diy project: lydia’s embroidered headboard

i’ve always had a thing about iron beds, but have never wanted to actually get one because i love the feel of a soft upholstered headboard. but this diy idea from design writer lydia lee is a great way to have the best of both worlds. lydia sent over her project explaining that she too loved the look of wrought-iron headboards but found them, “kind of jangly and not terribly comfortable”. so she decided to embroider one instead!

i love the final result and think it’s such a nice combination of crafty and chic. thanks so much for lydia for sharing her project steps below! (if you’re interested in the flowers on the wall, they’re umbra’s “wallflowers“)

CLICK HERE for the full project steps after the jump!


Embroidered Headboard DIY


— Upholstered headboard kit, like this one from Horchow or build your own.

— Sturdy cotton fabric. If you pick a weave without a lot of “give,” it will help prevent stretching. If you use a linen or thin cotton, it’s easy to reinforce it with iron-on interfacing, which you can get at any fabric store.

–Butcher paper

–Tape measure

–Tracing wheel and tracing paper

–Yarn darning needle

— Wool yarn

–Large embroidery hoop

–Staple gun and staples


1. Follow kit instructions to create a padded headboard.

2. Tape together butcher paper to duplicate the shape of the headboard.

3. Draw your design on the paper. A tape measure is helpful for getting the general proportions right. Don’t worry too much about getting the design absolutely precise, since the charm of handiwork lies in the slight imperfections.

4. Pin your fabric to the headboard. Mark center and corners so that you have the fabric aligned correctly when you put it back on after stitching the design.

5. Pin pattern to headboard, and transfer design using tracing wheel and tracing paper.

6. Stitch your design, using a yarn darning needle and wool. Use an embroidery hoop to keep fabric taut. The chain stitch is a fun, fast way to create curvy lines and can also be used to fill out solid blocks: click here

7. Wash fabric, then iron. Reinforce with interfacing if necessary.

8. Stretch fabric over headboard and staple gun to the frame, starting from top center, then bottom center, then the sides.

9. Attach headboard to bed frame.


That is AMAZING.
It is so quirky, yet pretty and sophisticated too, and good for us on a budget!
Well done Lydia!


This is so stinkin’ creative it blows my mind. Where do people come up with this stuff? I am in DIY heaven.


Very pretty! Would also probably look great as a silkscreened image (though I do love the embroidery).

Ryan Green

I’ve never seen anything like this – such a unique and beautiful creation!!!! I smell a trend coming on…


ugghh! this is the kind of thing that you see and say why didnt IIIII think of that! absolutely lovely.


I LOVE this, all the charm with no squeaky uninviting metal…I may attempt this!


Could this be any cuter? I looked at it and had to do a double take! Such a fun and original idea!


MAGIC! i have been searching for a good diy headboard idea, and this is perfect! i know what i will be working on for the next few weeks… thanks so much for the inspiration!


amazing. posts like these have basically reduced my job to squeezing in work while waiting with bated breath for design sponge to update.


This project and the previous one are just amazing, 100% creative and original. Thanks for sharing!


Soooo adorable! My daughter was just looking at an Iron headboard but this is so much cuter! I agree, softer too! Thank you!!!!


like everyone else so far, i loooove!
but, i want to know how long it took her to embroider…


darling. i say “ditto” to laura’s work comment above. stop being so productive, designsponge team! the rest of us can’t get anything done.


Hallie (and anyone else who is curious about time it took to embroider)–it was something like 4-5 hours over the course of a week, but with a big fat yarn needle, it actually goes pretty fast!


Oh my! that is the most beautiful headboard I have ever seen!! I really do need to start practicing my stitching! thanks so much for the inspiration : ) x


Darling! Yes, the look with the comfort! I also love it all the more because it’s perfectly imperfect!


Love, love, love this! I think I might steal this idea since I have the same looks vs. comfort issue with old metal bed frames.


I LOVE this idea! So creative. Thanks so much for sharing.


This is an adorable alternative to buying a pricey headboard. I hope that I’ll be able to try this out one day!


What a wonderful idea and end result! I love the look of wrought iron but not the feel — and this idea is the perfect solution. Thank you for sharing a fantastic project!

Paula Kathlyn

I don’t think this could be any more charming than what it already is. Now I just have to find time to do it!


Love this! Anyone know where I can get those wall flowers??

Debbi S. in Texas

I absolutely love my old swirly iron bed find, but this would come in a close second.


LOVE IT! But how long did it take you to complete this project? I couldn’t do it, but would definitely considering buying one… have you considered selling these thru etsy, have the purchaser get the headboard directly, and then send you the fabric for the embroidery part.


just lovely…I will definitely get my embroidery skills together for this fall. thanx


If she is willing to make one for me…I’d love to hire her! My new studio is in a historic bldg so i want an iron bed, but the space is too small. This would be PERFECT. Please start taking orders!


Awesome awesome idea! Sometimes we dont realise to what extent we can ”create” our worlds! Lovely!

Sara Rivka

So very creative and charming. This idea could be carried out in so many ways— I’d love to do the same thing with a drawing of a birdcage and a few birds.


Such an adorable idea! I love embroidered things & this is yet another example that anything can be embroidered!


these are so pretty-they would look great in a kids room too since they’re really playful.


When you wash the fabric, how do you make sure that the color from the wool does not run?


It’s really beautiful! But what if I just draw the lines on the wall instead of embroidering it? Do you think it’d work?


Adorable. I am a fan of embellishments so if I did this I would most definitely add a few flowers here and there. Awesome idea.


Wow. It’s really amazing. I love it. And also a perfect combination with the flowers on the wall.
Thank you for sharing this great idea.


Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!
I made one for my bed following your instructions. Thank you very much for sharing it!!


I love love love this and will be stealing your idea for my new apartment. Thanks for saving me so much money on buying that wrought iron bed I’d planned to buy!

Katie @ Cheep Ideas

I’ve been looking for some interesting ideas for my daughter, she’ll be old enough for a bed soon, and I am in LOVE with this idea!!

I’ve added these to my DIY Roundup today, and you can grab an “I’ve been featured” badge if you’d like!

Great idea!! Thanks for sharing!


I love this! So inspiring. I just posted it on my blog and linked it back to you.


I love this headboard! I was thinking about doing copying this project, but painting the design instead, since I am definitely not an embroiderer. It’s gorgeous!


Well, this is very much interesting indeed. Would love to read a little more of this. Nice post. Thanks for the heads-up.