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How to upholster your old headboard with a rich fabric

By Edited Oct 9, 2016 4 8

Re-upholstering furniture



A fabric covered head board can create such a difference from normal wooden headboards to a fabulous creation that anyone would be proud to own and you will be the envy of your family.


How often have you looked at your plain old wooden headboard and wished you could do something with it? Well you can and the level of difficulty is not as bad as you may think.

Choose the fabric that will match the rest of your bedroom decore, unless of course you want to redo the whole room.

Things you will need

  • Fabric, for this experiment I would love some crushed red velvet
  • Heavy duty Stapler and staples
  • Upholstery buttons or fancy colored staples (your choice)
  • 1-2inch Foam
  • Batting
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain –color of your choice
  • Jigsaw
  • Plywood
  • Large sheet or sheets of paper for template pattern
  • Velcro or glue

Getting started


You need to take the bed head outside and give it a thorough sanding. Now is the time to make the decision as to how much you will upholster. For your first attempt it would be best to start with a simple plain style with a curved shape at the top.

You will need to sand any wooden parts that will remain the same when upholstered so give them a coat of stain or varnish to freshen then up.

Paper pattern

Lay the headboard on a flat surface and spread your paper out to make a pattern of the bed head. If paper is too small stick a couple of sheets of paper together. Cut out your pattern.

Lay this pattern on your piece of ply and tape it in place. Draw around the pattern onto the ply, then cut out your ply. Cut this out so that it is a fraction smaller all round than your bedhead. Once you wrap the fabric over the edges it will be the same size if using heavy material. Heavier material would look more expensive.

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Cut foam and batting
Next lay the foam on the floor and put your backing ply on top. Cut the foam leave about 2 cm hanging over the edges Now do the same again and use the ply to cut out your batting leaving at least 5 to 6 cms extra around all edges to overlap.

Adding your fabric

Be very careful when you do this as you do not want to waste your material.

Lay your fabric with the right side facing down. Place the batting and then the foam on top of the fabric. Now lay the plywood backing on top of them. Make sure you have them all aligned correct. For your first attempt I hope you are using a plain fabric, if not then make sure that the pattern matches and is aligned evenly.

Start in the center top and fold the fabric over the back of the plywood and staple it in place. Then do the same at either side then at the bottom. Work evenly in this way doing a couple of staples at the top, sides and bottom. Keep the material even and folding in pleats in the corners where necessary. Place staples every five or six centimeters apart. Trim off any excess fabric and batting to make it a clean finish.

Finishing off

Now you are nearly finished. You can either glue your masterpiece to your original headboard or you can use some velcro strips. Position the self sticking velcro strips on both boards so they fit together. To make sure this is secure you can either staple or screw through headboard onto the ply.

Final Touch

As this is a padded headboard, why not press some buttons into the headboard or use the fancy tacks that you can buy in the upholstery stores.

Who said it would be hard to do, now call your friends and show them your new headboard. If I could do this anyone can.

Upholstering is quite easy once you get started you can do your own chairs or even upholster your lounge suite


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Jul 27, 2010 1:11pm
I've covered a headboard before and these are excellent instructions. I never did the buttons. Can you please explain "press some buttons into the headboard"? Are these nail back buttons? How do they get anchored in with the thickness involved?
Jul 28, 2010 4:20am
Hi, I forgot about that bit. You can use a pencil or marking pen to mark where you want the buttons to go on the plywood.Then drill two holes side by side in the plywood. Use the needle and thread to push through the ply through your padding thread on the button then push needle back through the ply and out through other hole and tie it off. Hope that helps.
Jul 28, 2010 12:40pm
Thanks for the response!
Jul 29, 2010 10:02pm
This is a terrific and economical idea for upholstering a headboard!
Jul 31, 2010 9:18am
Yes it is not an expensive job to do, and you could buy cheaper material if really need to
Jul 30, 2010 10:56am
You have detailed upholstering a headboard so well. This will be a nice fashion design for any bedroom.Thank you.
Jul 31, 2010 9:19am
Glad that you think it is a good article, hope someone can make one from this article
Jul 31, 2010 4:59pm
Fabulous idea! Nicely done! 2 thumbs up!!
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