What Kind of Foam Do I Use to Make an Upholstered Headboard?

Jourdan Townsend

Upholstered headboards are the choice of many people for their bedrooms. Unlike plainer headboards, this style allows you to bring additional color and pattern into the room. If you make your own upholstered headboard, you can choose the size and style that suits you best.

Button tufting is an easy way to make your headboard look professional.

Educate yourself about the components of upholstered headboards, including the correct type of foam to use.

Benefits of an Upholstered Headboard

An upholstered headboard can give your bed presence without making it look heavy. Many wooden or metal beds with built-in headboards also have footboards, which can cause the bed to dominate the room, feel confined or be hard to make up with sheets and blankets. Upholstered headboards provide a softer place to rest than plain wood headboards, creating the ideal spot for reading or watching television.

Necessary Supplies for an Upholstered Headboard

To create your own upholstered headboard, you need the correct supplies. First, you need a piece of plywood cut to the correct size. Many home improvement stores will cut the plywood for you as long as you purchase it from them. Select a thinner board, such as ¼-inch plywood. This does not need to be quality wood, so choose the cheapest composite plywood available.

You will need adhesive to hold everything together from the front. Clear, spray-on adhesive works best, because it is sheer and will not create any texture beneath your fabric. It is also very easy to apply.

Upholstery fabric works best to cover headboards. You can use thin printed cotton, but it tends to be less durable and may fade easily if sunlight frequently falls on your headboard. Upholstery fabric is heavier and is often pretreated to resist spills and discolorations.

A large staple gun and upholstery staples are needed for securing the fabric edges to the back of your headboard. Upholstery staples will go through plywood easily. However, because it takes some strength to use the staple gun, it's useful to have an assistant to hold the headboard in place while you stretch the fabric and inject the staples.

Two different types of padding for your headboard are needed -- a compact upholstery foam for the base and a piece of sheet batting to add extra volume to your headboard.

Type of Foam for an Upholstered Headboard

Upholstery foam can be purchased in many different widths and sizes from craft and specialty sewing stores. Select a piece of upholstery foam that's at least 2 inches thick. If you cannot find the exact size that you need, purchase one size up and trim it down with an electric bread knife. Upholstery foam is easy to work with but can be relatively expensive. A good alternative is an inexpensive egg-crate mattress. Purchase a 1-inch thick mattress, and fold it over so that the divots are on the inside and both outer sides are completely smooth to create 2 inches of padding.

How to Make an Upholstered Headboard

Spread out the upholstery fabric, face-down. Attach the foam to the plywood with adhesive; then center and attach the sheet batting to the foam. Turn the layered components batting-side-down and place them in the center of the fabric. Finally, pull in all the edges, and staple them firmly in place to the back of the plywood. Because this headboard is lightweight, you can hang it with Velcro strips, or you can use traditional furniture L-brackets.