| |

How-to Make a No Sew Padded Headboard

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read my Disclosure Policy.

How to Make a No Sew Padded Headboard

How to make an easy padded or upholstered headboard

I was recently up in my 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.

I demonstrated how to make 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

Supplies needed to make a padded or upholstered headboard

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.

Padded headboard

2.  Cover board with foam, staple excess to back. Draw the shape again with a magic marker to show where the padded center starts.

DIY Padded Headboard tutorial

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.

Step by step upholstered headboard tutorial

How to pad a headboard

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.

The best padded headboard tutorial on the internet

Upholstered headboard tutorial

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.

Upholstered headboard tutorial

Step by step padded headboard tutorial

Step by step padded headboard tutorial

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.

How to cover cord with fabric

 Directions on how to do this without sewing a stitch:

How to cover cord with fabric the no sew way

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.

Upholstered headboard tutorial

8.  Run the hot glue in the channel and then press the cord, seam side down into the channel.

Step by step upholstered headboard tutorial

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.

Step by step padded headboard tutorial

This is the actual photo from my book – taken in 1994!

How to make an easy padded headboard

Here is a close up of the cord that I just photographed today one of  the full size headboards.

DIY Upholstered Headboard Tutorial with photos

I placed this on my daughter’s bed just to take this photo of  full size headboard 16 years later.

How to make an upholstered padded headboard tutorial

This chart below will show you the approximate measurements of the materials you will need:

Headboard Measurement Chart

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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Nice job, Diane! I probably saw that show on Lifetime, too, because I was a SAHM then and I used to watch whatever decorating shows I could find {plus it was pre-HGTV}. Besides Lynette and Christopher Lowell there weren’t too many! : )

    1. Hi Kathy-
      Lynette Jennings was like Candace Olsen is today. I loved her. Kitty Bartholemew was big on the scene back then too. I was on the show 5 times doing a different project each time. It was a lot of fun.

  2. Hey, Diane, thanks so much for stopping by & for your lovely comments. Truly appreciated.

    I’m loving all these headboards out there in blogland. Wish I needed another headboard. Your version still looks cute, there are so many possibilities with these. I didn’t know you were on TV back then! How fun, you are/were a celebrity!