I was recently up in my horribly hot attic and came across two headboards that I had made for my daughters’ beds when they were little. I forgot all about them. They were one of the project’s in my book, Instant Decorating. The photo above is from the book. Please ignore the upside down and smooshed pillows. That is how the art director at the photo shoot placed them. I was not in the room when the photo was taken – ugggh! I also demonstrated the headboard on Lifetime television at the time, on a show called Our Home. For TV demonstration purposes, I had to make a series of mini headboard’s so I could easily show all the steps required to make it. For this tutorial, I am going to use them as a step by step guide just like I did on TV, but this time – all the work was done, just had to snap the photos. They look pretty good after 16 years – 10 of them in the attic. I didn’t tweak a thing.
You will want to add your own style – updated fabrics – patterned, textured, or solid colors will look great. Nailheads in place of cord? Leather, suede, burlap? Anything goes when you make it yourself. That is why I love DIY projects so much. You can make everything totally unique to you.
How to Make a No Sew Padded Headboard
For the full step-by- step directions you can download them below. If you are visual like me, you may not need the written directions – the photos may be enough. I chose to curve the top of the headboards I made, but the same steps would apply to a square or rectangular board. The hardest part of making a headboard like this is getting the wood cut. If you don’t have a table saw, take your measurements to the lumber yard where they will make straight cuts for you. After the wood is cut, making the headboard is as simple as layering fabric and LOTS of stapling.
For full directions download pdf. – Directions for Padded Headboard 001
1. Cut board to size and shape desired with saw. If you are making a square or rectangular shape then you can use a table saw. A jig saw works if you are cutting a curved shape like the one below. Draw the shape again with a magic marker in the center of the board. This will be the center padded area.
2. Cover board with foam, staple excess to back. Draw the shape again with a magic marker to show where the padded center starts.
3. Cover with quilt batting, staple to back. I unraveled twisty cord slightly and layed it on top of the marked lines. Staple this cord all along the line. This starts the depression in the foam between the sides and center. Excess cord can be cut off.
4. Staple center fabric onto board, right on top of the twisty cord. By the time you are done, there are going to be a lot of staples in this “channel” between the the center and the border of the headboard.
5. Instead of covering the border with just one piece of fabric, I opted to cover it with four different striped fabrics. Each color fabric was cut into pieces, then placed and stapled to the headboard consecutively to achieve the rainbow effect.
6. Decorative cord is used to hide the staples between the center and border fabrics. I could not find cord in the color I wanted, so I covered cord by using fabric and fabric glue to cover the cord. I pushed it back as I went to ruch the cover.
Directions on how to do this without sewing a stitch:
If you are thinking that fabric glue won’t be permanent, think again. Remember these headboards are 16 years old. The last 10 years they have been stored in my attic where there are huge temperature swings from freezing in the winter to extremely hot and humid in the summer months. The other six years they were on my daughters’ bed’s. I think the cord held up just fine under such extreme conditions.
7. Hot glue the cord ( seam side down) into the channel, making sure to leave excess to staple onto the back.
8. Run the hot glue in the channel and then press the cord, seam side down into the channel.
9. I used eye hooks and wire to hang the headboard on the wall. You can used picture hanging hooks, but I didn’t have any when
I made mine and used what I had on hand to hang the headboard.
This is the actual photo from my book – taken in 1994!
Here is a close up of the cord that I just photographed today one of the full size headboards.
I placed this on my daughter’s bed just to take this photo of full size headboard 16 years later.
This chart below will show you the approximate measurements of the materials you will need:
If you have any questions about any of the steps, just leave me a comment.
Over the years I have made many headboards to fit my changing style. I have made a Cornice headboard, an Easy-Sew Reversible Padded headboard, a headboard made of doors, a Cushion headboard and a headboard made with a bed sheet.