...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Ya’ll know that I’m working ever so sloooowly on (what will be) the boys’ shared bedroom.  And I’m doing it on a budget.  A few key elements (i.e., a twin platform bed, a twin mattress and a reading chair) have pretty much eaten up the budget, so everything else (i.e., textiles, storage and artwork) will be done on the cheap.  From the get-go, I wanted to DIY matching upholstered headboards for the boys’ beds.  While picking up a few painting supplies from Lowe’s (for a project to come!), I happened to pull a double take in the dropcloth section.  I was struck by how much the dropcloth material resembled linen fabric.  And then it dawned on me!  For less than $10, I could use a canvas dropcloth as my headboard fabric.  I quickly added a 6’x9′ dropcloth to my shopping cart.  A few days later, I picked up some batting from JoAnn Fabric and the stars were aligned that day.  All packaged batting was 50% off.  I bought 1 bag of batting for $7.  I had Handy Hubby cut 2 identical pieces of OSB from a leftover stash we had on hand.  But how, do you ask, did I determine what size to make them?  Good question.  I have a good answer.  I stuck painter’s tape up on the wall above the twin beds until I found the height and width I liked.  Then I simply measured ’em and gave the numbers to Handy Hubby who cranked out 2 headboard bases in 10 minutes.

With my supplies in tow (and my boys at the pool with Handy Hubby), I set to work bringing new life to a canvas dropcloth.

My supplies included: a washed canvas dropcloth (mine was 6’x9′ but shrunk to a little larger than 5’x8′ after washing it), 1 bag of batting, a heavy duty stapler, staples, fabric scissors and my OSB headboard bases.  First, I laid the OSB on top of the batting and cut the batting along the perimeter leaving several inches on all sides.

I pulled the batting taut – working back and forth on opposite sides – all the way around and stapled it to the back of the OSB.  I would like to see a video of me doing this in fast forward.  I’m pretty sure I’d look like an amateur wrestler on the mat.  It makes for a lot of squatting and hopping.

Then it was time to add my fabric (a.k.a. dropcloth) on top of the batting using the same procedure.  The dropcloth I used had a seam straight down the middle of it.  I decided to make that the center of each headboard and measured accordingly.  (My headboards were 40″ wide, so I made sure the center seams fell at the 20″ mark on both the tops and bottoms of the headboards.)

I simply cut off the excess batting and dropcloth material.

I turned the whole thing over and VOILA! 

A totally easy, cheap and kid-friendly headboard.  Or, shall I say, headboardS.  I just repeated the whole process over for my second headboard.  A few close ups…

Sorry, but you’ll have to wait to see them hung in the boys’ bedroom…I’m getting there!  I just love the way this project turned out.  I’ve never made a headboard before but have always wanted to try.  On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most difficult, this was probably a 2 or 3.  It’s easy, I’m telling you.  I like the way the canvas has a worn linen look to it.  If I were to do an adult’s bedroom (say, our master bedroom for example), I probably would have used more layers of batting to get a plusher look.  The single layer is perfect for a kid’s room though and perfect for my dwindling budget.  My favorite part is the seam…which was a total surprise!  I couldn’t tell from the packaging that the dropcloth would have a seam smack dab in the middle.  But it worked out in the end.  All for $16…for 2 headboards.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of The Ugly Duckling where I rescue another dropcloth (or 2) from becoming a painter’s catchall.



They look great! I can just imagine how they would look if you decided to use some fabric paint on them…


Sheryl J – Well, you’ll just have to wait and see!

[…] of a canvas dropcloth into matching twin headboards turned out nice enough that I looked to the dropcloth fabric again when I found myself at a loss […]

[…] painted) green letters in the center to act as monograms.  The twin headboards I DIY’d here.  The patterned duvet cover is from IKEA and I found the geometric lumbar pillows at HomeGoods.  […]


How much did this project cost? Was the plywood expensive?


Carshena – We had the plywood in our garage leftover from a project done years ago. The canvas dropcloth was about $10. We own a staple gun and staples, so the project was only $10!