Master Bedroom Redo: Project #2 – Upholstered Headboard

The master bedroom is coming along, and I’m so excited about how it’s turning out! We still have some major changes in store (like painting the entire room) and a few projects that are on hold until the weather warms up (like spray-painting the steamer trunk hardware) but we did finish one project that I can’t wait to show you.

– flat-head screwdriver and pliers (to remove staples, if you are re-using your old headboard. Think carefully about this…see below)
– 1 inch foam, cut to the size of your headboard
– quilt batting (I used four layers) large enough to wrap around all the edges of the headboard (I used two bags for our queen-sized headboard)
– staple gun (I used my light-duty manual staple gun and it worked fine)
– fabric (I think upholstery fabric would work best. I needed two yards)
This is not a particularly hard project, but it was much more time consuming than I had anticipated. You will definitely need at least one assistant to help you pull the fabric tight. If you are removing the fabric in order to re-using the headboard frame, be prepared for pain, blisters, and most likely blood. You’ve been warned.
I’d seen lots of tutorials that touted how easy it was to make your own upholstered headboard, and this was the perfect opportunity!
We started with our old headboard, which we had ordered from when we were first married.

It was perfectly serviceable, but I was tired of the dark brown and wanted to lighten up the room. The color also made our new comforter set look more brown than gray, definitely not what I was going for.
I thought, oh it will be so easy! We’ll just take off the old fabric and staple the new fabric over the old batting. Simple! Ha, famous last words. See in the picture above how there is a tuck in the fabric that goes all the way around? We thought the cording was just glued down, but it wasn’t. It was stapled. All the way through the layers of fabric, batting, and foam.

Here Mom is starting the staple removal process. I foolishly thought it would take maybe half an hour to take the fabric off. Well, it did take about that long for the backing. Then we got to the actual fabric. After that came the batting. Oh, and remember that extra tuck of fabric and cording? Yeah, three more layers. They must have used about 500 staples on each layer. It was a nightmare. At one point I considered throwing the old headboard out completely and starting from scratch with new plywood and a new shape, but decided that wouldn’t be very cost effective (the whole point of re-using the old headboard was to save money) and would be even more time consuming. So we just kept pulling out staples. It took hours. Mom, Dad, and I all worked and bled for the project (Dad sliced his hand open early on with the screwdriver he was using to pry the staples up with and we were afraid he’d need stitches).

We finally got it down to the bare frame. We weren’t able to re-use any of the foam or batting thanks to the staple-crazed first assembly, so off I went to get more at Hobby Lobby (thank goodness for the 40% off coupon).  We started by measuring the foam (I used 1 inch) and cutting it to fit the front of the headboard frame using a box-cutter.

Next we laid out our fabric, batting (I used two bags of quilt batting) and foam to make sure we had it measured correctly. We had planned to staple all the layers onto the frame at the same time, but after watching this Youtube tutorial we decided to follow her instructions and just start with the batting and foam.

It really takes two people to do this project, one to staple (I used my light-duty, manual staple gun and it worked great) and one to pull the material tight. We stapled all the sides first, then tackled the corners. This was definitely the most difficult part. I highly recommend you watch an instructional video to see how to do it.

Basically you cut away as much extra padding as possible (but not too much or you won’t be able to cover the corner completely) then wrap the corner like a Christmas present, keeping it as smooth and wrinkle-free as possible.

Here’s the batting-wrapped back.

And here’s the front. I was so happy with how nice and smooth we were able to get it. You do need a ton of staples to make sure the edges don’t get wavy.
Now we were ready for the fabric. I ironed the fabric (twice, in fact) and laid it on the floor as flat as possible. We measured the headboard and fabric to make sure we weren’t putting it on crooked (plain fabric wouldn’t matter so much, but the fabric I chose had a pattern). Then we put in a few staples on each side and lifted it up to make sure the fabric was straight and wrinkle-free.

The process was the same as with the batting. We stapled all the sides down first, then did the corners. It was even harder to keep the fabric from bumping and wrinkling, but I don’t think the mistakes are noticeable to anyone but me. 🙂

And here’s the finished product! I absolutely love the fabric…it’s exactly what I had pictured (it’s from Hobby Lobby, and is just the alphabet repeated in different sections and scripts). The colors are perfect and I think it looks romantic without being too “girly.”

Here it is again with a sneak-peek of the bedding. I can’t wait to paint the walls and really see the room come together! I think that’s next on the agenda, if it will ever stop snowing long enough for us to get to the paint store…

More Master Bedroom Re-do projects:
– DIY Painted Bookshelf (I’ve added new pictures of it styled)
– Painting the Walls

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