
If you learn nothing else from this post – although I hope you learn how to upholster a headboard, too – learn this: when you have a piece of wood cut at a hardware store, measure the cut piece before you leave the cutting area. Make sure it’s actually cut to the right measurements.
Because I watched the guy measure the wood and then cut it, and I just assumed he cut it accurately.
He didn’t. He cut it an eighth of an inch too wide. And that’s a lot when you need the plywood to fit into a frame.
Unfortunately, I didn’t notice this until I had already upholstered the board and tried to fit it into the headboard frame. Oops.
I ended up sanding the board down the eighth of an inch I needed and it fit perfectly. Whew. But lesson learned.
OK, back to our upholstering story…Here’s how to upholster a headboard:
1. Cut the foam.
To upholster the board, first cut the foam to the size of the plywood. You can use a knife or very sharp scissors for this (if the foam isn’t too thick).
Then, take the plywood outside and spray it with spray adhesive. Attach the foam to the plywood by laying it on top of the adhesive.
Let the adhesive dry, then get ready for batting and fabric.
2. Cut the batting and fabric.
Cut the batting and fabric to size. The best way to do this is to lay the fabric, face down, on the floor. Keep in mind the pattern of the fabric – you want to make sure to lay it down so that the pattern is in the position you want it in permanently.
Next, lay the batting on top of the fabric. Put the board with the foam on it, foam-side down, on top of the batting.
Wrap the batting and fabric around the foam and board, making sure you leave plenty of room to staple them to the back of the board. Double check to make sure the pattern is in the right place for the headboard, then cut the fabric and batting. You can always cut off the extra fabric, so err on the side of it being too big.
3. Attach the batting and fabric with a staple gun.
Once cut, wrap the batting and fabric around the board, pull it tight, and staple it in place with a staple gun.
The trick here is to pull the fabric tight enough to make sure there are no wrinkles on the face of the headboard as you staple it, while not moving the fabric from where you placed it initially.
And there it is.
Now, if you aren’t upholstering an insert, you can upholster plywood this same way, attach 2x4s to the back of it for the legs, attach it to the wall or bed frame, and make a headboard that way. But I had an insert, so here’s what I did next.
For the frame, I spray painted it with Rustoleum Universal – Paint and Primer in One – in Satin Black.
For my favorite spray painting tips, please see THIS POST.
Once the paint had dried completely, I attached the upholstered plywood to the frame with the original screws.
And now I love this headboard!
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