Unique DIY Upholstered Headboard

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And we have a new headboard!  I almost don’t even know where to start with this headboard – there is just so much great stuff to talk about.  Like how it is completely DIYed and it cost me less than fifteen dollars to make and how meaningful it is.  Not to mention it looks amazing.

My absolute favorite thing about this headboard is how unique and meaningful it is.  I knew I wanted to incorporate I Corinthians 13 somewhere in our master bedroom makeover.  Not only is it beautiful – it has a lot of meaning for me as it has helped us through some rough patches in our marriage.

The verses on the headboard read:  Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Pretty powerful words if you ask me.

I am a huge fan of using what you already have, so this upholstered headboard was made using the materials from the headboard that was previously in our master bedroom.

patchwork upholstered headboard

I made that headboard a few years ago, but I was never quite satisfied with it.  So I decided it was time for a change.

I am assuming that anyone else out there who wants to give this a try will be starting from scratch, so don’t worry – I will tell exactly how to do that.

  • plywood or pegboard – (64 x 45 inches for queen size bed)
  • king size mattress topper
  • roll of batting
  • fabric – (2 yards for queen size bed)
  • paint pens
  • staple gun and staples

You will need a piece of plywood or pegboard to start out.  I used pegboard for my original headboard because that headboard had tufting and the holes made it easier.  (Also, because we already had some pegboard in the basement). Plywood will also work quite nicely.  Cut your wood to your headboard size.  I knew I wanted a more curvy shape for my new headboard so I first drew my shape on brown butcher paper and then traced it onto the wood.


Then you simply cut out your shape with a jigsaw.  (Seriously not hard at all.  If you have never used a jigsaw, don’t be intimidated.  You can do this – it is no harder than cutting with a knife.  Just practice on some scrap wood first).

Next comes the foam layer.  It turns out that thick foam from a sewing supply store is incredibly expensive, so I went a different route.  I bought a king size foam mattress topper.  Not a super fancy one – just a cheap one from Walmart.  Using my paper template, I also cut it into the same shape, making two layers.

Then you roll out your batting onto the floor.  Stack the two layers of foam on top of the batting (bumpy side in), followed by your wood.

Tip:  I learned last time that when you pull everything tight, the corners tend to get smooshed and sloppy looking so I tucked a little extra foam into each corner.



Pull your foam tight and staple it to the wood.  Be sure to start out with one staple in the middle of each side and then work your way around the edges.


(If you are very observant you may notice that the pieces shown above have a slightly different design from my finished headboard.  I found that the small corners were completely obscured when I added my batting so I had to alter my design partway through.  I would recommend not trying to be too detailed with your shape.  I ended up using some cardboard and 2 wooden ABC blocks to fix my shape.  Yes, that’s right, I used my son’s blocks to fix my headboard – now that is the mark of a true professional).

design change

Now you are ready for your fabric.  For this project I used some blue fabric I had picked up at a yard sale last year for $1.50 and four white DecoArt fabric paint pens ($10 using coupons from Michaels – Yes, I am that person that feels the need to use a 40% off coupon for a $4 paint pen.)  If you were not lucky enough to already have some fabric on hand, you can find lots of creative ideas of really cheap fabric sources here.

I once again used my paper template and traced it onto my fabric with chalk.  I used painter’s tape to keep my writing straight and wrote the verses on the fabric.  My original plan was to use a bleach pen, but I quickly found that was a nightmare when trying to work with such a large piece of fabric.  It was impossible to keep the bleach where I wanted it while attempting to rinse it.


Luckily the paint pen worked just fine.

Lay your fabric on the floor and place your headboard on top of it, batting side down.  Pull the fabric tight and staple it, starting with one staple on each side as before.  Because I needed my fabric to line up exactly, I taped each side to the pegboard with painter’s tape and checked to make sure it was lined up correctly before stapling.

I actually hung my headboard on the wall just like I would hang a heavy mirror or picture.  I put two screws in the wall using anchors and attached a heavy duty wire across the back of the headboard.  Then just hang the wire on the screws.  This is also how our previous headboard was hung and we had no problems with it for the three years it was there.

Love is patient headboard


And our master bedroom makeover is well under way!

If you were going to make a headboard with a message, what would yours say?  Any other ideas of nontraditional surfaces to decorate with words?  I think a floor or accent wall would be pretty cool.

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  1. says

    Love this project! Great job using the blocks to fix you angles. I believe the mark of a true professional is getting the job done….as you did and succeeded very well too! Now here’s a thought on the foam, check Amazon. I have bought foam from Amazon for about 1/2 the price as it is at Joann’s. Even using the 40% off coupon, if they even allow you to use it (mine wouldn’t, hence the Amazon knowledge) Of course this only works if you have the time to wait for it to ship. Kinda of a drag if you’re in the middle of a creative storm… Thanks for sharing your hard work.

  2. says

    Beautiful! I’ve been thinking about doing this for our bedroom. We have the dark furniture my husband had before we met, and I really want to lighten it up with something softer. But we’re in the middle of a kitchen renovation right now, so it will be a while. You did a great job explaining it, though, so I won’t feel so intimidated by it when I finally do get around to doing it.

  3. says

    This is so pretty! I’m so glad I read this, because I have a bench I’ve not been able to recover due to the cost of foam for it! I’m so excited about your brilliant idea to use mattress foam! You are so smart! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Krista! The paint pen really did work great – I am pretty sure there isn’t much of anything you can’t paint in one way or another.

    • Carrie says

      Thanks for stopping by Lauren! The text is very powerful – it’s a great reminder without being in your face.

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Reema! I definitely love to use what I have – it is what keeps DIY affordable for sure! Plus, it seems so wasteful to always be buying new stuff.

  4. Jan Elizabeth says

    This is lovely. I’ve been wanting to do something similar for awhile, so I will pin it as well. Great idea to use the blocks! :)

  5. Mari says

    This looks so lovely! I am actually making almost the same thing now with pegboard on the back but I cannot get any of my staples to go through or attach to the pegboard… Can I ask what type of staples you used and what size?? It would help a bunch!!

    • Carrie says

      Mari, I do not remember exactly what staples I used but I do remember having a little trouble getting them to go into the pegboard smoothly. What helped me was to make sure to keep the pegboard very stable and also to make sure that the staples I used had chiseled tips, not flat tips.

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