How to Make a Simple DIY Tufted Headboard

A cozy tufted headboard doesn't have to come with a high price tag. Make your own using these simple steps.

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Project Overview
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Elegant and classy, a tufted headboard is timeless. These headboards remind us of plush pillow-top beds and warm, fuzzy blankets. They make us want to snuggle in. If you have big dreams for a bedroom makeover but don't have the big budget to match, try your hand at our easy DIY upholstered headboard! You'll be surprised at how simple it is to make your own. Keep reading for the full step-by-step instructions.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Either table saw, jigsaw, or circular saw
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Heavy duty stapler
  • Drill with assortment of bits
  • 3- to 4-inch straight upholstery needle


  • Underlayment plywood
  • 2 2 inch x 3 inch x 8 foot pine boards
  • 20 1-inch wood screws
  • Spray adhesive
  • 1-1/2-inch twin foam topper
  • 1/2-inch foam mattress pad
  • Twin flat white bed sheet
  • 3/8-inch staples
  • Fabric
  • Self-covering upholstery buttons
  • Floral wire


  1. Prep headboard

    Prep Headboard

    Cut plywood to desired headboard size. Use the 2 inch x 3 inch x 8 foot boards, wide side down and butt jointed, to make a stretcher the same size as the plywood. Screw the plywood to the stretcher every few inches all the way around.

  2. Apply foam

    Apply Foam

    Apply spray adhesive to the plywood front. Lay the 1-1/2-inch foam topper, pattern side down, on the plywood. Use scissors to trim the edges of the foam pad even with the edge of the plywood. Spray adhesive to front of the adhered piece of foam, then apply the 1/2-inch foam pad, pattern side down, on top of it. Don't trim the foam yet.

  3. Flat sheet

    Flat Sheet

    Iron the flat sheet and spread it evenly on a large work surface. Set the headboard facedown on top of the flat sheet. Trim the sheet and foam pad to 6 inches larger than the headboard all the way around.

    Pull the sheet and foam pad to the back of one of the long side's stretcher boards; staple in place at the center. Do the same for the other long side, then repeat the process for the short sides. Working from the center of each board toward the corners, add a few staples at a time to each side until you reach the corners. At the corners, fold and tuck the sheet as you would if making a bed; staple in place.

    Editor's Tip: Stretch the foam and sheet combo around the headboard, so it is even and firm all around. This will make attaching the patterned fabric easier.

  4. Patterned fabric

    Patterned Fabric

    Iron the patterned fabric and lay it flat on the work surface. Set the headboard facedown on the fabric; follow the same stretching technique used previously. If desired, cover the buttons with fabric and decide on placement.

  5. Drill holes on the back of headboard

    Drill Holes

    Measure and mark the backside of the headboard corresponding to the placement of the buttons on the front side. Drill 1/8-inch holes in the backside of the headboard at marks, being careful to only penetrate the plywood and go no farther. Drilling beyond the plywood invites the drill bit to snag and shred the foam.

  6. Attach buttons

    Attach Buttons

    Cut a 2-foot length of florists wire. Thread the needle with the florists wire by a couple of inches and bend the wire back. Insert the needle through the hole and push through the foam and fabric. Run the needle and wire through the back of the button, then back through the fabric and headboard.

    On the backside of the headboard, tug the wire snug. Bend it against the plywood and staple in place. Wrap the wire back over the staple toward the hole and staple again. Repeat a couple more times. Repeat process for remaining buttons.

    Editor's Tip: During the process of attaching the buttons, sit the headboard upright on the floor so you have access to the front and back at the same time. Be careful to not pull your thread too tight when attaching the buttons; if you pull too tight, the upholstered fabric may run or rip.

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