I’ve been wanting to create a headboard in our bedroom for a while now and with the cold weather around us lately (-12 degrees?! Is this real life!?) I finally got around to doing it. Months ago, we built a bed platform from the boards we ripped down when we raised the ceiling in the living room but other than painting that, our overall bed situation has been pretty sad.

DIY Tufted Headboard

I knew I wanted something soft and upholstered and that I didn’t want to shell out the cash for a store bought one (those puppies are expensive!) and since our bed is placed in front of a window and hanging it on the wall wasn’t an option, I thought I’d see if I could create my own DIY tufted headboard to my exact specifications. The mattress height is very important too.

I’m certainly no professional when it comes to upholstery work, in fact, I don’t have much experience in that arena at all, but I did find a few things to be helpful along the way that I thought I’d share with you all. There are a lot of great tutorials out there for these types of headboards (like Jenny’s and Sarah’s) which I used as a starting point and then sort of mixed and matched different things with my own ideas.

DIY Tufted Headboard

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 Piece of Plywood Cut to Size – I had the guys at Home Depot cut it down to my exact dimensions
  • 3 Yards of Fabric – I probably could have gotten away with 2.5 yards but I’d rather be safe than sorry ;)
  • Upholstery Foam – This is, honestly, the most expensive part of the project. Rather than spending the money on new upholstery foam, I used an old mattress pad that we have in storage and it worked perfectly. I suggest exploring your options here before shelling out the cash for the pricey stuff
  • Batting
  • Dritz Craft Cover Button Kit from Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • Staple Gun
  • Wide Head Nails
  • Small Washers
  • Spray Adhesive

I cut the upholstery foam/mattress pad to size using a serrated knife so that it covered the plywood entirely and attached it with some spray adhesive. Then, using a staple gun, I wrapped the batting around the foam and board and stapled it to the back. I suppose you could get away with skipping this step but I found it helpful to add just a bit more padding and to make sure all edges and corners were smooth.

Then, I used the same wrapping and stapling process with the of fabric, being sure to keep things tight and smooth but also allow for a bit of give for when the actual tufting process began.

Tufting is typically done using a heavy duty upholstery needle and threading the button through the fabric and out the back but I wanted to try out a different method that I thought would be faster and easier for me.

I thought by hammering a wide head nail and washer and through the headboard layers, I would be able to get the same effect in half the time. The wide head and washer are important here in order to avoid the nails popping through the fabric and making you very, very sad. I may or may not have learned this the hard way…

DIY Tufted Headboard

Once I mapped out where I waned by tufts to be and marked each spot on the fabric, I fit the washer around the nail to give it a larger circumference and provide enough hold around the fabric to stay tight and secure.

DIY Tufted Headboard

 Then, I carefully hammered the nails to create my tufts.

DIY Tufted Headboard

It’s also important that your nails are long enough to fit through all layers of the headboard. I even made sure that my nails came through the back and then I simply bent them with the hammer when I was finished to assure they stayed secure. Remember, you’re not even going to see the back of the headboard.

Here’s how it looked once all tufts were made. [Insert poorly lit iPhone images here…]

DIY Tufted Headboard

You can see here that I left the bottom potion of the board open, only covering it with fabric to avoid any exposed plywood, because this is where we would be attaching the headboard to the back of the bed platform.

Then I used the button kit to create the buttons with my fabric remnants and glued them into place using a hot glue gun.

Here it is once we attached it to the back of the bed.

DIY Tufted Headboard

 It’s funny what a difference it makes in the room, really pulling things together.

DIY Tufted Headboard

DIY Tufted Headboard

And it’s just so nice to rest me noggin’ on at night ;)

Now there are only a handful of other issues left to deal with in the bedroom. One, being the placement of the bed. The bed in front of the window isn’t ideal but was truly the only logical option for this bedroom but I do have some ideas to combat the issue and make it into more of a focal point and less of an oddity.

I think by flanking the window with curtains, I’ll be able to fill up the empty space because the bed and make the window feel more substantial without creating extra visual clutter. You can see below that I’ve been playing around with the idea in Photoshop to get a feel for what I want…

DIY Tufted Headboard

DIY tufted Headboard

I haven’t made any final decisions but I think it will make a huge difference. I’m still on the hunt for some new nightstands (I’d really love to find something reclaimed or vintage, the space is begging for some natural wood right now) but overall, things are finally starting to come together.

It’s hard to believe that the bedroom looked like this just before we got our hands on it…

a tour of the 2nd floor

 I like it. I love it. I want some more of it.

Happy Sunday, everyone! Stay warm!



  1. I really like the color of this! Such a nice contrast to the brass of the table lamps. Also, nice idea for using a mattress pad. By the way – where did you get that pretty bedding? I really like it!

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