Simple Upholstered Headboard

Submitted by Art + Food + Life


People think that since I am an art teacher, my house is decorated perfectly. They are wrong. I have my paintings hanging on the wall, and that is about it. It doesn’t help that hubby hates anything he perceives as clutter. Decorating is like walking on eggshells with him.

Right before school started, I was hit with a big urge to craft and decorate. My problem is that I am not at all “crafty”. I am the type of chick who is more comfortable with a miter saw than a glue gun.

Since our guest room has nothing but a mattress and bed frame, I thought I could easily tackle making a headboard. The project was not complicated. Hubby and I worked on it every day he got home from work for about 3 days (that includes shopping for supplies.) Who knew we could make something that looks so expensive completely during the work week?

Faux Leather Upholstered Headboard

Supplies for one Queen-sized headboard

  • One sheet of plywood, cut to 66″ x 44″
  • Tape measure
  • Medium sized glass bowl (used to make the rounded corners)
  • Hand-held jigsaw
  • 2″ foam — I bought two 27″ x 76″ rolls
  • Cheap spray adhesive
  • Electric carving knife
  • Electric sander or sandpaper
  • Staple gun
  • Queen sized batting — found in the quilting section. The cheap kind is fine.
  • 2 1/2 yards faux leather upholstery fabric
  • Flush mount hanger


  • Have the hardware store cut your plywood for you. Saves time and stress.
  • Do not buy the foam or the fabric for regular price. Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics regularly have coupons online. Plus, Joann’s takes competitor coupons. I paid 40-50% off for the fabric, batting, and the foam.
  • Do not buy the foam by the yard. This is way too expensive. Buy it in prepackaged rolls from Hobby Lobby or Walmart.
  • Having trouble picking fabrics? Buy 1/4 yard of each, take them home, and tape them on your bedroom wall (see second post pic.) If you still can’t decide, post that pic to facebook and solicit opinions.
  • If you have access to a pneumatic staple gun, borrow it. It will cut your upholstery time in half.
  • This project is possible with only one person, but it will double your upholstery time. Ask a friend or enlist a loved one.


1. Place a round bowl on the top two corners of your plywood where you want your rounded corners. Trace around the bowl with a pencil or marker to make rounded edges. Use the jigsaw to cut along the rounded lines. (I got this idea from Addicted2Decorating. She has great photos.) Only round the top two corners. You want the bottom corners square.

2. Sand the edges of the plywood. Splinters of wood can snag your fabric, or worse, poke through your upholstered headboard.

3. Working outdoors for good ventilation, adhere the foam to the plywood by following the directions on the back of your spray adhesive. Odds are, your foam will not fit perfectly. Feel free to piece the foam together like a puzzle to get the plywood completely covered.

4. Cut the excess foam off with an electric carving knife.

Whoever came up with this is a genius. The foam cuts away like butter.

5. Cover the foam side of the headboard with the batting and trim away the excess batting, leaving about 6 inches excess on every side.

6. Lay the headboard foam and batting side UP on a saw horse or table. You might be tempted to lay it batting side down and staple. However, this way insures your batting doesn’t wrinkle while you are stapling. (I covered our dining room table with a fitted sheet to protect it, then used it as our work surface.)

7. Pull the batting tight and staple it to the back of the headboard, all the way around.
To staple the corners, you will have to put in two folds (see above.)

At the end of this step, your headboard will be completely covered in batting. Trim any excess.

8. Lay your faux leather across the top of the batting. Pull taut and smooth out any wrinkles.

9. Start stapling the leather from the center of the fabric and work your way toward the corners. Pull taut to keep wrinkles out but not tight enough to cause buckling in the fabric. Stop stapling 4 inches from the corner on each side.

10. Make hospital corners on the bottom square corners. You do this by stapling all the way to the edge along the top edge.
Lift up the other side to form a 90 degree angle on the side of the corner. Staple along this 90 degree edge.

Finally, fold the extra fabric under and staple flat.

If these directions makes no sense to you, watch this video. It helped me a bunch in understanding hospital corners.

Click to play this video
Basic Training: How to Make a Bed With Hospital Corners

11. Finish stapling by stapling the rounded corners. To do this, first staple all the way to the start of the curve.

Then, pinch a fold into the center of the curve.

Fold down the three areas of excess fabric. Then staple.

Trim off any excess fabric. (And notice how many staples we used to get the job done. LOL) 
Don’t worry if it doesn’t lay perfectly flat on the back. It is the front that needs to look pretty.

12. Finally, attach a flush mount hanger to the back of the headboard.

Attach the other half to the wall. Hang with the top of the headboard at about 54″ from your baseboard.

This is the first time I have written a “recipe” for anything other than food. I hope you found it helpful. Please let me know if I missed any obvious steps.

Those were great directions!  Thanks for sharing this with us.  Check out more headboard makeovers:

Reclaimed Wood Headboard

Upholstered Nail Head Trim Headboard

Tufted Headboard

+ posts

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. We have been married 28 years and we have no headboard. We only have a the springs, mattress and frame. Maybe we will try this.
    Thanks, Shirley