DIY Network

How to Create a Fabric Headboard

A drill, needle and thread are the only tools required to turn plywood into a fabric headboard.

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simple materials used to make fabric headboard Watch Video
  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Mark and Drill the Plywood

Mark the center point of the plywood and use a yardstick to draw a line across the diagonal with a pencil. Then draw an intersecting diagonal and with a pencil mark the point where the two lines meet . Maintaining the diagonal pattern, mark the entire surface with spots for more buttons, 12" apart. Put on safety glasses. Then use a power drill with a medium bit to drill holes through all the pencil-marked spots.

Step 2: Arrange the Fabric and Batting

Pick a piece of upholstery-weight fabric that is 6" or so longer than the piece of plywood on all sides. Lay it on a sturdy work surface, with the side you want to show facing down. Cut batting a few inches longer than the piece of plywood on all sides. Place it on top of the face-down fabric. Top it with a same-size piece of thin batting foam. Center the drilled plywood on top of the three layers of material -- fabric, batting and batting foam.

Step 3: Attach the Fabric to the Plywood

Pull the foam, batting and material snugly over each corner of the wood and staple it. Do the same to cover the hard edges on the sides of the board.

pull foam and material over edge and staple

Courtesy of Jeffrey Rowe

Step 4: Sew the Buttons Onto the Headboard

Select large buttons, possibly ceramic or antique glass. Secure them to the fabric-covered board with a large needle and upholstery thread: start by threading the needle through the drilled hole on the uncovered side of the plywood. To get the buttons secured tightly on the plywood, lay a finish nail on its side over each of the drilled holes on the back of the plywood. Once you've finished sewing each button, tie the ends to the finish nail. If you want a tufted look, with the buttons recessed in the fabric, twist the nail several times clockwise. This will create tension in the upholstery thread that will pull the button into the cushion-backed fabric.

thread needle through hole on uncovered side

Courtesy of Jeffrey Rowe

Step 5: Hang the Headboard

Hang the headboard with mirror hangers equidistant from the center of the headboard. Use the shortest screws that come with the kit -- you don't want the headboard to tilt out from the wall and hit people on the head. Use a level and an anchor if you can't find or don't have a wall stud available.