DIY Upholstered Headboard With Tufting For Under $200

Upholstered headboards can be upwards of $1000 but did you know you can make your own headboard? In this post I'll show you how to make an upholstered headboard with tufting using foam and pegboard. Your new fabric headboard will give you a high end look on a budget and be the perfect place to curl up with a good book.

Keep reading for step-by-step instructions for your own diy upholstered headboard.

Finding Inspiration for Our DIY Tufted Headboard

My favorite projects seem to be the ones that take inspiration from high end stores or magazines - I love me a good knock off so that’s exactly what I did when coming up with plans for this diy headboard!

It’s such a fun challenge to see if I’m able to recreate the same look for much less, so when my mom had her eye on a large scale tufted fabric headboard at one of our favorite stores we knew we had our next project on our hands.

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A Headboard DIY Using Pegboard?

Don’t let the finished look of this diy upholstered headboard fool you. Making a headboard like this is much easier than you might think, and in the end you’re going to have a beautiful upholstered headboard! – Hello lazy Sunday mornings reading in bed!

The key to this headboard diy being a no-fail project is the use of pegboard as the frame backing. A pegboard headboard makes it so easy to add buttons since the holes are already there for you to feed the buttons through.


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Measuring for Your DIY Padded Headboard

You can make this diy 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 that is 48 ½ inches tall and 74 inches wide.)

  • I recommend making the width of the diy headboard the same width as the matress or bed frame.
  • The height will vary depending on the style you're going for. A good idea would be to tape off the height of your headboard using painter’s tape to get a feel for how tall you want it to be.

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

Supplies for DIY Tufted Headboard

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Tools For A DIY Fabric 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 Make A DIY Upholstered Headboard With Tufting

Build the Frame Of The DIY Headboard

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.

diy headboard frame using pegboardPin

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Spacing The Headboard Tufting

Step 3: Plan out the spacing of the tufting

Once you have your frame assembled, you’ll want to plan out the placement of the buttons of your tufted headboard. (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.)

Step 4: Mark the placement of the headboard tufting

  • Now take the number you just got 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, rather than later!

Creating A Padded Headboard Using Upholstery Foam

Step 5: Attach the upholstery foam and batting to the headboard frame

  • Lay the headboard frame flat (front side up), and apply a generous coat of spray adhesive to the pegboard, especially at the edges. *You'll want to work quickly so the adhesive doesn't dry.
  • Line up the edges of the upholstery foam with the edges of the diy headboard frame and press firmly to adhere the foam to the pegboard.
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Step 6: Attach lightweight batting to the foam headboard

  • Once the upholstery foam is attached, lay out the lightweight batting on a clean surface and flip the headboard frame on top with the foam facing down.
  • Trim your batting so that when you wrap it up and around the sides of the wood frame you can attach it on the back side of the frame.
  • Staple the batting in place using a staple gun, making sure that the corners lay flat (like you’re wrapping a present).
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Finishing Your DIY Fabric Headboard

Step 7: Add the fabric to the headboard frame

  • Lay your fabric out flat on a clean surface, good side facing down.
  • Again, lay the frame face down on the fabric and 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.

Tip: Start with the sides, making sure to 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.

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Creating A Tufted Headboard

Step 8: Add the buttons for the headboard tufting

Tip: On our first attempt we had 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 you can poke through the foam and fabric will work. You’ll also want to be sure your wire is not too thick. You’ll need to be able to pass it through your buttonholes.

  • Set the frame on its bottom edge and started adding the buttons for your tufted headboard. This is a two person job.
  • Cut a piece of wire, then poke it through the headboard at each marked hole.
  • When the wire comes through the front, add the button.
  • Then bend the wire and push 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.
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  • When it cames back through, pull the button tight by spreading the 2 pieces apart in opposite directions.
    • The person in the front should eyeball the tufting as the wire gets pulled to make sure the creases that are created look good.
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  • Staple each side of the wire in place and then pull them back together and twist them to keep them in place.
  • Repeat this process until all the buttons are on.
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How To Hang Your DIY Tufted Headboard

We hung the frame on the wall so the bottom of the upholstered headboard is 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.

DIY Tufted Headboard - The Final Result

Learning how to make a tufted headboard was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Sure there was a little bit of trial and error, but I worked out all of the kinks along the way so hopefully you can make your own headboard and transform your space on a budget too!

I love how the large scale of the diy headboard makes such a statement! And the headbord tufting adds the perfect balance of traditional style to this contemporary master bedroom.

Not too shabby for an afternoon’s work huh?

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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