Thursday, November 19, 2015

DIY Upholstered Scalloped Headboard with Nailhead

I have received a bunch of questions about the DIY headboard I made for the ORC (One Room Challenge) and so, I am going to attempt to give a high level overview of how we (the husband and I) went about to create my inspiration.

For the bed, I used a full size mattress that fit perfectly in the room. I wanted the headboard to be the focal point, so I wanted the headboard to be tall as possible to maximize the space and make a presence.  

The overall dimensions of the headboard ended up being 56.5" wide and 68" tall from the ground to the tallest point on headboard.  We made the headboard from plywood and MDF.  

We went to Lowe's and bought a 4' by 8' sheet (1/2" thick) of plywood and a similarly sized piece of MDF.  We used MDF because it would be easier to nail the nailhead into MDF than plywood.  In the above picture, the MDF is the darker brown material and the plywood is the pine colored material.

We cut down plywood sheet down to 56"x 26".  The MDF was used for the two legs (39"x 5"), the right and left cutouts on the headboard which had an overall dimension of 14.5"x 13.5" with a radius of 10.5" and the center piece which was 27"x 27" with a scalloped top and radius of 13.5".  Does that make sense?  I hope so because my husband calculated those measurements.  Thank goodness for his math background!  

Above, you can see how I positioned the MDF pieces (5 total) onto the plywood, squaring it up with an L-square.  

My husband screwed the 5 MDF components (two legs, two side cutouts and one middle scalloped piece) into the plywood.  He wasn't fooling around, I think there are 30 screws in that headboard - see below.

Above you can also see how I hot glued a basic foam sheet (bought this at JoAnn's) onto the plywood so that this part was soft and cushy when guests lean on it.  Moreover, now the plywood part with the foam was level with the MDF.    

Next, we wrapped batting (also from JoAnn's) around the headboard.  We wrapped two layers so that it was extra thick and used a staple gun to secure it to the headboard.  I bought the thickest batting they had and we decided to secure the batting first before adding the fabric.  

The hardest part of this whole headboard (besides the nailhead) was making sure both the batting and fabric were taut around the curved portions.  I suggest using a very durable fabric, like the one I used from here, because you do a TON of pulling to make sure the curves are smooth.  I ended up buying 2 yards of fabric.  

Don't chintz out on the fabric because it really makes a difference with how easy it is to work with.  I'm actually surprised the fabric didn't rip at points where I pulled it so hard.  You definitely need two people to do this part.  One to pull the batting/fabric very tightly and one to staple the batting/fabric with a staple gun.  

Above is the headboard without nailhead.  You can't see it but the legs are also wrapped in batting and fabric.  I should've gotten a picture of the whole thing - I forgot.  

I bought a nailhead spacer (above) from amazon or ebay (I can't remember) and brass nailhead (pictured below from JoAnns) to use on this project.  Be prepared to buy a lot of these nailheads.  For every one nailhead I got right, I screwed up maybe three or four.  No joke.  

Since I wanted my nailhead to be spaced and not sit right next to each other, I inserted a nailhead into every other indent on the spacer.  So, at any given time (using the spacer) I was inserting three nailheads at one time instead of five.  

I placed the nailheads about  2.5" from the headboard edge.  As you can see from above, I used push pins in as placeholders for the railheads.  I actually put the push pins in my nailhead spacer and inserted these before my nailhead.  Don't worry - the fabric I used was VERY forgiving and you didn't see any hole marks, etc.  Thank goodness!!

Doing above was a lifesaver!  It helped because it provided a visual of how the nailhead would look before I started hammering in the nailhead (so I could readjust certain push pins if need be).  And, it just made the whole inserting the nailhead go faster.

I literally would take out a push pin, insert a nailhead and hammer it in with a rubber mallet.  My husband did create some templates out of poster board that helped me create even lines, but I wouldn't say that they were the most helpful.  And, be prepared to take out the nailhead and do it over.  At one point, I did the whole entire scalloped top again and it took me forever.

So, there you have it!  At the end of the day, I spent $55 on plywood/MDF, $55 on batting, foam, nailheads, mallet and spacer and $90 on fabric.  Grand total $200!!  Price doesn't include the $$$ spent on Kim Crawford's Sauvignon Blanc which was definitely needed to complete this DIY!!!

Feel free to email me with any specific questions that you may have!


  1. yippee!!!! Thank you for sharing. I can hardly wait to get started.

  2. Placing nail-head on this DIY upholstered headboard was brilliant. It makes the headboard attractive and worthy of appreciation.

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