DIY Guest Project: Frugal Upholstered Headboard

The following home DIY project is a guest blog post provided by Martin and Katie from the Our Everyday Earth Green Blog. __Our Everyday Earth is a green blog with a difference. Martin and Katie are a regular family living in Texas writing about going green, recycling, composting, green education and other family friendly green tips. Be sure to check them out! __When Martin reached out to me, I immediately fell in love with the project. I've always wanted an upholstered headboard, but I really never thought I could do it on my own. So Martin, thanks for proving me wrong. Enjoy... * The project started as a weekend idea inspired by several online tutorials of how to create an upholstered headboard, and it grew into a bigger project with a reclaimed wooden bed frame and some reorganizing of the surrounding furniture! The original metal framed bed is shown below, with some closeup shots of the cracked framework. The metal frame was uncomfortable to sit up against, and we had tried multiple times to fix the cracked metal but it kept on breaking in the same location.

Katie and I set out in separate directions; she went to the fabric store and I went to the home improvement store! I bought a large piece of 1/2 inch thick plywood for about $20, I bought the type which is only finished smooth on one side -- this cut the cost down slightly. Katie bought some wonderful fabric, some quilt batting material and two pieces of 2 inch thick upholstery foam.

I cut out the headboard shape with a jigsaw (wish I had video'd that part), and below you can see my mad scientist template with dimensions... As you can see, our king size bed was considerably wider than the template (77 inches wide versus 52 inches wide). We laid the plywood headboard shape onto the 2 inch foam and marked around it with a permanent marker and then used a bread knife to cut the foam to shape. We used Loctite spray adhesive to glue the foam to the plywood headboard. You should be able to find an equivalent at the local hardware store. Word of caution, only use these spray adhesives in a well ventilated area, and always wear a breathing mask. Fixing the quilt batting to the foam and plywood headboard was easy, we just stretched the quilt batting over the back of the headboard and stapled it with a staple gun every couple of inches. The quilt batting was easy to stretch and the final product was very smooth. We cut the excess batting off with scissors, and it was ready for the actual final upholstery fabric to be applied. This final stage was trickier. The fabric we used was fairly heavy weight and it took a lot of stretching and stapling to get it looking smooth over the headboard. We were very pleased with the finished headboard though and couldn't wait to get the new bed assembled! As mentioned previously, the new bed frame was made using reclaimed barn wood which we had stored in the loft above our garage. We cleaned it up with some soap and water, let it dry and then assembled a basic frame. I used some large 5/16 inch diameter 2 inch length bolts with washers and captive type nuts to secure the new wooden frame to the old metal base. You can see the assembled bed frame below. I used flat head bolts on the foot of the bed for a better visual finish. Now that the frame was assembled and tightened up, we were finally ready to start putting the bed back together; we added the box springs first. After performing a quick test fit of the headboard to make sure the frame and headboard looked correct, I moved on to the final positioning of the headboard. I quickly realized that the massive headboard was not going to be easy to hold with one hand and then screw into place with the other! My solution was to use an artists easel to prop up the headboard, it worked great and the adjustable easel allowed me to position the headboard at the exact desired height. Once we were happy with the vertical and horizontal positioning of the headboard, I fixed it in place with wood screws to the reclaimed wood frame. Finally the bed was starting to pull together!

Our DIY Master Bed Project Summary:

We spent just under $300 on materials, the upholstery fabric and foam were the most expensive coming in at just over $200! The rest of the materials were either very cheap, or completely free (reclaimed wood). Materials and tools:

  • 1/2 inch thick plywood from Lowes
  • A jigsaw for cutting the headboard shape
  • 2 inch thick upholstery foam
  • Loctite spray adhesive
  • Standard quilt batting
  • Fabric of your choice (be bold!)
  • Bread Knife (for cutting foam)
  • Scissors
  • Staple Gun (and lots of staples!)
  • 8 x 5/16 inch dia, 2 inch length bolts for mounting the wooden frame to the base
  • 8 washers and 8 nuts
  • Lots of patience! So there you have it, a frugal DIY master bed makeover with an upholstered headboard and reclaimed wood bed frame! We hope you enjoyed this project and would love to hear your feedback.

A Little About Us

From before the aisle to after the plunge, the Plunge Project is a wedding and lifestyle blog for real women. The Plunge Project is a place for the detail-oriented woman to find ideas, inspiration and advice for everything that comes after that one little question, “will you marry me?”

From walking down the aisle, to building a home and entertaining, to keeping the spark alive (and one day even having babies…but we’re still getting there), the Plunge Project is written for the stylish, savvy, DIY loving, bargain hunting, detail-oriented, do-it-all woman who never lets a limited budget limit her style.

The Plunge Project’s mission is to provide wedding inspiration, stylish party ideas, unique DIY projects, tasty recipes and real world advice to the real woman.


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