Easy Upholstered DIY Headboard Tutorial

Things move a little slower around these parts, with newborn twins and the corresponding 16 diaper changes a day… but I’ve finally finished the upholstered headboard! I know you’re thrilled!

Well this headboard was a no-brainer… we had leftover damask fabric (from the nursery curtains) that I’m totally in love with. And the pattern fit perfectly with the 10″ x 10″ squares of wood that we already had pre-cut and lying around. You can use as many or as little fabrics as you want. It just depends on the look you’re going for. See? (These are the other upholstered headboards we’ve made in the past)

The following tutorial is for a queen size upholstered headboard. You can tweak it accordingly for other bed sizes.

  • Twin–39 inches
  • Full–54 inches
  • Queen–60 inches
  • King–76 inches
  • California King–72 inches
  • If you don’t have a table saw, start with having your local lumber yard cut 18 squares (10×10) of 1/4″ wood. We used Mahogany underlay because it was cheapest. You’ll also need a 1/2 inch thick board 28″ x 58″ to serve as the ‘backboard’.

    I started by cutting my fabric in 13″ squares, 18 in all.

    Then I lined up the 10″ board on my fabric so that the design was perfectly centered. If you’re not using a patterned fabric, you don’t have to be as careful with centering and lining everything up just so.

    Using a staple gun, I folded the bottom edge over the wood and stapled (every 2-3 inches) at a slight angle so that the pokey edges of the staple didn’t come through the other side. Like so:

    Make several tiny folds on the corner, and pull it tight to make a perfectly smooth corner… and staple it down!

    I added some fluffy polyester fiberfill a little at a time, adding staples every 2-3 inches as I made my way up the square.

    I cornered off the top the same way I did the bottom. Voila! One down, seventeen to go!

    Once you have one square completed, use it as a template for the rest… making sure the pattern lines up the same way in the same places. But like I said, if you’re using a solid fabric, or lots of different patterned fabrics, this step can be omitted! Hooray for omitting steps!

    Once you’ve got all 18 upholstered 10×10 boards, give yourself a high-five! No matter how perfectly your 10″ squares are cut, there will always be slight cracks showing between some of your upholstered squares, so I recommend spray painting your ‘back board’ a similar color to your fabric.

    Then place all 18 squares onto the board. Your ‘back board’ is cut 28″x58″ so that the upholstered squares overlap on the edges so you can’t see the tacky unfinished backboard peeking out from behind.

    Glob on some Liquid Nails onto the back, and press each square down firmly. Be sure to read the directions carefully. This may not seem entirely secure, but we built our first headboard almost 2 years ago, and we haven’t had any problems! (TIP, try globbing some of the Liquid Nails onto the staples, giving the goop something to really grab onto when it dries).

    Kids, that’s it. You can and should build one for yourself immediately. It’s totally easy-slash-fun. We used interlocking flushmounts found here to secure the headboard directly to the wall. This allows it to be flush with the wall, and extremely secure. (we DON’T have it secured to the wall in these pictures, so ignore our lazy installation)

    I so so so love how this turned out. Here’s a progression photo of our bedroom makeover!

     And… at night  :)

    Are you gonna give this one a try? Let me know if you have any questions!!!

    (If you’re curious how we mounted the headboard over the window with the curtains flowing behind it, we composed a how-to post HERE! It’s your lucky day!)


    1. I am definately giving this a try!!! I need some major help in our guest room and this just may be the ticket!

      Not sure if I am quite ready for patterned fabric yet :)

      Thanks for the idea!

    2. Ohh mercy, this is fantastic! …. the teal print totally makes it! I wish we didn’t have a headboard on our bed now! HA! [wink]


    3. WOW…I am SO IMPRESSED, that is BEAUTIFUL! I wish I didn’t already have one million DIY projects to work on!!! I would totally do this!

    4. How much are you asking for this one? Very interested! :)

    5. You are so inspirational! I have A MILLION little projects around my house I want to try because of your tutorials and making it look so easy! I DEFINITELY need to try this…my room is looking pretty sad! Thank you thank you for the tutorial!

    6. Thanks for putting up a tutorial on how to make one of these. Ever sense you put up your first one, I have wanted one for our bed. So, thanks for the amazing tutorial. And I love the recycling of the extra fabric from the nursery curtains. You ARE inspirational. (Someday, I see you and Nick becoming very well know and wealthy from your home projects…just like your backsplashes)
      -Lynnsey :)

    7. Love your blog! I’m your newest follower thanks to my college roommate Bonnie Schaul Panicko! She said I absolutely had to check you out.


    8. That is amazing! Even more amazing that you accomplished it with babies! I’m pinning this so I can do it…eventually. :)

    9. Love it. Awesome fabric for this project.

    10. That looks SO easy! I love how it turned out with the sheer fabric hanging down beside it. Beautiful!

    11. That’s gorgeous!!!

    12. Anonymous says:

      I LOVE it too! I am going to make one next weekend… How many interlocking flushmounts did you need to secure it to the wall?? Thanks!

    13. We just used two flushmounts. Email us pics when you’re done! Let us know if you have any other questions… can’t wait to see it!

    14. Anonymous says:

      Thanks!! I am doing mine for a King size bed so we’ll see how it turns out. Thanks again for such a great idea!

    15. Anonymous says:

      I love this! I will give this a try:)

    16. Anonymous says:

      Does it matter what kind of wood I use?

    17. nope! doesn’t matter what kind of wood! good luck! and send pics when you’re done!!!!!!!!!!

    18. Love this! Was just telling my husband at dinner tonight that a headboard was my next project (after we finished turning a vanity desk into two nightstands that is!). He said it would be hard, and I said no way! Though I really wasn’t sure how true that was… Until now! We could totally do this. Now just gotta measure out for a king bed, and decide my fabric. Quick question, the ones with borders, how did you do that??? I’m thinking you just covered it on the back board? Am I close? Thanks for sharing!!!!

    19. what have you found is the best way to mount this to the wall?

    20. Nikki, for the headboards with the border, we just cut the “back board” to be larger, and upholstered the edges (about 4 inches on all sides) before we attached the upholstered squares. We used some batting under the fabric to make it kinda puffy too.

      Anonymous, like we mentioned in our post, we use interlocking flushmounts to attach it to the wall.

    21. Any idea what the dimensions would be for a king size? I’m crafty, but math…not my strong suit. ;)

    22. a king size bed would be 76″ (opposed to the 60″ for a queen) unless you have a california king, and then it would be 72″. good luck! send pics when you’re done!!!

    23. How do you give the SIDES of the back board a finished look…won’t they be exposed?

    24. We cut the backboard to be an inch shorter on all sides so the squares overlap and the backboard doesn’t show at all.

    25. Hello, you have so inspired me!! Can’t wait to try this! I know you mentioned 28″x58″ and 18 squares for a queen, may I have measurement for a king? Thanks!

    26. like i said in a previous comment, a king size bed would be 76″ (opposed to the 60″ for a queen) unless you have a california king, and then it would be 72″.

      you’ll just have to decide how big/how many squares you want.

    27. This is awesome! Thank you so much for posting this. :)

    28. LOVE IT, I have been looking and looking for headboard ideas, this is making the list!

    29. Do you have an estimated cost for this? I love it!

    30. Wow that is fantastic! Looks amazing Will you come make me one?

    31. We made this headboard last weekend! I’m so thankful (hehe) for this blog! You have the greatest ideas, and the best tutorials! It was so easy to follow and I’m so happy with how ours turned out! I was able to use coupons for both the fabric and the other supplies and the estimated cost (queen) was about $40! The one I wanted in the store was over $500, so I’m so pleased! Thanks again!!

    32. Ok I love this idea. But I have a question/favor is there anyway you could e-mail this to me so that I can print it out in a printable fashion and not from the blog. Thank You. I really want to make this for Christmas this will be most likely one of my first DIY

    33. This is my new project!!! I’ve been looking for a headboard for awhile now and came across your site through Pinterest and this is EXACTLY like what I’ve been looking for! And I’ve been interested in getting crafty for awhile so this is the perfect first project :). Thanks!

    34. hi there! I was wondering where you got the fabric and if you could tell me the name of it (pattern name or style #) so i could look for it online if i cant find it locally. This would be a FABULOUS choice for my home office I am redoing :)


    35. Hi Nancy, here’s a link where you can find the fabric we used.

      Hope that works for ya! good luck!

    36. This is so cool. I’m looking for a headboard for our new king bed and this might be the winner!

    37. Anonymous says:

      I’m sooo happy I found this on pinterest. I have damask fabric that I have wanted to make a headboard out of for over a year.

    38. Anonymous says:

      This is beautiful! What would the dimensions be for a full size with a pillow top? Thanks :)

    39. for those of you inquiring about bed sizes, i use this website as a reference.

    40. How many yards of fabric did it take?

    41. it depends on the width of fabric you’re using. you just want to make sure you have enough fabric for (18) 13″ squares (for a queen size headboard)

    42. Anonymous says:

      Has anyone done the math on supplies for a king-size?

    43. AnonymousSep 14, 2011 10:08 AM

      “Thanks for putting up a tutorial on how to make one of these. Ever sense you put up your first one, I have wanted one for our bed. So, thanks for the amazing tutorial. And I love the recycling of the extra fabric from the nursery curtains. You ARE inspirational. (Someday, I see you and Nick becoming very well know and wealthy from your home projects…just like your backsplashes)
      -Lynnsey :)”

      I AGREE. You both need your own show on HGTV or DIY network!

    44. Anonymous says:

      Thank you so much for the tutorial. I saw a similar project on an HGTV show many years ago using plain fabric with a sheen on one side and they alternated the squares with mate and sheen fabric. I’ve searched the web for days, but nothing. This morning I found you on Pinterest….yeah and thanks!

    45. How many yard of fabric do i need? I’m using the same fabric and also for a queen. Thanks so much! PS. I had already picked this same fabric before i even found your tutorial. fate…. Thanks so

    46. I’m currently trying this on a king size bed, I’m very nervous though, I picked a dark gray and an ivory, one has a pattern the other does not.

    47. Jenna Schering says:

      Your backboard is 2″ smaller in both length and width than your 18 squares. Did they stick out over the edges? Is that how you wanted it?

      • that’s absolutely how we wanted it. otherwise the tacky unfinished backboard peeks out from behind. we just wanted a crisp line of upholstered squares on the edge.

    48. I did this for a king sized bed, I made mine 78×38. It was 8 squares across and I made it 4 squares down, I have a big wall to fill, so I actually ended up with 32 squares. I also changed it up a bit by using velcro for the squares so I can change it periodically. Hopefully it will work or we will be waking up with our squares on our heads.

    49. OMG your blog is a JOY! Your projects are awesome and your sense of humor and wit just tops it off! Thanks for sharing:)

    50. @anonymous 2/17/12. Thanks for the info on squares and the great tip on Velcro. I am going to try that as well. Please update if you end up with headboard on your head. :)

    51. Anonymous says:

      Where is this fabric from? I love it!!!

    52. you had me at the title of your blog! :) LOVE IT!!! and then this headboard OMG! can’t wait to make this for our bed ….sooner than later I hope…we are remodeling our house to sell and build a new one…so not so sure it will be soon…but it will at least be on my Pinterest board…waiting ;) thank you!!

    53. I absolutely love this project and want to know if it’s possible that the little boards would stick on to an existing headboard by using the liquid nails if the headboard were sanded down or primed. Help! Lol Thanks!

    54. I’m sure if it was sanded down, it wold work fine!

    55. You inspired me to make this. I have a king size so I made 24 squares. I am not finished yet but I just wanted to say thank you. I could not have done it without you! BTW. Your babies are gorgeous! Check out my progress

    56. That’s so beautiful! i love the fabric you chose! Great job!

    57. Hi! Wanted to tell you that I LOVE your headboard, and you did a great job! LOVE the fabric you used!

      I’m featuring this on my Friday’s Fabulous Furniture Finds at Chase the Star!

      Please go check it out, and grab a button! Congrats!


    58. I LOVE your headboard, but more than your headboard, I LOVE THE LAMPS!!! Where did you get them from? And an idea for the person that is making the removable squares….you could might use the rigid foam insulation and cut it to squares. You would have to glue and staple the fabric, but it would be lighter for your velcro to hold. And could use a piece of trim around the bed to help support the squares.

      Thanks for the beautiful inspiration…And the lights!!!

    59. Susan, someone gave us swag lights and we removed the globe and just used the top and bottom brass pieces and added the beads. You can read about it here:

    60. I’m definitely going to be trying this over summer! I’m hoping to redecorate my room…so I’ll have to bookmark this. Thanks!

    61. Does anyone have the dimensions for a full size bed? I would love to make one for my toddler’s big girl bed! I need to locate some pink ladybug fabric this week:)

    62. Jennifer says:

      Or is there a different way to maount it or keep it standing?

    63. Anonymous says:

      Thank you so much for this idea, we just finished ours. And for those wondering how much it costs, we spent about $80. We got 3/4 yard of 4 different fabrics. It was a lot of work, but fun!

    64. Awesome! Email us pics! We’d love to see it!

    65. It looks like in the last pictures your headboard is in front of a window. If not, do you have any ideas on how to do this type of headboard for a bed in front of a window? How would you attach it?

    66. Sara, when we put up our curtains, we attached 2×4’s vertically on the back of both sides of the headboard to give it clearance for the curtains to flow behind. We attached the flush-mounts directly to the 2×4’s. You can see pictures of how we did this in our curtain post here:

      • I am loving your blog! Great job! I’ve got the same type of room where I want to place a bed in front of the window. I’m still trying to get it in my head how you did this? From the photo of your headboard it doesn’t appear that there’s room on either side of the curtains for the 2×4’s. I don’t see the pictures you refer to in the link shown. please help …lol!

    67. This is gorgeous! I especially love the fabric you chose.


    68. Anonymous says:

      just finished a queen size and are having trouble keeping all the square adhered and are using liquid nails. should we really glob it on? did you put something on top to apply pressure while drying?

    69. We globbed the liquid nails on pretty thick, and made sure to put it where the staples were so the glue would have something to really grab onto. And it wouldn’t hurt to put some weight on it while it’s drying.

    70. I love the idea of the poly/fil….cuz foam is A LOT of $$$ for a queen

    71. Has anyone tried this with a full size if so,what were the measurements?

    72. I love this idea! I really like the one in the pictures above with the nail button border and buttons betweens squares. Do you have tutorial for that one or can you share how you made that one? Your blog is awesome! Glad I stumbled across you on pinterest!

    73. I would love to do this on a twin sized bed. What would those dimensions be-if you could tell me that’d be fantastic

    74. Anonymous says:

      I am doing this for sure! It seems like something I can do by myself pretty quickly. After moving into a new apartment this is just what our bedroom needs to shine and bring in some color.:)

    75. This is a fantastic idea! I wanted one of these for my dorm so I could give some kind of style to my concrete walls and twin bed. I was looking at a website and found a headboard very similar to this but they were selling it for $1000! That was a definite no so I just said forget it. I’m so happy I found this I so I can still make one but I just don’t know what color to use.

    76. Anonymous says:

      Great Tutorial and hilarious!! I love the drink break! hahaha

      Princess M.

    77. Hi Vicki, I wonder why the link wasn’t working. Here’s the tutorial for how to instal your headboard over the window!

    78. Love the turquoise and chocolate together. I just painted my bedroom chocolate brown with white doors, trim, bookshelves, and white gauzy curtains. I’ve accented in shades of turquoise and hint of lime green. I love it.

    79. I LOVE the headboard with the animal print! How did you make the black border?

    80. I’ve been meaning to dress up an old headboard and your tutorial is perfect. Thanks!

    81. Anonymous says:

      I already bought the wood! Im so excited!!!

    82. I just finished spray painting the plywood, now for it to dry and attach the squares! I’m sooo excited! I’ll send you a pic when finished. I do have a question though. Do the interlocking flushmounts have to be on studs in the wall or are they strong enough just in the wall without being exactly on studs? I’m hoping to mount it tomorrow and the studs are not exactly in ideal places for mounting. thanks again!!

    83. The screws that come with the flushmounts are not very long…did you buy longer ones for the wall side?

    84. Anonymous says:

      how many yards of fabric were needed for a queen bed?
      thanks Michelle <3

      • Fabrics come in different widths, so I can’t tell you how much you’ll need. As I mentioned in the tutorial, you’ll need (18) 13×13 inch squares of fabric for a queen size. So you’ll have to do the math yourself based on the width of your fabric.

    85. hye beth…. your tutorial is really fascinating. do mind if i wanna shared your tutorial in my blog?? really wanna try make my own headboard.

    86. Hi there! I’m having a measurement issue! So, I’m working with a cal king. I understand the measurement should be 72″ in width, with a 70″ backboard. Problem is, I don’t know if I should change the measurements of the squares from 10×10 to something else, or simply have an exta (8th) square across. Maybe I Should have a 2″ boarder? What would you do to make this work?

      • Hi Mia! I think having a wider headboard is better than having a slightly too-short headboard, and would even make your bed look more ‘grand’!! I would do 11″ squares… making your headboard 77 inches wide (and make the backboard 75″). Does that make sense?

    87. Yes! Thanks!! I will do this!!

    88. LOVE THIS! I showed my hubby and he actually agreed to it so looks like I’ll have something to lookforward to this summer once the baby is born that we can make, and afford, for our bedroom! :) Thanks for sharing! <3

    89. I love this it is so pretty! I’m redoing my bedroom right now and need a headboard so this is my answer!! Thank you!

    90. Loved this so much I did this in the trailer too!! I ended up nailing each corner once I got it up there just to make sure it stays on while we go bumping down the road, but it turned out FANTASTIC. I used microfiber. (the kitchen backsplash is in this album too)

      • Holy cowwww! That looks awesome! And good call on nailing them right to the wall… with it being an RV and all that jostling around. :) And your backsplash… LOOKS AMAZING! Isn’t it crazy how a couple simple changes can make such a huge difference in a space? Thanks for sending pics!

    91. Genial!!!!

    92. Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge.The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time

    93. Anonymous says:

      LOVE IT! Am going to give this a go. Have my material ready, off to get wood supplies – any recommendations for staple gun? First DIY project!!

    94. Anonymous says:

      Hi I just completed this project but I am having a problem with the liquid nails…its not sticking! Its been about a half hour now. Any other ideas?

    95. Hi Beth,
      Do you know if this headboard would stay standing upright if I extended the 2nd board (the one the squares are glues onto) down to the floor? I can’t mount anything on the walls as I’m renting but really want to give this a go!
      Cheers, Jen

    96. I guess I’m a little (lot) late to the upholstered headboard….but I’ve been googling them and came across this site. This is the nicest design I’ve seen and I think this is the one I’m going to give a go at. Thanks for posting :)

    97. Do you have an estimate on how much polyester fiber fill I would need to purchase? Looks like you can purchase it by the pound? Thanks.

    98. Synease Ivy says:

      How do you get the headboard attached to the wall?

    99. Hi! I would like to make two of these for a pair of twin beds, but since sometimes I need the beds to be pushed together into a king sized bed, I’d rather have the headboards attached to the beds. One of the twin beds has a regular frame, the other one is a “motion” bed, so it doesn’t have a metal frame to attach to.

      Do you have any ideas for me to solve this?

      • Sarah, could you attach one headboard to the bed with the metal frame, and have the other headboard affixed to the wall… and just always move the bed with the attached headboard to the other one? Does that make sense? Would that work for your situation? I’m not familiar with motion beds, so it’s hard for me to make a suggestion on that.

    100. WOW! I was about to pull the trigger and buy two twin beds for a guest room redo but now Im totally making this headboard! I didnt want another big project because I’m a project junkie but I can bang this out quickly and it is just lovely! THANK YOU FOR SHARING.

    101. june denicola says:

      Trying to get ideas for headboard . This one is a contender. Not sure about cutting the wood squares . Great instructions. Most don’t have them. Thank You.

    102. I love this!!! Want to make it in twin for my son but need help with dimensions please help me out! Thanks

    103. Thanks for the tutorial—we’re making a headboard ——finally !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    104. Terri Chevalier says:

      I just wanted you to know that I made my headboard and FINALLY got it installed. Hubby installed 3 pieces of wood onto the bedroom wall (exterior wall) with tap cons and we decided to use velcro on the individual pieces of the headboard. Mine is for a king size bed so i made mine 3 rows of 15 x 15 and now I can change out the headboard anytime I want!
      Wish I could post pics here!

    105. june denicola says:

      We now have a headboard. Thanks for the diy tutorial.

    106. Laura Turner says:

      I love this and can’t wait to try it!!


    1. […] upholstered part is a genius idea that DOES NOT REQUIRE SEWING. See it here. Notice the angle part of the headboard for Steve to prop himself up? I’ve been trying to decide […]

    2. […] built our own upholstered headboard (Tutorial HERE), we chose to build it to be wall-mounted. We obtained Flushmount hardward […]

    3. […] I totally relied on Beth over at Sawdust and Embryos for all the great details on this headboard. I had to do some math to make sure it fit my space, […]

    4. […] imágenes: Babble,  Sawdust and Embryos […]

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