Handmade King Size Headboard

One of my new year’s resolutions is to get our bedroom decorated.  I will take you all on the journey with me, revealing the change bit by bit.  We just bought a new king size bed so step one is a new headboard.  I was inspired by Grace of Design Sponge and her gorgeous DIY otomi headboard so I made one of my own!  Her video tutorial is here, and mine is after the jump.  The only difference is that my headboard is King size and I had to make it with pieces of wood that would fit in my car.  And I have a small car.  Get the full how-to after the jump!
Update:  Check out pictures of the headboard hanging in our bedroom here.


How to Make A DIY Upholstered Headboard

I purchased my otomi fabric for a steal on ebay, but as Grace suggested you can find one at Jacaranda home.  But any upholstery fabric will do.  I purchased 3 pieces of 2’X4’X3/8″ particle board and one piece of 2’X4’X3/8″ plywood from the hardware store, all of which fit in the back seat of my tiny audi a3.  A California king size headboard is about 6 feet wide, so three pieces make up the headboard:

The reason I did it this way was simply that I couldn’t fit whole sheets of 4’X8′ plywood in my car and didn’t want to pay $80 to have one sheet of plywood delivered.

So first I made a design that I thought could be cut from these pieces in a fairly simple manner.  You can download the template here:
King Size Headboard Template

Then I drew it on the wood.  To draw circles, use a compass or this trick.  Determine the radius of your circle (in this case 12″) and draw a dot at the center.  Tie a string to a pencil and hold one end of the string on the dot:

Draw your circle by pulling the string taught and dragging the pencil:

do the same on the side pieces but upside down:

Now it’s time to cut them out.  Clamp your wood and use your trusty jigsawthat I keep demanding you buy:

Cut.  It’s okay if your cuts aren’t super precise, your finished headboard won’t show any slight dips or bumps:
The next step is sanding the edges you just cut.  You can sand while you still have your wood clamped, or you can cut all three then sand all three.  I use my detail sander because I like it, but you could use an orbital sander or plain old sandpaper too.  This is just to smooth the rough edges but you can use the opportunity to sand down any bumps.
Now lay your headboard pieces together:
We are going to glue and screw them together.  So get some liquid nails (they make liquid nails that don’t require a caulking gun but i had one so i used it):
and make dots along each edge:
then push them together.  they won’t be set for a long while so try to keep it steady:
This is where the piece of plywood comes in.  I trust it more then particle board but it costs more so I just bought one piece.  We are going to glue it to the back of our headboard then screw it in, this will be what holds our three headboard pieces together.  So make a big box and x of liquid nails:
And put your plywood on it:
Now screw it together.  I also added two small pieces of scrap wood because my particle board was slightly uneven.  Make sure you use screws that won’t poke out the front (5/8″ or 1/2″):
Let that set overnight.
Now to attach our foam.  I used 1″ foam that i bought from an upholstery fabric store.  They only had a bunch of scraps so I had to make due.  There is special glue for foam, but you don’t really need it since your batting and fabric will hold it all together.  I just used hot glue to attach the pieces to the front covering the headboard:
Then I turned the headboard over to cut out the shape:
The best way to cut foam is with an electric knife, but I don’t have one so I used a bread knife.  I learned that the correct way to get a nice cut is to hold the knife at an angle like this:
If you hold it like this it will be more difficult to cut and you will get a rough edge:
All in all this is an easy step, and keep in mind your batting and fabric will hide the edges so don’t get all freaked trying to make them perfect.
Now it’s time to lay your batting out.  I used 1″ thick synthetic batting.  You need a piece a little over 4′ X about 6.5′.  Lay your headboard face down on top:
Staple the center of the top and bottom taught, then the center of the sides, then staple all the way around about 1.5″ apart:
Now lay your fabric on top.  No need to turn the headboard over yet, we are just gauging where we want our pattern:
Make a cut in the center of the top and bottom:
Also mark the center on the back of your headboard.  then you will know where to start stapling your fabric:
If you notice my fabric was a little short on the sides:
so i had to sew some off-white fabric strips to the edges to make it wide enough (i didn’t take a picture while sewing it but here is the end result):
Now you can lay your fabric right side down and center your headboard face down on top of it.  Line up your cut with the center line you drew and staple:
Continue to pull taught and staple all the way around about 1.5″ apart.  Pause to admire adorable helper:
At the curves you’ll find your fabric taught:
Make scores like this, then it will be easier to staple:
If you need a primer on how to do corners get it here.
Admire your handiwork!

Trim the excess fabric.

You’re done!

To hang your headboard use flush mounts, also known as mirror mounts.

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20 Comments

Heather

Is there anything that you can't do?? I'm thinking you could make a kick-ass headboard for a little girls room…. just a thought!

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Leah

Ive been wanting to make a head board for so freaking long…you have inspired me to go fourth and make! Thanks for sharing. Going to have a gig at the rest of your blog now…

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Jaime

yes, hanging it on the wall using flush mounts, also known as mirror mounts, you can get them at any hardware store!

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Patrice

Hi Jamie,

Quick question, your template is 6' wide, whereas a king size bed is larger than that. The average king size headboard is about 80" ish inches wide or 6'6". How did you compensate for the larger size? A 6' headboard seems as though its not wide enough for your king size bed.

Thoughts are appreciated.

Patrice

Reply
Jaime

Patrice- my bed is a CA king which is exactly 6 feet wide. Add a few inches to wither side for an eastern king!

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Patrice

Thanks Jaime – For whatever reason I was thinking that a CA king was wider than an Eastern King but apparently after "googling" you are right. So with that said your headboard is the exact width of the mattress and doesn't extend at all?

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mindylameo

I am in the process of buying fabric so I can make this. How much fabric should I buys to cover said headboard and should I use the same template for a queen? where could I find a template for a queen size bed? Thanks so much and your DIY project is amazing!

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elise

Thanks so much for the tutorial and free template ! I still have to figure out how to download it ( computer is not my forte,lol.) so I will print it up. My husband and I were looking for one that was upholstered and this is just beautiful! Amazing job, and the fabric,drool!
Again,thank you
Elise

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Lisa E

Hi. Didn’t see this ’till after I made mine. Great job. You offered a tip for the curves. What about the angles, right after the top half circle. I couldn’t make it work without you being able to see the batting on the sides from the cuts I had to make. I started over with different fabric and a different method. Looks nice, but I wanted nailhead, but had to add decorative trim to hide a seam ( not really a seam, but don’t know what else to call it) and to add nailhead in addition would be too busy. Bummed about that , but it works. Still would love to hear how you worked those angles, would be appreciated. Hope you remember, as I see it’s been a while!

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