How to Make an Upholstered Headboard with Nail-head Trim

Follow this tutorial on how to make an upholstered headboard with nail-head trim!

Yesterday I showed you pictures of the new upholstered headboard Jesse and I made together this past weekend for the 2013 Winter Pinterest Challenge. It’s absolutely gorgeous and adds a lot of maturity to our bedroom, which is just what it needed!Β diy upholstered headboardThis project was pretty easy and not too super time consuming either, the perfect kind of DIY project in my opinion. πŸ˜‰diy upholstered headboard pinOf course the first step of any DIY project is a trip to Lowe’s and the craft store, in this case Joann Fabric, to buy our supplies. The piece of plywood we used was 4×8 and 23/32 thick and ran us about $26. Jesse cut it down so it was 65″ wide and 48″ high, which is perfect for a queen bed.Β cutting plywood to sizeTo figure out the corners, we played a bit of a guessing game. I had Jesse measure about 3 different lengths, and then he used a compass to make them perfectly round.Β measuring for the headboardWe decided to go with the middle one, go figure. Isn’t that the way life always works out? So Jesse got to work with his jigsaw. Mmmm… I love a man with power tools.sawing headboardAfter all the cuts were made it was my turn. I used a foam mattress pad that I stole off the guest bed for my padding. Cutting the foam was really easy and I did it with a pair of scissors.Β attaching foam to a headboardI attached the foam to the plywood using a lot, and I mean a lot, of spray adhesive. The best way to get this to work is by spraying a generous amount of adhesive on both the plywood and the foam. For this project I used Loctite spray adhesive and was pretty pleased with how it held up.Β using spray adhesiveIt’s best to use the adhesive in a well ventilated area, it gets pretty smelly. After everything was try we moved the party inside to keep from getting dirt, sawdust and other general garage dirtiness in the headboard itself.attach battingThe first thing that needs to be stapled down is some quilt batting. I set the headboard face down on top of the batting and started by stapling up the bottom.Β upholstering a headboardOnce the bottom has been secure we stood the headboard up on it’s side and stapled that down, Β then flip it over, pull the batting tight, and staple some more. It’s important to make sure the batting is tight and smooth, but dont pull too tight, this stuff rips really easily. After all your batting is secure, cut off the excess, lay down your fabric, set the headboard on top of it and start stapling again.

The fabric we used is actually just a 6×9 canvas drop cloth that we picked up at Lowe’s with the plywood. It was only $11, you definitely cannot get any other fabric for that price. I washed it twice and stuck it in the dryer before we actually used it, it was kinda stinky to start with. Haha.Β upholsteringheadboardYou staple down the fabric using the same method as the batting. Staple the bottom up first, then flip it and start on the sides. The trickiest part here is definitely stapling down the curves on the top. What really helped is to cut the fabric into strips. I didn’t make my strips too deep, just in case something went wrong. I had Jesse pulling the fabric tight and whenever it would bunch up or wrinkle on the sides or in front I’d just make the cut a little deeper and pull to get the wonky spots out. Then you staple the hell out of the fabric so it stays put.Β stapling fabricThe most important part of this project is to make sure that your fabric is super tight and smooth. Therefore staples are super important. Use them. They are your best friend.stapling fabric to headboardOnce the fabric is all tight and secure, it’s time to add the nailhead trim! I picked mine up at Joann Fabric for $20. This stuff looks great, but it is a pain. It took me two hours to hammer it all in. Yep, two hours on my hands and knees, hammering.hammering nailhead trimI measured and kept everything an inch and half away from the edge, almost right up against the foam. You’ll also notice there was a sock on the hammer, that’s to keep it from scratching the finish off the trim. But I think it was worth it. Definitely.upholstery nailhead trimNow for the final step, hanging the darn thing on the wall. Yep, I said hang. We opted for hanging instead of adding legs. Now it’s more like those fancy hotel headboards. πŸ˜‰Β headboard hanging systemI picked up this kit at Lowe’s, it can hold up to 200 lbs. which is WAY more than our plywood headboard, but better safe than sorry.Β how to hang a headboardThe kit comes with screws for what you’re hanging, plus screws and anchors for the wall. The piece for the headboard goes on facing down, and the piece for the wall goes in facing up. (Pardon the terrible picture please.)hanging a headboardAfter everything is all screwed in and level you simply pick up the headboard and place the back piece inside the piece on the wall. And everything was all set and squared away.Β nailhead trim upholstered headboardThis headboard has made such a huge difference in the bedroom already. We both love it! And we love how much it adds to the room, plus it was less than $100!

Plywood – $26.37
Canvas Drop Cloth – $10.98
Quilt Batting – $7.97
Spray Adhesive – $5.88
Hanging System – $10.88
Staples – $2.78
Total Cost = $64.86
Joy of having a brand new headboard = PRICELESS! (Is that joke too old?)

nailhead trim headboardLe sigh! I love this thing! And I’m also really loving this whole building our own furniture thing even more. I’m thinking I need to talk Jesse into a set of nightstands next! πŸ˜‰

What do you guys think? Have you built any furniture recently? What’s your favorite thing about your bedroom?

*Linking up at House of Hepworths, Serenity Now*


  1. I’ll say it again, this turned out GREAT!! Love the tip about using a sock to cover the hammer. I’ve wanted an upholstered headboard for a long time now, but I’m holding off until we replace the mattress/bed with a newer, slightly bigger one.

  2. Wow that looks amazing!! And the trim is PERFECT!! Way to go! Great tuitorial too – and I seriously love the amount of staples you used!

  3. Kristen | Popcorn on the Stove

    I really do love how this turned out! It looks amazing in there πŸ™‚

  4. Amy@BuffaloRoam

    I dare say that perhaps maybe even I could attempt this….. hmm… It really is pretty!

  5. Awesome. Really awesome. It definitely makes a huge difference in the room. I love that you used one of those canvas drop cloths. I’ve thought about using those before because I really like the look of the fabric and you’re right, it’s so much cheaper than buying it at the fabric store.

  6. Great tutorial, and absolutely wonderful end result! πŸ™‚

  7. Such a great tutorial! You are making me wish I had room for a headboard just so I could make one like yours!

    Again, amazing job! I love it! πŸ™‚

  8. Looks so great! Using a canvas drop cloth is genius!

  9. WOW. I love that you and your husband work so cohesively together. This is stunning. I can’t believe you only paid $64 to make the entire thing. It looks so custom. What a great tutorial so easy to understand. I am sure you’ll inspire other headboards to be made as well.

  10. Kelly @ Corner of Main

    I really want to build some furniture, but I think I need to learn how to use the power tools first!
    Great job on the headboard!

  11. Great, great job!!! I love the sock over hammer trick too. We might be making one for our new house, and you’ve totally given me more confidence about making something other than a plain rectangle. That is definitely an ambitious, and well done, pinterest challenge project!

  12. it is really prettyyyy. i love building our own furniture too….er adam building me furniture and me taking photos πŸ™‚

  13. Jessica@HomewithBaxter

    It looks awesome Ashley! You guys did a great job!

  14. Did you leave off the cost of the nailhead trim on the total? Yes I’m too lazy to do the math. So it’s $80 something? Still impressive.

  15. Your headboard looks great! Definitely adds a mature look to your bedroom πŸ™‚ Did you use real nail head trim, or the kind where you hammer in every 6th or 7th nail?

    My hubby and I made an almost identical headboard for our master bedroom. Isn’t it a great feeling making your own furniture πŸ™‚ Plus it saves you a lot of money!

    • We used the kit where you hammer every 6 or so. It was hard enough getting that in a straight line! I couldn’t imagine doing individual trim!

  16. You made this look so much easier than it was for us! πŸ™‚

  17. Holla!!! This came out so great!! And that nailhead trim is total pain, I’m impressed with how straight you were able to keep it!

  18. First House Spouse

    That nailhead trim looks gorgeous! We really like how you used the floating shelf mounting bracket to mount the headboard. So many people just lean it against the wall or hope the bed will keep it in place. A+ for innovation and thank you for the great How-To!

    • Thanks! And we love having it on the wall! It’s super stable and it’s easy for me to pull out the bed when I need to change the sheets πŸ™‚

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