DIY: Easy Padded Headboard Tutorial

DIY Easy Padded Floating Headboard Tutorial with foamboard, plywood, fabric, foam padding, upholstery nails The Decor Guru

A few years ago, I created a floating headboard with squares of foamboard, batting, fabric, & velcro. When I outgrew the green color scheme in my bedroom, I removed the headboard. I tried using more pillows as a substitution, but it just wasn't the same. Forward to the present, where I'm making over my bedroom & felt the need for a headboard again. An upholstered headboard doesn't just provide cushioning so you can watch TV or read in bed, it also helps anchor the bed in the room.  Your bed is usually the automatic focal point of the room because of its size, so a headboard also allows you to coordinate the bed into your decorating scheme. Check out my current bedroom before & after the headboard to see how big an impact it makes in the room: DIY Easy Padded Floating Headboard Tutorial with foamboard, plywood, fabric, foam padding, upholstery nails Keep reading for more details & my tutoriaL...

The new headboard is a slight upgrade from the first one. This time around, I re-painted a panel of wood from a failed DIY project for the base instead of attaching the padded squares to the wall. I also used nailhead trim for additional contrast and flair:

Before and after DIY padded floating headboard foamboard upholstery nails plywood foam padding olive ponte wood grain fabric black brown white silver The Decor Guru

Here is a closeup of the fabric I bought from Joann’s, which simulates wood (“faux bois”). Since I’m making over my bedroom with an earthy & natural vibe, this fabric was perfect. It’s like having the best of both worlds: you get the visual appeal of wood but the headboard is soft & cushioned.

Joann Wood Grain fabric

This fabric is now discontinued, but here are some others that you could use to create the same look (click on the images to go to the sellers’ websites):



This headboard is budget-friendly, requires little work, and is easy to install/remove. And for me, the most important part is it’s easy to revise if you change up your decor or colors. It’s great for people living in rentals or rooms with thin walls… or if you’re like me and aren’t keen of something heavy hanging above your head as you sleep.

Base*: Wood panel or foamboard panels, upholstery nails (or other mounting hardware), pencil or chalk

*The base was made with lightweight plywood, but you can instead use large pieces of foamboard or just attach the padded squares to the wall directly.

Squares: Foamboard, foam padding, muslin, fabric, craft glue, hot glue gun, velcro

1. Measure your bed and determine what size you’d like your headboard and individual padded squares. Mine is 58″ wide x 32″ tall.

2. Using these measurements, cut your base and foamboard squares. I used eighteen 9″ squares.

3. Prepare the base to your liking. For mine, I painted a black border on the outside and glued an inner border of paintable wallpaper. I also applied Mod Podge on top of the wallpaper to seal it and give a glossy appearance to enhance the paper’s texture.

Closeup of DIY floating padded headboard foamboard padding upholstery nails plywood wood grain fabric paintable wallpaper Mod Podge velcro

4. Using the measurements of your individual squares, cut the foam padding & attach to the foamboard squares with the craft glue. TIP: use an electric knife to cut the foam padding.

DIY Easy Padded Floating Headboard Tutorial with foamboard, plywood, fabric, foam padding, upholstery nails The Decor Guru

5. Mount the base to the wall using your hardware of choice. Since the wood is lightweight, I used standard nails and then attached strips of upholstery nails. If you use foamboard for your base, you could probably just use pushpins to mount it to the wall or use velcro.

6. On your base, lightly trace the outside of each square with pencil or chalk.

7. Measure & cut your muslin and fabric to cover each square. To do this, consider the actual width x height of each square, the depth of the foam padding, and add an inch to each side (so you have enough for attaching the fabric to the back of the foamboard).

The muslin is optional, but I used it so there was an extra layer between you and the foam; plus it helps cover up the funky green color of the foam. I cut eighteen 12″ squares (my foam padding is 1″ thick) of the muslin and fabric, for a total of thirty-six 12″ squares.

8. Attach the muslin to each padded square with your hot glue gun, gluing only the muslin to the back of the foamboard square. I glued each corner down first and then glued each side to the foamboard.

DIY Easy Padded Floating Headboard Tutorial with foamboard, plywood, fabric, foam padding, upholstery nails The Decor Guru

9. Using your hot glue gun, attach your fabric over the muslin-covered squares in the same manner as step #8.

10. Place four pieces of the velcro (soft side only) to each square. I used a roll of adhesive velcro and cut piece an inch wide, so I used a total of 72″. You can attach the velcro in each corner or one on each side of the square.

11. Next, attach pieces of the rough side of the velcro to the soft side on each square.

12. Using the outlines you made in Step #6, mount your squares to the base. Press firmly where you have placed the velcro so the sticky sides will adhere to the base. To ensure the rows of squares are even, start from the center and work your way outward. You may also wish to use a level.

Originally, I used a light gray batik fabric on the squares. I really dug that fabric and the pattern, but it just didn’t anchor the bed in the room. The beauty of this headboard is it’s very easy to change the fabric to suit your decor and colors. I just re-covered the squares with my new fabric and a hot glue gun.

DIY Easy Padded Floating Headboard Tutorial with foamboard, plywood, fabric, foam padding, upholstery nails The Decor Guru

Stay tuned for more projects and deets as I continue my bedroom makeover into a beachy, Zen haven!

Thanks for visiting! Let’s stay connected!

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10 Comments on DIY: Easy Padded Headboard Tutorial

  1. I totally love this! I’m gonna give this a shot. I’ve always wanted a head board, but it costs too much to buy a new one.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful headboard idea with all of us at Nifty Thrifty Tuesday.


  3. Love the headboard! You did and incredible job, your directions are really clear, too.
    We’d love for you to share with us, too.

  4. Congratulations! You’ve been featured on Wicked Awesome Wednesday! Your headboard project looks so doable! Thank you for sharing and please stop by the website for your “I’ve been Featured!” Button.

  5. Redecorating my bedroom and have been looking for an easy headboard to make. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Absolutely brilliant and inspirational. I can see switching out the panels to match your bedding, instead of recovering them. Thank you so much for this tutorial!

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