DIY Upholstered Headboard With Tufting!

Learn how to make a fabric DIY headboard with tufting for a really high end look. This DIY upholstered headboard uses pegboard to make the spacing of your tufted buttons really easy and doesn’t require any sewing. Post includes step-by-step DIY headboard instructions and a list of supplies for your tufted headboard.


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DIY fabric headboard with tuftingPin

Inspiration for Our DIY Upholstered Headboard

My favorite projects seem to be the ones that take inspiration from high end stores or magazines. And that’s exactly what I did with these custom headboard ideas! It’s such a fun challenge to see if I’m able to recreate the look for much less, so when my mom had her eye on a tufted fabric headboard at one of our favorite stores we knew we had our next project on our hands.

Today I’ll show you how to make your own upholstered headboard with tufting using simple supplies.

Don’t let the finished look fool you. This DIY cheap tufted headboard is much easier than it may seem, and in the end you’re going to have a beautiful upholstered headboard! – Hello lazy Sunday mornings reading in bed! — one can dream right?

My mom’s master bedroom is the third room that I’ve helped my mom with!

She originally asked me to help her with the grandkid’s room and then called me back in to help with her bright and bold living room!

Now that we’ve made our way into the master bedroom, I’m thinking I’m officially hired! And it works out perfectly since I take her babysitting as proper payment!

The key to making your own headboard super simple and pretty much no-fail is to use pegboard as the frame backing. It makes it so easy to add buttons since the holes are already there!

Let’s get started!

How to Make A Tufted Headboard

You can make this fabric headboard for any size bed. Your measurements will depend on how wide your mattress is and how high you want your headboard. (The steps you’ll see me do are for a DIY king headboard 48 ½ inches tall and 74 inches wide.)

Supplies for DIY Headboard

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Tools you’ll need to make your own headboard

  • Chop saw (or you can have your wood cut at Home Depot)
  • Circular saw to cut the pegboard depending on the size you’re making (or you can have it cut at Home Depot)
  • Power drill
  • Staple gun
  • Measuring tape
  • Wire cutters

How to Take Measurements for Your DIY Upholstered Headboard

You’ll want to go off the dimensions of your mattress and make it the height you want, but to give you an idea, this fabric headboard is for a king bed, and the dimensions of the headboard are 74 inches wide and 48.5 inches tall.

The size of your headboard frame will depend on the size of your bed. We made this headboard frame the same width as the bed frame. The height is up to you.

A good idea would be to tape it off using painter’s tape to get a feel for how tall you want it to be.

Once you know how high you want it, measure from the top of your bed frame to the tallest point on the wall. That will be the height of your pegboard. The width will be the width of your mattress.

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Making a Headboard: Build the Frame

Building the frame may be the most intimidating part of this project especially if you don’t have or know how to use power tools.

Don’t worry. Most hardware stores will make the cuts for you right in the store, so you leave with everything cut and ready to assemble.

Step 1: Cut your pegboard

Cut your pegboard to the dimensions discussed above.

Step 2: Frame your pegboard

Frame the edges of your pegboard on the back side using 2 x 4’s as shown below. Attach the 2 x 4’s to the pegboard using wood screws.

You won’t want to use the existing peg board holes for this. Drill through the wood part of the peg board into the 2 x 4.

how to build a headboard frame with peg boardPin

Step 3: Plan out the spacing of the tufting

Once you have your frame assembled, you’ll want to plan out the placement of your buttons. (We had 5 buttons across and 3 buttons down.)

Spacing the buttons going across

We divided the width of the pegboard by 6 (however many buttons you have going across + 1) and using a measuring tape we marked the width of each section on the back along the top.

Spacing the vertical buttons

First we subtracted the space that the mattress would cover before beginning. (The height of your pegboard – the thickness of your mattress.)

Marking the button placement

Now take that number and divide by the number of vertical buttons + 1. (We have 3 vertical buttons, so we divided by 4 to get 4 equal sections as shown below.)

Then measure down from the top (where you made your first mark for the buttons going across) and find the closest hole. Repeat moving down and mark each hole, then move across until you have all of your buttons marked.

We marked ours on the back side with a circle around each hole. You may want to mark the front too, just so you have a visual of where your buttons will be on your finished project. Better to find any mistakes now, versus later!

Step 4: Attach the foam and batting to the headboard frame

We had a 1 inch piece of foam cut at our local upholstery fabric store. This way it was one big piece with no seams.

Line up the foam with the edges of the frame, lay the frame flat (front side up), and apply the foam to the front of the frame with spray adhesive.

attaching the foam to the headboard framePin

Step 5: Attach lightweight batting

Once the foam is attached, lay out your lightweight batting and lay the frame on top with the foam facing down.

Trim your batting so that when you wrap it up and around the sides of the frame you can attach it on the back side of the frame. Staple it in place using a staple gun, making sure that the corners lay flat (like you’re wrapping a present).

attaching the batting to the padded headboard framePin

Step 6: Add the fabric to the headboard frame

Lay your piece of fabric out flat, good side facing down.

Again, lay the frame face down on the fabric. Then, fold the edges of the fabric up and over the frame and attach with a staple gun making sure the corners look nice and neat.

My best advice is to start with the sides, making sure that you pull the fabric tight, and then do the top and bottom of the frame. The corners will take a little bit of practice to get them to lay nicely, but just play around with them until you like what you have, and staple them in place. Keeping the seam along the edge of the frame will give it a really nice finished edge.

DIY fabric headboardPin

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Step 7: Add the buttons to the fabric headboard

On our first attempt we had an upholstery thread and a big fat needle. It didn’t work.

What did work was trellis wire! (Who knew?) Any wire that’s easily bent, but not too soft so that you can poke through the foam and fabric will work. You’ll also want to be sure that your wire is not too thick. You’ll need to be able to pass it through your buttonholes.

Once the fabric was on we set the frame on its bottom edge and started adding our buttons. This is a two person job.

I cut a piece of wire, then poked it through the headboard where we marked our holes. When the wire came through the front, my mom added the button, and then bent it and pushed it back through the fabric close to where it originally came through. You may have to poke around a little bit to find the hole again.

upholstered headboard with buttonsPin

Once it came back through to me, I pulled the button tight by spreading the 2 pieces apart in opposite directions. My mom was eyeballing the tufting as I pulled to make sure that the creases that were created were the look she wanted, and even from one button to the next.

attaching the buttons DIY tufted headboardPin

I stapled each side of the wire in place and then pulled them back together and twisted them to keep them in place. Then we repeated this process until all the buttons were on!

And this is the result of our DIY efforts! I just love the look. The large scale of the tufted headboard makes such a statement!

DIY Upholstered Headboard With TuftingPin

How To Hang Your DIY Tufted Headboard

We hung the frame on the wall so that the bottom was just above the bed frame using these large picture/ mirror hangers. The easy instructions were on the package; we put the brackets just across the top, and it made the headboard solid against the wall.

Not too shabby for an afternoon’s work huh?

Between the pattern on the wall and the DIY tufted headboard this room is off to a great start!

The main focal point is in place and she says she smiles every time she walks into the room.

I’d say that’s a job well done!

Frequently Asked Questions - DIY Tufted Headboard

Why did you make the headboard tall enough to go down to the bed frame rather than the top of the mattress?

I didn’t want to see the gap when the bedding was pulled back but it's really just a matter of personal preference.

Can I use 2x2 rather than 2x4?

Yes it was an aesthetic decision to use 2 x 4 but if you want the headboard to not protrude that far from the wall, definitely go with the 2 x 2’s

Did you cover the back part of the headboard?

No, we did not. That would make it much more difficult to do the tufting because you wouldn’t be able to see the holes in the peg board.

How much fabric should I use?

It will depend on how wide the fabric is, along with getting the dimensions of your specific project and doing the math depending on the fabric width.

How much did the project cost and how long did it take?

The materials were less than $200 but it will depend on the fabric you use. The project took about five hours with 2 people working on it.

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