Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Hi everyone! I've been on a home decor binge ever since I signed the lease for my new apartment a couple of weeks ago and I decided to take my craft projects to the next level by making my own padded headboard. I got the idea after seeing a couple of DIY blog posts on the subject and decided to give it a try. Although I'm a craftaholic, large-scale projects involving lots of construction are way out of my element. This headboard was definitely tricky and involved learning lots of new skills, but it turned out so great! I can't wait to use it in September!

If you're like me and you know little to nothing about wood and building materials, don't be afraid to get help. Bring your measurements to a hardware store and ask one of the employees for a hand - they're usually very knowledgeable about construction materials and home projects. I went to Home Depot and one of the guys in the lumber department taught me the best way to build the frame and showed me what supplies I would need. It's also a good idea to get the wood planks cut to size while you're at the hardware store (it's free most places) so that you don't have to bother doing it yourself.


4 Wooden Planks
8 1/4" Wooden Dowels
Power Drill 
Wire Clippers
Staple Gun
Carpenter's Glue
Chicken Wire
1 Roll of Extra-Thin Wire
Batting (pillow fluff)
Coloured Fabric (approx. 5' x 3'5")
Scrap Fabric (for the back)
6 Buttons

First things first, you need to figure out the dimension of your headboard. The measurements above are for a double bed with a headboard measuring approximately 2.5' (above the mattress level). Even if you have a double bed, grab a tape measure and double check the measurements - the dimensions of your project may vary depending on the thickness of your mattress, height of your box spring, etc.

You will also need to factor in the width of the boards that you are using. For instance I bought 3.5" pine boards, so the horizontal sections of my frame had to be cut 7" shorter than the total horizontal length (3.5" from each side). If you get confused, flag down an employee at the hardware store and they can help you figure it out.

Lay out your wood planks on the floor in the shape of your frame. On the end of each horizontal piece, measure where you want to put your dowels and make a mark with a permanent marker. Realign your planks on the floor and use the markings that you just made to mark the vertical sections (see above). Take your time during this step, because the more accurate your measurements, the less trouble you will have in assembling your frame.

Next, gather all four planks and head over to the drill. One by one, secure each plank of wood with a wood clamp and then drill a hole for every mark. The holes should be deep enough to fit half of the dowel. Next, insert your dowels; put a little drop of carpenter's glue into each hole before hammering the dowel into the slot.

This is one of those easier-said-than-done steps. No matter how carefully you measure, you're probably going to have trouble matching up the holes and dowels. Don't panic. Starting with one horizontal piece and one vertical piece, line up the dowels with opposing holes. Remember to add a line of carpenter's glue for extra strength and stability before you fit the pieces together. Use your hammer to pound the boards into place.

If you find that one of your holes refuses to line up, then use the drill to (slightly!) widen the hole until the dowel can slide in. Don't be afraid to muscle the last couple of boards into place.

Once the frame has dried, lay it flat onto the floor. Starting at one end, unroll the chicken wire across the centre of the frame. Use a staple gun to secure the vertical edge (the short edge) to the wooden frame and then staple along the horizontal edges (the long edges) as you unroll the wiring. Stop to regain feeling in your elbow before continuing.

When you get to the far end, grab your wire cutters and cut off any excess chicken wire that's left. Use a pair of pliers to fold down the pokey ends of the wire - watch out, it's sharp!


Next, you have to add the batting. Unroll a thick layer of batting across the headboard frame. You want it to be about 2"-3" thick, so that it will look nice and soft once it's covered. Remember to leave enough extra batting around the edges to cover the sides of the frame as well.

This is the tricky part. Lay your fabric on top of the batting with the patterned side facing up (ie. the pattern and batting shouldn't be touching), then take a deep breath and flip the whole thing over. Now your fabric should be lying patterned-side down (ie. pattern against the floor) with the frame on top. Don't worry if the fabric is crooked, you can adjust it after securing the batting. Pull the lip of batting around the back of the frame and staple it down. Do this for every side of the frame expect the bottom.

Now's the time to adjust the fabric underneath the frame - be especially careful if your fabric is patterned because you want the pattern to be straight when you flip it over. Also double check that the fabric is facing the right way. The first time I did this I started stapling the fabric only to realize that it was backwards - gaahh!

Wrap the fabric around the back of the frame and start stapling it into place, pulling it tight as you go. When you get to the corners, fold the fabric like you would the corner of a birthday present and staple it down. When you get to the bottom board, flip the frame back over. Tuck the excess fabric under the batting (this is why you didn't staple the batting down on this side) and then staple it down as close to the bottom of the board as you can.

Tired yet? Almost there! The second last step is adding the buttons. You'll want to re-measure your frame, since the batting will have changed the dimensions. Divide the width by four and the height by three to calculate where to put each button (see above). I used sewing pins to mark each spot.

For each button, clip a small section of thin wire (about 8" is enough) and fold it in half. Thread the button onto the wire and then poke the sharp edges through the front of the headboard. Pull it through the batting and chicken wire on the other side. To make the headboard look indented or 'tufted', clamp your pliers at the base of the wire and twist them to tighten the button. It's much easier than trying to tighten them by hand. Repeat this until all the buttons are done or until your hand goes numb :)

Last but not least, cover the back of the headboard with some scrap fabric (I used the leftovers from a roll of cheap unbleached cotton) to hide all of the ugly chicken wire and button fastenings. Just cut it to size and staple it on.

And there you have it!! This project took me two days and it's definitely one of the more challenging ones I've done. Mostly because I don't know anything about construction. But now I do. And you can too! I really love how it turned out and I can't wait to use it in September :) It was also much more cost-effective than buying a padded headboard, which can run anywhere from $200 to upwards of $1000! This only cost me about $50...schveet!

Talk soon!

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