Simple, Chic and under $250
There are a million and one ways to make a custom DIY bedhead and we have a tutorial for the simplest and most cost effective way to do it. In this blog post we take a square shaped piece of timber and create a cheap feature for your bed and room for under $250 (depending on choice of fabric). You can find some bedheads in furniture and designer stores for well over $1000-$2000, and you will be able to complete this project with your own choice of quality materials and a few hours work.
MDF Board Cut-to-Size (16-18mm thick)
Foam Sheet or Foam Cut-to-Size (2 layers 25mm thick)
Dacron/Polyester Wadding (approx. 2 metres)
Upholstery Fabric (approx. 2 metres)
Foam Contact Adhesive
*Optional* Dustcover Material/Back Finishing Fabric (approx. 2 metres)
*Optional* Decorative Nail Trim (approx. 5 metres)
*Optional* Bedhead Mount – to wall or ensemble base
Depending on the total height of your timber and finished size of your bedhead will obviously have a result in the amount of fabric and materials you will require. Majority of hardware stores supply MDF timber board at a maximum width of 120cm wide. For this tutorial we have kept the height of the bedhead at 120cm as anything higher would need the construction of a frame. Most upholstery fabrics are a minimum width of 137cm which gives you just enough overlap for the material to be stapled over the other side of the timber. Depending on the size of your bed you will generally make the bedhead the same width as your ensemble base.
For this project we will lay 2x pieces of 2.5cm foam to give us an overall thickness of 5cm. Our base layer will be cut slightly smaller than the second layer which will create a domed shape towards the edge, known as “crowning”.
Using a standard trimming knife or electric bread knife are best for straight easy cuts. (Luckily foam is flexible and once upholstered won’t show any jagged cuts or imperfections)
We will cut our largest piece of foam first which is used as the second/final layer foam. Lay your piece of timber on top of your foam sheet and cut out like a stencil to match the same size as timber board.
We will next cut the base layer which will be used from the off-cuts and left over from sheet. You can determine how close to the edge you would like to create your base layer, in this situation we have made a border of approximately 12cm around the outside of the foam. (Please note: If you will be mounting your bedhead to the ensemble base, be sure to leave some exposed timber without foam to screw brackets into)
Once you are happy with the positioning and sizes of your two layers of foam, it is time to glue them in place with a contact adhesive. You don’t have to use a whole lot of glue, but just enough to hold them together and stop them from moving as you apply your fabric and/or wadding.
If you are using “Dacron/Polyester Wadding” be sure to take the wadding all the way over each side of the timber to help take the hard edge off the headboard. This is then glued in place and excess can be cut off with a pair of scissors or knife.
Now that our base is complete it is time to do the fun part, stapling!
Unfortunately if you don’t have a professional air powered or electric staple gun, this process can be relatively labour intensive with standard manual hand tackers, so if you have a friend’s gun to borrow or hiring one from the local hardware shop is definitely advised. (We also sell all types of DIY and professional staple guns and staples via our online store.)
One main hint while stapling any type of fabric to a flat surface is to put a few staples in some centred anchor points to keep the fabric square and to avoid shifting while you are making your way along each edge.
Be sure to pull fabric as tight as possible over the edges to avoid puckering and the material looking sloppy.
In most cases no one will ever see the back of your bedhead but to give it that nice professional looking finish it is best to use a dustcover/finishing fabric like calico to hide the rough edges of the fabric and the hundreds of staples.
At this stage you should have a simple finished bedhead! Some people like plain and simple but if you want to give it an added feature, it’s time to use some decorative upholstery nails.
Using individual decorative upholstery nails can be tricky which is why the continuous strip version was invented to make it easier over straight edges for faster results. Depending on the size of your bedhead will determine how many metres you will require but most will need no more than 5 metres of strips with matching nails. You will find that with every 5th nail on the strip is a hole where an actual nail will hold it in place in the timber.
Start laying your first strip from one of the top corners and make your way along the bedhead keeping the strip as straight as possible. If you don’t have a proper upholsterers magnetic tack hammer with nylon tip, you can use an ordinary small faced hammer with a bit of fabric over the face to stop the metal on metal causing scratches/chips on the studs. Another alternative is using a piece of blue tack on the end of the hammer to avoid damage. Foam will compress under nail and create a nice bubble along the
Strips only have to be taken down the sides where visible and are unnecessary all the way to the bottom edge. This process takes practice and by the time you finish you will most likely have mastered it and want to start it from the beginning again.
Congratulations on creating a custom work of art worth upwards of $1000-$2000 in most retail stores.
In our next tutorial we will give you step-by-step instructions on the different ways to mount your bedhead to your either your ensemble base or the wall.
If you have any questions regarding this tutorial or to purchase any of the products please visit the website or call us on (02) 9773 1999.
Stay tuned and keep upholstering!