Trusted Supplier to the Hospitality Industry.

Contact Us 0861007000

How to create a unique headboard with wood or fabric

The Mattress Warehouse sells a variety of pre-made headboards. However, these might not be the exact style or fit you’re looking for. Therefore, if you’re looking for some way to customise a headboard that’ll suit your budget and unique bedroom style then read on!

At the Mattress Warehouse, we’re experts in the bedroom furniture business. After years of experience, we can tell you this: It’s not that hard to personalise your own pieces of (simple) furniture. As long as you have the right set of instructions and tools, it’ll be a walk in the park!

Having said that, we decided to provide you with step by step instructions to make your own DIY versions. Below you’ll find these steps to two types; wooden or tufted/upholstered. We hope that you’ll thoroughly enjoy making this DIY or find some inspiration to make something completely original!

DIY Wooden Headboard from reclaimed wood

A reclaimed wooden headboard is easily the most versatile way you can customise your bed. By doing it yourself, you get to decide how rustic and rugged or how modernly rounded off you want it to be in order to fit the look and feel of your bedroom.

For the DIY wooden version you’ll need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Wooden pallets (4-6 depending on the wood quality)
  • Approx five (depending on the size) 44mm x 44mm x 2.4m wooden boards
  • One 32mm x 67mm x 2.4m wooden board (or skirting of similar width)
  • 2 Heavy-duty picture frame mounts.
  • Reciprocating saw (or nail puller)
  • Miter saw (or handsaw)
  • Sander or sandpaper
  • Wood screws
  • Finishing of your choice (paint or stain)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint thinners or water (depending on the type of paint/ finish you use)

1. Take all your measurements

To know exactly how much wood you’ll need and how big to build your frame, it’s important to take perfect measurements of your bed. This will determine how high and wide your DIY headboard will be.

  1. Firstly, decide how high you want your headboard to extend above your bed. Typical headboards extend about 70cm above the bed (for a queen-king size bed). This will be measurement A.
  2. Measure the height of your bed from the floor to the top of the mattress. Usually, a mattress and bed height is 60cm. This will be measurement B.
  3. Add measurement A and B together. This will be the total height of your headboard and we’ll call it measurement C.
  4. Next, measure the width of your bed. This will be measurement D.
Measurements A, B, C and D illustrated

So to recap:

  • The height that sticks out above your bed: Measurement A
  • Height of your bed from the floor to the top of your mattress: Measurement B.
  • Measurement C: A+B or, in other words, the total height.
  • Measurement D: The total width.

2. Assemble the frame

Now that you have all the measurements, you can start assembling your frame.

  1. Cut two 44x44mm boards to the same length as measurement C.
  2. Mark the length of measurement A on both these boards.
  3. Cut two 44x44mm boards to the length of measurement D.
  4. Assemble the frame as pictured below. Remember to glue and screw the assembly points for extra durability.
pallet headboard frame illustrated

Pro tip: If you’re intimidated by sawing the boards yourself, ask your timber supplier/hardware store near you to cut the boards the exact lengths you want. This will make the process a lot less stressful and much more accurate if you’re a newbie!

Pallet headboard frame illustrated

5. Next, measure the distance between the upper and lower “rungs” in the frame. This will be measurement E.
6. Cut three 44x44mm boards to the same length as measurement E.
7. Glue and screw these three boards vertically between the two rungs of the frame (evenly distributed).
8. By now, your frame should look like this:

9. Lastly, measure the final width of your frame and cut one 32x67mm board (or skirting) to that exact measurement. This board will be used in the final phase of rounding off your project, so you can put it to the side for now.

4. Prepare the pallets

Now that you have your frame set up, it’s time to start the fun part! Now you can strip the pallets, saw the pieces into smaller boards, and decorate your frame with pallet “tiles”. Make sure to wear gloves when you’re working with raw wood to protect your hands from splinters and sharp nails.

  1. Firstly, strip your pallet frame by disassembling the pallet with a nail puller or reciprocating saw. Make sure all the boards are loose and
  2. Next, roughly arrange the pallets onto your frame in the style you prefer.

Some style ideas include stack bond, subway, herringbone or basketweave. Choosing a simple style like subway will make the process much easier, especially if this is your first timber project!
This is also the step where you can mix and match with darker pallet wood if you’re not painting the boards.

Stack bond, subway and herringbone styles illustrated

3. Now that you’ve laid out your pallet boards, mark where you’ll have to cut off excess to make the pattern fit perfectly onto the frame.
4. Cut your boards according to the markings with a Miter saw or handsaw.
5. Sand all the boards’ sides and edges until smooth (remember, you’ll be sleeping near these boards. The last thing you want is to wake up in the middle of the night with a splinter between your fingers!).
6. If you’re going to paint the board’s different colours, now is the time to do so. However, if you’re finishing with one stain/paint colour, you can just leave it till the end.
7. Next, secure all the pallet boards onto the frame the way you laid them out previously with nails and some wood glue for extra durability.
8. Lastly, lay the 32x67mm board flat on top of the frame, and secure it with nails onto the frame.

5. Finishing it off

Now that you have the whole thing assembled, it’s time to finish it off your DIY project by adding the final touches. If you already did some painting (step 6 of the previous section), you’ll just be sealing and finishing the frame.

  1. Sand off the entire headboard, making sure there are no rough edges. Remember, you’ll be sleeping very close to this furniture piece, so you don’t want any splinters injuring you or causing damage to your sheets.
  2. Now that all the sanding is done, you can give all the wood a nice wipe down with a damp cloth or rag.
  3. Next, choose a finish you want to complete your it in. This prevents any future insect infestations from happening. There are various types of varnishes and paints to choose from to complete the look.

    Tip: Painting the 32x67mm board that rests on top of the frame white will make it pop to stand out!
  4. Lastly, after everything is dry, it’s now time to install it. Attach heavy-duty picture frame mounts to the headboard (one on each side). Then install it above the bed. The legs of the frame will provide support, while the picture frame mounts will prevent it from toppling over.
Finished pallet headboard frame illustrated

There you have it! You very own DIY wooden headboard. Now you can happily rest on your bed every night knowing that you made (part of it) with your own hands!

DIY upholstered headboard

An upholstered headboard is a great addition to your bedroom since it satisfies both comfort and style. Also, if you’re looking for somewhat of a more classical bedroom style this DIY is the perfect option for you!

For an upholstered version, you’ll need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Four 44x44mm x2.4m boards.
  • 2m fabric of your choice
  • 2m batting
  • Approx 2x1m high-density foam (5-10cm thick)
  • Tufting wire
  • Straight upholstery needle
  • Tufting buttons of your choice
  • Approx 2x1m pegboard
  • 2 Heavy-duty picture frame mounts.
  • Reciprocating saw (or nail puller)
  • Miter saw (or handsaw)
  • Staple gun
  • Retractable craft knife
  • Sander or sandpaper
  • Spray-on glue
  • Wood screws

1. Taking the measurements

To know exactly how much wood you’ll need and how big to build your frame, it’s important to take perfect measurements of your bed. This will determine how high and wide it will be.

  1. Firstly, decide how high you want it to extend above your bed. Typical headboards extend about 70cm above the bed (for a queen-king size bed). This will be measurement A.
  2. Next, measure the width of your bed. This will be measurement B.
Mattress measurements for upholstered headboard illustrated

So to recap:

  • The height that sticks out above your bed: Measurement A.
  • Measurement B: The total width.

2. Assemble the frame

  1. Cut two 44x44mm boards to the same length as measurement A.
  2. Cut two 44x44mm boards to the same length as measurement B.
  3. Assemble the frame as pictured below. Remember to glue and screw the assembly points for extra durability.
upholstered headboard frame

Pro tip: If you’re intimidated by sawing the boards yourself, ask your timber supplier/hardware store near you to cut the boards the exact lengths you want. This will make the process a lot less stressful and much more accurate if you’re a newbie!

upholstered headboard frame

4. Next, measure the distance between the upper and lower “rungs” in the frame. This will be measurement C.
5. Cut three 44x44mm boards to the same length as measurement C.
6. Glue and screw these three boards vertically between the two rungs of the frame (evenly distributed).
7. By now, your frame should look like this:

8. Next, mark a rectangle on the pegboard using measurements A and B.
9. Saw along the lines to cut out a pegboard that’ll fit perfectly onto your frame.
10. Then, secure the pegboard onto the frame with wood screws in every corner.

Upholstered headboard frame with pegboard attached

11. Lastly, sand off all the edges to prevent any splinters damaging fabric in the future.

3. Preparing the frame for tufting

  1. Make markings on the pegboard where you’d like your tufts to be. Make sure you can see the markings from the back of the pegboard as well since you won’t be able to see them from the front later on.
markings on pegboard on upholstered headboard frame

2. Next, place the frame on top of the high-density foam and mark the outline of the frame on the foam.
3. Cut out along the markings on the foam. Don’t worry if the edges look a little jagged. You won’t be able to see these flaws once the fabric and batting are added to the mix. Now you’ll have a piece of foam that matches exactly with the frame size.
4. Next, secure the foam rectangle onto the front with the spray-on glue.
5. Then, secure the batting on top of the foam, also with spray-on glue.
6. Lastly, spray some glue on the front of the batting, and lay the fabric, right side facing up, on top of the batting.

Your layers should look like this:

Layers of upholstered headboard illustrated

4. Start tufting

Now that you’ve prepared the frame, it’s time to start the tufting process. Turn over your frame with the fabric side facing away from you, and the inside of your frame (pegboard visible) facing towards you. Now you can see the exact markings where you want your tufts to be.

With the needle and upholstery thread, start your tufts in the middle. This ensures that the fabric stretches evenly when you make your tufts.

How to tuft:

  1. Stick your needle through a marked hole in the pegboard (starting from the middle). Remember to leave a long tail of thread at the back. For extra strong tufts, double-thread your needle.
  2. With your needle at the front, thread it through the loop on the tufting button.
  3. Stick the needle back into the same hole on the pegboard. By now, you have the tufting button on the front, and two thread tails at the back.
  4. Pull the threads tight, and secure with a few knots.
  5. Repeat this process, from the middle to the sides, until all your tufts are complete.

Pro tip: To make things easier, have someone help you. Ask a friend to push the button towards the pegboard. This will make it easier to knot the thread.

5. Finishing off

Once you’ve completed all tufts, it’s time to finish things off and install your furniture piece.

  1. Start by tightly pulling the overhanging fabric and batting ends over to the back of the headboard, and securing the fabric to the frame with your staple gun. Work from the middle to the corners.
  2. When you reach the corner, fold the fabric in a neat v-shape, and secure with a couple of staples.
  3. Cut off any excess fabric to neatly round off the back.

4. Lastly, install the heavy-duty picture mounts to hang your new upholstered headboard above your bed. For an even more secure installation, use more than two picture mounts.

Good luck!

We hope we could motivate and inspire you to take this project head-on. With clear instruction and the right set of tools, you’ll have the perfect headboard in no time!

Happy crafting!