How to make a boxed fabric headboard

Dear Diary,

last time I showed you how easy it was to change a room with a small budget and a lot of the things were easy to do….like paint, finding pre-loved items and with a little out of the box thinking you can even hide your old and dated bed with a beautiful custom designed headboard to give it a real tailored and hotel-style look.  (look at more inspirations here)  Today I will show you how to make a boxed fabric headboard so that you too, can easily change your dated bedroom set.

The concept is really as simple as the description says….it’s a box.  A box with one open end at the bottom so it can slide over the existing bed.  It’s easy to make a box don’t you think?  Well this one has a little twist….the top is curved!!  But still it remains a box…

Lets look what I wanted to hide in the first place…

The initial brief was to change the room feel and style without changing furniture… the owner loved her Queen Anne styled pieces as it suited her style and rest of her home but the room felt bland, dated and lacked her true style.  She loves florals and English fabrics and as I have done with her lounge room, inject vibrancy but still keep all her furniture pieces.

The headboard was so low you could hardly see it, nevermind how uncomfortable it was to sit back and read a book at night!  Her beloved lamps looks out of scale and really did nothing for the room.  So the mission….get rid of the headboard, without getting rid of it! 😉   I wanted to keep the curvy shape, as it suits the Victorian era, and it is a great place to inject colour and the florals she so loved.  The headboard will be the main focus point of the room, so this is where I started when compiling her fabric choices…. the rest of the room will only compliment it.

But I am running ahead of myself, let’s get the headboard done first.  Measure your headboard and add at least an inch each side to make fitting easy.  My box was 9cm deep, and total height of 1 yard.  Cut your 2 boards (front and back) to the desired shape and use pine (90mm) planks for the boxing bit.  MDF composite or pine plywood can be used for the face and back of the headboard. I used the pine on the inside to support the headboard (forgot to take a photo of this step, but you can see on the pencil lines where the supports lay inside) and cut strips of the MDF composite in short pieces and nailed them onto the front and back boards to box the curved top.

This headboard will slide over the existing one and I added a little extra wood at the bottom to go behind the mattress for a clean look.  Extra supports either side was added so the headboard will be sturdy when resting against it.

1 Inch foam (medium density) is sufficient and glue it onto your surface.  For the curvy bits, you can use the off-cut pieces and fill the gaps.

The foam does not go to the bottom as it will push the mattress away from the headboard, so at the same level of the side tables, is where the foam ends.  Cover the foam with thick wadding.

This headboard was quite big (it obviously will go behind the side tables) and the fabric is only 140cm wide.  You will have to join and pattern-match your fabric, or if it’s a plain, turn the fabric sideways.

Start from the bottom, and staple down right next to the foam to secure it in place.  Then stretch left to right and make sure the joins are evenly spaced from the centre.

Stretch and tension the fabric to the top and staple down at the back. Work from the middle outward, little bit each side at a time to keep pattern straight and tension even.

I wanted to have some detail at the top, so I stapled right at the edge tightly together; a line where the decorative nails will go.  Then a fabric strip a little wider than the width of your box will cover the box part, (and here I got so involved, I forgot to take pictures!…sorry…).  Pull the fabric strip over the back and secure.

Cover your back with cotton or spunbond, making sure your bottom stays open for sliding the headboard over the existing one. (Tip – cover the existing headboard with a few strips of left over wadding so it stays protected from scratches when sliding the new one over!)

Finish off the headboard with your choice of trim, as I did here with decorative nails.

Fabric obviously does not all stretch evenly or equally, so at the curves you can make small darts, and in this case with the busy florals, it’s not noticeable.

The boxed fabric headboard rests on the sidetables so no further support is needed.

And now the very tall lamps look amazing and balanced in this sneak peek…

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. (Go for a plainer style if the curvy one is daunting !)  Next time I will show you how this bedroom turned out with the full reveal!

Have fun making your own boxed fabric headboard!

Till next time,



Article by Teresa

Australian Interior Designer / Decorator & Photographer. I share my style, my creativity and love for all things decor.

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