Friday, March 9, 2012

DIY Foam Board Head Board

I've been working on redecorating my apartment and have loved torturing myself over all the details. But, I recently got a new bed and was really overwhelmed with the cost of an upholstered headboard.  I'd been researching going the DIY route, but everything I found revolved around plywood.  Well guess what...I have zero tools and I'll be damned if a cab will pick you up toting plywood sheets, not to mention the putting together of it all.  I had an 'AH HA' moment while wandering around one day and through FOAM CORE!  Lightweight, cut it with a knife, duct tape, staple gun, I'm in!  So here's how it works:

- 1/2" Foam core / foam board - art supplies stores carry this. 
- Fabric - I used two yards of 54" width for a full-sized bed.
- Batting - I got four yards
- Staple gun - I got 1/4" staples, but looking back I should have gotten 1/2"
- Duct tape
- Scissors
- Knife or Exacto knife
- Measuring tape

Measure the frame of your bed and cut foam board accordingly.  Remember the batting and fabric will add an inch.  I purchased 40x30" board which worked perfectly.  Don't tell any of my cook friends, but I cut the board with a serrated knife.  Haha.  

Use a few passes of duct tape on both sides to connect the two foam board sheets.

 Lay down your batting underneath the board.  I used two layers leaving the outermost layer longer for wrapping/stapling.

Use the staple gun to staple all around.  I cut out the overlapping fabric at the corners so they wouldn't be thicker than the rest of the board.

 Drape your fabric so the pattern is level and centered.  I chose a print that did not have an obvious vertical direction so I could lay the two yards horizontally and not have a seam.

 Staple the fabric to the back of the board.  Lesson learned: 1/4" staples were barely long enough to go through the batting and fabric and still stick, so either have the fabric exceed the size of the batting or get longer staples---hence the duct tape for extra protection.

Instructions I found online suggested using 3M Command stickies to adhere the headboard to your wall.  This did not work for me.  The batting made the space between the foam core and the wall too great for good contact.  Still looking for another option, but for now the mattress is holding it in place quite nicely.


Here's the cost rundown:
Fabric: $60 for two yards (from Mood)
Batting: $32 for four yards (also from Mood)
Foam Board: $30 for two 30x40" sheets (A.I. Freidman)
Staple Gun + Staples: $15
Duct Tape: $4
3M Command Strips: $6

Total: $147 and about an hour and a half of actual work.  SCORE!


  1. Love it!! Am going to try this. Curious - how well did the Command Strips hold up over time?

    1. Hi Laurel- The Command Strips sucked. Turns out I never needed them. I set the headboard on the bed frame and sandwiched it between the mattress (which is on the medium-thick side) and the wall. Worked like a charm.

  2. Why not staple some string on either side of the back, keeping it below the top of the headboard so it cant be seen and hang it like a picture?

    1. Great idea. Or, I could totally see the "hanging" idea exposed with some lovely ribbon or a thin leather as well above the headboard. Kind of how I've seen mirrors hung.

  3. Guess what? I tried this and it doesn't work. I had 1/2" staples, used duct tape and 1" foam core board for strength because it's a little larger than yours and traveling 230 miles, and the staples just come right out even through just the batting. I used spray adhesive to stick the 1/2" foam to the board, then covered it with 1" batting, and the staples pulled out easily, so I couldn't pull it taught at all. Since glue doesn't work on foam board, and staples pull out, I tried the duct tape and that didn't work either. You must have a light-weight fabric for that to have held long enough to photograph it, but I'm using a fairly light weight drapery fabric and tested it with a small area and it too pulled the duct tape right off. I'm out $85, and returning the fabric. My only other option is to use wood, mdf or pegboard and that defeats the purpose of it being lightweight. I didn't want to use molly bolts on my daughters apartment wall. If you are thinking of trying this, use different materials and preferably wood. I'm very disappointed.

    1. Hi There- I'm sorry you had such a rough go of it. Over a year later, I am still loving my headboard, and haven't made any modifications since it was made. Better luck with your future projects, and I hope your daughter's room turns out beautifully.

    2. Why don't you use artist canvas instead? I did and it was so easy and they are very light and easy to hang up.

  4. I love this idea! I was actually thinking about using foam core board as well but in panels.. Ive seen it at the dollar store with the tag board! And fabric is super cheap at joanne fabrics so hopefully if all goes well I can cut cost maybe in half!

  5. Why not purchase an inexpensive set of queen sheets, using one sheet as the fabric? That could decrease the cost by as much as $45! The extra pillowcases could be used with color coordinated sheets when making the bed, as could the extra sheet. They could even be used for other DIY projects - wrapping paper, curtains, etc.

  6. I just made this today. I got 5/8" staples, the 1/2" looked too big. About 70% of the staples held in place, but I think the foam board is too light for all the staples to stay in place well and some of the staples poked through and made some tiny holes in the fabric. Overall, not a bad project if you're looking for something quick, easy and cheap.

  7. Love that bedroom .Great design tips and examples!!
    3m command & Dip Sets

  8. what about using Styrofoam Pink insulation?

  9. Where do you attach the handcuffs?

  10. Maybe woodgrain or other design contact paper would also work, but of course batting couldn't work with that.


Related Posts with Thumbnails