Master Bedroom Our House

DIY Wood Framed Upholstered Headboard With Nailhead Trim – Part 1

Last Updated on April 10, 2022 by Kristi Linauer

It’s been about  a month-and-a-half since I stated that my headboard was going to be a DIY priority for me, and I finally started on it.  Better late than never, I suppose.

I decided to make one similar to this headboard from iFurn with the wood frame (mine will be stained to match my bed), solid non-tufted leather (vinyl in my case) and nailhead trim.

headboard design idea via ifurn

via iFurn

Building the frame was time-consuming because of cutting and attaching all of the decorative moulding, but it wasn’t difficult at all. I started with a basic frame of 1″ x 4″ lumber attached to plywood, and then built upon that using various mouldings in order to create interest and depth of the design.  Here are the details…

I started by measuring the width of the stained wood bed frame that I made, and I had a piece of 3/4-inch plywood cut to that width.  As far as the height, I decided on 36 inches.  Don’t let any designer tell you that there’s a standard height for headboards.  You can have yours as short or as tall as you want.

I had the plywood cut at Home Depot. I placed it on the floor to work, propped up on scrap 1 x 4 pieces of lumber.  Then using my miter saw, I cut pieces of 1 x 4 lumber to form a frame around the top and sides of the plywood, and attached those using wood glue and my nail gun.  I didn’t miter the top corners since most of this would eventually be covered up with additional moulding anyway.

DIY wood framed upholstered headboard - navy blue vinyl with stained frame - 1

Next, to cover up the unsightly edges of the plywood, I cut pieces of lattice (click here to see the exact lattice I used).  I mitered them at the two top corners of the headboard, and attached those also with wood glue and my nail gun using 1.5-inch 18 gauge finishing nails.  This lattice is sold by the linear foot.

DIY wood framed upholstered headboard - navy blue vinyl with stained frame - 2

You can see that the lattice didn’t come up enough to cover the entire edge of the 1 x 4, so later I added one more piece of moulding to cover that up.

But first, I added panel moulding to the top and sides of the front, attached right to the 1 x 4’s, and mitered at the top two corners.  I made sure that the edges were lined up with the lattice before attaching them.  Click here to see the exact panel moulding I used.  This trim is sold by the linear foot.

DIY wood framed upholstered headboard - navy blue vinyl with stained frame - 3

And then to cover up the gap on the edges between the panel moulding and the lattice, I used large cabinet moulding.  This particular moulding is sold by the 8-foot piece, and not by the linear foot.  Click here to see the exact cabinet moulding I used.

DIY wood framed upholstered headboard - navy blue vinyl with stained frame - 4

Not only did that cabinet moulding cover up the gap, but it just made the frame look more interesting and more substantial, and less boxy and square on the edges.  You can see here the difference it made from the front view.

DIY wood framed upholstered headboard - navy blue vinyl with stained frame - 5

The last decorative trim I added was a small cabinet moulding, attached about 1/2-inch from the inside edge of the frame.  This will act as my guide when I get ready to staple the fabric (or vinyl, in my case) to the headboard.  Click here to see the exact cabinet moulding I used for this.  And again, this particular trim is sold by the piece, rather than by the linear foot.

DIY wood framed upholstered headboard - navy blue vinyl with stained frame - 6

The last thing I did was add a scrap piece of 1 x 4 to the bottom edge of the headboard.  This didn’t have to be a pretty, stainable piece of lumber, as it will be completely covered by vinyl.  This simply gives me something to wrap the vinyl around and staple to.

DIY wood framed upholstered headboard - navy blue vinyl with stained frame - 7

With the building finished, I used wood filler on all of the nail holes, sanded, and then gave the frame two coats of Rust-Oleum wood stain in the color Carrington (same color I used on the bed).  Then I followed up with Rust-Oleum polyurethane in a satin finish.

DIY wood framed upholstered headboard - navy blue vinyl with stained frame - 8

That’s as far as I could get in a day because this really needed to sit overnight and dry completely before I move on to the upholstering.  I hope to show you the finished and installed headboard tomorrow!


Click here to see the rest of this project.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Melissa Jouett
    January 19, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I love how you are adding the links to the exact thing you use! Thank you! Seeing the pieces by themselves gives me a better understanding of what you are cutting and how you are putting it all together! I am sure it will be beautiful and will help keep the cold air off you while you sleep. 🙂 Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2015 at 9:40 am

    This is going to be so awesome! I love the stain color. What color upholstery have you decided to use?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2015 at 10:00 am

    You won! Woohoo!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Beautiful! Following closely as I need a headboard!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2015 at 11:08 am

    It must feel wonderful to get an idea, see it in your head, then hop in the car and go get the fun stuff at Home Depot and get it done!! Your talent for cutting trim and all the other woodworking skills you have are amazing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Mornin’ Kristi,
    I have built many wall units, love the work, too. But what is the purpose of nailing AND gluing? And your use of all the trim molding is so fun! Either you have some true pals at Home Depot, or you spend a lot of time going over wonky wood. Some of it could follow a perfect arch! Keep up the good work. I truly enjoy your contributions.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Genelle McDaniel
    January 19, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    It’s going to be beautiful. Waiting to see the color of vinyl you’ll be using, plus how you will pad it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marie Roxanne
    January 19, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I wonder why you put the moulding pieces before the upholstery? I would think you would want to keep a little bit of the vinyl underneath the moulding pieces and nail it down to secure it… well, I will see how you do it tomorrow!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Dee Tracy
    January 19, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    I, too, am thrilled that you won! Congrats!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Read about the win here:

    $500 in gift cards to help her continue to DIY this house to absolute amazing rooms!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 19, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S!!!!

      I never doubted for a minute that you wouldnt win.

      You go girl!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 19, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      That’s fantastic! Congrats Kristi! 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 19, 2015 at 2:48 pm


    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks Carla for posting that link. Well done Kristi!!
      Claire x

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 20, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      belated, but still: Congratulations on winning! I’m looking forward to a tutorial on a new power tool 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I love EVERYTHING you do. I follow your every blog. But I must admit that I cringe a bit when I see you doing all of your work on your hardwood floors without even the use of a drop cloth. Can the finish bounce back from that or will you have to redo them?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ingrid M.
    January 19, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    I am new to following you and I love to see all of the projects that you do. You do such a wonderful job of explaining how to do them and showing pictures that make it all make sense. Thank you for inspiring all of us to tackle projects that we might not have attempted before. Keep them coming!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lesley Ann Sturge
    January 19, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    oh this will look great. Excited to see it finished. And Thanks for all the links to the moulding you use, it helps to see just what you are using. I too was wondering about working on your hardwood floors. But I’m sure if you did any damage you’d be able to fix it up. Cheers

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Congratulations on your win! You deserved it. Now you can get a new power tool! What will it be?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 20, 2015 at 6:46 am

    YOU WON! Congratulations. Fantastic job, and best DIY projects on the internet! Outstanding!!.