How to Make an Upholstered Footboard

Upholstering one side of a footboard or headboard is fairly easy, covering the second side can be tough. Use these tips to finish the backside of an upholstered footboard or headboard so it's camera ready from all angles.

Beautiful DIY Upholstered Footboard

The materials you'll need for this project are: footboard with front side upholstered (refer to How To Make a Two-Dimensional Upholstered Headboard and Upholstering a Curved, Diamond Tufted Headboard to get instructions); goggles jute webbing; staple gun and 1/2"-long staples; webbing stretcher; scissors; burlap; measuring tape; fabric (we used Jim Thompson’s Baxan in color 02); white or yellow chalk; straight edge; sewing machine; attachments and thread; 5/32” fiber-flex welt cord; masking tape; Pli-Grip or Curve Ease; Dacron; regulator; rubber mallet and furniture leg glides.

Basic Headboard: Determine the Shape and Size

Start with a full sheet of 3/4”-thick plywood. Have the hardware store cut it two inches wider than the width of your bed. The height of the headboard can be adjusted by cutting legs to size. Be sure to save any plywood scraps for later use. If you’re upholstering an organically-shaped headboard, freehand the shape on a large piece of paper. Then trace the paper pattern onto the plywood. If the shape is symmetrical, draw half of the shape on paper and trace it onto the plywood and then flip the paper pattern over to trace the other half.

Basic Headboard: Make a Compass to Round Corners

To make rounded corners, first determine the radius of the curve. Hammer a nail into the plywood the same distance from the edge as the radius. Attach a string of the same length to the nail on one end and a pencil on the other. With the string taught, use the pencil to mark the curve.

Basic Headboard: Cut the Headboard Shape

Use a jigsaw to cut out the shape of the headboard by following your drawn lines. Be sure to wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying woodchips and sawdust.

Attach Webbing to the Back of the Frame

To conceal hardware, place bolts in between the two layers of plywood so the threaded ends stick out of the backside. Before you finish the backside of the footboard, upholster the front side. Refer to Upholstering a Curved, Diamond Tufted Headboard for instructions on completing various types of upholstery constructions. Staple webbing to the frame of the footboard and stretch to the opposite side with a webbing stretcher. When the webbing is to the desired tightness, staple and cut off the excess 2” beyond the staples. Fold back the 2” excess and staple again. Continue stapling strips of webbing vertically and horizontally across the frame. Space strips 4” to 6” apart and basket weave them as you go.

Cover the Backside with Burlap

Stretch burlap tightly over the back surface of the footboard to create a tight, solid plane. Cut off the excess 2” beyond the staples, fold back and staple again.

Attach Welt Cord Around the Edge

Welt cord is optional, but if you plan on attaching it, follow the instructions for making cording from Make a Two-Dimensional Upholstered Headboard. Use your index finger and thumb to line up the welt cord with the wooden edge of the footboard and staple through the tail of the welt cord into the frame of the footboard. Start and stop the ends at the bottom middle of the footboard, leaving an inch of excess on either end. When the cording is stapled all the way around, open up the ends and cut out the excess cording so they meet.

Connect the Ends of Cording

Use a piece of masking tape to secure the two ends of cording together.

Connect the Ends of Cording

Neatly finish the fabric at the connection in the welt cord by laying one fabric end out straight and folding the other end under and around the cording. Secure the cording in place by stapling to the footboard.

Staple Pli-Grip Around the Edge of the Footboard

Push the foot of the Pli-Grip into the welt cord and staple so one prong goes through the hole of every foot. The teeth should close down towards the outside of the footboard. At corners, cut the Pli-Grip, and begin the next side with a new piece. When it’s attached all the way around, push the teeth down firmly.

Attach Dacron to the Footboard

Cover the back surface of the footboard with Dacron, split the edges in half, and staple the bottom layer just behind the Pli-Grip. Cut the excess Dacron so the edge is even with the outside edge of the Pli-Grip.

Clear Dacron from Bolts

Cut away and staple the Dacron around the bolts so it doesn’t get stuck in the hardware when the footboard is assembled.

Cut Fabric for the Footboard

Cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the backside of the footboard plus a few extra inches. Be conscious of pattern placement and direction as you cut the fabric. Smooth the fabric over one side and mark the outside edge of the Pli-Grip with chalk.

Remove Excess Fabric on One Edge

Cut the fabric 1/2" beyond the chalked line on one side of the footboard.

Tuck the Fabric into the Pli-Grip

Use the flat end of the regulator to tuck the fabric into the teeth of the Pli-Grip. When you’ve secured the fabric on one side, smooth the fabric to the opposite side and repeat the steps to cut off the excess and tuck the fabric into the Pli-Grip. Keep working until the fabric is attached around the perimeter of the footboard.

Hammer Down the Pli-Grip

Use a rubber mallet to hammer down the Pli-Grip all the way.

Remove Fabric from Around the Bolts

Just as you did with the Dacron, cut away and staple the fabric around the bolts. Hammer furniture glides or stick felt pads to the bottom of the legs to protect the fabric that touches the floor.

Attach the Footboard to the Bed Frame

Place the bolts through the bed frame and secure with washers and nuts.

Beautiful DIY Upholstered Footboard

Your completed footboard will bring your bed together in picture-perfect harmony.

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