Fabric Upholstered Headboard–Painted & Stenciled

I have been wanting to make an upholstered headboard for a while now but finding the perfect fabric often proves difficult, unless of course, I was willing to pay $50/yard. Why not stencil your own fabric? You get the color and pattern you want without the hunt and the cost. So I made a stenciled fabric upholstered headboard all for under $77.  Can you believe that is painted fabric?

coral and gray bedroom


Upholstery Weight Fabric


Foam roller

Acrylic paint (fabric medium optional)

Air compressor with air stapler

Two King Sized Foam Egg Crates

1/2” MDF (cut to size)


repositionable spray adhesive

pencil and paper for making a pattern


1.  I purchased some clearance natural woven fabric from Joann Fabrics for $4 a yard.  I need 2 1/3 yard x 56” for this project (around $10).  Cutting Edge Stencils sent me the Rabat Allover Stencil which was the perfect pattern for the headboard.  I mixed some Dutch Boy (Stonewall Jackson) paint with black to darken it. I also sprayed the stencil back with repositionable adhesive and then stuck it to my fabric making sure my stencil was straight.  Using my foam roller, I painted my fabric. 

stenciled painted fabric

The stencil was a piece of cake to use — especially with the spray adhesive on back and two sets of hands (Thanks Amy!) rolling the paint on.  I only had to spray it once and I moved my stencil 9 times.

2.  After all the fabric was stenciled we let it dry and then Amy sketched out the curve onto some butcher paper and we transferred it to our MDF. 

headboard pattern

3.  Using a jigsaw we cut out the curve following our pre-marked pencil lines.


4.  Then we used two queen mattress pads (A.K.A. egg crates) with the curved sides facing each other as our foam.

egg crate as foam


upholstered headboard

5.  Using the air nailer we tugged the foam taut and stapled it (A LOT OF STAPLES) in place.  Trim off the excess foam.

curved upholstered headboard

TIP: When you are stapling the fabric in the corners it is easier to staple one of the mattress pads at a time.


6.  Next you line up your fabric.  It is easier to put a few staples in the top and bottom to hold it in place while you adjust everything and make sure your fabric is straight and centered.  Then work your way around putting staples on the left and right sides first alternating back and forth tugging and stapling.


upholstering headboard

7.  Around the curve at the top you will have to cut your fabric to ease it into the curve and then staple it down while pulling it taut.



8.  Now I will probably need a cleat to hang it on the wall but right now it is just propped on my bedframe until I decide what I was to do for the frame.

upholstered gray headboard

stenciled headboard

Obviously the fabric feels a bit rubbery with the paint on it.  I probably would add fabric medium if I were going to upholster a chair or something.  However for a headboard it is just perfect.  I was shocked at how crisp and clean the lines came out with a stencil. And seriously, unless you touched it, you would never know it was plain, woven, cream fabric to begin with.

coral and gray bedroom

I love the soft curve of the patterned headboard with the backdrop of the molding on the wall.  I adore this room, especially since it is our guest room and it is always clean.  I just walk past it and stop and stare. 

gray and coral bedroom

A big thank you to Amy from Design Intervention for her expertise on this project.  Love you girl!

So what do you think? Pinworthy?  If so, click below. Smile





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  1. SO GORG. I love your colors. Plus this looks easy enough that I am not intimidated to pull if off. WELL DONE. I am going to share this on my COM-FB page. xo jen

  2. ABSOLUTELY PIN-WORTHY!!!! AWESOME!!! Love the style and the color!

  3. Love it, looks great and what a great idea to use a stencil! I made our headboard a few years ago and because it’s a king size headboard I picked up 2 2×4’s and screwed them in on each side of the back, so now the headboard stands up on it’s own without needing to be hung.. the only problem is if I move the bed around I need someone to catch the headboard, but more than likely I will not be moving my king sized bed all by myself anyways!

  4. It looks AMAZING!!! Love the grey/orange bedding as well. I need a headboard too 😀

  5. That looks awesome. I think the stenciled fabric looks great.

  6. oh my gosh i LOVE it, beckie!!!!!! it’s amazing! love the pattern and i love the color palette- all awesome!

  7. I’m speechless….. Absolutely stunning and fabulous! I love the colors, print, and style you choose!!

  8. Amazing! That gray color looks awesome and seems pretty easy to do. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. I cannot tell you enough how crazy I am about this bedroom.! I love every single thing about this…the wall, the lamp, the bedding, Oh. My. Word.

  10. I love it! It is absolutely stunning. I am definitely sharing with our FB friends.

  11. Beckie the headboard turned out amazing!! I can’t believe you painted that! LOVE LOVE LOVE. The egg crate is a great idea too, bet it was way cheaper than foam. The coral and grey looked fabulous together.

  12. I think it’s high time you come use your talents at your cousins house!!

  13. The headboard is gorgeous. I love the stencil you chose. I also love the lamp and pillows and everything else about the room. Beautiful!

  14. Love the idea of the gray! Couldn’t find the peachy/salmon-y color you were looking for? 🙂 I think this looks fabulous!

  15. LOVE!! I am so going to try this to my current headboard. I think it will give it some flair and a fresh new look!! Thanks for sharing!

  16. It looks awesome, Beckie! Love the colors you chose:)

  17. Oh my GOSH! I love it! Way to think outside the box and make your own fabric. Great job Beckie, amazing.

  18. It’s amazing! I love that stencils are coming back and in such a classic way. And to make your own fabric was genius. Nice work!

  19. the grey really pulls it all together! I was skeptical about the coral at first but now it looks great! The stenciling really updates the room also, LOVE!

  20. This is amazing, classy and gorgeous! Love the color combo and pattern.
    PS–where did you get the bedset/quilt?! I’m in love!!!!

  21. Hi – I have been meaning to make one of them. Thanks for your inspiration. Do you 1) necessarily have to use the stapler that you used? Or could I use a regular, more commercial-type, stapler? 2) did you use the egg crate foam for a reason? Or could you use just regular batting.

    Love the stenciling idea – I have been stenciling forever…but I haven’t bought any of Cutting Edge stencils (though I have seen their website before). It’s a great idea to use the stencils rather than have to pay $50 – and well above that – per yard for fabric. Your headboard looks modern and fresh…fantastic job!


  22. Ahhh it’s sooo pretty! You did a really amazing job on this one!!!

  23. Beckie the stencil you choose along with the curve shape of the wood and paint color are all spot on. It has fluidity and motion without even going anywhere. Beautifully executed and I agree the rubbery feel is totally acceptable for a headboard (maybe less dust will accumulate on the top edge!?). Well done.

  24. My husband just made us an upholstered headboard last week. Luckily we hit the sale for foam at Jo-Ann Fabrics. What a great idea to use two egg crates. Much more cost effective! Love the design and the look of the room…AMAZING!

  25. That is so beautiful! Stylish and affordable! I love it! Make me one!

  26. This turned out fantastic! Love it!! =)

  27. Valerie Perfetto says:

    Most definitely pin worthy. Love this idea and will be doing this. We have a queen bed and are planning on moving it into the guest bedroom and by a king for ourselves, I did not want to buy a king frame this way I can get the cheap metal bed frame when we buy the mattress set and make a headboard to attach at a very small portion of a whole new king bed and I know that I will be able to find what I like as far as design cause I can make it entirely by myself. Thank you so much for this great idea!!

  28. It looks beautiful next to that gorgeous moulding.

  29. So so pretty Becki, that gray and white pattern is perfection!

  30. It is beautiful! I’m glad you explained the paint- I thought the white was the paint, on gray fabric. Looks so good, I love the shape of the headboard. I’d go by and stare, too! 🙂

  31. This is gorgeous! I love how it turned out and I love the gray paint you used.

  32. This is so great! I absolutely LOVE it!! So simple and an absolutely wonderful idea! Where is the bedding from? I love the comforter so I was just wondering where it was from? Thanks so much for your blog, you have some great stuff on here, it’s wonderful!!!

  33. Wow, Beckie, that is so gorgeous!! Great job on it. I would totally try to do this too. Your tute is really good too. I am in love with stencils these days.

  34. WOW! GREAT job! You are so very brave…. can totally tell your kiddos are back to school. : )

  35. I have a question. Does the fact that you used acrylic paint help at all with keeping it clean? I am in process of trying to find a fabric solution for my two year old daughter’s headboard, and I’ve been looking everywhere to find a way to make it wipe-able without it looking like plastic. This seems like it might be the ticket. How do you go about cleaning yours? Are there different methods you have to use because it’s actual paint?

  36. I pinned this and I got more repins than ever before. It is amazballs! Looking forward to browsing ur blog.

  37. I love those colors! So pretty.

  38. One word AMAZING!!!!


  39. Gorgeous Beckie! I LOVE the colors in your room too.

  40. Tres Magnifique…I’m jealous of your time and your upholstery friend! Don’t know how you do it all and can’t upholster for my life to save me (and I want to do my little couch chair that I scored like yours)!

  41. Your headboard looks fabulous!! Love it…I did some painted drapes, but love the idea of painting fabric for the headboard. Looks fantastic!

  42. Gorgeous, Beckie! I love that you chose gray instead of coral for the headboard. It’s so classy looking, and the coral pillows just pop against it. Well done!

    • Yah I was close to choosing coral but I am so glad I did gray. I think it gives it a more classic feel and then I can change out the coral whenever I am in the mood for change, which happens way too often.

  43. It’s stunning! I love the curves against the angular lines on the wall.
    Could you share if you attached it to the wall, or to the bed frame? I’ve always wondered which would work better for an upholstered headboard.
    Thank you for sharing your creative genius with us all!

    • You can attach them with a cleat which is what I plan to do. They are about $15 at any big box store. I haven’t yet, right now it is just resting on the frame.

  44. Not sure you need to hear it again:)- but you are amazing! I love this project! Visiting from TT&J.

  45. Thanks for sharing. I LOVE the headboard!! I pinned it to use for my daughters room later. THANKS!


  46. Wait, let me pick my jaw up off the floor. OH. MY. GOODNESS. That, is drop dead gorgeous! You did an amazing job! When can I book a night there?!! 😉 lol

  47. Is that for a queen size bed????

  48. SPOOKY – I stenciled a headboard, too! Check it out!


    Yours is awesome!

  49. Awesome! Not sure I have the patience for that, but I love the color combo!

    • It only took about 45 minutes to paint, it was actually one of my quicker projects. Stenciling used to scare me but now that I have done it a few times I realizing the potential for all sorts of stuff.

  50. Hooray Beckie and Amy!!! How fun that you got to do a project together… it looks great!

  51. It looks so fabulous! You did a wonderful job with the photo tutorial!
    Kindest regards,

  52. It’s gorgeous! So clever to paint the fabric, too!

  53. That is bee-you-tee-ful! Love the gray and coral – what a great combination!

  54. I absolutely LOVE these colors together… So unique and simple, yet gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. I’m happy to have found your great blog and excited to be following along!

  55. holy cow. Stunned. Reminds me of my fabric fabric from Serena and Lily. So beautiful. I will share on my blog tomorrow with a stencil giveaway. So inspiring. Hope that’s okay

  56. Jessica Baehler says:

    Ive been needing a makeover in my master bedroom and this is just perfect!!! I love reading your posts!

  57. I love it!!!!!!! so easy to make and beautiful……

  58. How beautiful this turned out! LOVE the color and your room color combos. And, wow, that stencil site is amazing…..so many lovely creative possibilities.

  59. I like the print- very nice work, but the proportions are wrong- it’s too tall! sorry to point out a flaw, but for others attempting this, the height of the pillows and the surrounding features ought be taken into account a little more. However, this is a very attractive design, and I realise I am being overly particular (bit i am very fussy, sorry!)

  60. I have a sleigh bed but it is too big for my current room. Right now the bed and box spring are just on the bed frame and risers. I wanted to do something like this to have the look of a headboard but also save space. What did you attach the headboard to? The wall or legs? Then how did you attach it? Thanks!

  61. Love this. How did you attach the headboard?

  62. AMAZING. I love the look of yours even more than your inspiration headboard. WOW!

  63. I love everything about the room! I love the bedding so much that I just went out and bought it, but I can’t seem to find a bed skirt in a gray that I like. Where did you find yours?

    My next project will be the headboard. You really have inspired me!

  64. What height is the headboard at the peak?

  65. DeLin Soileau says:

    This is so awesome! I would like to make it, but what is MDF?

  66. What size bed is this?

  67. why would you have to use two egg crates? you couldn’t just use one?

  68. I found this through Pinterest and got so inspired!! I love the grey and coral – but I haven’t been able to find coral sheets anywhere – where did you get yours?

  69. I love your color scheme and you definitely cannot tell that the fabric is painted! I made my own headboard once, but it didn’t turn out as nicely. I used suede, which I think now was a mistake. It highlighted every area that I pulled to tightly or not tightly enough around the edge. I also like the idea of using 1/2 inch MDF. I used plywood and it was slightly warped which made it difficult. The MDF looks more solid. Great post. I am so glad I found your blog!

  70. I think this is the EASIEST and best explained tutorial for a headboard I have found on the web!!!! Props to you for making this a great tutorial! 🙂

  71. This awesomeness is going in my Friday 50+ this week!

  72. Oh my – that is amazing!!!! I love it!!

    Found you on pinterest.


  73. I love your headboard and am wanting to try it out! Can you tell me what your dimensions of your headboard were?? I love how it fits with the bed!

  74. This headboard is so fabulous and of course it is totally Pin-worthy so I pinned it. My husband and I were just talking about a new headboard. Thanks for the inspiration.

  75. Saw this project on Hometalk and had to come and follow you because of the genius at work here! So so impressed.

  76. This is amazing! I am definitely making this! What size stencil did you use? Thanks! 🙂

  77. I love it! Do you have the stencil for the shape of the headboard? If not, how did you come up with it? Thank you!

  78. This is so cute! I’m looking for the color that your pillow cases are, do remember where you got them?

  79. Stencils! Why didn’t I think of that!? It’s beautiful. I have a MDF board laying on my floor about to be cut and upholstered into a headboard in the next few days… but now I want to stencil my fabric first! Thanks for giving me more work. 😉 Haha.

  80. Also… do you worry about the egg-crate foam getting wonky over time?

  81. Lisa Broussard Januska says:

    I absolutely love your tutorial, great job! I have been wanting an upholstered headboard for ages. I want to make one, but my bed is King. Do they sell MDF long enough I wonder for a king?

  82. Love it, but I want to know how to properly install an upolstered headboard. I’ve made them in the past, and they always bang against the wall and move. I try to peek at the “pro’s” work at Calico Corner, but that looks REALLY hard. I don’t agree with attaching to the wall, that means the bed will push away from the board when you’re sitting up reading or watching tv.

    Do you know how to do it properly?

    Thanks and great job!

    • Hi Amy,
      You need to purchase a french cleat. I know Home Depot carries them. It attaches to the bed and the wall and locks it into place.

  83. This turned out fantastic and I love your tutorial! Just wanted to let you know that I had included this in my stencil-project roundup 🙂

  84. Allison M says:

    This is an amazing headboard. I can’t believe I just found this site.

    My question: how big should the MDF be for a queen sized bed. Also, how did you make the curve equal. I see you used butcher paper, but how did you know it was the correct length? I am a novice at all this crafting and I am in the process of a move! I think it is time to step up. Any bit of information will help.


    • Hi Allison, I would just cut one curve out of the paper and then flip it and trace it on the other side. That is the way you can guarantee a straight curve. I am not sure how wide you would use for a queen. I would just measure your mattress and then maybe go 1″ bigger on both sides. Good luck!

  85. I love the bedding so much! I know you said you got it from Walmart but do you by any chance know what it was called? I’m having trouble finding it on the website…

  86. Racheal Cooley says:

    I found this project and think you did a wonderful job on the headboard. The directions are simple enough I might venture to make my own. In addition, I am in love with the bedspread, where was it purchased? I’d love to have it as well. Thanks!


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