What you will need:

 

  • Plywood
  • Fabric
  • Foam
  • Batting
  • Drill
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Tape measure
  •  

 

Your local hardware store has the plywood you need and will cut it to size for you. Both of the above headboards are cut to 5 feet wide for a queen size bed. They are also both 4 feet high (you’ll need to account for what hangs below the top of the mattress. These both start at the top of the boxspring, therefore appearing 3 feet high above the mattress). You can have it cut wider (or buy additional pieces) to extend past the mattress above both nightstands for a more prominent look. I bought an 8′ by 4′ piece of plywood from Home Depot for $16.

You can buy both the foam and batting, cut to size, at a fabric or craft store. I buy mine at Joann Fabric. With the never-ending coupons they offer, you can get the foam for around $2/yard (depending on how thick you want it..I used 1 inch). The batting is $3 a yard. The foam should be the exact size of the plywood (you’ll probably need 2 separate pieces because of the widths available). For a 5ft x 4ft headboard, I bought 10 feet of 2ft wide foam and cut it into 2 5ft halves. (You’ll see what I mean below). The batting will be wide enough so you’ll only need 1 piece. Make sure to buy 1 foot more than you need to enable it to wrap around and be stapled onto the back of the plywood. The fabric of your choice should be the same size as the batting.

If you want a tufted headboard, decide how many rows of tufts you’ll need, and how spaced apart they will be. You’ll need a pencil for this. I used 7 tufts in the top row of both my own headboard and my mom’s. For my mom’s I used 7 in the second also. For mine, I put 8 in the middle row and 7 in the bottom. There’s some math involved here but I’ll try to explain it as simply as possible.

For a 4 foot high headboard, the mattress is 1 ft thick. I measured 1 foot from the bottom and drew a line from side to side. This part will hang below the mattress. and therefore is not visually a part of the headboard. I divided the remaining 3 feet into even rows. My own headboard has 3 rows, starting 10 inches from the top, with 8 inches between rows. My mom’s has 2 rows, starting 10 inches from the top, with 1 foot between the 2 rows.

Measure down 10 inches (or whatever you decided) from the top and draw a line from side to side, making sure it’s even. Do the same for your second row (and third and fourth if you choose).

For a 5 foot headboard, I wanted a foot on each side with no tufts. That leaves 3 ft to be tufted 7 times. 36 inches divided by 7 tufts (6 spaces between the 7 tufts) leaves 6 inches between tufts. Phew! I promise this is the hardest part!

Measure along the line in the increments that you chose (In this case, start 1 foot from the end and every 6 inches from there, until you have 7 marks). Repeat for remaining rows. 

Drill a hole into each marking.

Once you have evenly spaced holes where your tufts will go, you’re ready for the fun part.

Lay the batting down on the ground, making sure it’s smooth. Place the foam on top of it, leaving excess batting on each side.

Carefully lay the plywood on top..it helps to have a second set of hands here but it’s not necessary.

Now..staple away!

Once the majority is stapled along all 4 sides, stand the board up and make sure it’s smooth. Don’t fret if it’s not, just pull taut and staple some more.

Next, drape the fabric over and continue stapling.

Hospital corners:

Voila!

The tufting is a little hard on the fingers, but it’s easy enough. If you’re using beads with a large enough hole, you can use twine. I was using pearls from the Potomac Bead Company, and I had to use sewing string because of the small hole. It is easier to hide from the front, but doesn’t create as dramatic of a tuft due to fear of breakage.

Thread the string through a thin needle and go from back to front through the holes you pre-drilled in the plywood. At the front, thread the bead on and then go back through the same hole.

At the back, staple the string close to the hole, staple it again an inch further and make a knot. Then staple it a third time closer to the hole to create a triangle. If you’re using large enough beads, you can put a staple in the front right under the hole to create a deep tuft, but only if the bead will hide the staple and your staple gun is strong enough to hold the foam to the plywood.

The result of all your hard work:

A beautiful couture headboard!
 
With all different fabric materials, colors, and beads, this simple formula can create a wide variety of headboards.
Feel free to ask questions if any clarification is needed.
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