DIY Folding Headboard.

About 6 months ago, I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating my breakfast, checking Facebook on my Kindle when a lightbulb went off in my head.

For a week or so prior to this moment, I had been lamenting in my head how uncomfortable it was to sit up in my bed to watch TV at night.  My husband had also been suffering from allergies, and I was contemplating how to help him breath better at night.

Believe it or not, my lightbulb moment was from my kindle!  My kindle case has a folding cover which allows me to view my kindle at two different angles by using a tri-fold cover.

Once I had the idea, it was just a matter of lots and lots and lots of trial and error!

DIY Folding Headboard.

Now, we have a super-functional folding headboard that I use almost every night!  I love it!

I had originally envisioned three moving sections for the headboard which could fold both forward and back (like my Kindle case).

But if I did that, the headboard would take up the entire wall.  When I consulted with my dad (who pretty much knows everything about everything!), he expressed his concern that having three hinged panels would be very difficult to manage and maneuver.

So, I was back to the drawing board, trying to figure out how to make it work.

DIY Folding Headboard.

My dad had an alternate idea, but I wasn’t convinced until we built some samples to test out their design.

I was sold!

This project has taken me 6 months because I had to re-work this project multiple times throughout the process.  When you are creating something new, not everything always goes as you imagine in your mind.

This is going to be a long post as I go through the process, so bear with me!

My original plan was to have the entire thing upholstered. (As you can see in the finished product, the part that folds down and we lean on is not upholstered).

The section of the headboard that is stationary is bumped out from the wall with the intention of creating space for the padding that was going to be on the folding part.  I’ll explain later how that didn’t work!

DIY Folding Headboard.

After finishing one section, we had to test it out to make sure it was comfortable!  
DIY Folding Headboard.

These plywood panels are attached with piano hinges.

Once the basic assembly was done, it worked great, but then the long process started of padding and upholstering, figuring out how to securely attach it to the wall, and then the inevitable trouble-shooting as things don’t go as planned!

DIY Folding Headboard.

I had to reupholster it since the first time I thought I had pulled the fabric taut enough, but it definitely wasn’t!

To create the padded panels, I took thin plywood sheets cut to the same size as the headboard sections, attached memory foam to it and then hotglued the fabric around it as tight as possible.  I learned that you really can’t pull the fabric too tight!

DIY Folding Headboard.

I created the tufts by using washers and screws.

DIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comThere are a lot of different depths going on here, so my plan was going to be to cover thin plywood with the fabric and use that for the top section so that all three sections were matching.  However, when I put the fabric over the plywood, it showed through enough that it made the color not match the padded sections.

On top of that, the pad was too thick when I added to the back (I should have created a larger base from the wall).  I could have put a thinner pad on the back, but then when I folded it down completely, there would be a pad on the top section but not on the bottom section?

See how this got complicated fast?

So my headboard was like this for a really long time while I tried to figure it out:

DIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comAt the end of the day, I decided to paint it the same color as the walls and hope that it blended in!

Since the original plan was to cover it in fabric, I hadn’t taken any care to how the wood looked for the main structure.  This meant that I had to fill in all of the knot holes and sand it down.

My original plan for attaching it to the wall depended on the top section being upholstered.  Since it wasn’t I had to figure out how to do it another way.

As I didn’t want the panels to fall down and decapitate us while we were sleeping, they needed to be secured to the wall *really* well!

DIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comI decided to create a picture ledge so that I could screw the ledge into the studs and then have the folding headboard secured to the picture ledge.

DIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comI bought “positive clasp” hooks which basically means that it has a little spring on it to keep the hook from accidentally coming loose.  Each outside edge of the headboard is attached to the picture ledge with one of these hooks for ease of use.

DIY Folding Headboard.

While I was making all of these changes, I went ahead and attached new lights to the wall.  These are IKEA floor lamps which I detached from their base and screwed to the wall for a clean, streamlined look.DIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comSince I couldn’t cover up the piano hinges and I couldn’t decide what to cover the tufting washers/screws with, I opted to embrace the metal and so the aluminum reading lamps were a perfect complement to the other aluminum-colored hardware.

DIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comTruth be told, my husband has only used the folding headboard in the fully extended position when he was really stuffy.  I, on the other hand, fold down the headboard into the sitting position almost every day.

DIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comBecause they are two separate sections, it makes it easy for each of us to customize our side to our preference.


DIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comDIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comDIY Folding Headboard. Before3pm.comMy kids absolutely love it, too!DIY Folding Headboard.
I cannot tell you how glad I am that this project is *finally* done.  Even though I have been using it for the last 6 months, the fact that it was unfinished was hanging over my head and it is a relief to check this one off the list!

For a blog post about my bedroom curtains, click here.




6 Thoughts on “DIY Folding Headboard

  1. Rachel, you’re an absolute genius!

  2. YOu are brilliant and this is unreal.

  3. Cassandra on July 17, 2019 at 1:44 am said:

    Rachel- this is amazing! I have seen beds that have a slanted headboard like this, and I thought of how nice it would be to lay in bed with that angle. I also love padded, upholstered headboards-especially for the opportunity to coordinate fabrics and such. Question: for the last/top panel (the one that is horizontal when unfolded and in place): how does it stay in place? Does it just push all the way back to the wall and brace itself?

    • Rachel on July 17, 2019 at 9:07 am said:

      Cassie, the way it’s currently working, the safety latch is on the second panel. By that, I mean when it’s fully unbent, there are three panels. The second panel is where the safety latch is, which means that third panel, the one that is horizontal when it is deployed in a triangular fashion, hangs there by the hinges only. As with a lot of projects that are a one-time thing, going back, I might change some things. I did the best I could after I realize that my original padding idea was not going to work. That said, I do absolutely love this headboard and seriously unfold it almost every night when I’m sitting in bed.

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