DIY Tufted Upholstered Headboard

Here are step by step instructions for making a DIY tufted headboard like the two I made for our Circle Room guest bedroom.

My instructions came from a combination of sources–primarily HGTV, nestie cuesbride, and a little trial and error.

Lightweight wood like MDF or particle board (cut to size)
2-3″ Foam
Quilter’s Batting
Spray Glue
Button-Making Kit
Medium Washers
Embroidery Floss
Staple Gun
Long Upholstery Needle
Picture Hangers
D-Rings Hanging Kit

1. Have the hardware store cut your MDF to size.
2. Measure out and mark where you want the button tufting to go. Drill holes in the board where you want the buttons.
3. Spray 1 side of the MDF with glue and place foam on top. Trim off any extra foam, making sure it’s flush with the sides of the MDF.
4. Spray top of foam with glue and cover with batting. Make sure to leave enough extra batting on all sides to wrap around the foam and the MDF.
5. Flip the MDF, foam, and batting over, laying flat on the ground. Wrap batting around to the back of the MDF and staple it in place. Make sure you don’t have any batting puckered on the front before you start stapling.
6. Next, lay fabric on the floor with the back of the fabric facing up. Lay the batted MDF down on the fabric and position it to be centered on the fabric. If your fabric has a pattern (like a stripe) make sure the pattern is lined up evenly with your board.
7. Starting with the middle of the headboard, wrap fabric around the board pulling tightly. Staple to secure. Do this every inch until you get all around the board, making sure to keep it tight. Fold and staple the corners like you would fold and tape the corners of a gift with wrapping paper.

8. Cover your buttons with the fabric you want to use. Instructions for how to do this will come with the button kit.
9. Next, take your upholstery needle and embroidery floss (double threaded) and poke through the back of the headboard to the front, through a hole you drilled. Be sure to leave some end of your floss hanging through the back. Once through to the front, string the button and poke back through the hole to the back of headboard. Use the washer to tie the floss in back and secure the button. Make sure it is tight before you tie it off to ensure you have a tufted look. Lightweight wire is another option you can use instead of embroidery floss, but I found the wire more difficult (and painful to my poor fingers) to work with.

10. Repeat step 9 to tuft each of your drilled holes.
11. Attach the D-ring hangers and hanging wire to the back of the headboard.

12. I used a heavy duty picture hanger to hang my headboards to the wall. To find out what weight of hanger I needed I weighed myself on the bathroom scale, and then weighed myself again holding a headboard.

And there you have it–a perfectly tufted upholstered headboard. Happy stapling!

UPDATE: Another hanging option–which is recommended for hanging heavy objects onto flat surfaces–is a french cleat. Please consider this simple and secure method, especially if you are not able to hang your headboard into a wall stud.

Related Posts:
The Circle Room
More DIY Headboards
A Bed That Could Break My Arm

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  1. 1

    I helped my sister make an upholstered headboard two weekends ago – yours are way cuter (and the tufted look really adds to it). I’m going to use your instructions when I make my own for my house. Sorry sister, it sucks to be the guinea pig.

  2. 2

    I’m so glad you posted this D! I’m making one for our master bedroom and have been stumped.

  3. 3

    Such a great idea – thanks for sharing!

  4. 4

    Great how-to! Is there a reason you used MDF and not plywood?

  5. 5

    Thanks everyone!

    Emily and Ang–good luck with yours–hope you post your results!

    paisleyduke–no reason other than I started with cuesbride’s instructions and that is what she recommended. I’m sure plywood would work just great, too!

  6. 6

    thanks for the answer!

  7. 7

    hi, ur instructions look perfect…but were do i find a button making kit?? the only button kits i can fin dare like campain button kits lol!!

  8. 8

    Shaya–I got my covered button kits at Wal-Mart in the craft supplies/sewing aisle, but you should be able to find them at any craft store. Here’s a pic of what you’d be looking for if that helps:

    Good luck, and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!

  9. 9

    Looks great! How much did the materials cost all-together?

  10. 10

    Liza–I really don’t recall how much it all cost, to be honest with you. I’m guessing about $100 for the two of them.

  11. 11

    Great headboards! I want to make a king size one. How long did it take you to make one of yours?

  12. 12

    Hi Terri–thanks for your comment! It’s been a while, but I know they didn’t take me long to make. I’d say just a couple hours. Good luck with yours!

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    Any idea how many yards you needed for each of the twin headboards? With most fabric coming 44″ wide, did you have to overlap your fabric or did you have enough to go up and down and also wrap around the MDF?

  14. 14

    @Anonymous–I’m not sure how many yards of fabric I ended up using. See the brown curtains pictured in the room? I actually bought two packages of those curtains. Two panels are used as curtains on the windows, and the other two panels are what I used as my fabric for the headboards. I did not have to overlap my fabric, but it was a tight squeeze making sure the fabric covered the MDF width-wise. I took a seam ripper to the seams of the curtain panels to get a few more inches width-wise out of them. Hope that answers your question! If not, feel free to ask any follow-ups you need!

  15. 15

    It’s nice of you to post this information, however, you should have specified a “french cleat” instead of the heavy duty picture hangars. This could be a very dangerous safety hazard if the headboard is not fixed to the studs in the wall properly.
    A french cleat ensures a very secure (and to building code) connection with the wall. I hope you change your instructions to include this mounting instead of your picture hangars. Thanks!

  16. 16

    @cmarie–thanks for your comment. I’ve updated my post to suggest a french cleat for hanging this type of project. Thanks for the recommendation!

  17. 17

    I’m really glad you posted this. I’m going to make a headboard. There’s one I’ve been wanting that is a little more difficult and I’m trying to work it out in my head, but I think I can do it. I think I’m going to have to do the buttons as I go along to get the effect. Check out this headboard I found at Neiman Marcus. I can’t afford it but I know I can make it. Especially with your guided directions.

  18. 18

    @Erin’s Lounge–That headboard is gorgeous! Good luck with re-creating it–let me know how it goes!

  19. 19

    Erin’s Lounge please let us know how you got on with that headboard as I would love to make one just like that but I have no idea how to go about getting the desired effect!!G+D thanks for the guidelines I think they will really help!

  20. 20
    Anonymous says:

    great post as usual!

  21. 21
    Anonymous says:

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  22. 22
    Anonymous says:

    I like reading your blog because you can constantly bring us new and cool things, I feel that I should at least say thanks for your hard work.

    – Henry

  23. 23
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you. This works like a dream!

  24. 24
    Anonymous says:

    why didn’t I come across this article earlier!!! pretty useful!!!

  25. 25

    I am going to be making my headboard this week and because I rent I am worried about attaching it to the wall. I have the position picked out for where I want my headboard and am not sure if there is a stud to mount it to. Would a french cleat be secure without mounting to a stud?

  26. 26

    @MCKenna–Unfortunately I don’t know a whole lot about appropriate mounting options, so I’m hesitant to give advice, but I would look into using toggle bolts (google them for a pic) to mount the french cleat to your wall. Your best bet would probably be to ask an expert at your local hardware store. Hope this helps, and good luck with your weekend project!

  27. 27

    What kind of staple gun did you use? Mine won’t penetrate the MDF. Aargh!

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