GelliArts® Printed Headboard

Hi There! It’s Marsha here
today with a fun DIY project to spruce up your bedroom!

This headboard is an easy
DIY project, but it takes a bit of time –  getting the supplies, constructing the headboard and prepping it for printing and also time to Gelli® print a larger surface.  The end result is a colorful new headboard!  

Step 1:

Measure your bed and decide
how wide and tall you want your headboard to be.

My bed is 1.60 m wide (~63″) and I decided that the headboard should be at least 60 cm (~24″) tall. I also decided
that one sheet of 63”x24” was too large for me to handle, so I divided it into
two 31.5” x 24” plywood panels.

Step 2:

The base of this
headboard is wood. Before you can start Gelli® printing on wood, you’ll need to
seal and prime it. Wood contains lignins and tannins that can seep through the
paint layers and can change the colours of your project.

Treat both sides of the
panel to prevent against warping, especially if you are using a thin sheet of

If you want to be sure
there will be no discolouration, you can use GOLDEN GAC 100, an acrylic medium
or a painting ground to seal the wood and then ground it with regular gesso.

Because it’s such a large
substrate, I was willing to take a chance, so I only applied three layers of
regular white gesso to prep my plywood.

Sand each dry layer of
gesso before you add another layer. Also, sand once the last layer is dry. You
want the wood to end up as smooth as possible.

Step 3:

If you’d like the background colour of
the headboard to be anything other than white, then you need to paint the
background in your desired colour first.

I decided that I
liked mine white, so I started Gelli® printing directly onto the gesso.

Step 4:

When working on wood,
especially large sheets of it, it’s easier to mount the Gelli® plate on an acrylic
block and use it as a stamp.

I didn’t have an
acrylic block for my 8”x10” Gelli® plate, so I cut a 9” x 11” sheet of plexiglass
to mount it on. My 5”x5” student plate fit on a regular acrylic stamping

I used a rubber brayer to apply extra pressure.

Stamping on wood doesn’t
always give an even and crisp print. The result is much softer and a bit
distressed because of the grain in the wood.

Sometimes you get white patches in the middle of your print.  This happens when you don’t apply pressure evenly or when an air bubble gets trapped between the wood and Gelli® plate.  

You can also try stamping without a mount.  You’ll have more control over how much of the plate touches the wood.

If you are working on two panels like I did, it’s best to work on both at the same time to ensure all-over consistency. That way you know exactly what paint combo you used on the left and which stencil pattern needs to come back somewhere on the right panel.

Put the two panels side-by-side and let blocks and patterns crossover in the middle, so that it will look more like one big panel once assembled.  Work on it until you are happy with the complete composition and then let the paint dry.

Step 5

Build a simple frame for the headboard.

My husband made this
for me using framing lumber. He measured the panels, cut the
wood and used a combination of glue and screws to assemble the frame.

To prevent the lumber from splitting, pre-drill holes
before you screw the screws in.

can also omit the frame and hang the headboard directly on the wall!   

Step 6:

Paint the frame to
match the background of the panels or your bed.

Step 7:

Fix the panels to the
frame. We decided to use an electric nailer because the nails are tiny and once I touched them up with paint they are almost invisible.

Make sure that none of the
nails stick out. Hammer them flat if necessary. Use a piece of cloth to protect
the printed surface from the hammer.

Step 8:

To make the headboard
scratch and wipe-resistant, I recommend varnishing it with a non-yellowing
clear varnish. Make sure the paint is properly cured (at least 48 hours) before
you varnish.

Step 9:

Fix the headboard
behind the bed and enjoy!

Hope this encourages you to make your own new headboard! Make sure to share it with us when you do! 

Happy Printing!



Gelli Arts®:

8″ x 10″ Gelli® Printing Plate

5” x 5Student Gelli® Printing Plate

4″ Pop-In Soft Rubber Brayer


Gesso (Royal

Acrylic paint (Royal Talens Amsterdam Brilliant Green,
Emerald Green, Neutral Grey, Sky Blue Light, Titanium White, Turquoise Blue,
Turquoise Green)

Stencils (Stencil Girl Products: Art Deco Wallpaper,
Clustered Leaves, Mesa Verde, The Crafters Workshop: Arabesque)

” x 11”

Acrylic stamping block

Large flat brush (or a sponge)

Detail brush for touch-ups

Wood panels or plywood sheets (I used two sheets of plywood, 31.5” x 24” each)

0.9” x 1.2” framing lumber to build a frame for the


Wood glue and/or screws

Wood filler




Miter box

Measuring tape

Electric nailer

6 thoughts on “GelliArts® Printed Headboard”

  1. This headboard is absolutely STUNNING! Thx for sharing your creativity and inspiring us!

  2. Pick my jaw up from the ground! I'm beyond impressed with not only the idea, but the fact that you followed through with it. What a marvelous piece.

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