Posts tagged ‘Potomac Bead Company’

DIY: Headboard



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 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:


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.

Headboard, without such a bed is not complete

After sleeping on an air mattress for 3 weeks, we finally upgraded to a plush mattress/box spring set with, get this, a bed frame! But spoiled little me still wasn’t happy. I felt that in our first adult place, we needed an adult bed. That required a headboard. My male counterpart didn’t see the necessity nor did he want to spend hundreds on a headboard to match my theme of “tranquil dream bedroom.” I agreed, and therefore set out learning how to make a custom headboard.

After deciding on 5 feet wide by 4 feet high, I marched over to Home Depot to get a large piece of plywood cut ($12). Next to Joann’s I bought white velvet fabric ($10), upholstery batting ($6), and 2 inch thick foam ($20 for two 5-ft pieces).

For an easier tufted look, try this bench pad idea from BHG

To achieve the tufts, I measured and pre-drilled holes in the plywood before stapling anything onto it. Next I lay down the batting in the middle of my living

Bed set from Steinmart, 19 pieces for $129

room, carefully aligned the foam on top of the batting, and finally dropped the plywood down without disturbing the 2 layers. My staple gun took over from there, securing the batting, and therefore the foam, to the back of the plywood. Next I stood it up and fastened the velvet fabric in the same way, making sure it was smooth and free of snags and ruffles. That part was easy and looked great too. I had never tufted before and was set on it, but I would have been content with just an upholstered headboard.

The tufting was the hard part and I spread it out over 2 days. I bought a string of pearl beads and thin clear beading wire from Potomac Bead Company. With a sewing needle I strung the wire from the back (through the pre-drilled holes) to the front, through the bead, and back through the same hole again. The hardest part was going from the front through velvet, foam, and batting, to find the same hole that it had come through, without disturbing the set location for the bead. Once in the back, I secured the wire with 3-4 staples, looping the wire in a criss-cross pattern. 21 times later, my headboard was complete!

Love this drape idea from BHG

The velvet is bright white, but the green foam bleeds through a little to make the headboard match the light blue wall. To achieve some contrast, I’m thinking of either framing the headboard in gold, or adding a cornice and sheer gold drapes above the bed.

There are inexpensive ideas that don't involve stealing items from your neighbor's front yard.

Easy headboard (Sacrificing Design): Drape a towel over existing metal bars

Headboards don’t have to be expensive to be beautiful. Even a sanded and oiled piece of plywood can make all the difference in your bedroom.

All headboards pictured here are from Better Homes and Gardens (except for the 2 of my own bed).

See more ideas, good and bad, at

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