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