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DIY Tufted Headboard Tutorial

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DIY Tufted Headboard Tutorial

Several years ago, I made this DIY tufted headboard and wrote a tutorial which was briefly featured on my old blog which I no longer post on. I thought since it’s a frugal project, that I would re-post it here! Take a look at how to make a tufted headboard, it’s easier than you might think!

You might as well make a few DIY throw pillows as well to really complete the plush bed experience.

Put on your crafty pants…it’s time to take a photographic journey of cushy plushness.

I decided on a whim that I wanted a headboard for our bed, something I haven’t had since I lived under my parent’s roof, and something I haven’t been able to afford. After doing a brief bit of research online, I found one I really loved.

DIY Tufted Headboard Tutorial

My inspiration-this is from Pinterest, unfortunately I don’t know where the photo originated to credit the source.

Granted, this is not a headboard that I could find for sale, but the ones I could find, that I did not like as much, were anywhere from $500-$2300! This first photo shows my headboard inspiration! Short of selling a kidney, there was just no way I could afford it, plus a headboard isn’t exactly a necessity. So I did a little digging, and found some how to blogs and videos. From there I did a little modification of technique to achieve the look I was going for. The rest is headboard history. Let the journey begin!

Easy DIY Tufted Headboard tutorial

The first thing I did was get my supplies. Here’s a list of all the things I used to make one queen size DIY tufted headboard:

  • 4′ x 5′ sheet of pegboard (Home Depot will cut it for you if you ask nicely!)
  • Glue (Gorilla glue or fabric glue)
  • King size egg crate memory foam mattress pad, plus extra foam (You will see why shortly 🙂 )
  • Staple gun with Heavy duty staples
  • Upholstery fabric of your choosing (mine was 54″ x 72″ because my fabric had a tiny bit of stretch, though you might want to purchase yours larger to be safe. Better to have too much and make a throw pillow than too small a piece!)
  • Upholstery needle (or any long sewing needle, I used yarn darning needles)
  •  Buttons for tufting- you can use covered or not, but pick up some really basic cheap ones to use on the BACK side, this will hold your front decorative button in place and aid in the tufting so the thread doesn’t pull through.
  •  Scissors
  • THIMBLE– I cannot stress this enough. I am sitting here typing with bruised fingertips covered in band-aids. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Overall you should expect to pay no more than $150 for supplies, assuming you have none of the above items at home already, and depending on how expensive the fabric is that you chose. You could likely do this even cheaper assuming you have the supplies and use coupons at Michael’s or Joann Fabrics.

You want to make sure you use durable upholstery fabric for your DIY tufted headboard, because the cheap stuff may not hold up during the stuffing and sewing portion, and then you did all that work for nothing!

How to make your DIY tufted headboard:

Lay the pegboard on a covered surface- this is going to be the base/Unroll your foam (I preferred at least 2-3 inches to allow for comfort when sitting up reading in bed.) Trim foam as necessary. I discovered far too late that my math was wrong and the King size foam roll was not enough to do two full layers, but was just short as shown below. I wound up sacrificing a memory foam pillow to fill in the rest, which worked beautifully. It will be missed.

Adhere the foam together in pieces if necessary, but glue lightly to the pegboard, in a thin layer to ensure no glue seeps into any of the holes –we do not want any of them blocked by glue!

*note: you could leave the bottom couple inches with only one layer, since this can be tucked behind the bed anyway. It’s just your personal preference.


Wait the appropriate amount of drying time as indicated by the glue bottle. Mine said to wait 1-2 hours minimum. Flip the board/foam over once it’s dry enough to handle. Using a Sharpie, mark off where you want your holes to be. My original design looked like this:

I then realized that I had meant to do a “diamond” pattern in which each row is staggered, and so I changed the markings accordingly. I also realized my initial plan of holes every 5 inches was too close together (and made for 99 buttons to be sewn…YIKES!) So this was revised also. Live and learn 🙂


After you have your holes marked, you will want to lay your fabric face down on the floor, put your foam/pegboard piece on top of it, and use the staple gun to secure the edges.

Start with one edge, have someone hold the opposite edge snug, and staple that side, then go to the opposite side and staple to the backing of the headboard. Repeat with the other two sides, always doing one side, then the opposite side next.

It should be uniformly snug, but not too tight, because it will tighten further once you start tufting.

Once that’s done, find something to use as a “saw horse” (I used three dining room chairs) and something to sit on, like an ottoman. It is the perfect height to allow you to work on top and underneath your headboard.

Find a lovely assistant such as mine (see below) to assist in this maneuvering. Tip: I also used a thin polyester batting over the foam, but under the fabric, just to ensure a smooth finish.

You can see the revised hole markings here! 🙂


You should now have something that looks like this.

This step is hard to describe, but you are going to thread your needle and tie a knot at one end. Thread on one of your “cheap” buttons and sew through the BOTTOM of the pegboard (where your markings are) first. Careful not to poke your hands!!

When you go back down, it will take some finagling to get the needle through the peg-hole, but when you do, pull the thread VERY tightly, and pinch down with your hand like so to create the “dent” that your decorative button will go in. Repeat this two or three times, before sewing on the decorative button.

NOTE: The picture above shows what the UNDER side of your headboard should look like. This is your “cheap” button, simply used to keep the thread from pulling through and creates some tension for your upper button, which is the decorative one.


Repeat…over and over and over, then stop to rest, and keep repeating. Then stop and collapse for the night….then keep going…

After Day 1- I have finally hit the halfway mark! I chose a light gray suede called “Silver” from the Christopher Lowell Collection at Joann Fabrics. (It was on sale 40% off this week!)

It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the buttons I chose are a clearish white pearl finish, small and slightly domed on the top (got them at Walmart, $0.78 for a pack of six!).  They work well, though a larger button might be nice too.

I am quite pleased with the final result. It’s not really hard to make, just somewhat time consuming. After the last set of photos all I did was finish tufting, and then i put a little dollop of glue on each button on the back side, to help hold all the thread in place so nothing came undone.

Then all I did was screw on a Z-hanger (from Target) meant to hang large mirrors and hung it on the wall. This could have been mounted to the bed frame, but I wasn’t sure how to go about that, plus my bed frame is a little old and the mounting brackets were warped.

The initial reviews were good
Bear decided he liked it.


Alternate view with the lights on. It’s hard to tell the color, but its a light silvery gray.

Several years later I still LOVE this DIY tufted headboard. I am so glad to have used the memory foam as it is nice and more comfortable than regular foam. Makes a great back-rest when reading or using my laptop in bed. Let me know if you make your own headboard, I want to see pictures!

Update-This headboard was given to my mom when we upgraded to a king bed. She used it in her guest room for several years before moving into a new home and then it was finally given away to someone else. We got lots of good years of use from this headboard and it held up AMAZINGLY well!

Whew! Now that you have this nice, cushy new tufted headboard, how about fixing your saggy couch cushions while we’re at it?

What do you think of this DIY Tufted headboard tutorial?


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Friday 3rd of May 2013

Great Job! I need to do this in a bad way for my girls. Thanks for the tutorial.

An Exercise In Frugality

Friday 3rd of May 2013

Thanks so much Cobi! Glad you like it! It's a little time consuming, but I think the end result was worth it! :)


Saturday 23rd of February 2013

What size bed do you have? I'm wondering if the measurements will work with my king size bed?

An Exercise In Frugality

Saturday 23rd of February 2013

This was made for a Queen Size bed. I believe Queen size beds are 60 inches wide, and King are 76 inches, so you will need to adjust measurements accordingly, otherwise it will be more narrow than the bed. The piece of pegboard we got was 4 feet by 8 feet and we had it cut down to size at Home Depot so just have them cut it to your measurements :)