1. I measured the inside of the mantel piece (where the fireplace would be), and then took the measurements to the hardware store to buy a board that I could use as my insert. I tacked on an extra 1 ½ inches to each side so that I’d have enough space to secure the board to the mantel. For price and sturdiness purposes, I used non-formaldehyde containing OSB board—big mistake! The OSB had an awful chemically smell that only goes away with time. I probably should have used plywood reinforced with a frame of 2x4s.
2. I cut a piece of upholstery foam that was the same dimensions as the inside of the mantel (not the board insert), and attached it to the board with spray adhesive.
3. I lay a sheet of painter’s canvas drop cloth (instead of fabric) on the floor, and put the insert foam side down on top of it. 4. I cut the canvas about 4 inches wider than the board. 5. Starting at the top of the board, I pulled the canvas just tight enough so that it was taught but not puckering, and secured it to the back of the board (the non-foam side) with a staple gun. 6. Once the cloth was secured in place, I flipped the board around and mapped out a grid for where I wanted the upholstery nails (a.k.a. nail head) to be. 7. I used a hammer to pound the upholstery nails in, creating a tufted look. 8. I painted the inner trim of the headboard to match the upholstery nails.
9. I placed the mantel facedown on the ground, backed it with the upholstered board, and used 7 wood screws (1 in each of the 4 corners and 1 in the middle of each of the 3 sides of the mantel) to connect the upholstered board to the mantelpiece. 10. I secured the mantel to the wall with L-brackets painted the same color as the mantel.
Total time: about 2 hours Total cost: $65 As with a fireplace mantel, a mantel headboard gives you an extra place to play with arrangements--just be sure to secure heavy objects to the wall! Resources: Home Depot: OSB board, screws, upholstery nails, drop cloth, L-brackets, staple gun.Jo-Ann Fabrics: upholstery foam, spray adhesive. (Images: left side of 1: Traditional Home, right side of 1: Domino, 2-6: Leah Moss)