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.
If you don't have a table saw, start with having your local lumber yard cut 18 squares (10x10) 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 10x10 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)
(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!)