How to Make a Headboard Out of Plywood (DIY)

Since we’re in the process of selling our first house, one of the things we were in dire need of was a headboard for our master bedroom. So, instead of buying one, the wife suggested that we make one…by ourselves! After searching Pinterest, my wife was able to find some great information on how to make a headboard out of plywood. So, we decided to dive in without knowing much of anything. Fortunately for us, things turned out great and it was WAY EASIER than I ever thought it would be. We spent a little more money than I would have liked, but I think it was worth it!

What You’ll Need to Make a Headboard Out of Plywood

1. 3/4″ Plywood, Cut to Size

In some of the ‘how to make a headboard’ posts, it was suggested we use 1/2″ plywood, but I found that those pieces were too warped (they bent and were not straight pieces of wood). So, I suggest to go a step above that and try 3/4″ plywood.

The cut of plywood will be based on the size of your bed. We have a queen-sized bed, and decided to have the headboard run about 3′ above the bed while 6″ remained below the mattress (so we didn’t run it all the way to the floor). Overall, our cut of plywood was 62″ x 45″

2. Staple Gun

Knowing that I’m not handy, this was something we had to buy. At least I have one now!

3. Box Cutter

You’ll need this to cut the foam down to the exact size of the plywood.

4. 1 1/2″ or 2″ Foam, Enough to Cover Entire Plywood

We found foam at JOANN’s Fabrics in long, 6′ sections that needed to be cut down to size (which they did there). We also searched Hobby Lobby but weren’t totally pumped with their selection of fabric.

If you’re going to make a headboard on your own, let me warn you that FOAM IS EXPENSIVE! I was absolutely floored when I saw the price and it was hands-down the most expensive part of this project.

To save some money, consider going with a smaller size of foam (maybe 1″ or 1 1/2″) and make sure you don’t go overboard on the overall size of your headboard. Every inch you can reduce in size will save you some money (on plywood, foam, and fabric)!

Before embarking on this DIY project I’d suggest that you check your local newspaper and FIND A COUPON to JOANN or Hobby Lobby. We were able to save $60 on foam by scouring for a 50% off coupon!

If you don’t have a coupon then making a headboard with plywood wouldn’t be any cheaper than buying one that was manufactured.

5. Fabric of Your Choice

As with the foam, I’d suggest you do all you can to find a coupon for that as well — you might have to make two separate trips to the fabric store (one for the foam, one for the fabric), but it will be worth it!

After you’ve found the fabric that best suites your needs, get it cut at least an extra 6-8″ wider AND taller than your plywood. Don’t make the mistake of cutting your fabric the same size of your plywood. It’s easy to forget that you need extra fabric to cover the 2″ foam and 3/4″ plywood!

6. “Cleat(s)” or Hanger(s) to Hang the Headboard

We found the “hangman” cleats at Home Depot and they’ve worked GREAT (see picture)!

7. Spray Adhesive

Here’s a picture of all of the materials you’ll need to make a headboard with plywood:

Materials Needed for Plywood Headboard

Steps to Make a Headboard out of Plywood

1. If the foam wasn’t perfectly cut to the size of the plywood, then use the box cutter to take the foam down to size.

2. Spray plywood with adhesive and press on foam. We laid the plywood in our yard and sat on the foam for a few minutes as we allowed the adhesive to dry.

Foam on Plywood

3. Stretch fabric over foam/plywood and staple the excess to the back of the plywood. Before stapling one side, make sure there is enough fabric hanging over each side of the plywood (you don’t want to leave yourself short on one end!).

Staple fabric

4. Hang the “cleat(s)” on the wall.

Hang cleat

5. Screw the other part to the back of the headboard.

Cleat on headboard

6. Hang the headboard on the wall!

Hung headboard

7. Enjoy your newly finished headboard and the feel it brings to your room!

Plywood Headboard

Well, I hope you now know how to make a headboard out of plywood! I was shocked as to how easy it was.

Despite never having done a “DIY” project, this was a breeze. All-in-all I’d say it took about 15 minutes to make the headboard and another 20 minutes to set the cleats and get it hung.

Overall, we ended up spending around $115 on the project but we would have been able to save more if (1) we had previously owned a staple gun and (2) if we would have gone with 1 1/2″ foam instead of 2″.

About the Author

By , on Jul 13, 2012
Andy Tenton
Andy is a 30-something New Yorker who turned his financial life around. He took charge of his finances, got out of debt, and is now working his way toward financial success. He is the publisher of WorkSaveLive.com.

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{19 Comments}

  1. Lee says:

    Wow, thank you so much for this. I have been looking for a step-by-step guide for ages. I’ve been planning on making a headboard like this for quite a while but never found the right information. Thank you heaps.

  2. That looks awesome, what a cool idea!

  3. That’s amazing!!! Looks great! I need to do something like that.

  4. Eddie says:

    Great job on the headboard.
    I almost bought one yesterday ($499), but decided to think about it instead. It was gorgeous, solid wood, with a plush beige fabric. Great job on the DIY.

  5. Wow that looks awesome! I really want to get into DIYing things this summer, I’m just not sure what.

  6. “After searching Pinterest”. Within 2 seconds of seeing the post title, I knew this phrase would come up in the post. LOL. Nice work, though. Really a great looking headboard on the cheap!

  7. bogofdebt says:

    That looks awesome and like something I can do! I’ve been wanting a headboard for a while but didn’t want to pay for one.

  8. Cute! Pinterest-worthy! I’m pinning it now!

  9. It’s funny you posted this because it is a project my wife and I were thinking of doing very soon. We were going to add buttons to it to give the front more texture, but otherwise we were going to follow the same plan!

  10. Your whole bed area looks very nice. But what is the point of a headboard exactly – especially one not attached to the bed? Is it entirely for staging? I’m not sure how much it adds – from your picture what I like most is the side tables and lamps. And also what is the point of all those pillows?

    You can see I have no knowledge or appreciation for interior design…

  11. Michelle says:

    A friend of ours made us our headboard! Ours is similar, but he drilled holes throughout and added buttons for tufting. It was a few years ago and I want to change the fabric. Hopefully, I can either figure it out myself…or he’ll be kind enough to help us out again. (I think I can figure it out…lol)

  12. Modest Money says:

    Wow that looks like a super simple DIY project. Much better than paying money for a professional headboard. Plus you can choose the exact fabric you want. Nice job!

  13. I might have to try this out. The girlfriend really wants new bedroom furniture but maybe she can do with a homemade headboard for now.

  14. Peter says:

    Nice job on the DIY! I think I’ve found in my limited experience that it’s only our fear of thinking something is going to be too hard that keeps us from doing projects like this. In the end they’re not nearly as hard as you might think. I found that out recently when I fixed our faucet on my own despite having the “I’m not sure I know what I’m doing” feeling. Couple of years ago I also did the DIY bit installing our brick patio. That job was a bit tougher, but with the magic of the internet and free training at our local hardware store I was able to do it no problem!

  15. Looks good Andy! I’m not at all handy with woodworking, but I persuaded myself to make a box to hold firewood. I got some birch plywood, and put a nice clear finish on it. Used hand tools only (because that’s all I have). My wife thinks it looks good, and that’s the main thing. When I look at it, I see the mistakes I made. ;)

  16. Daisy says:

    Wow, this looks fabulous! I don’t have headboard right now and this is a timely post because I was just complaining to my boyfriend about how we need one. I think I’ll try it this weekend.

  17. This is awesome! Staging makes a huge difference in moving a properly-priced house off the market (who says you can’t learn anything from HGTV?!) so I’m sure this will help you guys out. I’d love to try this project with tuffed buttons..

  18. My mother in law and I made one for our my hubby and I’s bedroom! They are awesome!

  19. Michelle says:

    Wow that looks so nice! I keep wanting to make my own headboard as well.

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