For those of you who took the under on the DIY headboard bet, you win! And, for those of you who thought it would take more than 6 months I don’t blame you- I’ve been traveling so much lately that I didn’t think I’d have time to get to it soon, but Paul and I completed it 2 weeks ago and I love it! First, I have to give MAJOR props to Paul- he helped me way more than he wanted and he did it all while being pretty tired from a late night out the night before for his birthday. He really deserves a huge gold star, so THANK YOU PAUL! But, his help also demonstrated that you really do need 2 people for this job, at least the upholstery part. So, definitely keep that in mind!
You all pretty much know that Paul and I still rent and our apartment is pretty small (all 680 sq. ft of it- gotta love Bay Area living!), so it’s been hard for me to make it our “own” when we’re limited in what we can do (can’t paint walls, add different hardware, etc.). I’ve always wanted a headboard since our box spring and mattress just sit on a metal frame and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to insert some of my own personal style. Here are some inspirational photos from which I worked:
And, here’s the before picture of our bed:
Nothing special, right? I should say that Paul and I are a tad bit obsessed with this bed. A few words about the mattress: I bought it about 2 1/2 years ago after bargaining like crazy at a big name mattress store (word of advice- never pay the ticket price on a mattress. They are totally willing to bargain!) and I got it for ~1,000 less than what they priced it at! It was an awesome buy because of the bargaining, but it turns out that it really is an amazing bed. It’s so comfy, has a pillow-top, and is affectionately known as a “black hole” between Paul and I and a few friends who have gotten the chance to sleep in it because once you’re in it you never want to get out of it. My brother loved it so much he went back to MD to buy it only to find out they don’t sell this model anymore It’s a Sealy pillow-top mattress so if you’re in the market for one, check out their models! Anyways, I digress…
Instead of getting too text heavy here I’ll just jump right into the steps….
-Plywood (we have a California King bed so we got a 6×4 piece of 1/2-inch thick plywood from Home Depot- they can pre-cut it there for you). You basically want it as wide as your bed to cover that dimension and depending on how tall you want it above the mattress you can pick the height.
-A jigsaw (this is only needed if you choose to do a more “ornate”cut like we did. A regular saw or Home Depot’s cut can suffice if you just want a rectangle shape)
-A chalk line (optional- only helps with cutting)
-A compass (optional- only if you do an ornate design like we did. We “made” one with just a permanent marker and string)
-2-inch foam to cover the surface of the board (I got a Queen sized mattress foam pad and it was enough to cover our size headboard)
-Spray adhesive (optional)
-Sharp bread knife
-Quilt batting or muslin to cover the foam and hold it in place
-Fabric (be bold! Pick a fun design and colors that will help brighten up your room! We got ours from Fabrics.com)
-Mounting equipment (we chose to just hang our headboard on the wall so it would be a floating headboard vs. attaching it to our frame. Picture of exact mounting equipment below)
1. Set up your plywood on your saw horses for cutting. Use the chalk line or other kind of marker to indicate where you’d like to make the cuts for the indentations.
The link below is a horrible draft of the template we were using as our design (note: this is obviously not drawn to scale….): (the red lines indicate the chalk line marks) (headboard template)
2. Starting that the lower chalk line use your compass and measure a 12″ radius and make a curve that goes up to the top chalk line. You should end up with something like this:
Repeat for the other side.
3. For the top curve/half circle use the same radius of 12″and draw a half circle starting at the exact midpoint of top chalkline. You’ll see in the PDF design template sketch that it says 6″ on each side of the headboard, but we didn’t really follow that in reality. The 12″ radius starting at the midpoint of the top chalkline was the driving dimension for the half circle up top.
4. Make all the cuts using the jigsaw. Don’t forget to wear safety goggles!
5. Lay the cut plywood on top of the foam. Trace the shape of the headboard on the foam using a permanent marker and then remove the plywood so you can use the bread knife to cut it out. You’ll want a good, sharp knife so that cutting is easy. I am biased towards Shun knives, they are the best! That’s for another post though….
One note about foam: Foam is crazy expensive these days because oil prices are so high and that affects foam prices because foam is a petroleum-based product. You can try to buy foam from a retailer that sells it or even go to a crafts store, but they were actually way more expensive than just buying a mattress foam topper from Amazon. It was still the most expensive item I needed for the project, but you’ll definitely want to line the board with foam to give it a nice cushion and I’d say 2-inch is the minimum thickness you’ll want.
6. Put the plywood back on the saw horses and then lay the foam on top of it. You can use spray adhesive first to help it stick, but the only adhesive spray I had on hand was for stencils so it’s not made to be super sticky. Therefore, I skipped out on that step and think it’s fine as long as you make sure to staple the foam in place using the quilt batting or muslin.
7. Use your staple gun and pull the quilt batting or muslin TIGHTLY over the foam and staple it in place. I started on the easiest straight side and worked my way around. Once you get a few sides complete you can pull the headboard off the saw horses and stand it upright to make stapling easier. By the end my hand was so sore and was in a permanent claw position.
8. Final step (well, almost!)- upholstering! I HIGHLY recommend getting someone to help you for this step. After the cutting of the plywood, Paul went inside and I did all the other steps, but after stapling the quilt batting my hand hurt so much that I called Paul down to help with the fabric part. I’m so glad I did because it really can’t be done without another person helping you, especially around the curves.
9. So, lay the fabric over the board and again, work your way around it, stapling it in place. You’ll want to really pull the fabric tight over the whole board so you don’t have any wrinkles and so it helps keep the foam in place. The curves were the hardest part and we even had to redo one side since it didn’t look right (you could see folds). The only advice I can give is to make “V” cuts in the fabric as you go along the curves to help give you more slack, but don’t make the TOO deep or else the rip will show. You’ll want to sort of work your way around the curve, starting at one end and then folding over the pieces as you work your way around it and then stapling them in place. It will definitely require some patience and work, but it’s totally doable and I think you’ll find it was well worth all the effort!
Oh, and if you have a patterned fabric vs. a solid color make sure you line up the pattern the way you want. We tried to center ours with the big circles on each side.
So, enough talk…pictures! Here’s how it looked when we (and by “we”, I mean Paul- he did all the stapling for the fabric part! Best.Husband.Ever.) finished putting on the fabric:
Do you love?! I hope you do- it’s my new favorite thing in the apartment The 2-inch foam gives it such a nice cushion and the whole piece really helps the room stand out. Paul helped mount it but using this kit:
In the end the whole bed looked like this:
We swapped out the busy duvet cover with a solid, white Frette one (by the way, Frette makes unbelievable bedding if anyone is in the market for some. And, no, I did not spend that much $ on the cover. I got it during a mega sale! I have One Kings Lane to think for that), and I’m still looking for some new Euro shams to replace the yellow ones. I’m thinking a grey or blue to pull out those colors on the headboard. Those have been more difficult to find than I thought though!
A few more shots of our new bed to leave you with:
So, there you have it! A DIY headboard that really is pretty easy to do! I’d say in total it took a total of 4 hours to get done and hung. Not bad at all- definitely a feasible weekend project. Next up: re-doing the nightstands (I can’t keep that dark brown with my new bright, white bed!) and our dining room table. My goal for those to be completed is one month- let’s see if that happens…