“Leather” Headboard, Repurposed Art and More

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I am a big believer that your environment has an affect on you. It is always nice to have a calm space to go to. Especially one that reflects you. My son’s room was not a calm space…but sometimes, I do think it reflected him! He is a smart kid, good athlete, loves music, art and good books. On the other hand, he can be forgetful, careless and definitely messy!! His room looked like the room of a forgetful, careless and messy person. I wanted to flip it around to bring out the best in him.

My husband says I tend to be attracted to the most expensive item in a store. Maybe, but I don’t buy the most expensive item in a store.  I am super thrifty. There was a time in my life that I literally had to count the change in my car for gas and pray that I could make it until payday. I lived very tight and had zero room for splurges of any kind. Even during that time, my apartment was always decorated cute and my son and I always looked nice. Neatness counts and accessories always help. Same goes for your home. Back then, creativity was my saving grace. Over the years I have taught myself a lot. Cooking, sewing, up-cycling, re-cycling and thrift shop hunting. When you can’t afford restaurants, new clothes, or furniture you figure it out. Lucky for me, I actually loved (and still love)  doing those things. The feeling at the end of a transformation, is incredible.  To see your vision become a reality is so satisfying. NOTHING feels better then the fruits of hard work. Nothing.

I wanted to re-do my son’s mess of a room. I loved the look of a leather headboard. The best price I found for one was $1,300. No way. I have made a few headboards before and felt pretty confident I could make one myself. I desperately need more tools and am often going to  my neighbor for special cuts of wood or to borrow tools. I think he has started to pull the blinds when he sees me heading his way. He has always been super helpful, but I did not want to bother him again. I wanted to make this as simple as possible.

First, I measured the bedframe to determine my measurements for the headboard. I wanted a piece of wood cut 57.5” X 35”. I know that Lowe’s Home Improvement Store will be able to cut this for me. Simple straight lines. The staff at my local Lowe’s store is always super helpful with my crazy projects. I have learned from past projects not to go with the cheapest plyboard. You want something that is light enough to work with but will stay firm and not bow when you mount it on the wall or add legs to it. I use the blondewood plywood hardwood and it cost about $35.00 give or take a few bucks.

It is light and smooth. It doesn’t bow and is easy to nail. Since the wood is so light and smooth, I can use the scraps for artwork and nothing is wasted.



Leaving Lowe’s with the goods.


I wanted the headboard to be a little “fluffier” than the ones I have made before. I have used mattress foam in the past as the foam for my headboards. It is so much cheaper then buying craft foam. However, I have also used this “Soft and Crafty Nu-foam” before to make some cushions. This was the better choice for this “leather” headboard considering I also wanted to create some tufting with leather buttons.  I separated it into layers and pieced it over the board.



 I used imitation leather instead of the real deal. I found a fantastic “pleather” at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store. It was exactly what I had envisioned. I like the look of nailhead with the “leather.” Jo-Ann’s also sells these nailhead strips.


nailhead image

They are so easy to use and actually helpful when trying to keep your lines straight. Another benefit is, you don’t have to nail every one in. Its about every 4th nail instead. It saves your arm a lot of extra work!

I purchased the foam, the pleather, buttons, and the nailhead strips from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store.  The foam was $17.99 each and I used two for $36.00, the pleather was $7.99 a yard and I used 2 yards so $16.00, the buttons were $3.00 for two and I used 4 so $6.00, and the nailhead was $21.99. Total of $79.99 and the $30.00 for the wood (plus extra scraps) totaling $109.99. These are the base prices without coupons. I used every coupon I could find and actually paid a lot less like around $45.00 . Always look for coupons! (Making my cost total around $82.00 total.)

I got started right away. Here are the steps broken down.

1-I measured and drilled 4 holes for my future buttons.


2-I cut the foam and pieced it onto the headboard to make sure I had enough and it was even. Tip: Make sure you leave about an inch around the sides and top to nail the nailhead in later.

3-I picked the foam up in sections and sprayed the adhesive then laid it back down. I was afraid to mess up what I had pieced together. If you are using one big piece of foam you can spray adhesive all over the board and then lay your foam down.

4-Lay your board on the leather fabric with the ugly side up and the foam side down.

5-Trim the access fabric. Tip: Make sure you leave enough to pull the fabric tight around to the back to staple it. Also, when I have made fabric headboards, I used another piece of fabric first to smooth out the headboard before placing my final fabric on top. With this heavy pleather fabric, that step was not necessary.


I then flipped it over and starting pulling it tight to staple


6-Pull the fabric tight and start to staple. YOU MUST USE AN UPHOLSTERY STAPLER!!!  Tip: You can also buy that at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store. This is a handy tool to have.

7- Once you have finished stapling, you can now start the buttons. I have made fabric covered buttons in the past. I did not want to attempt that with this thick fabric. I found these buttons at Jo-Ann’s.



Perfect!! I set the headboard up straight then used a long needle and very thin wire to push through my pre-drilled holes. Tip: I read where you can use wax string. I might try that next time. The wire is challenging to staple and hold tight when you get to step 8.

8- Once the button is in place, pull as tight as possible. I flipped it back down with the back up and pulled super tight while sitting on the board.  I used my upholstery stapler again to secure the wire and then a couple pieces of heavy duty duct tape. You will have to flip it back and forth while working on the buttons.




9-Finally, lay the headboard on the floor. Preferably not carpeted. Then start nailing the trim. You want it to be uniform, so start at one of the corners and work around.



I said “preferably not the carpet” then have a picture on the carpet. I moved it. Seriously, you want a hard surface.


10-You can mount it directly on the wall or mount legs to the headboard and hook it to your bed frame.



I have learned from past projects to size up the legs first on the frame, then mount the headboard by drilling holes in the back into the legs. My first headboard, I added the legs first and then they were off and I had to reset them to fit the frame.


The headboard is done. If I could have worked without taking a break, this would have probably taken a little more then 2 hours. So I made this for $82.00 (or $109.99 without coupons) and 2 hours of time vs. $1,300.  Biggest perk is that feeling of accomplishment.  You can’t buy that feeling!


The final product.


Next we painted the walls gray. I used this Valspar Paint in “Vintage Gray” from Lowe’s Home Improvement Store.



My handsome, athletic son was supposed to do this part. He would paint for a few minutes then take a break….then go somewhere…then check his phone….or whatever other distraction that pulled him from his task. He drove me nuts and I tried to hold my ground and refuse to pick up the slack. We started on a snow day and were trapped in here. Why not make good use of our time? I learned on this project that this  part of the business may not be his thing. Or that I am annoyingly driven when it comes to finishing a task.  Needless to say, I surrendered and painted the room. I did hold out for a few days but he broke me.

I then tackled his furniture. I bought this for him at a consignment store in Atlanta a few years ago. I donated the headboard before I took this picture. Sorry! Just picture 1970’s oak. It was passed down through several family members and ready to move out of this one!




It is heavy furniture and solid oak. I think that is one of the reasons I hesitated to paint it. However, considering it is nice quality, I can always strip it and stain it again someday.  I removed the hardware a few years ago and planned to replace it. The pulls were an odd size 4.5 inches. I had to custom order them and just did not want the hassle. I put knobs on the whole thing and it looked awful. For years it looked awful.

I removed all of the knobs again and had to pry off a decorative swirl from the front of one of the pieces. I also took down a very 80’s tri-fold mirror. It was also heavy solid oak, but even painting it would not update this style. I donated the mirror to Goodwill. I only sanded a few spots and then cleaned the furniture. I usually use hot soapy water, but this has been in our home and was pretty clean. I just had to wipe it down.

I painted the furniture with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Emperors Silk (Red). I love this bold red.



I have never used a paint roller on furniture before. I worried about wasting paint and not having control over my brush. What a fool I was! After waiting days for my son to finish the walls I was getting impatient with the room. I decided to using the paint roller to see if it would help get the job done faster.



Amazingly faster, easier, and better coverage. I used the paint roller then took a fat paint brush and smoothed it out. The fastest paint project ever. I also did not have to use a second coat. I just went back for a few touch ups.




After the paint dried, I used the Annie Sloan Clear Wax  to seal it. I rub the wax in with a wax brush and then buff like crazy using a soft t-shirt.


As I mentioned, the pulls were an odd size. I found pulls at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store that were exactly what I had in mind and they matched the knobs. These were 3 inch pulls but had these long edges on the end that would cover my previous holes. I made a template with an index card. I put dots where the old holes were and then centered with dots for my new holes.



The template helped.


I used this template card on every drawer that needed a pull. This makes the job a lot easier, consistent and ensures you will be covering the old hole on every drawer. I drilled the new holes in then added the hardware.  Done!



IMG_6350 Perfect!



Final product with scrap metal circular mirror.




I wish I had a better “before” picture. It is amazing how the hardware changes the look so much. Drilling the extra holes was worth it!

Finally, I added some accessories to the room. Again,  I waned to create a room that encourages all of his strengths. I asked him for a favorite quote and he quoted the “Carpe Diem” poem  written in 23 BC, by the Latin poet Horace. I decided to cut it down to just the phrase “Carpe Diem.”  I love to reuse, recycle, and repurpose things. I had some great blonde plywood left over from the headboard. My buddies at Lowe’s cut the scraps down for me when I had the headboard cut. I used these scraps for my artwork.


 I spray painted some spots first with gold and robin egg blue. I then used a variety of  FrogTape® Shape Tape™ painter’s tape from FrogTape.com.



This tape is amazing. I used to have to to create these shapes by hand or with an exacto knife and drafting tape. It never worked out like this. This tape also peels off easily and saves your artwork from being damaged. I laid down a variety of shapes in different directions to create a design. I then used Basics Acrylic Paint® in a variety of bold colors.



Phase 2.. Still working on the design.


After that dried, I went back and painted the “Carpe Diem” in white. When that dried, I mounted some sawtooth hooks on the back and then sprayed the art with a a high gloss sealant.




I added some accents like throw pillows, rug and replaced the old mirror with a circular scrap metal mirror. I used a variety of shapes and textures in this room and really love how it turned out.



Adding this rope rug provided a bit of rugged texture to the room. Side note; the rug was an unexpected necessity. I learned during the makeover that there was a giant ink stain on his carpet. He tried to clean it and made it much worse. Does anyone’s house survive teenage boys?


It feels very modern, relaxing and reflects his personality. Even better, it was minimal in cost. Just good old fashioned hard work.


IMG_6375photo 1








Find me on Homtalk.com





photo 2


I love getting feedback and questions. What do you think of this room?



Here is the real helper. The baby brother. He helped “decorate,” buy hardware, install hardware, clean, collect random coins from the floor and provided hours of entertainment.

American wife to this Indian life. I am a right-brained, American woman married to a left-brained Indian man. I love art, design, up-cycling and multiple DIY projects at the same time. He loves simplicity and order. Follow us on this cultural collision as I combine our personalities and cultural differences through art, design, food, and raising kids. When I am not working on a craft or project, I co-host a lifestyle/entertainment show called "Daytime Blue Ridge," on our local NBC affiliate, WSLS 10. www.DaytimeBlueRidge.com


  1. Karen

    March 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Love it Lindee….I agree…there is no better feeling than planning and completing these kind of projects!

    • Lindee Katdare

      March 16, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Thanks Birungi and Karen! Yes, Karen, that feeling can be addictive! I am running out of rooms in my house to create!

  2. Birungi Ives

    March 16, 2014 at 3:47 am

    I LOVE THIS!! Very Sophisticated transformation!

  3. Pingback: Nautical Room – The Lindee Tree

  4. Amy Hopersberger

    May 1, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    I made this today and it turned out just like your photo. Your directions were perfect-clear with all the right details. Thank you for the idea!

    • Lindee Katdare

      July 23, 2016 at 11:22 am

      Great!! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Lindee Katdare

      July 23, 2016 at 11:29 am

      Thank you for the feedback! I am so glad and would love to see a photo!

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