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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

DIY: Easy Tufted Headboard

You can make this bad boy for your bedroom that looks like you spent $1500 for only $150!
Step 1.)
Take your measurements and buy your supplies. This was a queen size headboard dimensions are 62"w X 60" h (from floor to peek) you need:
  • 1 roll of foam 25" x 80" (we used 3")
  • 3 yards of fabric
  • 20+ covered (or whatever) buttons
  • Button tufting twine
  • Scraps of sag-less webbing
  • Long double pointed needle
  • About 200" of piping
  • Plygrip (optional)
  • Rubber mallot (optional)
  • Regulator or bbq skewer (optional)
  • Tackstrip
  • Chalk
  • Cotton or Dacron (I bought 1 roll of cotton from dlt upholstery supply)
  • a piece of plywood, mdf, particle board, or pegboard big enough for your headboard. I found particle board at the re-store for $4 and then framed it out with plywood scrap I had laying around the garage
Step 2.)
Mark your lumber and cut it into your desired shape:

Step 3.)
Mark your outside lines (mine were 3.5" wide) and holes for your buttons. Drill button holes.

Step 4.)
Draw outline of shape on the foam and figure out a way to cut the shape out. I used a hand radial saw to get through the top half and then used a razor blade to cut through the bottom half of the foam

Step 5.)
Grind chalk on the top of the holes you drilled. Then, get someone to help you drop the foam in the right place (and push down) to mark your button holes. Go back over and mark them with a sharpie and then either cut Xs on them or cut holes to cut the foam out completely.
staple the outside edge of the foam down to secure

You are now ready to measure and cut fabric!
I measured the width of the foam and added 2" in between each button (10") plus 4" for extra staple width. This is what my layout looked like:
Make sure you square off your fabric with a T-square and if your fabric has a sheen, indicate the top and bottom of each piece with chalk on the back of them.You will work on the tufted center first.

Step 6.)
Mark your button holes on your fabric. There are many ways to tuft. The main three are pleated tufting, gathered tufting and pulled tufting(or standard buttoning). With this headboard we did gathered tufting. You start by centering your fabric on your foam and marking the center (with chalk or pencil) You then fold your fabric in half. Place pins all down the fold to give you a center-line. You then mark your center most button and then work your way outward from there. Now take the distance marked between each button hole on the wood and foam (10" and 11" for us) and add 1.5" and 2" extra in between each button mark.

Step 7.)
Time to tuft! This step is best done with the headboard upright and the help of another person. Start by putting a lay (or 3) of cotton or Dacron over your foam. This will give your finished piece a softness. Starting with the center-most button, feed your double pointed needle through the hole in the back of the wood and through the scored dot in the foam to your partner on the other side (DO NOT LET GO OF THE BACK END OF THE NEEDLE)
Feed the end of the needle through the correct dot on the back of the fabric. Now thread the button with the tufting twine and thread both ends of the twine through the eye of the needle.
Now have the back person pull the needle on through
Here comes the tough part! You can either use the Zip Tie method, which does seem much easier, and would be best for a shorter term project, but the plastic zip ties are made from deforms under long term high stress and will loosen after a while (not that big a deal) or may crack and break after a year.
Now have the person on the front side push down on the buttons (don't dent the button)

WHILE the person in the back PULLS hard and ties the tufting twine in a knot around the sagless webbing as quickly and firmly as possible. It helps to wear some gloves.
Work your way outward until all the buttons are done (this took us about 2 hours??)

Step 8.)
It is now time to get out the staple gun :)
move the gathering around the edges around to where you want it and tack down (either with tacks or sparse staples) Cut a length of piping that goes around the entire headboard. Find the center of the piping and staple to the top center of the headboard. Start working your way around the headboard with the piping making clips in the seam allowance to help go around the corners.

Step 9.)
Cut one of your 7" strips in half and sew each half to one of the other 7" strips (making sure to keep the grain consistent)

Step 10.)
According to my mentor, this is the incorrect way to do this. You are supposed to be able to look at your work when you secure it. So you would start in the back and use tack strip or plygrip to secure to the front. However, this is the easier way, and still looks as professional if you are careful....

Place the edge of the fabric (right side down) and the tack strip over the seam allowance of the piping and staple down

repeat for the other side

Step 11.)
Lay down a couple of layers of cotton or Dacron.
Prop the headboard up on something (I used the ottoman and my sons toy). Start in the middle of the side and wrap your fabric around and staple. Work your way outward in both directions, pulling the fabric tight and at a slight angle to prevent wrinkling. and staple :)
 When you get to the top and bottom, neatly fold and secure.

Step 12.)
If I had to do this step over again, I would do it the same way I did the sides. Instead I did it the hard (but semi-correct) way
Start by finding the middle of your fabric and securing it to the back center of the headboard. You can leave it rectangular and make cuts or cut it (with plenty of excess) to follow the curve. Lay down your cotton and cover with muslin (I did not do this and wish I had). Then apply your plygrip along the edge of the piping and muslin (which also smooths out the lumpy-ness. Oh, and clip off the plygrip from the corners, you don't need it there).
Fold the plygrip most of the way down. Again, starting in the middle, wrap your fabric around and catch on the plygrip. Trim off the excess fabric
push the fabric into plygrip with the regulator (or bbq skewer)
and hammer down the plygrip.
Pull and smooth at a 45 degree angle to prevent wrinkling until you get to the corners.

When you get to the corner, Fold the fabric at a 45 degree angle, wrap tightly around to the back and staple. For extra security, use a ladder stitch to sew the corner down.
and you are done!!!!
Just attach to your frame and enjoy!
I designed this so the foam will tightly fit right over the top of the mattress, preventing that annoying situation where your phone falls behind the bed or your pillow slides halfway off the back of the bed, between the mattress and the headboard (don't you just HATE that!)
Well, problem solved!

Happy Pinning!


  1. Oh wow this is amazing! I mean AMAZING! If you were to sell this, I know I couldn't afford it! I wish I had the talent (and guts) to try this! I've been wanting to make a DIY upholstered headboard, but I'm not sure if I could do this! Wow! Thank you for the wonderful tutorial!

  2. Thanks for sharing your talent with us. I will definitely use this when I make my headboard.

  3. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. bed banging

  4. With all due respect, this is the worst tufting job I have ever seen.