A headboard can be made of almost any item that is approximately the width of the bed and can be attached to the wall. To make a headboard, the main considerations are size, design, and how it will attach to the wall. More complex headboards may sit behind the mattress and attach to the frame, but these are usually much more difficult to make — the best strategy to make a headboard at home is to design one that attaches directly to the wall. Standard headboards can be made using a board, fabric and padding; for a more simple solution, material or paper can be used to create a headboard look as well — this technique also results in less damage to the wall and can work well for people living in rented houses or apartments.
One popular headboard design involves attaching padding and fabric to a board, which is then positioned on the wall at the head of the bed. First, the board is cut out in the desired shape, which may be square, arched, or even completely random. Next, the board is covered with upholstery foam using a spray-on adhesive and staples, leaving a border of foam to cover up the edges. Finally, the entire board is covered with fabric, which is stretched and stapled into place. This finished headboard can then be bolted to the wall.
There are many other ways to make a headboard, many of which involve minimal attachments to the wall. This is ideal when living in an apartment, where putting holes in the walls can result in fines. One excellent way to make a headboard without damaging the walls is to measure the width of the bed, cut fabric exactly to that width, and then attach the fabric to the wall behind the bed with starch or pins. Another variation on this strategy is to make a paper headboard and attach it to the wall. These headboards are easy to make and can be fully customized to any space.
Some headboards are designed to include shelving for items such as books or small nighttime items. This often means placing the bed farther from the wall, but may save space by adding shelving. A headboard with shelves can be designed just like normal shelves, with the added consideration that it will be difficult to retrieve items that fall between the headboard's lowest shelf and the bed. It may therefore be easier to simply place shelves higher above the bed and leave the mattress itself against the wall.
It is possible to make a truly unique headboard using found objects and a little creativity. Materials normally used for other purposes, such as fencing panels, stained glass windows, or bamboo can all be converted to a headboard. When looking for found objects to make a headboard, it is important to have a tape measure handy to figure out if the piece is an appropriate size. Also, it is a good idea to avoid anything that is sharp or rough. Otherwise, the options for custom headboards are truly limited only by the imagination.