As promised, I’m going to show you how I constructed the DIY Upholstered King Headboard with Nailhead Trim.
I wanted to build this headboard for as little as possible so that I could splurge on the fabric. From day one I wanted white chenille. When I saw it in the inspiration photo that detail was set in stone. I googled white upholstered headboard and found this photo.
This would be my inspiration for my headboard.
Now I just can’t make a commitment as permanent as this without visual assistance.
I drew several options on a sheet of craft paper 1/2 the size of the headboard and cut them out.
I taped the half template to the wall measuring the exact height.
I traced the template and marked the center as well as my wall studs which are 16″ on center.
Once I was satisfied, it was time to start doing.
I gathered my supplies and went to work.
- (1) 1/4″ x 4′ x 8′ sheet of OSB board (really cheap stuff)
- (6) 2″ x 2″ @ 8′
- (1) 2″ x 4″ @ 7′
- 1″ or 2″ Foam the size of headboard
- 3 Yds of upholstery weight fabric @ 54″ wide
- 3 yds of 1″ thick quilt batting @ 60″ wide
- 5 Yds Nailhead Trim
- (1) Box 1-1/2″ Self Tapping SPAX screws
- 2 or 3 3″ Hex Bolts with washers
- Heavy Duty Staples and Staple Gun
- Wood Glue
My headboard measures 81″ wide by 42″ tall. I had the OSB cut at Home Depot to those dimensions. I marked the center of the board and taped my template in place. It traced it with as sharpie marker and repeated on the opposite side. Then I cut the shape out with my jigsaw. I did this so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to take photos.
I wanted my headboard to be thick so I added chopped pieces of 2 x 4’s every 3 inches behind the curve and then I used the scrap OSB board to cap the other side off.
I glued and nailed each of those little cubes to each side of the board. I trimmed each side of the board with a 2 x 2.
Next I trimmed the bottom with another 2 x 2 that was cut to fit between the two side 2 x 2’s. So that the headboard would sit flush to the wall and not wobble, I added more OSB scraps to the 2 x 2’s that were on the side of the headboard.
Then I added two vertical 2 x 2’s to the back of the headboard leaving enough room for the wall mounting hardware that I would use to secure it to the wall. Are you still with me? Hopefully the next two photos will make things more clear.
The vertical 2 x 2’s are screwed in from the front and the bottom. I left 42″ between the two vertical 2 x 2’s for the mounting hardware.
This type of framing ensures a sturdy headboard without being too heavy.
Before I added the foam, I added a 36″ long french cleat to the back of the headboard. I made this by running a 2 x 4 through the table saw at a 45°angle.
I had to shim the cleat out with a scrap piece of OSB so that it would sit flush with the rest of the headboard.
I glued both pieces to the headboard. Then I screwed the cleat on from the front of the headboard.
Next I was ready to add my foam. I bought my foam from a local foam fabricator and it cost much less than Joanns. If I were to do this again, I would use a softer foam that cost less. My foam was high density and has only a little bit of give.
They cut it to exactly 78″ wide by 42″ tall. That meant I didn’t have to do any straight cuts only my curves.
Next came the trickiest part of all, cutting the design out of the foam. Since my foam was already the perfect width and the bottom did not need to be trimmed, I needed to figure a way to trim no more than 1-1/2″ from the top of the foam and keep that 1-1/2″ space all the way across the top and in the curves.
I measured and marked a perfectly straight line 1-1/2″ from the bottom of the headboard.
I measured and marked a perfectly straight line 1-1/2″ from each side of the headboard.
Next I placed the foam between those three lines.
The hubs helped me flip the headboard over keeping the foam in place between the lines.
Then I took a sharpie and traced the profile onto the foam.
We flipped the headboard back over and cut the foam using a really sharp bread knife.
Long steady strokes gave a perfectly even cutout. I had to go back and even out the top edges just a little but otherwise this trick worked perfectly.
I lined the foam back up on top of the headboard but this time I lined the bottom of the foam flush with the bottom of the headboard. I beveled the foam on all four sides with the bread knife.
Most tutorials suggest you use spray adhesive but I just used Elmers Glue-All. Spray adhesive is messy and gets everywhere you don’t want it.
I let the glue set for a half an hour then we moved it upstairs for upholstering.
I draped the batting over the foam lining things up so that I didn’t waste any batting.
Using my heavy-duty stapler, I attached the batting to the top, the bottom and both sides with about 3 staples each.
The I continued around the entire headboard pulling the batting taut but being careful not to rip it.
I stapled 1/4″ from the edge to create a nice smooth profile. For the stubborn staples, I gave them a good whack with the hammer.
Then I trimmed both sides and the top with another layer of batting.
I trimmed the excess batting off the back of the headboard.
I laid my fabric out face down on the floor and placed the headboard face down on top of it.
I choose this White Upholstery Chenille from Online Fabric Store. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t the crisp clean white I pondered over for weeks. It was more like an off white. I wanted to get on with this project so I didn’t send it back.
I didn’t want to waste an inch of fabric so I lined the fabric up on the back side first and secured it with a few staples.
Then I pulled the opposite side as tight as I could and stapled that side as well. I used the palm of my hand to keep the fabric smooth and lump free. I repeated the same thing with the bottom of the headboard then the top.
Once I had everything tight around the perimeter, I turned my attention to the corners.
I trimmed away any bulk and tucked and pulled those babies as tight as I could.
Finally there were the curves.
Oh those curves. They were the worse. My fabric had zero stretch and I just couldn’t quite grasp the concept of snipping V’s into curves and so on.
I did the best I could. It doesn’t look pretty but it held.
And just in case It decided to rebel, I slathered some fabric glue on those back inside curves.
Now do you see those little ripples in the curves?
Those will go away when I add the nailheads.
I bought these online. I made two trips to Joann trying to buy the Dritz brand but could not pull the trigger. They just didn’t look good and the nails that you hammer in didn’t match the rest of the strip and they were $21 for 5 yds.
These were $13.50 and you get 10 yds. You have to hammer in every 5th nail and they are more convincing.
After some deep research I found that the company that makes these makes them in different versions. Some you nail every other, 2nd or 3rd nail.
I started in the corner securing the first nail a fingers width from the edge.
I used a steel punch to pull the strip taut and pre-punch a tiny hole to set my nails in.
I wrapped my hammer in a few layers of painters tape to keep from damaging the finish on the nailheads.
Once I made it to the bottom of the headboard, I wrapped the trim around the bottom and secured. Then I went back to where I started and removed that first nail.
I layered the end of the new piece of trim on top of the starter nail then nailed the nailhead in to secure.
I continued around the curve using my finger as a gauge. When I reached another corner I repeated the same step. Things went pretty quick and I was done in about 45 minutes.
To hang the headboard, I rubbed chalk on the top edge of the french cleat and placed it on top of the bed frame in the exact spot I wanted things.
I then used a laser level to raise the headboard 1″ from where I marked so that it would not touch the frame .
That would make moving the bed easy and less likely to move the headboard when doing so.
I drilled two holes in the studs slightly smaller than the size of my hex bolts.
I took the other half of that beveled 2 x 4 and secured it to the wall backwards with a socket wrench. I recessed the screw holes with a spade bit on my drill.
I forgot to in this photo but it’s a really good idea to use a washer to keep your wood from splitting out.
Use a level to keep things straight.
This creates a very tight lip for the opposite piece and the headboard will not move one bit.
Next we hung the headboard.
Notice our bed does not have slats. That’s Because we originally purchased a mattress that had split king box springs.
When that didn’t fit, we went on the search for a new mattress. I refused to pay $400 for a box spring so we turned to the tried and true IKEA.
We bought the Sultan Luroy slatted bed base. It only cost $60 for the king size.
This bed was built to accommodate a 14-1/2″ mattress and a 4″ low profile box spring that would sit 28″ from the floor.
The new mattress was only 13″ tall so that meant some modifications needed to be made to the bed if we wanted it to sit high.
It pained me to do this but I had to remove the support rails and move them up about 6″. I moved the center beam up too to keep everything perfectly even and level.
To make sure the slats don’t move like our previous Ikea beds, I placed support blocks at the head and foot of each set of slats and in the middle. I also ripped a 1-1/2″ wide piece of wood and secured it between the center of the two slats.
I’ve said it before, this bed is solid!
Headboard Cost Breakdown