Easy Pillow Headboard DIY by The Ace Hotel – Step by Step Guide!

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DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

Remember when we shared our first look into our guest room? Well, a few things have happened since then. First, we have pinned about a hundred different side lights, but haven’t actually picked any of them yet. I keep trying…really hard, but I back out seconds before hitting the order button. I guess this means I haven’t found my lighting soulmate yet, and I will just have to wait for them to find me. We did had luck on some of the other fixtures for the house, but more on those in a future post. We chose side tables, those cute little wood stools that are dipped white, for about $50 a piece…cannot beat that. As this is a space for guests and no storage is needed we felt like it was really fun and useful. The biggest update was the headboard we built and will share with you just how we did it.


DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

Our dream for the guest bedroom was to bring inspiration from our favorite places we have traveled and hotels we have stayed at. One of these places is the Ace Hotel. These hotels are the perfect oasis in the cities they reside in. Although we have not been to the Ace in Portland, we have been to the New York, LA, and Palm Springs hotels and we have always loved the softy/pillow-like headboards. We love the headboards in Palm Springs, but love the army color in the Portland hotel. We want the guest room to feel like hotel room, remember us saying that? Well, this is our way of making that happen.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

We looked all over for a DIY on building a similar Ace hotel headboard and we found pretty great ideas, but nothing that matched what we had in our heads. So, we took it as a challenge and have created our first home DIY. We have been planning this headboard since the end of December and this last weekend we finally conquered it. It took a lot of planning, some math, a lot of sketching, and a few fights. After 5 pages of sketches, a lot of measuring, hours spent hunting for the right color canvas online, and a very friendly man at Home Depot we finally gathered everything we needed.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

Materials Needed For Pillow Headboard DIY

I also need to preface, by nature we are not crafty people. There is a reason I have not shown many DIY’s and felt a little scared to share this, but when it came out just as we imagined we knew there would be others who would want to recreate something similar, or even use the frame as a great base for another look they wanted.

So let’s dive in and make this headboard together because I am excited to see some examples of how you may make this happen in your own home.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

What you need:

1 – 5’x7′ Army canvas – we purchased our’s here and it took about 2 weeks to receive
1 – Drill with a drill bit that is larger than 1/4in
1 – Hammer
1 – Heavy Duty Hand Stapler and lots of staples
1 – West Elm Simple Low Bed frame Queen size (we priced it out and when they are on sale, they are cheaper and better quality than IKEA, and VERY easy to assemble)
1 – 38″x62″ plywood*
2 – 2×4 pieces cut to 62″*
5 – 2×4 pieces cut to 35″*
2 – L shaped Braces
20 –  2″ wood screws
1 – can of craft spray adhesive
1 – bottle of basic wood glue
1 – Queen Size Cotton Batting

* Note: Home Depot or Lowe’s will cut the wood for you at no additional cost. If you tell them EXACTLY what you need. This list will be very helpful for making that simple especially if you are not someone who likes using saws, like me. 

How to Make a Pillow Headboard – Easy Steps to Follow!

Here is our step by step for creating the headboard:

1. Begin by laying the plywood flat on the ground. We had our’s on a drop cloth in order to protect the floors. Place the boards in their proper place.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

2. Start by screwing the frame of together. This means the 2 62″ boards to 2 of the 35″ boards. We also place wood glue where they met before screwed each board to help add stability to the structure.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

3. Once you have the outer part of the frame, lay the frame down on the plywood. Align it on the edges of the plywood as a guide to make sure you squared up properly. Now, you will add the middle brace. Make sure it stands similarly to other 35″ boards you have on the shorter sides. Repeat the same gluing and drilling process as you did with the other boards. At this point nothing should be attached to the plywood.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

4. Take the 2 L braces and place them on the base of the frame that will be sitting on the ground. Place one on either side of each other and staggered so the screws will not run into each other when drilled in.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

5. Now, that the middle brace is in place and secure, you want to once again align the frame to the plywood. You will want to lay the 2 other 35″ boards flat against the plywood. These should go right to the corners on opposite sides of the frame from each other on the sides that have the other 35″ boards. Repeat the same gluing and drilling process once again.

6. You now should have the frame built for the headboard. This will be the structure that will keep the board sturdy and have the structure you want.

7. At this point pull the plywood away from the work area. You will need to flip the frame over so the boards you place last that were face down to the plywood are now facing up. You will not begin to outline the whole frame with wood glue.

8. Now, grab the plywood sheet with a partner and place on to the frame. Make sure it is lined up properly and the edges meet as closely as possible. Once you are aligned you can drill the plywood to the frame.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

9. Flip it up and give yourself a high-five because you just built a frame. Now the fun begins!

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

10. Have the frame down with the plywood facing up. Spray a good coat of craft glue onto the plywood and then lay the batting equally on top of the frame. It should more than cover the surface and sides.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

11. Flip the frame over while holding the batting in place. Slowly you will begin to tuck the batting around the inside edges of the frame. See the picture for full idea. As you go around, pull it taunt, tuck it, staple, and cut off any excess. When you reach a corner fold it as neatly and smoothly as possible. Repeat this process till the full headboard is covered with the batting.


12. Now, remove the frame from the work station and place it with the canvas laid out flat so you now cover it with the final piece. Make sure the frame is in the center on both sides of the canvas. You should have a perfect amount for tucking and stapling.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

13. Repeat the same process as you did on the batting, except be even more conscious and careful to keep clean and smooth lines. This will be seen and will be the end product.

14. For the corners see the picture for how to finish it nice and smoothly in a no-need-to-sew-kind-of-way. This was courtesy of Mike by the way.

DIY Head board inspired by Ace Hotel | The Fresh Exchange

15. Once you have repeated the process all around the edges you should be able to lift and move the headboard into place. We slipped it right behind the bed and tightly scooted the bed up against it. You can attach it if you desire, we had trouble since our floors are slightly uneven, but it could easily be attached.

16. Now your guest room is instagram ready and it should feel a little bit like your favorite hotel. The perfect project for the non-saw user and the non-sewer.

Honestly, I couldn’t be happier about how it turned out. Next we will be choosing lights, artwork, and all the final pieces including a rug and bedding. However the headboard was the piece we needed to ground the room enough to feel as if we know how the finished space will look.

– This was designed for a queen size bed. The mattress is a 10″ memory foam mattress from Tuft & Needle with no box spring. The West Elm bed has slats to bring air to the mattress properly. 

Get the look of the pieces in our guest room:
Dipped Stools from Serena and Lily
“Find Your Wild” Bunting from Oh Albatross
Pillow from Galen Unique (though we are going be replacing it in this room)
Linen Bedding from Ikea
Flower Pot from Nate Berkus Target Collection (no longer available)

If this made you want to create your very own pillow headboard DIY, consider checking out some of our other DIY projects.

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