I showed you the DIY upholstered headboard in our guest room reveal, but here’s a tutorial of how to make a nailhead upholstered headboard of your very own.
I didn’t invent the
wheel upholstered headboard here folks, I just wanted a cheaper version of the Tall Nailhead Upholstered Headboard from West Elm. Here is the official West Elm inspiration:
I just love how it is so tall and so sleek and has some nailhead trim for interest. There are so many different styles of headboards, but I tend to like the ones with straight edges and clean lines the most. Seeing the shorter version of this West Elm headboard in Dana of House Tweaking’s bedroom really sealed the deal for me. So armed with inspiration, I did a little more internet searching for ideas on how to put this thing together. There are a gazillion sources out there, but a couple I liked in particular are Kelly’s tutorial from View Along the Way and also Kate’s headboard from Centsational Girl. To be honest, I didn’t follow them so much as use them as guidelines, but I think you’ll find both tutorials are super helpful when you tackle this project.
Thinking about the materials, planning my dimensions, and running around town to make my purchases took longer than the labor to put this thing together. To save you from all that thinking, I’ll just give you my shopping list, which is for a queen-sized bed. I did not use the West Elm dimensions, but just went for what sounded good and what would fit in my sweet ride on the way home from the store. For the lumber, feel free to have your hardware store make your cuts – so worth it.
- one 3/8″ thick piece of plywood cut to 63″ x 42″ (you can use other thicknesses, but I really didn’t want to drag around Home Depot anything heavier than that)
- 2 – 2×6’s cut to 68″ in length (this is for the height, so you can go higher or lower, and our mattresses are tall, so you may want to go lower so you don’t have a gap between the top of your mattress and the start of your headboard)
- 2 – 2x4s cut to 52″ in length – this is for the supports between the 2x6s
- 1 1/4″ wood screws + wood glue if you like things extra sturdy
- three thick layers of batting, I went for 1 “twin size” bag of batting and 1 “full size” bag of batting (which I folded in half) – this ended up being the perfect thickness/softness and saved me the trouble and expense of foam
- 2 1/2 yards of muslin (mine was 60″)
- fabric, or in my case an Ikea curtain (no thin stuff, it needs to be sturdy enough to handle tight corners, lots of pulling, and stapling without ripping)
- nailhead trim kit – your choice of color
- upholstery stapler and staples
Steps for How to Make the Nailhead Upholstered Headboard
First, build the frame by laying down your plywodd, arranging the wood as shown in the pic, gluing it together, and screwing through face of plywood into wood boards. You should also check for square and make sure you don’t have any screwheads sticking out – no one wants to lean up against that.
Second, lay down your muslin then three layers of batting, and plunk the plywood portion of the headboard on top of it. Cut the muslin and batting so that there is about 5-6 inches of overhang on all sides of the rectangle. Some people skip the muslin, but don’t. It makes your headboard smooth and awesome, and you will feel like a Project Runway superstar just using it.
Third, pull the muslin and batting tight around the edges and staple the heck out of it. I started stapling in the top/middle and just went to each edge. Then I went down each side, wrapping the corners like a present (don’t hesitate to cut off extra batting and muslin at the corners). Finish at the bottom, again starting from the middle and pulling tight as you work your staples toward each edge. After each side is stapled, check to make sure things are looking smooth and sleek on the front and sides.
Fourth, lean your headboard agains the wall for a minute, lay down your fabric (or Ikea curtain in my case) face down, then lay the headboard face down on top of the fabric. If your fabric is wrinkly, or your Ikea curtain had been wrapped in plastic and has lots of wrinkles, you really should iron it first. Then proceed with stapling all around the edges exactly like you did for the muslin/batting. Where the headboard meets the two legs, just tuck the fabric under and then staple in the back as usual.
Fifth, apply your nailhead trim by malleting (yep, that’s a word now) the trim in starting in the upper corner and working your way down. Then go across the top and down the other side. Keep it straight!
Sixth, put ‘er in the room and call it a night. Well, some might want to do extra things like painting the legs, (mine don’t show so I didn’t worry about that) or adhering the headboard either to the wall or a bedframe (but ours seems to be sturdy without doing either of those things). Check out how it looks with bedding and the side view – seems to be the perfect thickness for an upholstered headboard.
Seriously, I love how tall the headboard is and really love going the
cheap industrious route by doing a West Elm headboard myself. Anyone else build a headboard lately? Or repurpose Ikea curtains to into something else? This is such an easy project I really encourage anyone to try it – especially if you go for the square edges!