Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Paneled Upholstered Headboard

I was really excited last week when Sherry of Young House Love and Katie of Bower Power are hosting another Pinterest Challenge, along with Ana White and Erin of House of Earnest. The idea is that you stop pinning, step away from your computer and actually make something you've pinned. Then you share what you've made, check out all the fun projects everyone else made, and start the pinning cycle all over. Last time, I had a lot of fun making a painting based on a TV quotation for my brother. The timing of this challenge was the perfect incentive to build a headboard for our bedroom. (Big surprise that I made something for the bedroom, right?)

My Pinspiration was this paneled headboard:

I pinned it from Brooke at All Things Thrifty.  I combed the web looking at dozens of upholstered headboards before deciding I wanted to make a paneled one. There are instructions on how the inspiration headboard was made here, but mine was actually constructed pretty differently. For the base of my panels, I used canvases. I bought two packs of seven 11 x 14 canvases at Michaels. They are regularly $20, but I bought them with 50 percent off coupons (of course) so I got the two packs for $20 total. I only used 12 for the headboard, so I have 2 more for another project. I loved the giant headboard that Brooke made, but I wasn't going for something that dramatic, since I didn't want it to compete with my stencil wall. Also, although we have no plans to move, I've never lived anywhere longer than 5 years, so I guess it's in my nature to want my furniture to be portable. Canvases made our headboard much more lightweight than making the panels out of any type of boards. I can easily pick up the headboard and move it myself.

I bought the fabric ages ago at JoAnn Fabric. I don't remember how much it cost or how much I purchased, but I do know I bought it when decorator fabric was half off. It is the same fabric I used for the rocking chair. In addition to the canvases and the fabric, I used a queen sized foam mattress pad for the padding. I cut out 12 rectangles from the mattress pad, 15x18 inches each. Then I wrapped each canvas with the foam (bumpy side in). I used my staple gun to attach the foam to the inside of the canvas frame, and then I stapled down the corners. I found it was easiset to staple the short sides of the rectangle and then the long sides. Perhaps you could make it easier on youself and staple the foam right into the back of the canvas frame, but I thought it made things smoother to wrap it around, and I also l liked that I had fewer staples to avoid when I stapled my fabric.
After I covered all the canvases with foam, I moved on to the fabric. I cut out the 16x20 rectangles for the fabric. Then I ironed them all, and finally I got to round two of stapling. I centered each foam covered canvas on the fabric, stapled the short ends, stapled the long ends, and then I stapled the corners. I tried several ways of stapling the corners before I settled on the method I used. I liked the smooth, rounded corners, but in retrospect, I would have chosen a method that gave me corners closer to right angles, since the rounded corners don't meet up. Apparently I got really focused on the project during the fabric stage and stopped taking picturss. The only one I took was to demonstrate the corner folding method:
Once I finished covering all the canvases with fabric. I went to bed. It was a tiring project! I turned it over to my husband at that point. He bought four 6 foot 1x3s, and cut them to length (around 54 in.)  They are not quite as wide as the headboard, which is 58 in. It is just about exactly as wide as our queen size bed. Then he laid out the panels and used the 1x3s to attach them together. He screwed them into the frames of the canvases. Obviously, you want to make sure your screws won't protrude through your panels, so he used 1 5/8 inch screws.

And here is the final headboard!
How did we mount it, you might wonder? Confession: It's just leaning up against the wall for this picture. We've got some flush mount brackets to use, but it turns out the screws that came with them aren't long enough to go into the studs. So currently the headboard is leaning up against the bookcases in our bedroom, and we'll have to install it later this week. I'll post an update with daytime pictures once we get it hung. I'm so excited to be finished with the construction, though! This is the first headboard we've had in eight years of marriage. Yay for the Pinterest Challenge to inspire us to get the headboard constructed. And I still have quite a bit more up my sleeve as part of the bedroom overhaul, so I should have some more Pinterest inspired projects to share in the next few weeks.

Edited to add: Click here for a headboard update.


  1. I'm not a pinny (pinterest fan) but I saw your pinterest challenge submission on the YHL blog and completely want to do the same thing. In fact, I ran right out Michaal's and bought a bunch of those canvases! I have a few questions for you, if you don't mind. First, what's the side view like? Meaning, can you see the 3x1s that are holding all the canvases together? Is there any trick to making sure you can't see them? And when you sit up in bed, do you feel like the method you used (canvases instead of wood) is sturdy enough? And lastly, when you mount it, are you going to have the bottom kind of sitting on top of your mattress? Or lower?

    Thank you for any information you can provide! I'm determined to complete this project this week, so I'll be sure to share pictures when I'm done. -Laura

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  3. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for your comment. I'll be glad to answer questions. As far as the side view, you can't see the boards at all. I think the key was cutting the boards shorter than the width of the headboard and centering them so that there is a couple of inches of overhang on both sides. We thought that might be an issue, too, because our bed is on the same wall as the door to the bedroom, but thankfully it's not a problem.

    As to the sturdiness, I feel confident about it. Obviously we haven't put it to the test but with the paneled construction it's much sturdier than one large panel like this: and Sherri and John say they never had any issues with using a canvas frame.

    For mounting it, yes, our plan is to hang it as though it's sitting on top of the bed, so that the mattress will slide up against the wall just beneath it. Hope that helps! I look forward to hearing about your project.

  4. Thank you so much, Sarah! I'm going to search for fabric tomorrow and I'll let you know how it goes! :)

  5. This is super cool!! I love it- what a great idea :)

  6. What a cute idea! I can't believe I've never thought of this. I just love how it turned out! :)

    xo Catharine @ Your Modern Couple

  7. That looks fantastic! You are so talented. I love the way the room is looking now.

  8. Done! Mine didn't come out quite as nice as yours, mostly because I found all that stapling to be really hard and got my (much less meticulous) husband to do that part. So the fabric is perfectly straight across each edge, and we even ended up with a few round corners, which made a little hole in one spot where four canvases meet. BUT considering that this whole project cost me about $50, and only took a few hours total, I'm really pleased. "fancy headboard" is not in our budget, but this totally does the trick. Thank you for the inspiration, instructions, and helpful tips!! ps - I have no idea how to add a picture to this comment and I don't have an online photo album to post it in... I look and see if you have an email on your blog. Otherwise, you can email me and I'll respond with a pic: ljmcdani (at) gmail (dot) com.

  9. It's a little dark on my screen, but I really like this! You've inspired me. I might have to try this, too.

  10. Do you have fabric attached to your wall on the left side?

  11. If your worried about the 1x3's showing from the side, you can simply just frame it once it is mounted on the wall... :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts--I love hearing from you!