Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Easy Upholstered Headboard with Nailhead Trim

 Don't mind the missing nailhead trim. The cat's scratched it out and it has to be
glued back in. Before we even got a final picture! Darn cats!

This is one post in a series of posts about a mini makeover of my friends Alison and Bruce's master bedroom. We replaced their outdated starter headboard with a new burlap upholstered headboard with nailhead trim. Have no power tools? No problem, this project is for you. Instead of wood, we used a panel of foam insulation board.

This project cost only $37:
$19 for the foam insulation board
$8 for the nailhead trim from a local upholstery store
$8 for the burlap fabric
$2 for duct tape
glue gun and sticks - on hand
6" of hook and loop tape - on hand
full size batting - on hand but would normally cost around $12 with a 40% off coupon.

The foam insulation board came in a 4'x8' by 2" thick sheet. You should have seen us getting it home. It didn't completely fit in her SUV so we had it wedged in at an angle with the rear doors open and several feet hanging out. I was sitting on the floor in the back holding on to it for dear life as the wind whipped it back and forth. Alison reduced her Indy Speedway driving down to a slow pace and had her hazard lights on the trip home. We must have been  a sight!

Step 1: Determine the size you want your headboard. Alison's bed is a queen and 60" wide. We wanted it a tiny bit bigger so we went with 62".  We kept it the 4' height the board came in so we could just lean it up against the wall and not deal with how to support it.

Step 2: Cut the foam board to the desired length. We were assured by the nice young man at the hardware store that it would be easy to cut. We tried to get them to cut it there and used our nicest smiles but it didn't work. Bruce and Alison used several hand tools to cut the board - it wasn't as easy as promised, but still very doable once the right tool was found. They started with scoring the board with a mat knife on both sides. Then moved onto a hack saw, then a really sharp kitchen steak knife.

Step 3: Cover the board in batting stretching it smooth and taping to the back using duct tape. We used 2 layers of batting for a softer, puffer bed. This made the nailhead trim not grip enough, so I would recommend using only one layer.

Step 4: Cover the board in your material of choice. We used burlap and had to seam the fabric so it would be wide enough. We put the seam at the bottom of the board where it would be covered by the mattress. Stretch the fabric tightly but evenly and tape to the back of the board. Make sure your fabric is free of wrinkles before you start as they won't necessarily stretch out. 

Say "Hi" to Alison!

Step 5: Draw a light pencil line on the fabric around the board for your nailhead trim. Ours is about 1" in from the edges. Push the nailhead in straight into the foam using the line as a guide. Try to get the nailheads an even width from each other. There is a special upholstery tool made for spacing nailheads evenly. We eyeballed it and embraced the handmade look. You can't see the line here but we started with a nail in the center of the board and worked our way out.

This is were the two layers of batting made a difference. Some nailheads didn't want to grip the foam board and were loose. We thought it would be OK since they weren't falling out or anything. Everything was OK, until one of her cats decided to scratch at it and popped out a hand full of trim. Before we even got a final picture!

Alison will be going back around and using her glue gun and putting a bead of glue on each nailhead and reinserting them. We also ran out of nailheads and will be continuing the line down the length of the headboard once she gets more from the upholstery shop.

Step 6: Place a 3" long piece of adhesive hook and loop tape on each corner and stick the headboard to the wall. The headboard is 4' tall and sits on the floor. The mattress frame holds it in place. We only used the hook and loop tape to keep the headboard from falling over when the mattress is moved for making the bed.

The headboard made a huge difference in the room. It increased the usable space by a good 12" and really lightened up the look of the room. We're both very happy with the way it turned out. The most difficult part of the project was getting the foam insulation board home and cutting it. And keeping the cats away from it!

So for under $40 and no power tools you too can have an easy to make brand new upholstered headboard!

Linking up to these wonderful blog parties.


  1. I love it!!! You and Alison rock!!!

  2. It looks great! I love the trim!

  3. great job! so pretty and looks fairly easy to do! Dropping by from That's so Cheri... Hope to see you at my place!

  4. Great job Kat! I love burlap. It's cheap and it always looks fabulous!

  5. Love it, looks great! Stopping by from Tip Junkie. Great choice on the burlap and nail heads. Your friends are lucky to have such a great friend to help out with design!

    -Ann Marie

  6. Very nice job. Be blessed. Cindy

  7. Great idea to use the burlap...luv the look! Thanks for coming to my NTT party...hope you had a good time:)


  8. Oh my gosh ...I love your description of getting the insulation home. I'm cracking up. That's an awesome way to do a headboard! Thanks for linking at LSL:)

  9. Wow, this turned out great! That's funny about the cat- they always manage to cause trouble :)

    Thank you for linking this to A Little Craft Therapy with Life in the Pitts.

  10. What can't duct tape do?! I love a good powertool-less project... Oh, and the nailhead trim is amazing!

  11. Wow, Love this! I would love for you to come link up over at my blog! I've got prizes :)

  12. Hello! I'm your new follower though Penny Pinching Party! Great site! Visit me at and sign up for my giveaway!

  13. I will be doing this one! Thanks for the idea!

  14. Great tutorial! It turned out great even without all of the nailhead trim!

    Thanks for linking up to Make it Yours Day at My Backyard Eden!

  15. This is really great. I've been looking around for a headboard for my king sized bed, but they cost upwards of $1000! Yikes! I would much rather make something. It'll cost less and be more unique. Great job!

  16. Excellent idea! You could change it up later with paint and a stencil. SO versatile!

  17. Wow, what a great idea~ and it looks so good, I will have to remember that one!

  18. WOW what a GREAT job!! Looks awesome!!

    Thanks for linking up to I'm Lovin' It!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  19. Hats off to you--very creative and easy and cute! Thanks for linking up!

  20. Very pretty. Great job.

    Thanks for joining Get Your Craft on Thursday. Please join me next week for another wonderful party!!

    Please stop by next week I am having guest over each day and I would love for you to tell them HI!

  21. I found you on Creative Jewish Mom today. Since I live on the North Shore too, I decided to look at older posts to see where our thrifting/crafting/baking activities might have intersected. I LOVE your posts about clutter and organization. Brilliant.

  22. Looks fantastic. I can't believe you can work that kind of magic with duct tape and foamcore!

  23. Very thrifty and it looks great. It sounds terrible, but I jsut got rid of my cats because I was tired of making things and them destroying it.

  24. Very nice! Thanks so much for sharing the step by step tutorial, and linking up on Craft schooling Sunday! Hope to see you again next week!

  25. Thanks, this is a great solution for me as I'm renting right now. Need a headboard. Great

  26. Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow /Hey thanks man!! you are so good. I think this the perfect work.

    Hand Tools


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