It’s Week 3 of the One Room Challenge where I’m redecorating my bedroom in 8 weeks.
This week I tackled a project that I’ve been wanting to finish for a while now – my DIY Channel Tufted Headboard!
Clearly working within a deadline was what I needed. #whoknew
(The post contains some affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases. Read full disclosure here.)
How to Make a DIY Channel Tufted Headboard
Key things to note before you start actually making your channel headboard:
I want to note that this type of headboard is completely customizable.
- You can go with shorter, thinner vertical channels
- You can have wider, fewer channels
- You can use thinner foam and batting
- You can use a thinner plywood
For my headboard, I decided to go with 1 inch foam and 1 inch batting purely because we’ve had both materials lying around our house for ages so I decided to use them up instead of buying new ones. This makes the final planks (or channels) about 2 ½ inches deep each.
If you’re making one exactly like mine, be sure to measure the width of your bed and calculate how many vertical planks you’ll need to go across the frame.
I needed ten channels that were 6 inches wide for the width of my bed (it’s a UK king size – 5 ft x 6’6 ft or 60 inches x 79.2 inches)
Regarding the height of the channels, I didn’t work this out beforehand as I ended up at the hardware buying the materials without the measurements on hand. (don’t be me)
So my panels are 36 ½ inches tall. I wanted them to go beyond the top of the mattress as I don’t like the gap you sometimes get. The height worked perfectly in the end.
Oh, I should also mention that I decided to wash my fabric first since my skin would be touching it so you may want to wash it first as well. Pay attention to any washing instructions as some fabric can shrink after washing. That’s why it’s great to buy extra!
I also recommend upholstering one plank/channel completely before doing all the others so you can determine whether your measurements need to change etc.
Ok, NOW for the materials and process…
What You’ll Need for Your DIY Channel Headboard
- Fabric of choice (I used a suede material I got at a local fabric store. I bought 6 yards as it was an end of roll. I used just over half of the 6 yards for the 10 channels)
- Fabric to cover the back (optional but I wanted a finished look. I used a blackout type fabric in off-white but any heavy-weight fabric will do)
- 1 inch foam (the amount of foam depends on the size of headboard you’re making. This roll of foam would be sufficient for a size like mine. I used high density foam so it’s firm but not uncomfortable)
- 5 yards of 1 inch polyester batting (approximate)
- 2 1” x 6” x 10’ dressed pitch pine lumber cut to size. My planks were cut down to 36 ½ inches long (I also used a couple planks from an old bed frame)
- 2 1” x 4” x 6’ white pine planks
- Spray adhesive
- Wood Glue
- 2-inch Wood screws
- 8 Mending plates
- Heavy-duty/upholstery Staples (I used these T-50 staples)
- French Cleat (I purchased this heavy duty one but I decided not to mount the headboard in the end)
Tools and Other Supplies:
- Power Drill
- Staple Gun* (I used this staple gun for most of the project but this electric version would be excellent and easier to use as well if you don’t want to deal with an air compressor)
- Utility knife
- Marker or pen
- Dropcloth (so you don’t get spray adhesive on a good counter and tabletop)
- Clamps (optional but super useful to have: I used these adjustable clamps to hold the wood in place when cutting to size and this framing clamp when I was making the frame)
- Miter box and hand saw
*You’ll be doing a lot of stapling so you absolutely NEED a pneumatic OR electric staple gun for this project. I started with a manual staple gun and stapled 3 planks; my thumb was swollen and hurting for a couple days afterward.
So, save time and your thumbs! I did use the manual staple gun to staple the fabric to the back after I finished the headboard though.
Steps to Make Your Channel Tufted Headboard
Roll out your foam over a flat surface and place one plank on top of your foam. Trace out the exact size of the plank with a marker and repeat this by the number of planks you have.
Using a utility knife, cut out the foam panels. Try to keep a straight line as much as possible. Also, I placed a plank under the foam while cutting it out to avoid cutting into the surface (or rug!) below.
Roll out your fabric and place a plank on top of it. Measure 2 ½ to 3 inches of the fabric from each side of the plank and cut out. You can then use the first piece of fabric to cut the rest of your fabric panels in batches.
Roll out your batting and, using a plank, cut out a rectangle leaving approximately 2 to 2 ½ inches extra round each side.
You’ll be folding the batting over the back of the planks so you need extra to go over the sides after the foam is added.
Now it’s time to stick the foam to the plank.
After laying out your planks, spray your adhesive all over one side of the foam strip and carefully stick the foam to the plank. (Be sure to spray in a well-ventilated area!!)
Make sure that the edges line up as best as possible. The spray adhesive dries pretty quickly so you don’t have to wait for the next step.
With your plank sponge-side down on the centre of the batting, begin to staple the batting to the board.
I stapled the middle of one long side of the plank first and then the middle on the opposite side. Then moving along the length, staple the batting leaving about 2 inches between each staple.
On the short ends, staple the batting to the middle and then once on each side.
You’ll have extra batting forming a triangle at the corners. Hold the pieces together (so there are no gaps) and staple down onto the board. Cut off any excess.
If I had to do this again, I may reconsider having the batting carry over unto the back at the top of the plank since I found it to be a bit bulky in the end.
Not major, but something to be mindful of!
Following a similar process as the last step, place your padded plank back-side facing upward on the centre of a fabric panel.
If you’re using velvet or suede like me, be sure to pass your hand along the fabric to determine the direction the fabric flows in. I wanted to be sure which would be the top versus the bottom of each plank so I could pay more attention to the edges on the top since those would be visible.
I hope this makes sense.
Once you have your fabric in the right direction with the plank at the centre (batting face down), staple the fabric in the middle of one long side and repeat on the other side.
Staple along the long sides, interchanging sides as you go. This helps ensure that the fabric is evenly stapled along both sides and doesn’t end up pulling in one direction.
For the corners, staple the sides of the fabric near the top end.
Trim off the excess fabric on the 2 ends so that when it is folded down onto the back of the plank, there is a single layer of fabric and not double.
Then staple the fabric on the top edge of the plank, about one inch in from the edge.
Next fold the fabric over, making sure the side has a neat fold (like below) and then staple in place.
Once the 2 edges are stapled, add staples to the rest of the flap to secure in place. Be sure to smooth out any pleats that may have formed.
Then, trim off the excess fabric near the line of staples.
Now it’s time to make the frame which secures the individual planks (channels) together.
I used two 1” x 4” x 6’ planks of white pine, cut as follows:
- 2 long pieces – 56 inches
- 2 short pieces – 25 inches
- 1 piece cut at a diagonal to fit inside the frame
So confession, I messed up this frame at first in 2 ways. When I first measured the long pieces against the back of the planks/channels, they were on my dining table with nothing to box them in.
So my frame ended being too long initially as the long pieces should end 2 inches in from either side of the headboard.
To get this accurate, the planks should be pushed against a wall on one side and across the top of all the planks to ensure they’re straight and snug.
So the headboard should be assembled in a corner ideally.
It helps to remember that because of the batting and fabric, the planks side by side will be wider than the width of the bed frame, so you need to push them together to compress the sides and ensure a more compact frame.
To help me remember the 60 inch width of the bed frame, I taped some painter’s tape at the 60-inch mark on the floor and then pushed the planks together as much as possible to get as close to the tape.
Once they were in place securely, I measured the frame again and marked where the long pieces reached the middle of the end planks.
I hope this makes sense but again the images should help 🙂
Once my pieces for the frame were cut, I glued one end of a long piece and a short piece together to create a corner. I used my framing clamp to hold the ends of a long piece and a short piece together and put some cling film on the clamp before placing my wood pieces to prevent the glue from sticking to the clamp.
Then I tightened the clamp to secure the pieces in place at a perfect 90 degree angle and while the glue was drying, I screwed in 2 mending plates (see photo below).
I repeated this for the three other corners. I left my frame to dry overnight (which turned into a couple weeks -___-).
Once it was dry, I added the diagonal frame and glued it in.
So the other way I messed up was cutting the diagonal piece to fit in the center of the frame.
No matter how I measured and cut it, it didn’t fit perfectly inside the frame so I ended up adding some pieces of wood shim and lots of wood glue to fill any gaps.
Next, it was time to secure the frame to the back of the planks.
Once again, I laid each plank side by side, making sure the top of each plank was against the wall and the side of the end panel also against the wall.
I marked where I wanted to add the screws on the frame.
Then, using a drill bit slightly smaller than the screws, I drilled pilot holes.
Note that I didn’t pre-drill all the holes at once. I worked with 2 planks at a time since I needed to keep pushing the planks together to make sure they remained as snug as possible.
Then, I used the drill to screw in the wood screws.
So I interchanged the drill bit and the philip head screw every 2 planks. It was kinda tedious but I got into a flow after a while.
Finally, the headboard was assembled! And then I realised how HEAVY it was. I can’t lift it on my own.
So, if I were to make this again, I’d cut the planks from a half inch sheet of plywood instead.
But it turned out so pretty, I was (and am) in love!
Finally, I decided to cover the back with some white heavy-weight fabric so that the back was neat. The raw edges of the fabric at the back also shed a lot so covering it was also a must.
I measured the fabric to the size of the headboard and cut it out.
Using my manual staple gun this time, I folded in the edge of the fabric and stapled it to the frame roughly every 2 inches.
Because I was undecided about WHERE I wanted to mount it since my bed is in the corner and not centred, I decided not to mount the headboard to the wall. I constantly move my bed closer to or away from the wall so it made sense (to me :p) for the headboard to be able to move easily with the bed.
Instead of mounting it, I pulled the mattress a couple of inches off the top of the bed and put the headboard on top of the bed frame in the space between the mattress and the wall.
Because it’s heavy, it sits there without any movement so it’s pretty secure.
Here’s the final look!
Isn’t she lovely *cue Stevie Wonder*
I’m soooo glad to check this off the list.
I still have the majority of my to-do list to tackle though.
I had a kinda yikes moment when I checked the list and realised the only major progress so far has been the headboard.
This coming week, I’ll be focusing on the vanity nook .
I may also start painting since that’s obviously a major task and we’re already at the halfway point.
Plus, now that some stores are re-opening, I should be able to get the window blinds, lighting, the hardware for the closet doors and drawers, and other items I haven’t been able to source since most places have been closed.
Be sure to check out my full bedroom makeover in these posts:
- Week 1 – Before Pics of the Bedroom
- Week 2 – Moodboard and Inspo
- Week 3 – DIY Channel Headboard – you’re here!
- Week 4 – Paint
- Week 5 & 6 – DIY Vanity Nook
- Week 7 – Spraypainted Cabinet Pulls and Hinges
- Week 8 – Bedroom REVEAL!!!
You can also see the other ORC guest participants here.