How to transform a wood headboard into a cushioned one easily.
I got an idea to make a cushioned headboard after seeing this bed on the Ballard Design site. I decided to see what I had on hand around the house to see if I could come up with a way to make my headboard have a cushion instead of using pillows to add a pop of color to the bed.
I played around with using the fabric that is stapled onto a frame above the bed in this photo. This piece used to hang in the upstairs hallway in my previous house. I love the fabric, but the piece on the frame was not long enough to make a real upholstered king sized headboard that you can lean back on and be comfortable.
This headboard project reminds me of the decor I made when I worked in retail display where we only had what was available in the store’s prop room when decorating the store.
There was no budget for anything else. We had to be creative. It is fun to see what you can come up with just by looking at everything around your home with new eyes. I love the process to give something a new purpose and to create something with a story behind it.
I kept the twin headboards since I liked their style, but I was not thinking of using them again on the bed since they would be too low on the wall. I wanted something a bit taller. Then it dawned on me that I could cut the legs off and mount them on the wall exactly where I wanted them.
That is exactly what we did.
I used the fabric I had to make an upholstered cushion for the center section of each headboard.
We even had a scrap 2 x 4 and used that to help mount them to the wall. Ed wanted to cut one end off of each headboard so they would fit perfectly between the windows, but I didn’t want to mess up the design so we left them alone, except for sawing off the legs.
Use what you have decorating is the most budget-friendly decor there is. The most expensive part of this project is the foam. I had it on hand, but always wait to buy it when it is on sale or a I have a 50% off coupon to the fabric store. JoAnn Fabrics or Hancock Fabrics always have sales.
Even if you are not going to make a headboard, I hope this post inspires you to look all around your house to come up with new ideas on how to use everything you already own in new ways.
How to Make a Cushioned Headboard
I just got this pair of scissors that are made to cut through thick foam and more. See how I plan to keep them sharp in this post.
When choosing fabric, try to find one that is not too thin. My fabric is silk. I love it, but to make it look smooth and even all around the upholstered cushion can be a challenge since it is so thin. A cotton duck or twill weight fabric would be a better weight of fabric to use.
- two twin headboards – thrift stores always have twin headboards, but rarely do they have a king – using 2 creates a king.
- 2 x 4 x 8
- Small blocks of wood (optional)
- Long wood screws
- Bubble level
- Scissors for cutting through thick fabrics.
- Tape Measure
- Paint, I used DIY chalk paint and clear wax
- Paint brush
- 1/4″ plywood, cut to size of headboard inset
- 1″ thick foam, cut to size of headboard inset
- Quilt batting, cut 6″ longer and wider than plywood and foam measurement
- Fabric and liner fabric, cut 6″ longer and wider than plywood and foam measurment
- Staple gun and staples
- Sticky back Velcro
- Fabric glue – I used Speed Sew
- Fabric covered welting – see this tutorial on how to make your own.
How to Hang a Headboard On a Wall
We first cut the legs off the headboards with a circular saw, then decided where we wanted to place them on the wall. We used Painter’s tape to mark the placement. We found the wall studs and then used 3″ long screws to attach each headboard to the wall studs. For extra support we placed a 2 x 4 under the headboards. Since the top of the headboards are curved and didn’t go flat against the wall we added a few pieces of scrap wood behind the headboards as spacers.
How to Make Re-Moveable Headboard Cushions
- Figure out the size cushion you need. I wanted the flat middle section on my headboards covered and used those measurements to cut the plywood and foam to size.
- Cut the quilt batting, fabric and optional liner fabric at least 6″ wider and longer. These need to be larger so they can be wrapped around and stapled to the back of the plywood.
- Layer the cut foam on top of the plywood, then center 3 layers of quilt batting and then your fabric. Note: I added an optional layer of white fabric as a liner since my fabric was a bit transparent.
4. Flip all the layers over so the plywood is on top. Make sure all is even and the fabric and batting is centered over the foam and plywood. Bring up the batting and fabric around the sides of the plywood and staple the fabric to the backside of the plywood. I like to do the two long sides first, then the short sides and leave the corners for last. Pull the fabric taut as you staple, and check your work as you go to make sure the design stays straight.
5. Open up the fabric around each corner so you can cut some of the batting away from each. It is not needed and will only make it hard to staple the fabric flat around each corner.
6. To cover corners, pull the fabric around to the backside and create flat pleats with your other hand. Pull the fabric taut and staple each pleat into the plywood. The thicker your fabric, the more staples you will need.
7. Optional: If you want your cushion to look more upholstered, you can buy or make fabric covered cording/welting to go around the edges.
8. I made mine by following the tutorial linked up in the supplies list. I used fabric glue to attach it.
9. I used a small paint brush to apply the fabric glue and then pressed the flat part of the welting on the back of the plywood so only the corded part would show once the cushion was in place on the headboard. I find that Speed Sew grabs the fabric right away so you don’t need to hold whatever you are gluing in place for a long time.
1o. To bring the two ends together neatly, I cut them on an angle, used the fabric glue and then…
…stapled the ends to the plywood.
11. I placed the loop side of sticky back Velcro on the back of the plywood as shown in the photo above.
Then add a few staples to make sure it stays in place. Then attach the hook side to the Velcro.
Using Velcro makes the cushion re-moveable if you want to clean it or change the fabric from time to time. (This is why the project reminds me of working in retail display. I changed fabric on cushions, backdrops and more on a daily basis using this technique.)
How to Attach the Cushion to the Headboard
Remove the tape from the soft side of the Velcro and carefully place the cushion on the center of the headboard and hold and press it into the headboard. Give it a few hard presses along the top and bottom and it should stay up if you use two long strips of Velcro.
When you want to remove it, simply grab the two lower corners and lift up and out to break the bond between the loop and hook side of the Velcro.
As I mentioned above, even if you are not going to make a headboard, maybe this technique to make a cushion cover will inspire you to look around your home to see new decorating possibilities and potential in furnishings and items you already own.