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.


Materials Checklist
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

Staple Gun & Staples
Scissors & Knife for cutting fabric, foam & wadding

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.


Foam Cut-to-SizeOnce you have gotten your timber board cut to your desired size, we will now cut our foam pieces to suit.

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.

foam piece foam piece 2We 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!

dacron wrap 2



stapling-1Unfortunately 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.)

stapling-2 stapling-3One 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.


nailtrim-1 nailtrim-2 nailtrim-3Using 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.
finished-resultCongratulations 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!

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HOW TO: MAKE AN UPHOLSTERED BEDHEAD – Designer Finish at a Bargain Price (with buttons)

Designer Upholstered Bedhead

Image: Yahoo 7 (2012) Better Homes and Gardens

A striking upholstered bedhead can be a sophisticated focal point of a bedroom; giving a room a sense of luxury and turning a blank wall into a feature wall without a drop of paint in sight.

Unfortunately however, that ‘expensive look’ can come at a pretty steep price, with upholstered and decorative buttoned bedheads selling in stores from $900 up to $3000 and higher!

However, what might surprise you, is that achieving this high-end look is actually very simple and cost effective when you have the right products, some helpful advice and a little bit of DIY spirit.

Things you need:

  1. Upholstery fabric of your choice: upholstery fabrics
  2. Upholstery Fabric Covered Buttons (If you want to create a button effect on your bed head you will need to have buttons covered in your chosen fabric – available from our online store: upholstery covered buttons).
  3. Sheet of Foam to be cut to your desired size (50mm-75mm thick recommended for this usage, but you can always layer our thinner foams on top of each other) foam sheets
  4. MDF Board (Cut to the dimensions of your bed head – please see below)
  5. Calico to cover foam before chosen fabric upholstered (recommended but no essential)
  6. Long Straight Needle (Our specialty mattress button tufting needle recommended in 300mm or 350mm)
  7. Upholstery Nylon Buttoning Twine
  8. Tape measure
  9. Stanley Knife or Electric Bread Knife
  10. PVA wood glue (Only if your making a non standard frame)
  11. Staple Gun
  12. Scissors
  13. Brackets (for wall mounting or directly to bed base)


(The size of you bed head is up to you, however here are some standard sizes as a guide)

  • Dimensions will differ depending on whether the bed head is floor resting or wall-mounted.
  • When deciding on the dimensions of your bed head, remember that particular bed head designs work better at certain heights.
Single 100cm wide 130 high
King single 110cm wide 130 high
Double 142cm wide 135 high
Queen 160cm wide 140cm high
King 190cm wide 150cm high

Your bed head can have a finished height anywhere between 120cm – 160cm.  


Step 1: Cutting & Drilling the MDF Board

Cut MDF to size using a jigsaw (or have it cut at your hardware store). Measure and mark a grid on MDF, intersecting lines where you want buttons to be positioned. Drill a small hole where lines intersect.


Step 2: Preparing the foam

Mark and cut foam to same size as MDF using a utility knife. The thicker the foam the greater the depth of the bed head as well as the depth of the ‘buttoning effect’.






Step 3: Cutting & Layering materials

Cut upholstery fabric and Calico (lining) fabric to size for front – each needs to overlap MDF by at least 200mm on each side.
Lay upholstery fabric face down on a flat surface. Lay lining fabric on top then foam, then place MDF on top.


Step 4: Attaching the fabric

With fabric pulled tight, fix to MDF using a staple gun. Fix 1 side at a time, checking fabric is tight and even as you staple.



Step 5: Threading and inserting the button

Thread a long straight needle. Working from back, thread needle through 1 hole in MDF. Stitch thread through a button at front of bed head, then feed needle back through same hole. Pull thread firmly to achieve desired look at front of bed head. Maintaining pressure, tie thread in knot to secure. (Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for each button-hole).





Step 6: Ensuring a neat finish (OPTIONAL)

Measure and cut length of lining fabric to cover back of bed head. Allow for enough fabric so edges can be folded over for a neat finish. Affix with a staple gun.



Step 7 (a): Wall mounting (OPTIONAL) or

Find the studs in the wall where the headboard will be hung. Mark on the back of the headboard in pencil where your connectors should be installed to line up with the studs in the wall. Install the mounting brackets onto the wall. Attach the headboard to the brackets with a screwdriver or drill. You can find a choice of 2 here: Brackets & Furniture Connectors



Step 7 (b): Mount directly to bed base (OPTIONAL)

Ezy-Fit Bed Bracket Set

Using our bed bracket sets, it makes it easy to attach your bedhead to your ensemble base, allowing you to move the bedhead as the bed moves. A Step-By-Step guide to install these brackets comes inside the box and is very easy to follow. You can find multiple options here: Brackets & Furniture Connectors

More Information:

For more information on products and prices, visit our online store or call us on (02) 9773 1999.



Home Upholsterer (2012)

Yahoo 7 (2012) Better Homes and Gardens

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