Sunday, September 8, 2013

DIY Foam Core Headboard (with tutorial)

When I was a 'tween, my dad lavished me with an antique maple bedframe and headboard. I used it all through middle school, high school, and college, and even at 26 still love to go home to it when I visit my folks. Here in grown up life, though, where I struggle to move the fold-up steel frame that came with my full-sized bed, there are no antique headboard fairies.

I distinctly remember, when I was trying to convince my parents that I needed that fancy maple headboard with the spindles, my mom telling me that a headboard was really more of a want than a need. "I haven't had a headboard my whole adult life, and I've made it just fine," she told me somewhat begrudgingly, as if to say that while they're nice, they're sort of frivolous. While Mom did make a good point that one does not need a headboard, and I've survived without one for about 5 years, the standard for my bed was set unrealistically high when I was 12, and darn it, I want a headboard. I want a headboard like the ones I see in the pretty photos on the home decorating blogs.

So, after many hours of reading DIY blogs about how to make your own headboard out of everything from reclaimed pallets to IKEA rugs, I settled on a simple, cheap plan for a lightweight, easy DIY headboard. The tutorial that I found was not so good, and made the project a lot more expensive than need be. So, giving all credit to the idea of Sh*ttyChic, I give you, the foam core headboard for a full/double bed.

Supplies (all came from JoAnn Crafts and the 99 cent store):
4 sheets of foam core poster board (20"x30"x .25")
Double sided mounting tape
White duct tape
Box cutter/knife
Staple Gun and copious 3/8" staples
1 7/8 yards fabric
1 7/8 yards dense/thick weight polyester batting (at least 45" wide)

Step 1: Create your base
Stack 2 sheets of foam core on top of one another. Sandwich the double-sided mounting tape between the layers at the middle and edges. Repeat with the other 2 sheets of board. You should now have 2 pieces of foam core (20" x 30" x .5"). The 20" edge will be the height of your headboard, and the 30" doubled will be the length.

For a full sized bed (54") cut about 2 inches off of one short side of each board so you don't have too much overhang. Now you should have 2 boards (20" x 28" x .5). For a larger headboard, just add more sheets of foam core to this process. For example, for a queen bed you may use 6 sheets of board here.

Step 2: Shape the headboard
Decide on the design you want for the top edge of your headboard. I went with a simple slope on each side but this could be any shape. Cut the shape you want out of one board with the box cutter, then use that as a template/stencil to mark where to cut on the other board. This will ensure the headboard is symmetrically. You can also leave the board square and skip these cuts.
Lay the pieces side by side a flat surface the way you will want it to look on the wall. Make sure you have at least 54" in length for a full bed. Using the white duct tape, affix the two pieces together. Wrap the seam in tape many times to make it sturdy (I did 6 wraps, and regret not doing more).

Step 3: Prepare your materials
Lay the fabric right side down on a clean surface.
Fold the batting in half width wise (hot dog style) so that it is approximately 22" x 62" and 2" thick. Place this on top of the wrong side of the fabric. Then, set your foam core down on top of the stack.
Leaving at least 4" around the edge where possible, trim the fabric and batting to the same shape as your headboard

Step 4: Put it all together
Gently pull the visible edges of fabric and batting up over the back of your foam core and staple it to the board using a staple gun (not a stapler, it won't work). Work your way around the entire board doing this.
To "finish" the raw edges of the fabric (esp if using taffeta or another fabric that likes to fray) cover the raw edge (and the staples if you can) with a layer of white duck tape.

Step 5: Admire your work. 
When you flip the whole thing over, you'll be impressed by the fact that it actually does look like a headboard. But now, you have to put in in place.
If you have a fancy bed frame, there may be a way to attach it. Or, you could certainly attach some dowel legs if need be. If you, like me, are okay with a decorative headboard, try using the remaining double-sided mounting tape, or these Command No Damage Hanging Strips (I've got 4 on mine, and they do the job) to affix the board to the wall. It's a little "cheap hotel-esque" when you get too close and notice that the board doesn't continue behind the bed at all,  but gives a good illusion of a fancy headboard.

And for about $20, check out the difference a headboard makes.




Anonymous said...

Love it, girl! ;)

Julie said...

I've been thinking about using foam core board instead of wood for a long time. I knew there was a way! thanks for posting!

ultracat said...

Yay!!! :~))

SweetsKP said...

Thank you. I first made a framed area with light weight moulding on the wall and added the fabric covered foam core inside of it.