How to make a headboard

A headboard will instantly transform a simple bed base into a style statement that creates a focal point for a bedroom. You can keep it as simple as you like or really embellish it with buttons, pleating or a bold fabric to create a bit of drama. The great thing about making your own is that it is really easy and you can make it exactly to your own specifications. If you fancy having a go, here’s how to do it…

You will need:

12mm MDF board cut to the right size (see below for how to work this out)

A piece of 5cm firm upholstery foam cut to the shape of your board

A piece of fabric (preferably suitable for upholstery/soft furnishings) the size of your board plus 15cm on each side

A staple gun and staples

Spray glue

Brackets to fix the headboard to the wall


1. First you need to work out the size you want your headboard to be. You need to measure the height from the top of the skirting board behind the bed and then add at least 80-100cm above the bed’s height. The best way to get the right height is to sit on your bed and imagine leaning back against your headboard so that you make sure it is high enough to be comfortable. Mark the height on the wall with a small piece of blue tack or a pencil mark and then step back to see if it is the right height aesthetically too. Measure the width of your bed and then add at least 10-15cm on each side to this measurement to get the width of the head board.

2. Get a hardware store to cut you a piece of MDF board to the measurements that you have taken. If you want a curved headboard or more complex shape, you will need to draw it out on paper to take along. If it is going to be rectangular then just take along your dimensions. If you want to make a button tufted headboard you will need to ask for holes to be drilled at regular intervals so make sure you take measurements for these too.

3. Buy a piece of upholstery foam to exactly fit your MDF board. Using the spray glue, fix your foam to your board and leave to dry.

4. Iron your fabric so it is nice and smooth and lay it out on a large surface or the floor face side down. Lower your headboard onto it so that the foam is between the fabric and the board. Staple neatly around the back of the headboard, checking that the fabric is taught. Staple at the centre of each side first to ensure the fabric is smooth and evenly spread. Make hospital corners at each corner and staple.

5. If you are making a button tufted headboard you will need to cover your buttons in your chosen fabric and then pull them through the drilled holes with upholstery thread. Staple the threads at the back of the board to secure.

6. Place your headboard behind your bed and fix to the wall with the brackets. Enjoy!