Caution: Sore Thumbs Head

True. If you DIY an upholstered headboard and decide to use upholstery tacks for added character, you will have sore thumbs. Mine were sore for a good two or three days after finishing this project up a few weeks ago.

You may remember seeing it on our “Stuff to get done before our house is on the market list.”

Well, I finally knocked it out a few weeks ago. Yea!

Upholstered headboards are EASY to do yourself and can save you a nice little chunk of change. Who doesn’t like that? You are also a lot less limited on fabric choices when creating your own. You can find neutral headboards at a lot of home stores, like Pottery Barn, West Elm, and even Target, but at $299 – $799 a pop, I will pass. Enter DIY headboard!

DIY Headboard

For this project, I used 2 yards of fabric, 1″ foam (Hobby Lobby – sewing section), quilt batting, staple gun and staples, 1/4″ plywood, upholstery tacks and picture wire.

The amount of fabric, foam and batting will be determined by the size of your headboard. I was making a headboard for a queen size bed. technically, the bed in the guest bedroom is a full size mattress we rigged on a queen size bed frame because we are cheap cool like that. One day we will upgrade, but it works for now.

First, determine the size of headboard you wish to create. I wanted mine to be 62″ wide by 36″ tall. The total height was 54″ tall. Since I secured my headboard to the wall, I only hung it where it would actually be seen, as opposed to making the headboard taller, and hiding a chunk of it behind the mattress & box spring.

Once you have decided on your size, you can determine the amount of materials you will need. Yep. You have to do math. I know, I know. I don’t like it either. Suck it up. Do the math! You can do it. Show that third grade math whose the boss.

Now, you get to go have fun and pick out your fabric! Mom and I found mine at Joe Anne’s fabric, and I had a coupon. Woot Woot!


It’s more golden and a little darker than the picture above.

Once you have collected all of your materials (including plywood), tell your husband how nice he looks today, maybe even fix him some bacon, and then ask him to cut the plywood to your desired size. Or you can cut it to size yourself. Ryan likes to use his power tools, so I always ask him 🙂


With the plywood cut to size, cut your foam to the appropriate size.

Since I was using tacks, I knew I need to cut the foam 1 and 1/2″ smaller on all sides. The tacks I was using were not long enough to go through the fabric, batting, and foam, hence the need to have a “foam free” border around the headboard. Hopefully this picture will do a lot better job of explaining it. Picture says a thousand words, right?

See how I left a plywood border?

After you have cut the foam to size, put it in the place on the plywood. Next, wrap the foam and plywood in quilt batting. The batting will be secured in the back with staples.

Pull the batting tightly and secure on the back of the plywood with staples using a staple gun. Sorry I forgot to take a picture! Oops – bad blogger!

Time for the fun part – FABRIC! Make sure when you layer the fabric, that you pay attention to the way the pattern is laying. You want to be straight. It would be real annoying to secure the fabric and later realize it’s all willy-wonk and crooked. So, to avoid making that mistake, take a little extra time getting the fabric straight.

Secure the fabric in the back with staples and staple gun. Again, I got a little ahead of myself and forgot to take a picture. You can see in the picture above I had already moved on to satan’s upholstery tacks.

When using upholstery tacks, you will be better off using a mallet hammer. A regular hammer will dent the nail heads and hurt like all get out if you hit your finger. Trust me.

Now, nail the tacks in one by one until your thumbs wave the white flag. I had to take a break halfway through and let my thumbs rest.

Also, it would be a lie to say that the tacks are perfectly straight. They are not perfect! Do not tell Ryan. I am a big fan of The Nester’s philosophy – It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful 🙂

With all of the tacks in place, time to move on to mounting this pretty lady. Maybe that was a poor choice of words…

Any-who. We used picture wire (held in place with several staples and 2 screws) on the back of the headboard.

Since the headboard is pretty heavy, we secured it into a stud in the wall. We used a screw and left the head protruding out an eight to a quarter of an inch so it would catch the picture wire. Since hanging this was a two person job, I have no pictures – Sorry!!!!

Here she is hanging in her new home!

DIY Headboard

I like it! What do you think of upholsteredy head boards ? Did you knock out any DIY or house projects this week? We have Discovery this weekend – a weekend retreat at our church for middle school students hosted by senior high and volunteers. We will be busy with 99 STUDENTS! What are you up to this weekend?


*Forgive the massive amount of spelling and typo errors from earlier this morning. I should finish my coffee before posting*


4 thoughts on “Caution: Sore Thumbs Head

  1. Hey Brittney, when I made my headboard, I used the nailhead strips so that I only had to hammer in every 5th nail. They were super easy and sounds like they saved my thumbs a lot of pain! Just wanted to let you know how easy they were for any future projects!

  2. Your headboard turned out perfect! I enjoyed looking through your blog, especially those “before” pictures. You guys are brave! From the the look of things and you’re interior design skills it’s going to be awesome. High-five for being a domestic goddess.

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