DIY: Upholstered Headboard with Nailhead Trim

18 Nov

As newlyweds, my husband and I are in the process of decorating our first place as a married couple! Although we love buying new furniture, we also have the DIY bug and decided to embark on our first project together – an upholstered headboard with nailhead trim. The headboard turned out fantastic and has already made our work-in-progress bedroom look more put together! Below is a complete how-to for those who want to spice up a bedroom without spending much time and money.

The following list of supplies can be found at your local fabric and home improvement stores. Most of my supplies were purchased from JoAnn Fabrics and Michael’s to take advantage of their weekly 40% off coupons! Note: The following suggestions are geared toward a queen size headboard.


Essential Project Supplies:

  • Staple gun and staples
  • Piece of plywood (1/2 to 1 inch thick)
  • 2 1/2 yards of 1/2 inch-thick foam
  • 1 bag of batting
  • 2 yards of fabric
  • Rubber mallet
  • 1 nailhead trim pack
  • 2 French clip packs
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Pencil
  • Fabric spray adhesive
  • Flat head screwdriver

Other helpful tools:

  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Jigsaw (or handsaw)

Step one:
Measure your existing mattress to determine the appropriate width of the headboard. I recommend allowing no more than an inch on either side of the mattress; however it’s up to personal preference.  Keep in mind that the foam and batting adds to the width of the finished headboard.  The height of the headboard should be no less than 36 inches to ensure enough room for decorative pillows and allow the bottom of the headboard to drop slightly below the top of the mattress.

Once you determine the dimensions of your headboard, visit your local home improvement store to have a piece of plywood cut to size. After I brought the plywood board home, I sawed off the edges for a more custom look.

Cut foam so it covers the entire board up to the very edge (depending on your shape, you may have to piece the foam together). Once the foam is cut, spray adhesive onto one side of the board and attach foam.

Step two:
For a queen size headboard, you will need two yards of upholstery fabric that is easy to work with and durable. The fabric I used was heavy and similar to canvas. Because it is tightly woven, I know it won’t stretch and bag after years of sitting against it. Make sure to iron or steam your fabric prior to stapling to avoid permanent wrinkles. If your fabric choice is patterned like mine, you must identify the “center” of the fabric prior to stapling it to the board.

If you choose to use a non-upholstery size fabric (e.g. shower curtain, bed sheet, etc.) make sure you have enough to cover the entire board with about six inches to spare on each side to staple.

Step three:
Place your fabric on a large flat surface, face down. Next place 1-2 layers of batting on top of the fabric. Finally, place the board foam side down on the batting. Begin to staple fabric and batting to the board. The first staple should be at the top center of the board, about 2-3 inches from the edge. Then continue to staple the entire top portion, followed by the bottom. Leave the sides and corners last to prevent the fabric from skewing. Make sure to check the fabric periodically to make sure it’s straight. Once the fabric and batting is attached to the board, trim the rough edges for a cleaner look.


Step four:
Using a rubber mallet, begin to hammer the trim around the edges of the headboard. Nailhead trim saves a ton of time over attaching individual nailheads and requires only hammering in a nail every five spaces.  If the trim starts to go off track, you can readjust by gently pulling up the nail using a flathead screwdriver.

Step five:
We chose to use a french clip to secure our headboard to the wall because they are easy to attach, have a built in level and can hold a fair amount of weight. Attach one part of the clip to the headboard approximately a quarter of the way down from the top and the other clip to the wall. Make sure that the clip that is attached to the wall is drilled into a stud for extra security.

Cost information:

Plywood: $17.00
Fabric: $45.00
Nailhead Trim Pack: $20.00
Batting: $15.00
Foam: $24.00
French Clip Fasteners: $16.00

Total Project Cost*: $137.00
*The remaining  supplies we already had on hand.

And there you have it! Our high-impact headboard cost a fraction of the price of a new one and only took an afternoon to complete. Please feel free to contact me with any questions!

xoxo, Andi

19 Responses to “DIY: Upholstered Headboard with Nailhead Trim”

  1. Laura November 28, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    Love this site. Can’t wait to make my headboard!!!

  2. Beverley December 1, 2011 at 5:32 am #

    I love this site too, I shall pass it on to my family and friends.. Inspirational and interesting and not cluttered, great job!

  3. Cyndi Murdoch December 2, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    Making your own headboard is so easy! Many are intimidated – your step by step instructions are so clear, I’m sure more will take the plunge and try it! Love the pattern. Good post!

    • allputtogether December 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

      Thanks Cyndi! It was a lot of fun to make, glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  4. Laurie February 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    I have been shopping for a headboard as such, and was disappointed in the fabric selections available. Thanks for such detailed instructions! Perhaps I will try to make one myself! Yours is fabulous!

    • allputtogether February 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      Thanks Laurie! My husband and I didn’t like the selection of fabric headboards either, plus they were really expensive!

  5. Maegan January 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Beautiful headboard!!! I especially love the fabric…where did you get it?

    • allputtogether January 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      Thanks Maegan! The fabric is called “Solar Flair Onyx Lilac.” If you google that, you will find some sites that still sell it. I seem to remember seeing it in JoAnn Fabric stores over the holiday, so you may check there. The store’s site only carries a lime green version now.

  6. Business visa April 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download
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    Please let me know where you got your theme. Cheers

    • allputtogether April 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Hi – The theme is called Bueno and is by Woo Themes

  7. Chaka July 6, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    Hi, I am using your tutorial to make my headboard. How did you use attach the French clips to the wall? Where do you purchase them?

    • allputtogether July 6, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

      Hi Chaka! The French mounting cleats can be purchased at your local hardware store. I bought mine at Home Depot: here’s the link. The French cleats should come as a kit that includes the screws to hang the pieces on the wall.

  8. Andrée March 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    I’m suddenly feeling inspired to re-decorate the bedroom:). I might just pick my fabric for the headboard and let that inspire the rest of the decor. Very fun tutorial!

    • allputtogether March 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

      Thanks Andree! I’m glad you found it inspiring. I had no idea what to do with our master bedroom either until I found the fabric I used for the headboard. The rest was history! 😉

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