Easy Dorm Room Headboard Tutorial

I recently made headboards for my daughter's dorm room bed in her sorority house.  This is a super-easy project.

While I was at the fabric store, I kept texting her cute fabric swatches like these....

but she and her roomie wanted something less 'flashy.'   So they went with gray. 
I know some of you are thinking "how many dorm rooms can this child have?"  Will she stay in school forever? Well, she is actually just starting her Junior year. You will remember her first dorm room and the frat house room we turned into a girl's room.  She then interned for a semester and is now living in the sorority house for the summer. Whew. She keeps me hopping.

With this sorority house room, we decided to leave the pink walls the same color because she is only here for summer and we are tired of painting.  So we had to work around pale pink. Which is not always easy.  Before I get ahead of myself, here is the all-too-common 'Before' photo of her standard-issue bed and room, pink walls and all....

Most of the dorm beds on college campuses across the country are very similar.  This headboard was VERY easy to create.  We simply used plywood, quilt batting, fabric, and a staple gun. Nothing else!  

Dorm Headboard Tutorial

Items you will need:
Quilt Batting
Cute fabric of your choice
Staple Gun

First, measure the width between the two railings and add two inches.  

The board essentially rests on the two metal beams that hold the mattress....

I cannot stress enough - be sure and add a couple of inches to your measurement, or you will have a headboard that slips between the rails like this....

I made that photo for all the visual learners out there! We chose to make the headboard 30" in height. You could go taller or shorter - completely up to your preference.    

Step 2:  Politely ask the nice man at Home Depot or Lowe's to cut the plywood to the size you need (in our case 30"x42").  One piece of plywood is approximately $12 and will easily cut two headboards, but probably not three. The nice people at Home Depot or Lowe's will cut the plywood free of charge. Plus, you can then fit the plywood into your car because it will be a manageable size.

Step 3:  Cover one side of the plywood and every edge of the plywood with the batting.  Try to fold it several times and layer it evenly and as thick as you can get it - then staple on the back side....

We actually bought the thickest bag of batting we could find at Wal-Mart.  We used one bag per headboard. 

Step 4: Measure out your fabric so that the fabric can cover every edge of the board and cover all of the batting.  The fabric will need to reach around the edges about 2 or 3 inches. Pull the fabric taught (but not too taught) and staple the fabric on the back side, just like you did the batting.

(photo of daughter posing while mom works)

(The front will be pretty and the back will be staples and wood and fabric edges. I would show you a photo, but I didn't take one.)  You are done!  These do not need to be adhered to the bed in any way. They simply slip onto the metal bars and the real wooden headboard and the mattress keep the new cute headboard in place.


Rustown Mom said…
Very nice - I might do this for my daughter's bed at the new apt. Her bed only has a frame, but if we get light enough plywood, we could hang it on the wall behind the bed...hmmm....
Unknown said…
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Unknown said…
Your daughter's headboard looks great! Thank you for the tutorial!

I found you on Brag About It Party. I hope you're having a wonderful week!

Very cute! What a simple and fun way to personalize a dorm room.
Anonymous said…
LOVE LOVE LOVE the makeover!

Thanks for linking up with us this week at BeBetsy BRAG ABOUT IT Tuesday Link and Hop.

See you soon!
Sharon and Denise
Stampin' VMG206 said…
Awesome project! I love all your fabric swatches ~ but the grey is really pretty, too.
I'm visiting today from House of Hepworths. I hope you get the chance to visit my blog, linkup and and leave a comment, too!
~ Megin of VMG206
Join me each Tuesday for Brag About It Link Party
Join me Saturday at 5pm Central for DIY Showcase Link Party
Kim said…
Wow!! So we are a few years away from this, but what a super idea! What a great way to personalize and warm up a cookie cutter dorm room! I am going to pin this and keep it safe! Thanks!
Oh my, I so wish I had thought of putting something like this in my dorm rooms in college! So fun :) Saw you at House of Hepworths!
Unknown said…
It looks beautiful - and all those pillows are fabulous!
Coming by via Common Ground
Aleks said…
Cute idea!! I love the fabric!
You have a very lucky daughter! Nice job on the headboard!
My "baby" is going off to college in a year. Your tutorial is easy to follow and turned out lovely. I'd love if you'd come share it at Inspire Us Thursday at Organized 31. http://organized31.blogspot.com/2013/06/inspire-us-thursday-link-party-3.html
This is such a fabulous idea!! And the fabrics you found are gorgeous! We'll be featuring this over at Someday Crafts tomorrow :)
Simply LKJ said…
What a fabulous idea! Our daughter is moving this year from the dorms to a duplex, so she will have a regular bed, but I need to share this with my girlfriends who have daughters living in the dorms next fall.
Petty clever, and a nice homey touch! Lucky daughter!
Jalene said…
this is so cute and such a cute idea, wish I had thought of this when I was in college and had those same beds!!!

found you on remodelaholic!

Stampin' VMG206 said…
I wanted to let you know that I loved this project! You Were Featured on VMG206 ~ Brag About It Tuesday's Linky Party from last week! Stop by and grab a Feature Button and Link something new.
I have pinned your project to my Brag About It Features Pinterest Board. I can't wait to see what you've been working on this week!

~ Megin of VMG206

DIYbyDesign said…
Great idea. I will be featuring this tonight at my Sizzle into Summer party that opens at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up an I've Been Featured button. Thanks.
Roeshel said…
Genius! What a great idea and her's looks beautiful! Love it!
Unknown said…
What a great addition to her room! And a great tutorial!

Thanks for sharing at the Remodelaholic weekend party!

Lorene and Cassity from Remodelaholic
tjs said…
That is GREAT! I will be attending college this year and can't wait to start decorating! Would you explain how you/your daughter did the curtain for under the bed?
Nic Sweet said…
Your idea is great, a creative bed headboard for dorm rooms. I wish I had such an idea when I was a student living in the dorm. It looks nice, aside from being so useful, it enhances the atmosphere of the boring dorm rooms.
Unknown said…
Thanks so much for sharing this great idea! I'm going off to college soon and I just got all the materials I need for the headboard. I'm so excited, I can't wait to see how it turns out! :)