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DIY How-To: A Step-by-Step for Making Emily B.’s Wrap-Around Velvet Headboard

Emily Bowser here with the DIY headboard how-to I promised in the reveal of my bedroom from earlier today. This is what I’m calling “A guide for the person who poses as a DIYer but whatever, it gets the job done.” Enjoy, and let me know if you need any clarity or have questions in the comments.


Step 1: A year before you actually do the job, buy the fabric. I bought mine from Mood Fabric and last I looked they were out of it (sorry!) It’s a burnt orange velvet and it was NOT cheap. I think it was $24/yard and I bought a lot because I wanted it to recover my burnt orange velvet chair in the living room. I live in a small space and I like keeping it cohesive! (Tutorial on that maybe coming soon—how’s that for commitment??). But really though, even though I didn’t construct the bed for entirely too long, it’s helpful to have the fabric so you can start pulling other things together.

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Step 2: Assemble friends. You don’t need more than one person to do this and you definitely don’t need three, especially when you only own one staple gun but DIY with friends is more fun. Especially if wine and goss’ is involved.

Step 3: Go to Home Depot and spend entirely too long looking for someone to help you. You have a nagging feeling they don’t make cuts as small as you want but you ask a guy and he says they do. Wait 35 more minutes for the wood-cutter guy to have him let you know that they do not, in fact, make cuts that small. You have him cut as close as possible and leave knowing this for sure just got way more complicated because you only have a table saw and a jigsaw that you’ve used *kinda* once.

Step 4: While you’re there and waiting, send one of your three friends to pick up some French cleats. One for each panel. They look like this and come in all different sizes:

Grid Of 6 With Color Backgroud With No Title

Step 5: I wanted four panels on the back, all the same size and then one on each side, both the size of the left wall. I’m in France and couldn’t tell you off the top of my head what those exact measurements were but the important part is 4 the same (these are 26-inches wide), 2 smaller but the same as each other (I believe these are 12-inches wide). They were all 48-inches high and ¾-inches thick.

Step 6: Buy batting. Comment to friends at least 485 times on HOW EXPENSIVE IT IS. WHY? You should have seen the math that was happening between two stylists, a designer and a v confused employee at the Joann’s counter trying to figure out how much was needed. I believe we got about 20 yards of one-inch thick batting but then realized we only needed maybe six? We were not math majors guys…

Assembly & Installation:

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Step 1: Measure and mark plywood with a pencil. Do an okay job with the jigsaw, cutting the plywood down to the correct-ish size. It’s not exactly the right tool for the job, but it works. Kinda.

Step 2: Contemplate doing something fancy with the edges, like rounding them, which your friends quickly talk you out of after seeing your jigsaw handywork.

Batting Side By Side

Step 3: Lay batting on floor, place plywood piece on top, roughly cut it 2-3 inches bigger than the plywood and watch Erik staple it around all the edges. Note: I invested in a plug-in stapler years ago and have NEVER regretted it.

Velvet Side By Side

Step 4: Watch Erik do the same to the velvet this time with wine in hand. He stapled the velvet layer over the batting. Comment on why can’t step 9 and 10 be combined? He tells you to shut up and to pour him more wine.

At this point, you’ve all collectively done like 10 minutes of work and 3 hours of waiting for things at Home Depot and Joann’s. But you are all FINISHED (wine may be a factor). We leaned the pieces of upholstered panels against the wall and shoved all the furniture against it and were V proud of ourselves. We all said at the same time that maybe it never needed to be attached to the wall after all? Probably just to make ourselves feel better about basically lollygagging through the day.

In a SHOCKING twist, I did, in fact, put the panels up, all by myself (3 weeks later and probably ONLY because of this blog post). It was somehow very easy and hard at the same time. Here’s how I did it:

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Step 1: Pick an arbitrary number (as long as it’s less than the height that you want the top of the headboard). I wanted the panels to sit above the baseboard so it wouldn’t be pushed out at the bottom, so I measured 41” from the floor to where I wanted the French cleat to attach to the wall and velvet panel. I did not, though I thought about it, attach the panels to each other, and I’ll tell you why in a minute…

Panel Up Side By Side

Step 2: Use a stud finder, pray it works (I MEAN. WHY??), and mark where every stud is in the area where the headboard will be, because…
The cleats have multiple areas where you can attach screws and basically SOMEWHERE on that cleat will line up with a stud. At least if your panels are as wide as mine where (studs are typically 16 or 24 inches apart). This way you don’t have to mess with anchors and you know that headboard will adhere to the wall FOREVER. Attach the wall side of the cleat to the wall at the determined measurement from the floor. (Note: cleats will come with all the hanging things.)

Step 3: Attach the other side of the cleat to the panel so that when you connect the two pieces of the cleat, the panel will sit where you want it. I learned after the first panel that I should do it a bit lower so I didn’t have to be all up in Erik’s over-stapled upholstery situation. So for me, every cleat was in a different spot. Again, it doesn’t matter where the cleats are, just that once they are connected, wall to panel, they hang at the same height as each other.

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Step 4: Do it over and over until you are done with the panels. It’s that easy. Well, kinda. Quick note that again, done is better than perfect. My house is the most crooked house of all time, so getting those puppies to fit together is where I had a very hard time. Luckily, since each panel was separate, I could tszuj them until they looked more even than they were. I was getting very frustrated with this process until I stepped back and I was like, “Oh. That’s good enough.” Remember to step back, with French cleats or literally everything in life. It’s probably good enough.

As a reminder, here’s the finished product (go read about it all in this morning’s post):

Bowser Bedroom Lores 2

Again, ask away in the comments if you need some clarification on anything. Thanks for following along friends.

Don’t miss other posts in this series:

Makeover Takeover: How EHD Stylist Emily Bowser Tackled Her Awkward Master Bedroom | MOTO Reveal: Emily Bowser’s Bedroom “After” Is unrecognizable From the “Before”


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4 years ago

the headboard looks great and all, but could you share how you got adopted by a cat as perfect as Daffy?

4 years ago
Reply to  Kat

I had to scroll back up to “spot the cat”!

4 years ago
Reply to  Kat

OMG. she’s angel baby and my eyes are literally tearing up because I am so many miles away from her right now. At dinner (we’re 9 hours ahead) my husband and I were just saying that the only reason we’re going to come back is because we’re pretty sure moving a cat all the way to France would be very hard.

4 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Oh, Luxe Paws is where I got her. They are an amazing rescue out of LA and when we have time/energy we foster for them as well.. She was born in a random guy’s back yard in Echo Park. A WHOLE LITTER OF PERFECT WHITE KITTENS. I can’t believe I only adopted one tbh.

4 years ago

This is wonderful! As I was reading this morning, I was wondering how you attached them to the wall. Now I have all my questions answered. Well done. I LOVE IT!

4 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Very cool, and interesting vibe. I enjoyed this and it actually seems like something I could do… Ish. But I’d definitely be willing to try! Looks beautiful.

4 years ago

I like your bedroom style and your DIY style 🙂

4 years ago

Best DIY instructions ever. It looks great!

4 years ago

LOVE that headboard and the lamps! Great job!

4 years ago

It looks so cosy and stylish! I loved the “instructions”, very funny (and accurate of DIY attempts I’ve made- weird measuring, dodgy maths but good fun!)

4 years ago

It’s gorgeous! Love how your décor matches your wardrobe. And how the cats get up onto the shelf is too good. Of all weeks to have your Moto published–while you’re on vacation?? Hope you can shut off the devices now!

4 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Thanks! I think it’s only natural for one to match the other, right?

haha, it’s fun timing just because finishing the MOTO lining up with my anniversary just seems significant. The good thing is my husband is a freelancer so he has a few things to do work-wise so we just take a little time here and there to sit down at a cafe. It’s a very romantic way to work 🙂

4 years ago

Excellent post a what a great job! On the bed. The room. The house. Love the tile too. Thanks for sharing your lovely home. Pretty amazing transformation. So satisfying to give a house it’s dignity back isn’t it. Bravo.

4 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

Looking through old pictures of the before I was reminded that this house was in bad enough shape that it should not have been rented out to anyone at the time. I feel for the older gentleman who lived here before we bought the place, I’m sure the mold wasn’t helping his health conditions.

I’m glad we were able to save this little, funny, haphazardly but lovingly made home before it was condemned.

4 years ago

I loved your diy instructions! I think we have the same process and timeline for completion of projects. ‘Never leave that till tomorrow that which can be done today”- B. Franklin haunts me forever as I’m sure it does you. Absolutely filing this away for when I have more than 1/2 an hour to myself everyday!

4 years ago

Easy breezy gorgeous! Love the look – might do this myself now that I see how beautifully it comes out 🙂

4 years ago

So pretty! Seems like a very doable DIY too. Pro tip especially for velvet (and may work for other fabrics too)—buy curtain panels and cut them rather than straight fabric. It was at least cheaper for the blue velvet I was looking for.

4 years ago
Reply to  Callie

Really?? Good tip!

4 years ago

This is so beautiful. Really finished off the room and gives it a very luxe hotel vibe. Exactly what you want in a master. Did you have to cut down the cleats for the side panels?

4 years ago

Love this so much. I am definitely going to recreate this for my guest bedroom. It’s the exact solution I’ve been looking for. And so much easier than I would have imagined.”!

4 years ago

Wow! This is so cool!I love the color so much, perfect for fall and winter.

Susie Q.
4 years ago

Hanging those panels had to be a bear–congratulations on managing to get them straight!
…I’m asking myself what I’d do differently if I were doing this project.
Would spray mounting the batting to the boards make any difference? Maybe the batting would wiggle less when you wrapped your fabric over it?
If the batting is really so expensive, I might go the thrift store and buy up a couple comforters or sleeping bags and cut them to fit around the panels. You just have to make sure that the comforters are of roughly the same thickness and don’t have a pattern that would show beneath your fabric.

4 years ago

I love the color you chose for the headboard- beautiful room, but your cat styling is what tops it off!! I have almost the same cat and they make everything look more chic!!

4 years ago

Your DIY description sounds a whole lot like how I work on projects. It took me two years (!) to reupholster a side chair (so many tiny little nails) constructed before staple guns. Once I finally got it done, it took me two weeks to do the second one.
I might actually try this project myself … well, with some wine and a friend. And a lot less cotton batting.

4 years ago

Y’all cute! Love it all!

4 years ago

i love the idea of the headboard, but me renting i’d have to figure a different way to get them on the wall, plus no way to have the side panels…one edge is window one is open door….lol. the problem with an old house with 4 doors into the bedroom….one on each wall~ definitely keep this in my yet to do things~

Spencer Mary
4 years ago

What base for the bed did you use?

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