From plain IKEA Fjellse bed to dreamy princess bed!

IKEA items used: Fjellse bed frame

We wanted a sweet girly princess bed for our daughter’s new “big girl room” but I could not find the bed I envisioned. Anything that was close to what I had in mind was quite pricey and I was not interested in paying a lofty price tag for something that was sort-of-kinda what I wanted. I took to the Internet to see what others had created and how.

I found many DIY headboard references online but I found this example from the blog “All Things Campbell” to be the most helpful and closest to what we were trying to achieve:

These are the steps we took to achieve our desired result

We built the IKEA Fjellse bed according to the Ikea instructions. We chose to get a double size bed for our toddler’s “big girl bed”.


We had purchased a 3/4 inch thick piece of plywood from Home Depot. Before we brought it home, we had Home Depot cut the plywood to the exact width of the bed frame.

Once home, we positioned the plywood at the headboard on the bed frame to figure out how high we wanted the finished plywood headboard to be.

We then laid the plywood on the floor to start working on the shape of the headboard. We first took a large bowl from our kitchen and using a pencil traced a large half circle at the centre top of the plywood that would end up being the highest peak of our headboard design.

I showed my husband some photos of headboards I had found on Pinterest to show him the look I was aiming for. He then took the pencil and sketched the rest of half of the headboard design on the plywood free hand. We reworked his original sketch until we were happy with it.

We laid a large piece of paper over the half design and traced it and cut it out. We took this half design cut out, flipped it over and used it to trace the other half of the design thus ensuring that both sides were exact mirror images.

DIY princess bed headboard


My husband used a Jig Saw to cut the plywood along our penciled design sketch to achieve our desired shape.

We had some extra plywood and we decided to double the thickness of the plywood headboard that came up above the original Fjellse headboard. We did this to avoid having the bottom half of the headboard appear thicker than the top half from the side (profile) angle.

After tracing the top portion of our new plywood headboard on to the extra plywood (note that we also measured to see how much we needed for this second piece to attach to the back of our plywood headboard so it rested at the top of the Fjellse headboard) my husband used the Jig Saw to cut out this second “layer” for the top half of the headboard.

We then put the now shaped plywood where it would be positioned as the headboard (in front of the original Fjellse headboard). We used a drill to screw our plywood headboard to the Fjellse headboard until we were satisfied that our headboard was secure.

We then screwed the extra top half of plywood to the back of the headboard.

DIY princess bed headboard

Screw headboard to FJELLSE bed frame


I had purchased quilt batting and a foam topper from Walmart. I decided to use a foam topper instead of a piece of foam because it seemed to be less expensive and thicker than foam.

We held the foam up against the headboard and put the mattress back on the bed to ensure that the mattress would still fit once we added the foam, batting and fabric. It was tight but seemed to be fine (otherwise we would have trimmed the foam to the top of the mattress – in our case we were able to bring the foam down to the bottom of the mattress).

We then traced the headboard on to the foam topper adding an extra few inches so we could wrap the foam around the top and sides of the headboard and staple the foam to the back of the headboard. Note that when the foam topper was actually affixed to the headboard it was positioned with the egg crate side against the plywood headboard. But for the purpose of tracing we flipped the foam topper so the flat side was against the plywood and we stood behind the bed to trace.

We cut the foam topper to the shape of the headboard using our trace marks again adding a smudge knowing we could always trim access foam once it was stapled to the headboard.

We then flipped the foam topper so the egg crate side would be against the plywood. We applied hot glue with our glue gun to the plywood headboard and pushed the foam topper in place against the plywood. We then pulled the excess foam over the top and sides of the plywood and stapled the foam to the back of the headboard using our staple gun.

Outline foam batting for headboard

Tuck and staple

I folded the batting in half so I would get double the batting thickness and positioned it against the foam pulling the excess batting over the top and sides of the headboard and stapled it to the back of the headboard. I trimmed any lengthy extra foam and batting from the back with scissors.

Padded headboard

I then positioned the chosen fabric over the headboard to get a better idea of the final look before I started stapling it into place. Unfortunately, when I saw the fabric on the headboard I realized I was not completely in love with the fabric I had purchased. Yikes!!!!! I was annoyed because I wanted to finish the project that day BUT I decided to stop there to see if I could find fabric that was just perfect. A few days later I found that fabric. Hooray!

I positioned the fabric against the batting and as I had done with the foam and batting, I pulled the excess over the top and sides and stapled it to the back. I started by putting a few preliminary staples at the top, bottom and sides of the headboard to hold it in place while I worked pulling and stapling the fabric smooth. It took some time to get the curved parts of the headboard smooth and without creases or folds. To achieve this, after I pulled the piece of fabric taught and put in a preliminary staple to hold it in place, I cut the surrounding excess fabric into strips. This gave me better control of the fabric when pulling it tight around the curves and bumps. In some areas I pulled out staples and reworked the fabric pulling and smoothing until I had it smooth and secured tightly.

Tuck and staple fabric over headboard

The finished bed would ultimately have a bed skirt so I did not bother covering the side rails in foam, batting and fabric. However, to make the side rails a little more comfortable to lean against, I stapled extra batting over one side of the side rails as well as the footboard end (the other side will always be against the wall so I didn’t bother).

And voilà, our princess bed was complete! All in all the project was easy and could be done in a day.

Princess bed done!

From plain IKEA Fjellse bed to dreamy princess bed!

From plain IKEA Fjellse bed to dreamy princess bed!

From plain IKEA Fjellse bed to dreamy princess bed!

~ Vanessa Arsenault