This $60 DIY Headboard Is a Surprisingly Chic Upgrade for My Dorm Bed
Nothing elevates a boring bed quite like a pretty headboard. However, headboards can be very expensive, and my tight college-student budget does not include room for a $100-plus purchase like that. But I wasn’t going to let a little thing like money stand in my way of turning my blank, bland dorm room into a stylish sanctuary!
I got the idea to create my own headboard from TikToker @shchku, who posted a video of their own DIY headboard-creation journey following inspo they got from Pinterest. When I saw how easy the steps looked in the video — and realized I could do it all for under $60 — I knew I had to create my own version of the headboard I’d seen in the video, writing out the steps in full as I went along. The best part? The headboard is made out of a surprising material: pool noodles! You’d never guess it, as they’re covered by fabric, but what a fun conversation piece, right?
To make the headboard, I used measurements for my dorm room’s twin-size bed, but you can make this headboard for any size bed as long as you adjust the dimensions and amount of materials you purchase.
Here’s what I bought.
And here’s a step-by-step guide to how to put it together, inspired by the steps in @shchku’s video.
1. Start by making sure your plywood board is cut to fit the measurements of your bed. I used the measurements (40.5″ W x 22.5″ H) for my twin-size bed and had my board cut at Home Depot, but you can go to any hardware store.
2. Measure your pool noodles against your plywood board and cut your noodles to roughly the same height as your plywood board. To get all of your noodles to about the same size, I recommend taping them all together, then marking the cut-off point with a marker.
You can use either scissors or a knife to cut each pool noodle. For a clean slice, I used a standard kitchen knife first and then went in with scissors to smooth off any rough edges. If some of your noodles end up too short, you can use some extra leftover pieces and glue them together to get to your desired length.
3. Once all your noodles are cut to the right length, slice each noodle in half lengthwise (aka hot-dog style), so you create a flat surface for each noodle that can easily stick to your board. In total, you should have around 18 noodles for a twin headboard.
4. Apply the flat side of your first noodle to the board using the hot glue gun, ensuring its long edge is flush with the vertical edge of one side of the board. As you stick it onto the board, be sure to hold the noodle in place for five to 10 seconds each to ensure the glue dries.
5. At this point, you should trim your fabric to allow about 10 inches of extra fabric beyond each side of the borders of the plywood board. This will help with the folding process later on. (Trust me, I skipped over this step and it resulted in unnecessary extra work at the end.)
6. Staple the edge of your fabric along one side on the backside of your plywood board. If your fabric is one-sided, be sure the side you want shown is stapled facing out, so that when you wrap it around your board, you’ll see the correct side of your fabric.
7. Apply the spray adhesive to your first pool noodle and then stretch the fabric over it. Pull the fabric tightly over the noodle until it’s snug.
Tip: The spray adhesive is optional, but it helps keep the fabric from wrinkling up over the noodles.
8. Once the fabric is in place, staple it to the board along the length of the noodle, so that it’s secured tightly across the noodle.
9. Repeat steps 4 to 8 with all your noodles lined up side by side until you’ve covered the whole plywood board.
Tip: Take your time with this step! Ensure your fabric is tightly wrapped across each noodle before you staple it onto the board. Once you get the hang of the first few noodles, the rest are easy to do! You can also have someone help you with this step by holding the fabric in place while you staple it.
10. Once your plywood board is fully covered with noodles and your fabric, wrap the remaining fabric around the back of the plywood and secure it with staples.
This was by far the most tedious part of this DIY. When it comes to folding the excess fabric on the top and bottom of your board, you need to fold the fabric one pool noodle at a time in order to make the folds look neat. Just be patient! If at any point you don’t like how the folds look, you can always remove and re-staple the fabric. I did this multiple times.
11. Finally, add several Command strips to the back of your newly created headboard (you’ll want to weigh your finished product to see how many strips you’ll need to hold it up and keep it attached to your wall). Place the headboard against the wall, behind your bed, just like where a headboard would go. Push the headboard onto the wall and hold it in place for 30 seconds to ensure it stays.
TBH, the finished product was way better than I expected, and I was surprised by how easy this was to complete all on my own in just a day. It was hard to imagine pool noodles as a chic headboard, but it totally works, and knowing that I created this piece makes me love it even more. The coziness the headboard adds to my space is exactly the vibe I want to bring to my home away from home.