DIYdiy projects

genius idea: starched fabric headboard

by Grace Bonney

Last night while I was clicking around on Twitter I followed a fantastic link from Metal and Mud to what might be one of my favorite DIY ideas I’ve seen in a while. Rather than getting bogged down in a big woodworking project, Sara decided to cut the shape of a curved headboard out of fabric, apply liquid starch (which makes it removable) and iron the board straight to her wall to give the appearance of a proper upholstered headboard. I followed up with her to ask about how well it’s staying put (with heads sleeping against it, etc) and she said it’s stayed in place just perfectly. I always love leaving for the weekend with a great idea and this morning that idea belongs to Sara. If you’re looking for a clever project to tackle in just a few hours, she’s outlined the full steps right here. Virtual high five to Sara for such a fun and easy project and for making me want to tear through my giant fabric stacks and start something new…xo, grace

*If you’re looking to make something bigger, I upholstered my own headboard a while back and video taped all the steps. It’s more involved than this project but yields pretty nice results as well.

[UPDATE: Sara’s awesome pillow tutorial is right here]

Suggested For You


  • This sounds great to save some money, but what if you have an apartment? Does it come off when you move out? Thanks!

  • Grace, if I may be so bold, you have the most beautiful headboard! While Sara has a wonderful idea, I really think that the dimension that foam/board add are worth the trouble. Maybe I am just being sentimental because your headboard tutorial was the first article I ever read on this site. ;) Also, I DIYed my own headboard but it is a mere rectangle. So it was super easy without any powertools because the friendly employees at Lowe’s cut it up for me into the perfect size.

    • lou

      thanks so much :)

      i think the fantastic thing about headboards is that they can be done so many different ways these days. something as sizable as mine won’t fit in everyone’s rooms, or may not be feasible due to the material costs or process required. however, i love something like this because if you have an iron, some fabric and the starch, you can have a pretty good looking alternative.


  • holy. moly. this is a revelation in headboards! seriously genius!
    also, those retro frames pillowcases are AWESOME! my boyfriend has been searching for the perfect horn rims, so he would definitely to buy them immediately. :)

  • This bed–head to foot–needs to be in my bedroom. LOVE the fabric headboard idea. I’ve been in love with faux headboards lately and had planned on either framing some bold fabric barely higher than the mattress or working some magic with vinyl cling material, but this is PERFECT. And we can pop it into the back bedroom when our roomie moves out and we usurp his room. :x

    I also MUST have/make those pillowcases… SO cute. Perfect for my efforts to have a chic, modern space with little touches of nerdiness peppered throughout. Not to mention I’ve been meaning to redo our bedroom in gray and yellow… this fabric would be gorgeous against the dark gray walls I want. So yes. I will take it head to foot, please. :)

  • Same request as the others: please let us know where you can pick up those pillowcases. I’m infatuated with them :)

  • Hi Grace, arent both of them such lovely ideas!

    Tho, now with a bit more time in hand, I am going to try and go for the three dimension one.

    A question, tho:
    1. why does a head board have legs on the side? We are currently sleeping with the mattress of the floor, and I thought if we just have the top bit, we could simply change the height when we finally get ourselves a bed… but not possible with the legs, so, why those legs?

    • n

      i put legs on mine because my headboard actually stands, it isn’t drilled into the wall. you can make the board extra tall, but i didn’t have enough fabric to cover that much extra wood so i just went with legs ;)


  • What are the chances! I was just thinking about headboards last night, and was planning to revisit Grace’s tutorial this morning.

    Meanwhile I know someone who’ll totally go for this starched fabric headboard. She’s going to be so thrilled to see this. Thank you for sharing!

  • Fabulous! I have been thinking about stenciling a flurry of butterflies on my daughter’s walls and now I know I can cut them out of fabric and apply to the walls — yet still can remove them later. So much more fun. Great post. And I love those eyeglass pillowcases!

  • What a fabulous idea! Ive seen walls done with fabric before to imitate wallpaper, but it never occurred to me to make it headboard shape. Good thinkin!

  • What a fabulous idea! Ive seen walls done with fabric before to imitate wallpaper, but it never occurred to me to make it headboard shape. Good thinkin!

  • Oh my gosh! I have a boss wooden headboard, but this has totally opened up the possibilities for CUSTOM WALL DECALS!!! My boring hallway is getting a face lift. ASAP.

  • I just read and looked through the whole tutorial over on Metal and Mud and it looks really comprehensive. I can’t wait to try out this project on my own off-white wall! Thank you for sharing :)

  • how cool! I had been thinking about the same thing with a headboard after seeing a TV show where they turned fabric into wallpaper using the same technique.

  • Wonderful!

    I visited my friend on the weekend and she had done something similar in her living room (in a rented house). She had used cornflour mixed with water to paste the fabric on, and apparently all it needs to get taken down is little more water to thin out the flour and wash it off off at the end!

    Maybe I should suggest she does one near her bed?

  • What about putting brass tacks or studs around the headboard? It would add a little more depth to the design. My personal favorite would involve anything with rhinestones, though.

  • I have been looking for something to use starched fabric on for months now. It just sounds like too much fun! This is a great idea. Plus you can change it up whenever you please.

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.