Emma’s DIY Headboard

DIY headboard

A budget- friendly, DIY headboard project Emma’s room. A little history first- Emma has slept in a great wooden sleigh bed since she moved out of crib (here’s a post from 2006 that shows this bed). It is well-made, really lovely, but the footboard definitely created a visual barrier in a room that stays pretty messy most of the time. I thought it would be fun to change her twin bed to a simple, metal bed frame and make an upholstered headboard ourselves, to give that corner a cozy feel.



Luckily, she was game (win for mom!). I wanted it to feel like a statement but still be neutral. Teenage tastes change and this needs to work with the favorite color of the month every month.


For the fabric, I turned to my favorite linen-look (100% cotton) hopsack fabric. Its the same fabric I used for our family room curtains and it just works so well with so many different looks. A great weight, neutral color, textural. Its cost has gone up at Joann’s but use your coupons to get it for a little less. I would keep bolts of it here at home if I could.


We started with a piece of MDF and drew out the basic shape we wanted, tracing around dinner plates to get the curves at the top. After we cut and sanded, I applied 2″ foam over the entire “front” of the headboard, using spraymount to adhere it. Next, I applied a layer of quilt batting over everything and used a staple gun to attach it to the back (just a few staples is all that’s needed because eventually it will get stapled down with the final fabric).


DIY headboard

From there, I used a sharpie to mark where the buttons would be (I wanted to create a faux tufted appearance, something pretty but not too fussy). Once I’d marked the holes, I drilled a hole through all layers, from front to back (a little tricky through foam, but it works). I pulled out some extra foam around each drilled hole to help the buttons sink in a bit more. Last step before applying the buttons was to smoothly place the hopsack fabric over the front of the headboard. (Don’t staple the fabric and secure it to the back until you’ve put all the buttons on.)


The buttons are a covered button kit from the craft store. I covered them using some periwinkle blue fine wale corduroy for contrast. To attach the buttons to the headboard, I used a a tapestry needle threaded with crochet cotton yarn. The buttons are pulled through from front to back of the headboard, securing the yarn on the back by stapling it into place several times on the back. By pulling a little of the foam out around the holes I drilled, the buttons seemed to easily settle into their position (thankfully). Jenny of Little Green Notebook has a great tutorial of how she created an upholstered headboard and has photos showing this step, which is exactly what I did.


Peter attached the finished headboard to the metal bed frame, and now it only awaits a bedskirt of some sort. Which could be a long wait.


DIY headboard

You can see Emma’s entire room redo by following the links on this post.

A footnote- I did not give away her former sleigh bed frame, I have daydreams that it will one day be used in my imaginary cabin.

  • Molly Irwin

    October 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

    It looks wonderful, Blair! So true that teen tastes change. I’m working on that fine balance right now as well. Emma must be so happy.

  • Amoxelle

    October 16, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I always love your airy colors in your rooms. Also every child needs a DOMO in their room.

  • Erin | house on hill road

    October 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    i love it! especially the tufting. i kind of want to tackle something similar for kate’s room, but it’s going to have to wait for a couple of months. (also, bed skirt = easy. or just buy one at target. )

  • Grace

    October 17, 2012 at 5:43 am

    It looks great Blair! love it, and amazing how simple it sounds to do.
    Great idea

  • recruitment career

    November 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    This looks really fantastic. Love it!

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