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.

  1. cake. says:

    i love how wiggly it is. super charming.

  2. Loora says:

    So creative, and fun, and elegant, and well-made, and…. I love it !!!

  3. Maggie says:

    This is just perfect DIY! :)

  4. kari says:

    absolutely lovely. simple and effective.

  5. Rachel says:

    This is AMAZING! I’m so excited about this project!

  6. lj says:

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

  7. Shelley says:

    Just gorgeous – and clever.

  8. Debbi S. in Texas says:

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

  9. Karyn says:

    Stunning! Just gorgeous — thanks for posting!

  10. cindy says:

    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.

  11. jen says:

    charming and sophisticated! definite project for next weekend.

  12. Lisa says:

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

  13. Kiki says:

    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!

  14. mia says:

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

  15. Sara Rivka says:

    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.

  16. Shelley says:

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

  17. cate says:

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

  18. Heather says:

    You could also use a vinyl decal. Way quicker and almost as cute!!


  19. Melissa says:

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

  20. Cintia says:

    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?

  21. Denise says:

    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.

  22. Helen says:

    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.

  23. Sol says:

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

  24. cara says:

    love love love it

  25. Angie says:

    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!

  26. Heather says:

    So I already made my own padded headboard years ago but saw this and immediately went to work sewing a gate into it. (It’s much harder doing it backwards!) I’m in love with the results though!

  27. 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!

  28. Shauna says:

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

  29. Kirsten says:

    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!

  30. I love this site, regularly visit it, those are awesome embroidery designs, blew my mind, I was just watching those pictures.

  31. Tile says:

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

  32. Sussyshasta says:

    buy with confident online shopping

  33. Site says:

    Oh, wow, this is such a COOL idea. I just loooove it!


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