We present a control design method for nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs) based on a combination of gain scheduling and backstepping theory for linear PDEs. A benchmark first-order hyperbolic system with an in-domain nonlinearity is considered first. For this system a nonlinear feedback law, based on gain scheduling, is derived explicitly, and a proof of local exponential stability, with an estimate of the region of attraction, is presented for the closed-loop system. Control designs (without proofs) are then presented for a string PDE and a shear beam PDE, both with Kelvin–Voigt (KV) damping and free-end nonlinearities of a potentially destabilizing kind. String and beam simulation results illustrate the merits of the gain scheduling approach over the linearization based design.