Transform an Old Door Into a Headboard

A bed with a dark headboard and striped pillows.
What You'll Need
3 inch thick foam (optional)
Quilt batting
Staple gun
Tape measure
Flush mount kit (2 or 3)

Have you been waiting to purchase a bedroom set? Do you have an old door on hand? If so, you can use that old door to create a beautiful headboard for your bed. All you need are a few simple materials and half a day to do the work.

Step 1 – Cut Your Foam

Foam adds a nice cushion of support and structure to a headboard, especially if you like to lean against your headboard and read in bed or work on your computer. However, if you'd like to save money and time, foam isn't necessary for this project. If you aren't using foam, skip to Step 2.

If you do decide to use foam, you can purchase it at a fabric store. Three-inch thick foam is a good place to start. You can also use four-inch or two-inch. The thicker the foam, the more plush your headboard will be.

Cut your foam to the size of the door you are using.

Step 2 – Cut Your Batting

Batting is a material often used in quilts. You can also find this item at most fabric stores. You'll want to purchase a package of batting that will cover your door while also leaving excess to fold behind the back of the headboard.

Cut your batting 12 to 18 inches longer and wider than your door. You want to be able to wrap the batting around the door and foam (if you are using foam). If you aren't using foam, you can get away with 6 to 12 inches of excess batting.

Step 3 – Cut Your Fabric

There are a variety of fabrics you can use for your headboard, based on your own style and the look that you are going for. Try to choose a medium weight fabric. A fabric that is too light will not wear well, and a fabric that is too thick will be difficult to work with.

A close-up of scissors sitting on gray fabric.

Cut your fabric 12 to 18 inches longer and wider than your door. As with the batting in Step 2, you want to be able to wrap the fabric around the door, batting, and foam. If you are not using foam, you can get away with 6 to 12 inches of excess fabric. Just cut your fabric to match the length and width of the batting.

Step 4 – Assemble All of Your Pieces

Now you can assemble all of your pieces. On a large work table or floor, lay your fabric face down. Place the batting on top of the fabric. Place the foam on top of the batting. Then lay your door on top of the entire pile.

Step 5 – Staple the Pieces to the Door

Next, attach the batting and fabric to the back of the door. Starting in the center of the long side of the door, pull the excess fabric and batting onto the back of the door and staple with a staple gun. Make sure the fabric and batting is pulled tightly.

A hand using a stapler and fabric.

Keep stapling every two inches, alternating from the top of the door to the bottom of the door and left to right. This will ensure that the fabric and batting is pulled evenly across both sides of the door.

Stop stapling when you reach four to six inches from each of the four corners.

Use the same stapling technique described above to staple the fabric and batting on the shorter ends of the door.

Step 6 – Staple the Corners

Fold each corner of fabric and batting onto the back of the door, pleating the excess from the left and right side inwards, and staple in place. If you find there is too much fabric and batting, you can trim some away.

Step 7 – Outline Your Headboard Placement

You want the bottom edge of your headboard to sit two to three inches below the top of your bed. Measure from the floor to the top of your bed. Then subtract two to three inches and mark that spot on the wall. Measure from that spot to how high your headboard will go, and lightly mark that spot as well. Utilizing the top mark, lightly draw a level horizontal line. You will use this line to place the top of your headboard. You can also mark out where the four corners of the headboard will be or use your bed as a guide.

Step 8 – Mount Your Headboard

If you mount your headboard with a flush mount kit, you will eliminate any spacing between your headboard and wall.

A flush mount kit usually consists of two pieces of metal that interlock. One piece goes on the wall and one on the back side of the headboard. You'll want a pair for the left and right side of the headboard and possibly one for the middle as well, depending upon the weight of the door.

Follow the instructions of the flush mount kit you choose to use. Make sure to attach the wall flush mount to a stud when you can. If you can't find a wall stud, use drywall anchors for support.

When you've attached your flush mounts to the wall and back side of your headboard, you are ready to hang your finished headboard up.

Additional Tips

You can use a variety of fabrics to cover a door. If you can't make it to the fabric store, decorative sheets or blankets can be used.

For an upscale look, try adding upholstery buttons before attaching the fabric to your door.

If you prefer a rustic country chic look, consider painting the door and hanging “as is” instead of covering it with fabric.