How to Make a Nailhead Trim Upholstered Headboard

Bedroom looking a little blah? Dress it up with an elegant headboard.

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This upholstered headboard looks like it cost big bucks, but it's surprisingly affordable when you make it yourself. The secret is to use mattress pads for a fluffy, tufted look, while decorative nailhead trim adds a touch of elegance. 

Our tutorial is for a full size bed. If you have a different size, plan to make the headboard 6 inches wider than your mattress. Adjust the quantity of materials accordingly. 

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What You Need

  • 4×8-foot sheet of 1/2-inch oriented strand board (OSB) 
  • Tape measure
  • 12-inch paper circle
  • Jigsaw
  • 2 foam mattress pads
  • Scissors
  • 2 1/2 yards batting
  • Staple gun and staples
  • 2 1/2 yards linen look fabric
  • Covered button kit with 7 buttons
  • Drill
  • Upholstery needle
  • Embroidery floss
  • Nailhead trim on a 5-yard roll
  • Small hammer

Step 1: Trace Headboard Shape

Use a pencil to draw your headboard shape onto OSB. To determine the width of the headboard, plan for 6 inches wider than your mattress. To create shapely corners, place a 12-inch paper circle 6 inches from the top of the board on each side and trace a quarter circle into each corner. Cut out the headboard shape with a jigsaw. 

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Step 2: Upholster Headboard

Lay two foam mattress pads over the board. Use scissors to trim the pads to the shape of the headboard. Center batting over the headboard and cut, allowing 5 inches around the perimeter on all sides. Once everything is cut to size, flip the board over, placing foam mattress pads and batting underneath. Pull the batting tight around the edges, and use a staple gun to staple it to the back of the OSB. The batting will hold the mattress pads in place.

Step 3: Attach Fabric

Lay the linen look fabric over the headboard and cut, allowing 5 inches around the perimeter on all sides. Flip the headboard over onto the fabric. Staple the fabric to the back of the OSB, pulling firmly as you go. The curves can be tricky; take your time and fold the fabric however you need to on the back for a clean look on the front. 

Step 4: Add Buttons

Follow the instructions on the covered button kit to encase your buttons in fabric. If you use upholstery fabric or thicker fabric than we did, buy a button kit that works with thicker fabrics. We used 1 1/2-inch diameter buttons. On the front of the headboard, determine where you want your buttons (we used seven buttons: three in one row and four in a row underneath), then flip the headboard over and drill one small hole through the back of the board for each button. Thread the upholstery needle with embroidery floss and push the threaded needle from the back of the board through the layers of foam, batting, and fabric to the front. Run the needle through the shank of the button and push the needle back down through the same hole, pulling tightly. Repeat the process. Use the staple gun to place a staple just above the drilled hole, capturing the ends of the thread, and use it to tie off the ends and secure the button. Repeat for each button. 

DIY Tufted Headboard

Step 5: Attach Trim

Use nailhead trim that comes in a roll rather than individual nailheads. It will save time and money (and your fingers!). Place nailhead trim along the edge of the headboard. Gently push trim into the headboard. When you're happy with the placement, use a hammer to secure it along the top and both sides of the headboard. Hang on the wall (we used a French cleat). 

More Nailhead Trim Ideas

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