DIY: How to make a queen headboard

July 4, 2012 — 3 Comments
how to make a queen headboard

Our finished headboard

DIY:  How to make a queen size headboard

My wife and I love to do DIY projects around the house.  We bought an old house in New Orleans and have fixed it up over the last three years… and it’s been a ton of work.  However, our interior renovations are complete and now we’re moving on to more fun projects!  I’ll talk about all of the home renovations (and if they were worth it) later.

For now, let’s talk headboards.

We have a queen size bed, so I’ll give specifics for it. My wife is the awesome designer, and I’m the doer.

List of materials for a queen size bed headboard:
– 1 sheet of plywood
– 12 – 15 feet of 1X4 board
– 2 yards of fabric ($35)
– 1 layer of foam ($38)
– Screws, staples, wood glue, sand paper

Tools needed to make a headboard:
– Jig saw or skill saw
– Drill
– Staple gun

We only spent around $73 making the headboard because we already had the wood, tools, and various supplies.  If you start from scratch but still have the tools, you could probably do it for around $100.  It took around 3 hours to complete.

1. Cut plywood to size of headboard

You can use almost any type of plywood, but you should get something at least 1/2 inch thick so it’s sturdy enough and can take staples.  The rumor is you can have the people at Lowe’s or Home Depot cut the plywood to size, but I’ve never tried it.

A queen size bed is 60 inches wide, so we decided to cut the plywood to 63 inches so we’d have some overhang on each side.  We also wanted our headboard to have a more custom look, so we decided to give it a rounded top.  To do this, I simply put a screw towards the bottom of the plywood, tied a string to it, and traced the circle based on the circumference we were looking for.  I then cut out the design with a jig saw.

I recommend playing around with some ideas and draw them out on paper first.  It’s really not that hard to make some cool shapes if you have the right saw (jig saw).  The final step is to sand down the edges of the plywood so it doesn’t snag your fabric.

2. Add legs and frame to headboard

We have our bed on risers so our dog Lucy can get under it (it’s her ‘safe cave’).  Because of this, our headboard sits a little higher than most.  I used a 10′ piece of 1X4 board and cut it in half to make the two legs.  I used another 58″ piece to go across the top.

To secure the legs and top piece to the plywood, I used wood glue in addition to screws to keep the headboard frame from squeaking (get your mind out of the gutter).  I placed the legs about 3 inches in from the edges so we’d have plenty of room to staple the foam and fabric.  Now we’re ready to attach the foam to the headboard.

3. Attach foam to headboard

Everybody likes a nice and soft headboard, so it’s important to get some sturdy foam.  You can buy it from craft stores for $60/sheet, or you can make it out of the egg crates you put over your mattress to soften it up.

We ended up using two egg crates and put them face to face so the outside surfaces were flat.  We then glued the first piece to the plywood and glued the second piece face down on the first piece.  Then came the hardest part.

To give the headboard nice soft edges, we folded the foam around the back of the plywood and stapled it.  This was a tedious task that took both of us because we the foam took some pressure to hold in place while we stapled.  We placed staples every two inches around the entire plywood frame.  After we had it stapled, we cut off the excess foam with a knife.

We actually purchased batting to put over the foam, but we decided not to use it because the foam gave us enough cushion.  Now, the final piece!

4. Cover foam and headboard with fabric

My wife found some great fabric on sale at a local crafts store.  She said we could have gone to Joann’s or any other fabric place to get it.  We also happened to go during a 40% off sale which I was excited about.

To install the fabric over the foam, simply place it on top and straighten as necessary.  We then folded the fabric around the back of the plywood and stapled it just as we stapled the foam.  We gently pulled it tight as we stapled it down to ensure no wrinkles.

5. Install!

To install the headboard, we simply leaned it against the wall and pushed the bed frame against it.  We used some pretty heavy plywood so it stays in place pretty well.

All in all, it was a pretty easy job!  Do you have any tips for making a queen headboard?

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3 responses to DIY: How to make a queen headboard

  1. This is great! What an awesome idea! You said you cut it 63 inches wide, what was the total height?

  2. Elizabeth gannon October 25, 2016 at 4:13 am

    I Made a king size headboard recently and instead of foam just bought a queen size mattress pad which fit perfectly over the king size plywood! Added lining and fabric and even made matching pillow shams!!

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