DIY DIY Home new york apartment

How to Make a Simple Headboard

September 4, 2012
How to Make a Headboard
So I’ve been in New York for about three weeks now and I am slowly working on project after project to make the apartment feel decorated and appear furnished by an adult. Ha. To me, New York totally has this college-esque feel because everyone is always up late working, running around, and just doing stuff. This college-for-adults feeling is further accentuated by the fact that we have the most hodge-podge assortment of decor and furniture in our apartment. (Or lack of furniture.) Sometimes it feels like we are just a bunch of college kids hanging stuff on the wall. 😉

Now in my home in Indiana, I probably have enough decor and furniture to furnish a small house, but there’s only so many things that can fit in a cargo van with a mattress to drive across the country. 🙂 So I’ve been brainstorming little things to make our little home feel as cozy and warm as we possibly can make it. This headboard for my bedroom was definitely at the top of my list of things that make a place feel like a home.

How to Make a Headboard
So because we don’t really want to paint the walls due to the fact that we’ll just have to paint them again, we’ve been trying to do alternative things to make our rooms feel less sterile and all white-like. 🙂 Before I added the headboard, it kind of felt like the bed was just floating in the room. So impermanent and collegiate. Blech.

How to Make a Headboard
Much better. And all done without any power tools or legit workshop items. (I need a drillllll out here!) 😉

How to Make a Headboard
So if you don’t have a saw or anything to cut a nice headboard out of wood, here’s what you can do. Go make friends with construction workers on 5th Avenue. It is easy to make friends with said construction workers if you wave at them each morning when you run. The whole making-friends-and-being-remembered thing is also a lot easier if your roommate trips on the sidewalk and falls in front of said construction workers. 😉 Then, when you need a really sturdy piece of cardboard, they’re the fellas to help you. #TrueStory

How to Make a Headboard
When you have a big piece of cardboard, the first thing you need to do is cut it to the width of your bed. I actually doubled up the cardboard just so it would be more sturdy. Then tape it all off so that it is a big chunk.

How to Make a Headboard
Once you have a big piece of cardboard, you can start drawing out the shape of headboard you want. This was a lot of guessing and checking for me. I modeled my headboard off of this headboard shape.

How to Make a Headboard
One thing that I found really helpful when I was drawing out the pattern for the headboard was to make a pattern from one side of the headboard and then flipping it to the other side of the cardboard so that everything is even.

How to Make a Headboard
Once you’ve drawn a shape you like, just take the box cutters and go at the cardboard. This part of the process takes a while, but when you don’t have wood or a saw, you gotta do what you gotta do. 🙂

How to Make a Headboard
After you’ve cut out your headboard, take your tape and start taping down the fabric onto the cardboard. When you start taping around the curved parts of the headboard, you can make little snips into the fabric to get it to curve around the headboard.

If I wanted this headboard to be more permanent, I would have glued the fabric, but I’ll want to use this fabric again someday in another project when I have an actual headboard from a furniture store. 😉 #FutureDreams Heh.

When you’re taping down the fabric onto the cardboard, I definitely recommend covering the front with little tape loops and then flipping the headboard over and completely taping every edge of fabric onto the back of the headboard so everything is taut and slick-looking.

How to Make a Headboard
To hang the headboard behind the bed, I played with a lot of ideas but I ended up just hammering two tacks into the fabric and cardboard into the wall. You wouldn’t believe how secure that headboard is. It’s not going anywhere.

How to Make a Headboard
Now I need to figure out what to put over the headboard as decoration. I love mixing different prints, patterns and textures. I think I am going to go with some punchy florals with this damask print. I think it will just make all of the non-matching stuff come together. 🙂

How to Make a Headboard
New York Project #1: check. 🙂

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  • Afayah September 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    wow! Are you serious right now? It's just cardboard yet it looks so expensive when you're done! Amazing!

  • Lydia September 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Such a cool idea! Love it! 🙂

  • StacieGrissom September 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you so much, Lydia! 😀

  • StacieGrissom September 4, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Hahahha! You are too kind– thank you so, so much!

  • Becky Stately September 4, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    How do you get the fabric to tightly wrap around the fancy edge of the headboard? Did you cut the fabric on the non-show side somehow to be able to pull it taut? Thanks.

  • StacieGrissom September 5, 2012 at 1:54 am

    Whoop! Yes I did! I will edit the post to include that. Thank you Becky! 🙂 I just made little snips near the curved part and pulled it tight with tape.

  • tanya_caines September 5, 2012 at 3:02 am

    This looks amazing!

  • Agy September 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Brilliant idea, and it's so simple to make.

  • Ginger September 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing! What a great, quick, and cheap way to jazz up your apartment! Oh, and I totally agree with you about NYC feeling like college!

  • Andy October 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Another fun dramatic thing you can do with material that colours space without paint is to make yourself a canopy. Get some cloth you like (if you go to little india, there are some redonkulously cheap saris that would go gorge with that headboard) and then all you need are staples and thread. Some options:
    1. Big and Dramatic – fills the room: pleat the ends of several fabric lengths down to near-points and staple them around your ceiling light fixture. Drape the cloth out to the edges of the room and staple up along the corners of the room. Spread them out so they form a pavilion and hang down the walls. Swag the edges apart wherever you want to hang art.
    2. Slightly less encompassing, but takes extra supplies: Do a similar shape as 1, except make it only over the bed. Staple all the points either centred over the bed or cheated slightly up to the head, and then drape the cloth out. The cloth facing the head of the bed goes from the ceiling-point to a line halfway between headboard and ceiling. For the sides, take the same distance down the cloth as the line stapled above the headboard, and whipstich/tack in a length of bamboo cane (stupid-cheap from gardening shops). Suspend the canes with heavy duty fishingline or wire above the edges of the bed at the same height as the above-headboard-staple-line. Optional: twist decorative trim around the fishingline/wire, or (if it's sturdy) just use the trim to suspend the canes.
    3. Same size as 2, but less labour-intensive: Pleat the cloth much less intensely and staple along the ceiling following the edge of the bed, forming vertical canopy curtains either around the whole bed or along the two sides. Optionally, add swagged material hanging crosswise to the bed from one staple-line to the other (or, if you have long enough material, just run each length from the floor by one side of the bed, straight up to the ceiling, loop across to the ceiling on the other side, and down to the floor on the other side of the bed). Curtain tie-backs on the wall either side of the bed can hold these back prettily.
    4. Super easy: Get some super light gauzy material, maybe with shots of metalic thread through it for glam, but mostly insubstantial. Soft, unstarched, bridal-illusion (very very soft light tulle) of the gauziest of light summer saris would do nicely. Just do the centre staple-point, letting it hang down to the floor, just held apart by the bed. It depends whether the tropical look makes you think of steamy nights and exotic locations, or whether it makes you think of malaria mosquitoes. The mosquito look mostly only happens if you use white/ivory/khaki-range colours.

  • StacieGrissom October 31, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Wow! Thanks for the input, Andy!! The room I have is SUPER SUPER tiny, so I don't know if I'll be able to manage this in the room I'm in now, but I love the four-poster beds with canopies… I just don't want to make my room now feel any smaller! You are brilliant, though! 😀

  • Sara Hazuka August 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Can you elaborate on this part a bit please: "I definitely recommend covering the front with little tape loops". Thanks!

  • StacieGrissom August 1, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Yeah! You just put tape on the front of the headboard, (the part that's going to be covered with fabric) so that the fabric doesn't slip. Like this!

  • Sara Hazuka August 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Oh duh! Thanks, I'm not too crafty lol.

  • Taryn August 11, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Any ideas on how I can secure mine to the wall without making any holes on the wall or causing any damage?

  • Eva Dion February 17, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I would like to make this, but can this be tuft ?

  • StacieStacieStacie February 17, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    For sure! Just get some buttons and some of the flat stuffing! 🙂

  • Pocha huntas March 28, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Your articles don’t beat about the bushes these are actually exact t to the purpose.

  • Kajol May 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    love the idea ! Any idea where I can get the 2 pillows u have in the last picture that have images on them? The ones on the left and right of the yellow one 🙂

  • Chris July 14, 2014 at 5:17 am

    How much fabric did you use?

  • StacieStacieStacie July 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    About 2 yards for a full bed!

  • Giselle July 22, 2014 at 7:42 am

    I've never made anything like this.. Could you give me a little more detail on how to make it tuft(ed?)? What is flat stuffing? What kind of buttons? Where do you put them? I would love your help.. Sorry I'm so clueless. BTW -yours looks amazing. Ab fab for sure!

  • StacieStacieStacie July 24, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I haven't done it but you could get some quilt batting from amazon and put it on top of the cardboard before you cover it with fabric! Then just poke holes where you want to sew some buttons through the fabric, batting, and cardboard! 🙂

  • Dany July 29, 2014 at 2:42 am

    It looks amazing! Definitly going to try this and hope I don't fail!
    Thank you a lot for sharing! 🙂

  • Angie October 19, 2014 at 11:46 am

    To make it college dorm friendly, I used 3M command Velcro strips to hang up the headboard.

    Thanks for the tutorial, it worked so well for me!

  • Mehl April 18, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Love the idea, but is there anyway you can make the headboard comfortable too? (like put in cotton etc?)

  • dana April 26, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    You should add watermark to all your photos. This is your idea (so great and practical) and your work and many people will use it to get clicks and ads. Just use google picture search and you will see how many sites use your photos without naming the source, I could barely find this site.