How To Build Your Own Padded Headboard

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The other day I was rearranging my bedroom and had a problem. Moving my bed from pushed in the corner to in the middle of the room made it painfully obvious how ‘unfinished’ it was with just a mattress on a frame. Luckily I was raised by a master Do-It-Yourself-er (thanks Dad!), so a week later I had a new padded headboard made from scratch. Cool, right?!

It’s always fun when you do the work around your house because you get such a sense of pride and accomplishment when you see it. Which, it’s your house, you basically guarantee seeing it most days and that’s a lot of satisfaction. However one of the main reasons I wanted to take this on myself was so I could pick out the exact fabric I wanted. Being able to find a new color scheme, while making sure it still flowed with the zebra print wallpaper, was probably the hardest part of the entire project. That’s the great thing though, I was able to end up with EXACTLY what I wanted because I wasn’t stuck ordering from a catalog or anything.

I’m fortunate enough that the majority of the tools needed were already owned and at my disposal. A large part of my childhood was spent at Home Depot so that’s where I got the wood I needed from, and where I recommend you start out at. They have a great tool rental set-up if you don’t already have a full workshop in your garage!

Now to the building-

I told you it was a full workshop


Step one is measuring out the size you want the headboard to be. I have a queen size bed so I measure the width and then rounded that up to a number that was cleanly divisible by 3, since I knew I wanted a 3×3 panel design. Another great thing about doing it yourself is getting to pick the panel design! Then I measured the height-starting about 6 inches below the top of the bed-and figured out how tall I wanted it to be and again picking a number easily divisible by 3. I like my math as simple as I can make it!

Once you have the measurements it’s time to go shopping. You’ll need wood, foam, and fabric. Like I said before I recommend Home Depot for the wood. I got 2 pieces of plywood. One for the main frame and the other to be cut into the size of the panels. Then I went to Joann’s to get the foam and fabric. Use the measurements for the panels to figure out how much of each you’ll need. This is where the math gets complicated, SORRY! Make sure when you’re figuring out the amount of fabric you take into account that it’s more than just the size of the panel. Since it will need to wrap around to make a panel you need extra inches on all 4 sides. I added 3 inches to each side and it worked perfectly. (There will be pics later that make this clearer!)

Once you get everything home it’s time to put together the panels. Use the wood to be your guide and it will make the cutting the foam way easier. Here’s my secret life-changing tip…..use a serrated knife to cut the foam. It turns what could be a terribly frustrating into a super easy one. I was in awe the first time I tried it and now I’ll shout it to the world until everyone knows.

Next it’s cutting the fabric so make sure you have a ruler since it’s different from the wood and foam. I use a rotary set like this one which is much more clean-cut than scissors.

All of the pieces to make a panel

Next, crack out your handy-dandy staple gun. If you don’t have one, order one. They have so many uses and it’s great to have around whenever something may come up that needs solid fixing.

Lay the fabric face down, then place the foam in the center, and cover that with the wood. Pull a side of fabric as tight as you possible can and staple it to hold. Go along 2 sides and try to get the corner as smooth as you can. I wish I had a trick for you to get the corner perfect but I have no secrets to help here! Just be glad once it’s done you’ll never see the back. Keep doing this until all 4 side and corners are firmly stapled down. The fabric front should be pulled extremely taut.

Once you have all the panels done find somewhere big and flat to lay them out and find the placement you’re happy with for the final look.

Now go back to the other piece of plywood that will be your main frame. Make sure it matches the size of your panels laid out. I double up the legs on mine because I knew I was going to have to screw the base into them.

 The legs and side of this piece will be showing so if you don’t want a wood or unfinished look find a paint that will work in your room. I used the exact white of the top of the walls in my bedroom. I decided to use a plastic edge (found at Home Depot!) to get the top half of the padded headboard a really clean finish.

That middle piece is actually a pole in the garage, not a third leg lol

Another tool I’m going to have to insist you buy, for SO many reason, is a cordless drill. Which is needed for this next part along with a friend. From the back you’ll screw in to attach the panel. I went with 5 screws per panel to make sure they stayed. Have your friend in front pushing the panel in to make sure the screw is tightly in.

The back view

Once you’ve gotten all the panels screwed on the building is done. Yay!!

Lastly get it into your bedroom and attach it to your frame however necessary for your set-up. Here’s mine for an example.

Now make your bed and hop in because you have an awesome new padded headboard that you made all by yourself!! The perfect excuse to spend a day in bed.


If you have any questions leave them in the comments and I will happily help out.

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  1. This is amazing!!! I love the idea of making your own headboard so it can be just the design you like. It turned out so well.

    Published 10.29.17
    • Janet Webb wrote:

      Hi. I’ve been looking at king size panels online. They can get pricey. I wondered how much doing it yourself cost.


      Published 1.26.23