DIY - Upholstered Headboard With Nailhead Trim

December 14, 2011

Way back in another lifetime I built my headboard out of MDF and 2"x2" pieces of wood and then covered it with a couple of layers of cotton batting, and a piece of inexpensive white fabric. Fast forward quite a few years, and I was no longer thrilled with my headboard. The fabric had gotten rather dull looking, and I wished every time I saw it that I had something just a little more sophisticated.
My Headbord before
My headbord before
You may recall that I have a serious love for the Collete Bed at Crate&Barrel. A while ago when I was at King Textiles looking for some velvet for my mirror framing project, I spotted some fabric in their clearance section that sparked an idea. After quickly Googling on my phone the dimensions of a double bed I purchased several yards.
the back of my headboard
The back of my headboard
I put off this project for a couple of weeks as I was a little worried about pulling out all the staples that attached the original fabric to the headboard. Even though it was years ago, I still remember how cramped my hand got from using the staple gun, and I had visions of pulling staples for days. I needn't have worried - the staples came out quite easily with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.
Removing the staples
High-tech tools for removing staples
As I wasn't going to replace the batting, my next step was to lay out the new fabric, and make the necessary cuts to remove the extra. Next I started stapling.  My method was simple - a couple of staples in the top in the middle, and then pulled the fabric tight and stapled at the bottom in the middle. I then did the middle on each side. This ensured that fabric was tight in both directions before I stapled the rest of the top, bottom and sides. The top corners gave me a little trouble as I wanted to make them as smooth as possible. After some trial and error I ended up cutting out a triangle of fabric at each corner before folding it over and stapling. This would probably have been easier if my fabric wasn't so thick, but as it's a woven wool it got quite bulky in the corners.

Once the stapling was complete I flipped the headboard over, and started on the next phase of the project.

I had seen individual nail head tacks at Home Depot on several occasions, but the thought of having to nail in several hundred tacks kept me from recovering my headboard a long time ago. While perusing the Lee Valley Tools website one day I saw these nail head strips, and they were what I used. The beauty of this product is you only have to nail in every 5th nail - the rest are fake.
Laying out the nail strips
Laying out the nail strips
The next part required a bit of math as I wanted to ensure the nailhead trim detail was equally spaced across the top (to ensure that a real nail ended up at each end), but once I had that figured out the rest was fairly easy.

Here's the finished product:
Recovered headboard
close up of nail head detail
Newly recovered headboard
The finished product
Here's what this project cost:
For a total cost of $45.43 (tax. incl.) I'm quite pleased with the transformation.
Newly refinished headboard next to vintage lamp
Don't my rewired lamps look great next to it?
Mine doesn't have the fancy curved detail that the one at Crate&Barrel does, but given how much it cost to make I can overlook that little detail. What do you think? Is it almost as nice as the original?

You Might Also Like


  1. Your headboard turned out great and looks amazing!

  2. Very good idea for headboard! I like the choice of colors and materials. And you are right - your lamp really looks good next to it :-)

  3. Wow that looks fantastic! And for that price? I wouldn't take a second look at the Colette bed :)

  4. This is a beautiful transformation! I love the color that you chose too!

  5. Very cute and classy redo of the headboard. I'm starting to like nailhead trim more and more. Might have to try it myself sometime! :D

    Smiles from Miss Mustard Seed's linky party,
    Suzanne at WhyCuzICan in NW Illinois

  6. Beautiful! Great tutorial which I'm going to Pin :) Thanks for linking up to Saturday Splendour!

  7. Wow, that looks great!! Would you consider sharing it here? Pretty please?

  8. This looks fabulous. What an awesome transformation.

  9. I LOVE your new headboard! Its beautiful... great job :) Your rewired lamps are dang awesome too!

  10. I love it..I am totally inspired.


  11. Jen Lossing, The Consigner DesignerDecember 19, 2011 7:26 am

    This looks wonderful. Great choice of fabric.It looks so elegant and classic. Nice job!

  12. Your head board is very pretty. It looks like some I have seen on TV that go for big dollars.
    My own head board is a king size 6 panel door from an old library. I love it. Over the hole where the door knob goes is a sign that says "always kiss me good night" and it is so sweet.
    In the winter months I made a slip cover for the bed from an old quilt I had in the closet. I just made an envelope to slip over the head board. Now I have 2 looks for my bed room.

  13. I like the idea of a slipcover for your headboard - I might do that someday:)

  14. Your head board looks fantastic, I love the nail head trim!

  15. Your headboard is beautiful! Love the way it came out!

  16. Wow you did an amazing job! It just looks so glamorous and high end, love it!

  17. This is SO tailored looking super job! I love it,Deidre~

  18. wow, what a difference that small detail makes! it is so much more sophisticated! gorgeous job!

  19. Your headboard looks fabulous!! I love that you only have to nail every fifth nail. Much easier!

  20. I love the new look! I have seen those nail head trim strips used but didn't know you could get them at Lee Valley... will be going there for sure as this is a project on my list for 2012!! Thanks for the inspiration... I love the material too by the way. Found you over at Primp. I'm a new follower. :)
    Would love for you to pop by and visit sometime!

  21. Careful when you go to Lee Valley - they've got so much great stuff you'll probably leave having bought a whole bunch of other things as well :)

  22. [...] Covered Headboard December 27, 2011 By Beckie Leave a Comment // Michelle from Sweetsuite10 had a fabric headboard that she had made a few years ago but was simply no longer loving. To update [...]

  23. Very sophisticated.
    The end tables are also gorgeous, with the lamps you've got the whole package;).

  24. [...] bedroom is another room is desperate need of colour. I rewired some antique lamps that have some gold and Kelly green dots, and I`ve been trying to imagine a way to add those [...]

  25. I love this and have been wanting to do the same thing - very similar style. I have a king size bed, I'm struggling with the dimensions. Could you share the height of your headboard? And maybe the actual part of the headboard that is padded (without the legs). I would be grateful! Love your blog!

  26. [...] While the studded appearance of nail heads have been a main feature of furniture for decades, today’s DIYs are giving the technique a modern twist. Bold patterns and textured fabric bring the design trend into the 21st century, appealing to young and seasoned decor lovers alike. Though the look is a hallmark of luxury, it’s fairly inexpensive and easy to replicate. This DIY by Michelle of Sweet 10. [...]

  27. I have been looking for a DIY headboard like yours! Love it! I was just wondering what size legs/framing did you use?

  28. Hi Laura,

    It's been a few years, but I'm fairly certain the framing is 2" pine. The rest is simple MDF. I held it together with carpenters glue and nails. I've seen a few tutorials where plywood was used for the whole thing - no need to construct a frame. I do think however that my method is much lighter.

    Hope that helps!


recent posts

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Pinterest