Motorhome DIY: Fitting a headboard to a campervan bed
Words and photos by Steve Moss
I have an Autocruise Alto campervan, which has a French bed. When new, it had narrow headboards just below the two rear windows. These were barely deeper than a decent pillow is thick, and so did little.
It was uncomfortable to sit up in bed and my head rested against the pleated blinds. Worried about permanently damaging the blinds, I made new headboards.
Moving the existing ones up was not an option as one was too short to bridge the window.
I found 9mm-thick plywood to be optimum – not too thick but rigid enough to resist bending.
I used a 70cm by 20cm section for the rear offside door and 80cm by 20cm for the rear nearside door.
The odd sizes are because of the way the doors close. The woodyard cut it to size for me free of charge.
I glued 25mm-thick foam padding to the plywood. I cut the foam to the same size as the plywood beforehand, using a very sharp knife along a steel rule, being careful not to press down hard and distort the foam. Instead I took lots of light cuts, letting the sharpness of the knife do the work.
The covering is upholstery-weight material that compliments the colour scheme. This was fastened very, very tightly in place using a staple gun.
I cut the material accurately and marked lines on the plywood where I wanted the material to start and stretch to, to ensure consistent tension along the length. I stapled one edge in place, then wrapped the covering around the padding and knelt on the backing board to compress the foam, pulling the covering tight.
I then stapled it securely before releasing it and allowing the foam to regain its bulk. This created the pleasing rounded edge appearance.
I also put a strip of material along the back to make everything tidy.
The finished headboards are held in place by 5cm-wide adhesive-backed hook-and-loop tape, and so are easily installed and removed without damaging the interior trim panels.
There is room to get fingers behind them to access the blinds or, of course, being held on by hook-and-loop tape, they can just be pulled off.
I was so pleased with the function and appearance of the finished boards, I made one each for the two side windows as well. These were 100cm by 15cm.
As well as protecting the blinds and making the interior more plush, there is now also more privacy inside.
I removed the original headboards using a table knife as they were held on with hook-and-loop tape and blobs of adhesive.
What was spent
A square metre of plywood cost £6. The Laura Ashley Luxford material was £16 per metre off an auction website. It is 140cm wide, and I used a little under two metres length, so £32. A length of 25mm-thick padding was £10, also off an auction website, and one metre of adhesive-backed hook-and-loop tape was £2. Total price for four panels was £50.
How long it took
I didn’t rush; it took about two hours each once everything was to hand.
This was done to protect the blinds and improve comfort. I hoped they would improve the interior appeal a little; I’m delighted by how much they do so.