Mama Tweedle:
How to Recover a Fabric Headboard

October 12, 2012

We often have guests who sleep in the loft over our garage, where I keep two single beds. One of the beds had an old headboard covered with blue fabric that was getting dirty, and the other bed had no headboard at all. The other day, I was offered a free headboard that was on its way to the dump. It was hideous, covered with torn plastic, but it was exactly the same size and shape as the other headboard I had. 

I went searching through my fabric trunk, which is filled with lengths of fabric, and found a big chunk of beige linen that I purchased to sew into a dress many years ago. The dress never got made, and never will. Although the fabric was a little light to use for upholstery, I thought it might work if I doubled it. 

The fabric was 60 inches wide, plenty wide enough to cover the headboard across. I measured the depth of the headboard (20 inches), added 5 inches on the top and the bottom for stapling, and doubled it. I then used the weave of the fabric to cut along the straight grain. 

When I was finished, I had a piece of fabric 60 inches wide and 60 inches deep, which I folded evenly in half.

I laid the headboard face-down so the fabric was quite evenly distributed all the way around.

Then my husband helped me staple it. You need two people for this, because you have to pull the fabric as tight as you can with both hands. We stapled across the bottom first, then up the sides, and finished with the most difficult part, the curved top edge. When we got to the legs, I folded over the edge of the fabric and wrapped them. 

When we finished there was a lot of excess fabric. I could have trimmed it, but I didn’t want to cut off the selvedge (finished) edge in case the thread frayed even more, so I just left it.

The back looks pretty awful, but it doesn’t matter because both backs will be up against a wall so they will never be seen.

Best of all, the whole project including both headboards took less than an hour. And it cost me nothing, except that I spent about ten dollars on my secret weapon – Scotchguard.

I took the headboards onto the deck and gave them each two light coats of Scotchguard. In recent years, there has been some controversy about the safety of emissions from this spray, which creates a stain-resistant seal. Scotchguard has modified its formula so that it is much safer now. And I guarantee that your fabric armchairs, the cushions on your couch, even your drapes will resist grimy fingerprints for years to come.
The headboards dried in the bright fall sunshine all afternoon.

When Miss Tweedle came over the next day, they were ready to install. The best part is that if they get worn, or I get tired of them, I’ll just find some new fabric and do it all over again!

Tweedle Tip: Spray Scotchguard on anything fabric that you would like to protect. Throw pillows and couches especially last longer when sprayed with this stuff!



  1. This is great and very easy to follow! I can't believe they sell ScotchGuard in a spray can. Best tip ever!! Super Cute Blog, I'm excited to follow along!

  2. I love this. I need to make one in a bit so this will be a good guide.


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