Upholstering a Custom Headboard

When we moved into our house, we bought our first big kid bed. By that, I mean one that had a boxspring, had an actual frame, and that was big enough that hubby & I didn’t need to sleep like sardines. The problem with owning a big kid bed is that we didn’t own a headboard. Our bed looked giant and sad sitting in the middle of our master bedroom.

We needed to do something about it, but we didn’t have tons of coin to drop on it, and I wanted something specific. At this point in time, I called the only person I knew who could help me; Mom. Mom you see is an expert at all things Home Ec related. Cooking? Shes a pro. Sewing? She could sew a life sized stuffed moose in her sleep. Crafting? She is the Danish Martha Stewart. So you can see why I called in the big guns.

Mom rolled into town, accompanied with upholstery foam, tacks, and a shopping list. The only thing I brought to the table was the purple ultrasuede I had purchased the week before. Mom scrutinized my choice of fabrics, and although it wouldn’t be her first choice, she conceded to give it a try. We quickly measured up how tall we thought the headboard should be, and headed to HD to get some supplies. We had ¾” plywood cut to the width and height of our headboard by the nice fellow in the wood department.

We also picked up some 2×4’s to brace the headboard, and to connect it to the frame. Some staples, spray glue and a new jig saw later, and we were off to the races.

Back at home, we got out some large pieces of newsprint and taped them together to make a big piece of paper the same size as half the headboard (it’s always easier to draw half of your design, then when its time to trace your pattern, just trace one side of the pattern, flip it over and do the other side. It will be a perfectly symmetrical design). We then drew out the design we wanted. We futzed a bit with it, used a pencil and some string to make the curves, and when we were happy with it, we cut out the design to use as a pattern.

The Headboard Pattern

We then traced the pattern onto the plywood, and cut it out with a jig saw. We attached 2×4’s to the back of the wood as legs and braces. * Note if you are going to attach it directly to the wall, at this point in time instead of adding legs, you would need to purchase a flush mount bracket set from a hardware store, and follow the instructions on how to install (or check out this tutorial on eHow)

After the wood was cut, we took the pattern and cut it down one inch smaller on the outsides. We then traced this new smaller pattern onto our 1” foam, and cut out the foam with a sharp knife. We sprayed the back of the foam with spray glue, and placed it centered on the plywood.

The Foam Cut to Size/Shape
Foam Attached to Headboard Wood

Then came covering the headboard with cotton batting, folding it over the back of the plywood and stapling using a staple gun. I have this  great backwards staple gun, that allows you to push the trigger forward instead of backwards, it’s much easier on your hand muscles.

Wrapping the Headboard in Cotton Batting
Headboard Wrapped in Batting

Next up, we laid our fabric face down on a clean surface (we used our kitchen floor covered in a sheet.)

Headboard Laid on Fabric Ready for Upholstering

We then wrapped the fabric around the back of the headboard. This is where it gets tricky, and requires as many hands as you can recruit. Starting with the bottom of the headboard, fold the fabric around to the back, make taut (but don’t over pull and stretch it) and staple to the back of the board. Do this all along the bottom every 4” or so. Then move to the top of the headboard, and starting at the center do the same thing, making sure that the fabric is nice and smooth and flat on the front of the headboard. If your headboard is square, this will all be pretty easy. We of course made a fancy-dancy curved headboard, so it’s a bit trickier.  With a curved design, you will have to make relief cuts to get the curves nice and smooth. You will be using a LOT more staples on the curves, making sure you get all the fabric pulled taut and smooth. You may find that cutting some of the excess fabric off helps, but make sure you leave yourself enough fabric to get a good grip.

Stapling Fabric to Headboard

Work your way around the whole top of the headboard, one side at a time then move to the sides of the headboard.

You will probably want to go over and add a few more staples in places that you may have missed, and cut off some of the flaps of fabric to tidy everything up. Now flip it over, and admire your handy work!

Headboard Upholstered

You still probably want to know why we cut the foam one inch smaller that the wood? We did this as we wanted to add a decorative nail head trim, and we didn’t want it to get buried in the foam. By cutting the foam short, it left us a nice space to lay the trim. We used nail head strips from Lee Valley Tools. They were much quicker and easier to lay straight than using individual nails. You only actually have a nail once every 6 nail heads or so. This was great for the straight parts, but around the curves I wished for more nails. The trim just isn’t as smooth as I would like it. Make your way around the headboard nailing in as you go, and curving the strips to meet the curve of your headboard. We used a small hammer and it didn’t damage the nail heads, but a rubber mallet is recommended.

Headboard With Nailhead Trim
Nailhead Trim Detail

Now quickly rush your headboard up to your bedroom and place it behind your bed and pat yourself on the back. The get out the drill and some bolts, and bolt it to your bed frame, or attach it to the wall.

Headboard Complete & Installed
Headboard Complete & Installed


Plywood- 3/4″ 4×8 sheet cut to size at the store – Home Depot
1″ Foam – Len’s Mill Store
Cotton Batting – Len’s Mill Store
Purple Ultrasuede Fabric – Designer Fabrics
Nailhead Trim – Lee Valley Tools
Spray Glue – Home Depot
Staples – Home Depot

Tools Used:
Jig Saw
Staple Gun
Knife & Scissors
Pencil & Paper

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

Three out of five

Total Cost: $70

Pinterest Challenge – Painted Wallpaper

I love Pinterest. I have used it for organizing my wedding ideas, dreaming and planning our home renos, and even a recipe or two.

Most of all it inspires me. It’s like looking through magazine after magazine of gorgeous ideas. A few minutes of Pinteresting and my head is full of great ideas and projects, much to the chagrin of my husband!

So when Sherry @ Young House Love was discussing this years fall edition of their Pinterest Challenge, I decided to jump in with both feet.

I have been obsessed as of late with paintable wallpaper. I just love the texture and depth of it. Take for instance my inspiration shot from Emma @ The Marion House Book. Her use of the paintable wallpaper with a dark dramatic colour in her office is just stunning!

Check out her whole office here.

I already have a wallpapered wall in my Master Bedroom, but I have been thinking about adding some drama to my master closet. It’s not a walk-in closet, nor does it have room for a chandelier or an ottoman or any sort of art. Its just a standard double closet, but why should that stop it from being awesome?!

So I set out to add some drama to my closet by wallpapering & painting the insides of my closet doors! Yeah that’s right, the insides of my closet doors, so that when you open the doors they will scream TA-DA! It will be like having your own sexy magicians assistant hidden inside your closet.

Closet Before

So to put inspiration to fruition. We picked up a roll of (0n sale!) Martha Stewart paintable wallpaper in a pressed tin design, as well as a tester jar of dark purple paint.

We removed the doors from their hinges, then set them up on some saw horses in the guest room. The doors were a bit wider than the roll of wallpaper, and I could have taken the easy way out and just done a paneled insert for the door, but I decided to do it right and cover the entire door. So I laid out my first sheet of paper, wet & booked it, then applied it to the straight edge of the door. We smoothed out the bubbles and ensured the edges were well pressed down.

One Sheet of Wallpaper Applied to Door

We then lined up a second 1/2 sheet of paper (split lengthwise, so I could use the other half for the second door). Matched the pattern, wet & booked and applied the wallpaper. We then did the same thing on the other door.

Wallpaper Applied to Doors

I left the wallpaper overhanging the edges until it all dried. At that point I flipped the doors over. Placed a piece of scrap wood underneath to use as a cutting board. I then cut along the edges of the door with a sharp blade, cutting off the excess wallpaper and leaving a smooth edge.

We then gave the wallpaper two coats of purple paint with a brush. It was a pain to get the paint into all the little crevices! The second coat went much faster than the first.

Painting the Wallpaper
Doors Wallpapered & Painted

While the doors were drying, we gave a coat of dark grey paint to the closet, and prepped for new rods & organizers. We re-hung the doors, and this is what we have now! (sorry about the pic quality, we haven’t had an ounce of decent natural light in days with this storm!) I will take better pics once some sunshine decides to come out and play.



Martha Stewart Paintable Wallpaper in Pressed Tin – Canadian Tire
Behr Sample paint – Home Depot

Tools Used:
Wallpapering kit (wetting container, smoother, sponge, edge roller etc.)
Sharp Blade
Hammer & flat head screwdriver (for removing doors)
Paint Brushes & Trays

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

Two out of five

Total Cost: $20