How to Make a DIY Tufted Headboard

The perfect headboard is within reach. Create a one-of-a-kind piece—and save money in the process—by doing it yourself. Make this DIY tufted headboard in just an afternoon.

A master bedroom deserves an eye-catching pop of style, and a soft, tufted headboard is guaranteed to give any bedroom a boost. This high-end look can be found in most home stores. Or, if you're feeling crafty, you can make a tufted headboard yourself. Our instructions make it easy. We'll show you how to make a Queen-sized tufted headboard in just a few hours. You'll need wood, muslin, fabric, and a few other basic supplies. 

Before you get started, you'll want to choose the perfect texture and color. A rich velvet fabric looks luxurious, while a tweed fabric gives off Midcentury-modern vibes. Either way, make sure you're using an upholstery fabric—otherwise your hard work won't last very long. In terms of color, a soft neutral is relaxing, but a vibrant hue will make a statement. Try a white tufted headboard for a crisp look, or a bright yellow for a more feminine take.

Ready to get started? Follow these simple steps below to make your own tufted headboard. 

  • Start to Finish 5 Hours
  • Difficulty         Projects Kind of Easy
  • Involves Power Tools, Driving Staples

What you need

Tools

  • Screwdriver
  • Drill and 3/8-inch bit
  • Staple gun
  • Straightedge
  • Pencil
  • Upholstery needle
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors

Materials

  • 1/2-inch plywood cut to 48x66 inches
  • 2x4 boards, 66 inches long (x2)
  • 2×4 boards, 44 inches long (x2)
  • Screws
  • 2×8 boards, 60 inches long (x2)
  • 2×8 boards, 12 inches long (x2)
  • 12x60-inch piece of medium-weight chipboard (x2)
  • Staples
  • Foam
  • Spray adhesive
  • Batting
  • Button-cover kit
  • Buttons
  • Upholstery fabric, 4 yards of at least 58-inch-wide
  • Upholstery twine

How to do it

Step 1 Build the Frame

To create a sturdy base, reinforce the plywood with a 2×4 frame. Flip the plywood so the back side is facing up. The back side is typically a little rougher and less shiny than the front—but don't sweat on this step. Since we'll be covering the front with fabric, it's not a huge deal if you accidentally pick the wrong side. Then, rotate the plywood so the long (66-inch) sides are the top and bottom, and the short (44-inch) sides make up the edges. Once the plywood is properly flipped, lay the 66-inch 2x4's across the top and bottom of the plywood, and the 40 3/4-inch 2x4's down each side, as shown. Make sure all of the pieces are properly aligned, then secure with screws. 

Step 2 Attach Wings and Legs

For extra style and support, you'll want to add both wings and legs to your headboard. To add wings, align a 60-inch 2x8 board perpendicular to each of the 44-inch sides of the frame. Make sure that each board is flush with the top of the plywood, then secure with screws. To add legs, attach a 12-inch 2x8 board to each of the 60-inch 2x8's below the plywood. Align so the wood pieces form a right angle, then secure with screws.

Step 3 Start Stapling

To form the curved edges of the headboard, cut the chipboard—which you can find at art and shipping supply stores—into 1x1-foot sections. Smaller pieces are easier to manipulate than one long piece, and if desired, you can buy the chipboard pre-cut. Then staple the outside edge of one piece of chipboard along the inside edge of the first wing. Curve the board and staple the other edge to the plywood. Repeat until the entire length of the wing is lined with curved chipboard pieces. Repeat for the second wing. 

Step 4 Drill the Holes

Measure and mark the desired hole placement for tufting. You can choose either a diamond or grid pattern, and the number of tufts is up to you—just make sure that all the holes are equidistant from each other. We used a pencil and straightedge to draw a grid pattern on the back of the plywood. Once your desired pattern is in place, drill through all of the holes. Make sure that the headboard is elevated so you can drill through without hitting the floor or your work surface. 

Step 5 Attach Foam

Cut foam to fit the headboard's top—including the wings—and legs. Attach with spray adhesive. From the back, poke an upholstery needle through the tufting holes, and mark placement with a permanent maker. Cut through each tufting hole with scissors.

Step 6 Attach Batting

Wrap the foam in a layer of batting. Spray with adhesive, then attach another layer batting. Pull the layers taut, and attach to the frame with staples. Trim excess batting with scissors. Once again, find the placement of each tuft hole with an upholstery needle and poke through with scissors. 

Step 7 Attach the Buttons

Use the button kit to cover buttons with headboard fabric. To cover buttons, use the kit's template to trace a circle onto a piece of scrap headboard fabric. Place the piece of fabric on top of the kit's mold, then place your button shell on the fabric, directly above the mold. Push the shell down and attach the button back. Use the kit's pusher to secure the button back to the shell, and remove the mold. 

Step 8 Begin Tufting

Place fabric across the headboard and around the wings with at least 10 inches overlapping on the sides. Thread twine onto the needle, adding a covered button to the end and knotting in place. Starting with the middlemost hole, push the needle from the back of the headboard to the front, pulling the button tightly in place in back. On the front, thread the needle through the hole on the back of the covered button, loop around, and return through the hole in the headboard to the back side. Pull the button as tight as possible, and tie into a secure knot. Repeat this process for remaining tufts. 

Step 9 Secure Fabric

Staple excess fabric snugly in place around the back of the headboard.To cover the legs, add a panel of fabric to each, folding the top edge under to create a straight seam. Trim excess fabric.

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