Decide what you want the headboard to do. If you are balancing tall furniture in the room, measure the height from the topmost part of the headboard to 3 to 4 inches below the lowest point it will screw onto the bed frame. If you are not sure just how tall you want it to be, make it taller to start with. You can always trim it down later. Measure the width of the headboard making sure it reaches to the sides of the mattress and frame or slightly over. (Four inches of the headboard should show on each side when the pillows are in place.) Draw the basic rectangular shape on the butcher paper and cut out.
Tape the rectangle where the headboard will go and stand back. Decide what shape you want it to be. Using a dark pencil, draw different shapes to see what appeals to you (arch, semicircle, low rectangle, tall rectangle, Taj Mahal style, etc.) Do not cut the paper at this point. Don't worry if the shapes are uneven—you are just going for a rough idea here. Stand back and study the shape. If you want the pattern to be shorter once you see it on the wall, mark the new top measurement.
Choose the shape you want, fold the paper in half, left to right and crease the fold at the center. Carefully draw half of your design on one half of the paper making sure the center point (top of fold) is the exact height you want. Mark the spots where you will bolt the headboard to the bed frame (the drill holes). Use the T-square to be sure the lower corners (and top corners for rectangles) are perfectly square.
Pin the folded paper 1 inch from the edges of the drawing to hold paper in place. Use scissors to cut along the pattern.
Tape the pattern back on the wall behind the bed. Be sure this is the look you want. Make any necessary adjustments or refinements. You now have the pattern to cut out the headboard.
Things You Will Need
- Roll of butcher paper (brown is best if wall is white)
- #2 pencil
- Steel measuring tape
- Painters tape
- If you are upholstering a headboard, bring home good-sized samples (1 foot lengths) of the fabrics you are considering to get a realistic impression of how the color and pattern will look in the room. Look at the samples at different times of day when lighting varies.
- Take your pattern with you when you purchase fabric, and lay it out on the fabric to determine the yardage you'll need. Add at least 3 inches on each side when cutting the fabric to allow the fabric and any batting to be folded over and stapled onto the wooden shape.