How to Update an RV Headboard for $10

An Inexpensive RV Headboard to Modernize your RV Interior

Those little RV headboards are so cute.  They serve no purpose whatsoever except decor but I think they are adorable so why not have one.  They do make the camper bed appear more homelike.    The original little headboard matched the other decor in the RV,  so I gave it a really quick and fast update for $10.  The money was spent on the vinyl fabric, the rest of the supplies were recycled from things we have at home.   I will talk about the way this headboard was made and then throw in some other ideas for materials you may have hanging around so you can use to keep your costs down.

This is the original headboard, it is so adorable, I love the girly curves with the camouflage-patterned material.   The headboard was mounted to the front wall of the holiday trailer with four three inch screws.  Why they used such large screws is beyond me, it certainly wouldn’t have moved while traveling.    After taking the headboard down I removed all the staples and saw it was made using very thin plywood, some stuffing along the edge and way too many staples.

Original RV headboard from a holiday trailer prior to receiving a new cover.

Whenever you create anything for an RV you need to be aware of adding extra weight.  This is even more true for our trailer as Hubs drives a half tonne and if I add weight he’s going to grab a 3/4 ton and I loathe big beast trucks.   Besides that, hauling the extra weight is expensive on gas, so I kept this headboard as light as possible.  Finished it weighs under 5 pounds.

RV Headboard Supplies

1/4 inch plywood  (leftover pegboard would work and you could tuft it)

Packing foam from an appliance delivery (or quilt batting,  foam sheeting, acoustic insulation)

Hot glue

Staple gun

Two metres of vinyl upholstery fabric ( I recommend buying this as you can wipe it clean when dusty)

We could have bought 1/2 metre less fabric, but I wasn’t exactly sure of the dimension until I got home and double confirmed.  It could have cost a bit less if I had planned better.

Look for what stuffing material you have available, I had the choice of using light insulation leftover from the valances I made for the master bedroom or some foam sponge, I finally decided on the foam sponges.   I measured the sponges and then used that as my dimensions.  (50″ by 36″)

Next is the backing to hold the attach the cushioning too.  The original headboard was done with very thin plywood and I was lucky enough to find a second scrap piece of 1/4 inch plywood wide enough to accommodate the width of the sponges.

I just had to show you all the staples in the back of the original headboard.  I wanted to show you that we can replace the covers and do just as good a job at the original factory workers did.

Back view of a RV headboard prior to receiving an RV interior, RV renovation,

To make the backing tall enough, I needed to use both pieces of foam, the backing from the original headboard and some new thin plywood.    Easy enough to do we used some scrap wood and made braces along the two sides and the middle.  Attaching them with screws.

Cross brace for holding two pieces of plywood together on a DIY RV headboard.

I  used some hot glue to attach the foam to the plywood.  I don’t really think you need to add the glue, but it made it easier to turn the headboard around until I got the fabric attached.

Attach the Fabric

Working on the side that will show, place your fabric to make sure your pattern is square and centered.  Fold over one edge. Working from the underside, place in a few staples. This will secure your fabric while you flip the headboard fabric good side down.

With the fabric side down staple along one long side first, then pull the opposite side tight, add some more staples.

Wrap the Sides

Folding in the ends of the headboard can be quite bulky and wrinkly.  To remove some of the wrinkles and bulk fold over the fabric over the top first and then staple it tightly in place.

Folding over the vinyl end on a RV headboard cover as part of an RV interior, RV renovation.

Once it’s stapled crease the upper edge and confirm where you must have fabric.  ( I was scared to cut the fabric and then find out I needed it.   Just make sure before you cut.) Then cut out a little rectangle of the excess fabric to reduce the bulk.

Removing the extra material to reduce bulk on a DIY RV headboard cover.

Make sure your side crease is neat then fold it over the top and staple.  Repeat on all four corners.

The creased edge of a DIY RV headboard cover as part of an RV interior, RV renovation.

Tuck in the ends and tidy up the corner.

Snug staples on a RV cover

Finish the RV Headboard

Once you have the fabric attached including the corners, work around your headboard making the fabric as tight as possible.  As the headboard is secure you can flip it good side towards you to check where you may want to make it tighter, then place it face down to staple it.  Repeat the process of pulling your vinyl as tightly as possible.

Once done trim off any excess vinyl as squarely as possible.  Folded under edges are not required if you use vinyl.

A new DIY RV headboard as part of an RV interior, RV renovation,.

Mounting the Headboard to the RV

It was really surprising to see the three-inch screws they had put in the original headboard.  The front of this headboard is clean so I didn’t want to reattach it to the wall using screws, especially three-inch ones.  Instead, I mounted it using L brackets.

L Brackets to hold the RV headboard in place.

Center the RV headboard where you want it.  Then place the L brackets on top of the wood ends of your headboard.  Mark the placement with a pencil.  Remove the RV headboard and screw the brackets into the wall.  Slide the headboard back under the brackets,  you may need to bend them upwards a little bit due to the angle of the front trailer wall.  Hubs had to help me with this part but he said it was easy.    Fit the headboard under the L-brackets and screw the headboard in place from the top.

Even just this little headboard makeover has a large impact on the RV interior.  The fresh bright colour and little bit large size, makes it more modern and updated than the original.

Looking forward to vacation!!

A brightly coloured travel trailer bed with a DIY headboard and a sign that says $10 DIY. The bed cheerful with blue, white and yellow stripes.

Related Posts on Updating our Holiday Trailer

I did a quick refresh on our holiday trailer, to brighten it and give it a more modern look. Besides the headboard I created this matching RV trailer curtain.

I also did some updating in the main living area, including these removable bench covers for the dining area.


  1. Yep, that was a lot of staples, a little overkill wasn’t it! Your ‘new’ headboard turned out lovely. Pretty color! Time for a trip!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Shirley. That soft turquoise is one of my favorite new colour choices, at least for summmer. This is going to be my get out of winter trailer, cannot wait to go south again.

  2. What a fabulous transformation!! I bet you now never want to leave your RV with all of these pretty changes your making!!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thanks Sam, I certainly am enjoying sitting in there quietly for a few minutes while ignoring the Lea’s gotta do list in the house.

  3. Now I need to do this in my RV because you made it look so easy and pretty. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thanks Denise, It really is very easy and inexpensive to do. Especially this little headboard.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Deborah, I am so glad to trailer came with light interior walls etc. Its been really fun to modernize it and make it our own.

  4. LOL Leanna, with all the staples you’ve been removing for the RV makeover, you must be all stapled out. But it’s all so worth it and the RV is coming together so beautifully. You must be itching to take her out on the road.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Michelle. Removing the staples is never-ending, but now I know the “pros” just put it together until it looks good. Us DIY females can do a much nicer job. hehe

  5. The RV is coming along. The vinyl is a pretty color. I bet you can’t wait to travel. I have several friends with RV’s and they love it. Plus you can bring the dog along.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thanks Debra. I am more of a hotel person and typically take pup along. We get stares walking 120 lb Pyr through a hotel lobby lol.

      I think making the RV look more homelike will make it nicer to be in, and I am most certainly looking forward to shortening the Canadian winter by running away south.

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