Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DIY Upholstered Headboard- 12 Devonshire

Hi!  I'm Alicia from 12 devonshire, and I was so excited when Shelli asked me to write a guest post for her amazing blog!!  Today, I'm sharing my DIY upholstered headboard with nailhead trim.
I read through dozens of helpful tutorials online before embarking on my own project, and was most inspired by Southern Exposure's.  She made a gorgeous headboard with a simple and elegant shape, thick edge, and stylish nailhead detailing.  I followed her model very closely, so I encourage you to check hers out as well! 
Even when following a model or tutorial, with any DIY, there's usually some trial-and-error and adaptation along the way.  So, in the spirit of good blogging, I documented my own step-by-step process.   
First, I taped off the shape of my headboard on the wall to determine the height and exact shape.  I played with this masking tape mock-up for days before getting comfortable that I had the right height. 
Next, I sketched out my design (based on the Southern Exposure model) and determined the measurements.  I used a 48" x 65" piece of OSB (based on a little research that suggested OSB has less of an off-gassing problem than plywood) and added primed solid wood in 5" widths for the edge pieces and legs.
I was lucky enough to have my contractor (who was remodeling our bathrooms at the time) cut the pieces and build the frame, since I don't have a jigsaw and the OSB was super-heavy.  If you don't have able and willing contractors that happen to be at your house... you could have the pieces cut at Home Depot or Lowes and rent a truck for about $20 to bring the materials home.  You'd need access to a jigsaw to get the curves, though.
Once the frame is built, the next step is attaching upholstery foam on the inside part of the frame.  I used poly-fil NU-Foam to avoid urethane products.  Rather than using spray adhesive, I just stapled in a few strategic places to hold the foam in place. 
Next, I covered the headboard with batting (Warm & Natural in twin size).  
Stapling the batting is easy because it stretches.  So, when I got to the velvet, I did not anticipate how tricky those curved edges would be!
Next up is attaching your upholstery fabric.  Follow the same steps as for the batting - laying the fabric flat on the work surface (front-side down), and then the headboard face-down on top.  (This was when I realized I shouldn't have been skimpy with my fabric!  See what a close call it was in the photo below.)

I tried to cover up those ragged edges.  It's not pretty from the back, but luckily, it doesn't really need to be!
I did ultimately cover the legs entirely, but you can't see that in these photos. 
Another lift-up to check on progress. (As with most of my projects, I had to work late at night after the kids were asleep... apologies for the grainy photos.)
Once the upholstery is done, it's time to plan out the nail-head trim design.  I determined the distance from the edge, and taped it off with painters tape.
Have fun getting to work with those upholstery nails!  I used a nailhead spacer, and it took me a while to get the hang of it, so I'd recommend starting on one of the legs, rather than right at the top - where mistakes will be fully visible.  This is a very tedious process (hours of work), but I am really glad I went with the individual nails, rather than the pre-fab trim tape.  I think the rounded edges would have been virtually impossible to pull off with trim-tape. 
As you can see, this is not an exact science, but I like to think the imperfections give it character.  And, once it's all done - you really don't notice them.
Getting just the right curve was basically a game of trial-and-error. 
Once it's all done, the final step is securing the headboard to the wall and bed-frame.  Per my contractor's suggestion, I used velcro to affix the headboard to the wall.  I used adhesive velcro and attached long strips to the wall just below the top of the headboard.  Then, I stapled the other side of the velcro strips to the back of the headboard.  It holds really well, and didn't require drilling into my plaster wall - always better avoided!

To attach the headboard to the bed-frame, simply place a few screws through the harvard frame directly into the wood legs. 

And, there you have it! 
What I loved about this design, is that you have a soft cushy center, but the double-layer of wood and OSB around the edge allows you to attach the upholstery nails without nailing through a 2 inch layer of foam.  The thick edge also gives it a nice solid look, and the added height above the euro pillows creates a bit of drama and is a grounding force in the room. 
One word of wisdom... I love the look and feel of the velvet, but a dark colored velvet is high maintenance!  Every speck of dust is visible... so, I'm constantly vacuuming, and keep a lint roller near the bed.

Thanks again, Shelli 
for inviting me to be your guest today! 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway- 3 Winners!!


  1. We made our headboard too and I love it! :)

  2. Thanks so much for the invitation to guest post, Shelli! You have such a terrific sense of style and your blog is filled with inspiration - I'm honored and SO EXCITED to be part of it!

  3. simply wonderful. love it all. you did a great job.
    thanks for posting.

  4. Nice work! Looks great! Love that rug you have too!

  5. Wow - that looks fantastic!! Great tutorial!

  6. Wow, you made that look so easy. It looks gorgeous! I already have an upholstered headboard, but I'm considering recovering it in a pretty pattern.

  7. I always wondered how to get nail head trim on straight. The headboard looks so tailored. I like that it's not too feminine. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Awesome job, so worth all the effort! Thanks for all the tips, I didn't know there was such a thing as a nailhead spacer.

  9. What an amazing job! Pinning this for sure!

  10. Love it!!! Thanks for the inspiration

  11. wow! That's the colors! Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Lovely! I have made one headboard for our guest room, and it was helpful to see your supply list as I may be doing another one. I have one tip for hanging...use a Hang Man. It is perfect for keeping it flush on the wall so it doesn't slide one bit.

  13. What a great tutorial and love the look. The nailheads add just the right final touch!!

  14. LOVELY!!!! and I so needed her like last week when I was trying to reupholster a headboard-all i got was splinters and lots of curse words! LOL

    Hey girl- I have an awesome giveaway going on right now! its EPIC, ok maybe not EPIC- but its cool!

  15. Alicia did a beautiful job on the headboard. A true labor of love. I love it in the rich velvet fabric.

  16. nice headboard .. so beautiful .. thanks for sharing the detail of how to do the headboard .. thanks ..

  17. absolutely gorgeous! Nicely done!!! The thickness, nailhead trim, and rich color are just icing on the cake!

  18. Great tutorial. I love the design of the headboard.

  19. Whoa...that is way beyond my pay scale...I love it don't get me wrong.....but I know it could not make it....but I want it...what to do.