I’ve been wanting to build a bed for my master bedroom for several years so I’m super excited to cross this project off of my list. I love the look of upholstered wingback beds but for a king size I couldn’t find one that was reasonably priced, high quality and high enough to fit my foundation and mattress. So of course I just made my own. It turned out to be easier than I expected. I was nervous since I hadn’t upholstered anything before but the final product was exactly what I was hoping for. Here is what you will need to make your own DIY upholstered headboard.
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The materials for this headboard totaled to just under $260. I was able to keep the costs down by using a foam mattress pad and table cloths instead of fabric sold by the yard.
(2) Sheets of 3/4″ Plywood (48″x96″)
Batting: I purchased a 90″x9 yard roll from Walmart but this Batting would work too
Fabric: I used two 60″x120″ tablecloths that I purchased from At Home. I saw them at Home goods as well. Here is a similar one from Amazon.
Bread Knife (to cut the foam)
How to make a DIY upholstered headboard
Before we get into the steps required to make this headboard, here are details on the overall dimensions. This tutorial is for a KING SIZE bed but you can easily modify the dimensions to fit a different bed size. It should also be noted that this bed is designed to use a 9″ box spring/foundation and a 15″ thick mattress. If you will not be using a box spring/foundation and/or your mattress thickness differs you can adjust the height of the wings to lower the back of the headboard to properly align with the top of your mattress. Or, if you want the overall height of the bed to remain 64″ you can just extend the red plywood sheet to be wider (more than 33″) and match up with the top of your mattress.
The bottom of the headboard is 31″ from the floor. This distance should align with the top of your mattress, So measure the distance from the floor to the top of your mattress and adjust as needed.
View from the front of the headboard
View from the back of the headboard
Top down view of headboard
As mentioned, this tutorial is for king size bed. To make a queen, full or twin size bed you’ll just need to cut the back plywood sheet shorter. Below is a schematic that shows the reduced widths that would be needed for smaller beds. You will also need to reduce the length of the 3.5″ thick (blue) board on the back of the headboard.
As noted previously, adjust the height of the wings or the height of the plywood sheet on the back of the headboard to align with your mattress height.
Step 1 – Cut the Plywood
You will need two sheets of 3/4″ plywood to make this headboard. I went with hardwood plywood since right now it’s pretty much the same price as the other plywood options. Each sheet cost me $50. Below is the cut list for the headboard. The red board is the back of the headboard. The (8) pink parts are to make the two wings and the blue part goes on the top back of the headboard in between where each of the wings are attached.
*Tutorial example is for a king size bed.
Step 2 – Make left and right wings
Assemble each of the (2) plywood wings.
Each of the two wings will use (4) plywood sheets that are cut to 7 – 1/4″ x 64″ Use wood glue and 1-1/4″ screws to attach (stack) 3 of the plywood sheets together making and overall piece that is 2-1/4″ thick. Then, attach a single sheet behind the 3 sheet thick part as shown below.
Screw from the outside sheet into the center sheet for both the top and bottom boards.
Step 3 – Add batting to the wings
Start by rolling out the batting and lay the back of the wing on the edge of the batting as shown below.
Then, determine how much batting you will need to wrap the wing and cut it.
Make sure that you have enough to cover the 3 sheet thick portion of the wing and at least a few inches on front side of the back wing board.
Attach the batting using staples. Start with the back of the wing and attach about 2″. You won’t want to cover the entire back because you will later be screwing that part into the other headboard piece.
For each end, wrap the batting material around so that it is fully covering the end and staple it in place. Cut the excess batting as needed.
Wrap the batting tightly around the 3 sheet thick portion and staple at the joint where the 3 boards meet the single board. After the batting is stapled on the length of the wing, trim the excess as shown below.
Here are the two wings after I attached the batting.
Step 4 – Add fabric to the wings
*Be sure to iron out any wrinkles in the fabric before cutting and attaching to the bed.
Folding the fabric for the ends:
Start by cutting a piece of fabric that is a few inches larger than the ends as shown below.
Then cut and drape the fabric as shown below.
First, staple the fabric over the top of the 3 sheet thick part.
Then, staple and trim the fabric over single sheet part of the wing.
Next, staple along the other side of the thick portion.
Fold the excess over the back of the wing and staple as shown below.
On the front of the wing you’ll want to pinch back the sides and staple to secure. Process is shown in the following 5 photos.
Trim the excess fabric.
Repeat the same process of wrapping the end with fabric on the other side of the wing.
Wrapping the fabric for the wings:
Next you’ll need to attach the remaining fabric over the length of the wing. Cut the fabric so that you can wrap the wing with enough fabric to cover the entire front part of the back piece, wrap all around the (3) sheet thick portion and have at least an inch or two that wraps around the back of the wing. Also, keep in mind that you’ll want to cut the fabric a few inches longer than needed for the height of the wing.
Since I used a tablecloth for the fabric, I put the stitched end at the top of the wing for a more finished look.
Using staples, attach the fabric along the corner of the wing where the (3) sheet thick portion meets the single plywood piece.
Pull the fabric tight (but not too tight) and continue stapling along the corner for about 2/3 of the length of the wing.
Then wrap the the fabric around the 3 sheet thick portion, pull it taught and staple along the back of the wing. Again, do this for for about 2/3 of the overall length of the wing. You’ll want to leave room at the bottom to fold the excess material under before you attach it.
When you get closer to the bottom, fold the excess material over until it aligns with the bottom of the wing and trim the excess so that there is only about 1.5″ of excess at the bottom.
After you’ve trimmed the fabric, fold it under and tuck it in to create a more finished folded edge as shown below. Then attach at the corner and along the back using staples.
Here is a picture of the two wings with the fabric attached. For the single board on the back I added staples on the top and bottom to hold the fabric in place but left the remaining loose so that I could easily cut the fabric away when I later attached the bedframe. If you won’t be attaching a bedframe you could just staple all the way down.
Step 5 – Attach board at the top of the back of the headboard
Use 1-1/4″ screws to attach the 3.5″ plywood board to the back of the headboard as shown below.
Step 6 – Attach foam to the back of the headboard
For the foam I used a 2″ queen foam mattress pad since it was cheaper than buying foam from the craft store. I was a little impatient to start this project and should have let the foam mattress pad expand for several days prior to building the bed. Learn from my mistake and don’t do this. My cuts weren’t entirely straight because the foam hadn’t fully expanded before I made them.
To cut the foam the same dimensions as the back of the headboard, I used a t-square, tape measure and sharpie to mark the line.
A simple bread knife was perfect to make the cut.
You can see the side on the left below where it isn’t entirely flush since the foam hadn’t fully expanded.
Spray the glue on the plywood and the foam. Follow the directions on the can.
I put some extra plywood on top of the foam and clamped it to apply even pressure across the foam as the glue set.
Step 7 – Attach batting to the back of the headboard
Cut a piece of batting that is large enough to wrap around all sides of the headboard with a few inches of excess. Don’t mind my extremely sloppy cut as shown below. It doesn’t need to perfect since you’ll be trimming the excess after it’s stapled.
Then wrap the batting around the headboard and staple on the back. Here is what it looked like after it was stapled and I flipped it over.
Step 8 – Add fabric to the back of the headboard
I used a full tablecloth for the back of the headboard. Remember, be sure to iron it first! Lay the fabric down and then place the headboard finished side down centered on the tablecloth.
Start attaching the fabric on the bottom of the headboard. Note that you will not attach the fabric at the top of the headboard until after the wings are attached. So for this step only attach the fabric to the bottom and sides of this piece.
After the bottom was stapled, I flipped the headboard over and laid it on top of my coffee table. This allowed me to pull the fabric nice and taught as I went around the sides to staple the fabric to the headboard.
For the corners I used a similar method as the wings and folded over the fabric to create a crease.
Then I tucked it under, pulled it tight and stapled on the back of the headboard.
It’s hard to see below but the bottom (left side of the picture) and the two shorter sides are stapled. The excess fabric is hanging as I hadn’t trimmed it yet.
You can see below that I did not attach the fabric along the top of the headboard.
Now, flip it back over and trim the excess fabric off of the bottom and sides.
Step 9 – Attach the wings to the back of the headboard
To attach the wings I used some chairs to hold them up while the back of the headboard was resting upside down on my coffee table. Each wing was attached with (8) 1-1/4″ wood screws.
After the wings are attached, flip the headboard upright and grab a ladder to fold the fabric over the top and attach on the back of the headboard.
Step 10 – Staple fabric over the top of the headboard
I stapled along the back and then trimmed the excess fabric.
Here is a top down view showing how I folded over the fabric where the back of the headboard met the wing.
And this is the headboard from the front before I moved it into my bedroom!
DIY Upholstered Wingback Headboard
Here it is in my master bedroom! Since I made this bed in two stages( headboard first then the bed frame), I decided to break it up into two separate posts. I think it looks just fine with a bed skirt so if you want to make just the headboard you can follow this tutorial. If you want to make a matching upholstered bed frame that can be easily assembled and disassembled to move I’ll be posting that tutorial next week. Stay tuned!
I’m so happy with how this DIY upholstered headboard turned out. It really elevates the room. I especially like the height of this headboard. Most of the wingback headboards that I found online were at least 6″ shorter than mine. For reference, my ceilings are 8′ tall.
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If you’re interested in checking out more of my master suite projects here are a few links.
For more woodworking tutorials check out my woodworking project list.
Thanks so much for all of the support!