{DIY} Upholstered Headboard With Nailhead Trim

Continuing on with my work on my friend’s sons’ bedroom, I finished the DIY upholstered headboards with nailhead trim for their twin beds.  Karen wanted a soft fabric and chose a pickstitch quilt to use as the upholstery fabric, which worked out great because I was able to cut out a typical step in making upholstered headboards.  Usually there is a layer of batting wrapped around the headboard underneath the fabric, but since the quilt was made of two layers of fabric with batting in between, I was able to skip the batting step.

This was my first time making upholstered headboards and I was surprised how relatively simple it was.  Remember that the wood cuts below are for making two twin headboards.  If you’re making one, just half everything.

I purchased a piece of plywood from Lowes and had it cut in the store into two boards, each measuring 30″ x 42″.  I also bought three 3 1/2″ wide pine planks, 8′ long each.  When I got home I cut the planks into six pieces: four pieces 47″ long and two pieces 35″ long.  I used 1 1/4″ wood screws to attach the pine planks to the plywood as shown below.

I then lay 1″-thick high density foam across the plywood between the pine planks and cut it to fit the opening.

I attached the foam to the plywood using a staple gun.


I cut the quilt I was using for fabric a bit larger than the plywood and lay it upside down on the floor, then lay the assembled headboard on top of the quilt, foam side down.
I pulled the top of the fabric over the top of the headboard and stapled it to the back side of the plywood.  For the corners, I folded down from the top and put one staple in the side.

Then I cut a rectangle of fabric away to cut down on excess bulk.

Finally, I folded and pulled the remaining fabric across and stapled to the back for a smooth folded edge.
I repeated the pulling and stapling with both sides.  For the bottom, I cut a notch along the line of each leg and pulled the fabric in the middle around to staple to the back of the plywood.

For the legs, I cut a rectangle of the quilt wide enough to wrap around each leg and a bit longer than each leg.  I folded under the rough edge at the top and pulled the fabric taut to wrap it and staple along the back side of the leg.

I stapled the fabric to the leg at intervals the whole way down, then snugly wrapped the other side over, tucked the rough edge under, and stapled it to the leg.

For the bottom I folded the fabric like a present and stapled to the back.  I repeated with the other leg before moving on to my second headboard.

Those seams where the leg covering meets the top part of the headboard will be hidden by the bed.  I covered the legs just to give the whole thing a finished look if any of the legs peek out on the side of the bed.When both headboards were complete I used a large ruler to mark dots 1/2″ apart close to the inside edge of the pine plank underneath the fabric.

I’ve seen a lot of headboards done with nailhead strips instead of individual nailheads but I wanted the look of real nailheads so took the time to hammer them in individually.  It went so much more quickly than I expected, likely because the pine I was hammering into is a soft wood so the nailheads sunk right in with a few taps of the hammer.

One of my little “helpers” came in about halfway through my applying the nailheads on the first headboard.  She tested the cushy-ness of the headboard, tapped a few already-embedded nailheads with my hammer, and then wandered off for a snack with her Daddy.
I’d say the whole project (two headboards) took me two hours or less, which was much quicker than I anticipated…always a nice surprise!Here are a few shots of the headboards in place in the boys’ room.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07848936864799611251 Cassie @ Primitive & Proper

    WOW! another awesome project over here! i love the fabric- keeps it more casual feeling yet refined, too!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06691860606573110974 Simply LKJ

    Amazing! I love the quilted look…gives it a bit more masculine feel.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08944818903366042956 Bobi

    So pretty! I am working on my second headboard as we speak. Those nailheads really add so much:)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      I love them too, I feel like I put nailheads on everything lately but they add such a nice touch, I can’t help myself!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05973287126992849337 Elizabeth MK King

    This is so great! I can’t wait to see how you install them – I’m thinking of doing this in one of our guest bedrooms, but need to understand the mechanics of the installalation first – looking forward to that post!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      I think I’ll hang them with O rings…but stay tuned, sometimes things like this don’t go as planned :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06614467682746424901 Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

    That turned out fantastic! And such a great idea to use a quilt.


  • http://buildingthisnest.wordpress.com/ buildingthisnest

    These look amazing!! I DIY’d a headboard using large canvases and it turned out great, but I would like to upgrade eventually to something more substantial and I love the look of the quilted fabric with nail head trim!!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      The quilt really makes them seem extra soft and cozy!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14409724935239296352 sarah m. dorsey

    Look so good!! Love the use of the quilt, could be a great way to get the fabric width for a queen or king!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06786515224193334674 Megan

    Now THAT is genius!

  • http://aloandbeholdlife.blogspot.com/ Lo (a Lo and Behold Life)

    They look great! How did you get the nailheads in such a straight line? It looks professional! Nicely done!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Thanks, Lo! I think hammering into the pine helps because it only takes a few hammer smacks to get them in the soft wood. I’ve found the more you have to pound nailheads the more likely they are to warp and go crooked. I also made sure the dots I marked were very straight.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07777242694409071504 Becky {This Is Happiness}

    AMAZING! You are super talented Jennifer. Yet another awesome project!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03470632120877499280 Jen @ The Social Home

    You are a furniture building genius! Next time you are in Vancouver, you are making me one of these!

  • Khadija

    Oh my God. This….is sooo….brilliant! Oh, how I wish I had known how to do these when my kids didn’t have headboards!!! Thank you so much for sharing. I have to email your link to everyone. :)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Thanks for the nice comments, Khadija!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07636427820882725798 Mel@Mellywood’s Mansion

    love love love it – pinning it xo Stopping by from Simple Creations party

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14502453732909068995 Sherry Calamia

    I love the way this headboard turned out… You did a beautiful job! I am going to be tackeling my first headboard hopefully soon, this was a great inspiration. I just became your newest follower, I hope you can stop by mine.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Thanks for the nice comments, Sherry, and for signing up to follow! I’ll be sure to stop by your blog later today when kiddies head down for their naps :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05557219560705044607 Our Pinteresting Family

    What a beautiful project! I love the fabric that you chose for your headboard. We actually did an upholstered headboard for our master bedroom and were so happy with how easy it was and the price. Your tutorial is fantastic! I wish I had it when we did ours. :) Megan

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful job – I am going to attempt this in my son’s room. This may be a silly question but how did you attach the headboard to the wall or bed frame?

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Great! Good luck!! So as it turned out, the frame of the bed was so super heavy I didn’t need to mount the headboard. It was held in place so securely by the bed frame pushed up against it. But…if I had, I would have put heavy duty “O rings” on either side of the back of the headboard and hung the rings on heavy duty hooks on the wall. Hope all goes smoothly for you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10577509782112013686 Trice d

    good job!!!!!! where did you get that fabric?

  • Angela

    Love it! I am HOPING to find a tutorial that somehow connects the headboard to the frame, but I am starting to get hopeless!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Are you connecting to a metal frame? If so, it should just be a matter of drilling some holes through the legs of the headboard and bolting it to the frame. Most metal frames have holes for attaching to a headboard.

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