My DIY Tufted Headboard

We went from a queen bed that was a little crowded for 2 adults and 3 kids to cuddle in the morning, to a king size mattress on the floor, to finally a regular height bed with a real headboard that I love!

**If you want to see the most recent Master Bedroom Transformation, go HERE.  I also made a Tufted Storage Bench to match the headboard.

(When I made the headboard the room was still blue, but has since been painted and decorated with gray walls)
So here's the run-down.  I followed Little Green Notebook's tutorial for the most part.  I had already bought MDF board, so I didn't use the pegboard...but I would encourage the lighter weight, holes already drilled board!  (I found this tutorial just a day too late).

If you want to see my headboard inspiration, go here.

Here I cut my board to the right size.  My husband helped me get the board home, but the cutting, measuring, drilling, etc I did.  It took me about a week to complete.  If you don't have a 6, 4, and 11-month-old to care might get it done quicker.  

By this picture, this is my testament that wheat storage comes in handy for extra weight.  :)
So to explain all the extra plates on my boards...totally not necessary, but our car was just 4 inches shy of being wide enough to get the board in, so we had them cut it.  That explains the middle cuts.

I was planning on a 2 ft. high headboard, so I cut off the extra, but then decided to do a 3 ft. headboard, so I had to add the wood back on.  Nothing like creating a bigger monster for myself.  What's the saying, measure three times and cut once.  That would have helped.

Please buy the 3 inch foam (with a 50% coupon to Joann's).  It definitely gives it a good look and I'm glad I returned my 2 inch foam.
It takes some measuring skills to get your holes in the right places.  Not to close, not to far apart.  I suggest looking at your inspiration photos for an idea of what you want.

I started my edges at 5 inches in all around.  I have 5 rows of buttons.  I have 3 rows of 11 buttons and 2 of 10 buttons = a grand total of 53 hand covered buttons.  (Thanks to a slew of coupons to, yet again, Joann's for the button covering was $10 a box originally!!  Yikes!)  The headboard is 76" long and 3 ft. high.  You can do the math for the spacing if you want my same look.

You can see by my lines that I toyed with several layouts before I decided on "the one."
Here my holes are drilled, the foam is stuck to the board with spray adhesive, and I'm ready to cover with the fabric.

P.S. The foam is one long piece 24x76 inches + one 24x38 piece cut in half hotdog style to make (2) 12x38 pieces to make a grand total of 36x76 inches of foam.
I got a huge needle (a doll making needle that's longer than my finger) to help with the threading part.  When I did this first button I stepped back and said "looks good...this is going to take me 10 years."  And I went and did something else.
A day and a half later, it looked like this.  I obviously got the hang of it and figured out the non-forever-taking method.

Basically, it's easy to thread your needle, go through the back hole and the button, but then awful to try to go back through the material, 3 inches of foam, 1 inch thick mdf board, and through 1/4" hole.  Not fun and takes f o r e v e r .

In case you want to know...this is what I did.  I quadrupled my thread on the needle, started at the back, and went through to the front.  Once I threaded my button on, I took off my needle from the thread (you should still see thread sticking out of the back), and tied the button securely to the front.  I think I tied about 4 knots to it and then trimmed the excess thread.  Then I went to the back and pulled the button into the material.  (Look at the next picture and Little Green Notebook for back pictures).  I used my staple gun and made the thread in a z pattern with staples.  At first I didn't understand why this would help, but it's good to help make it tight, gives something to pull against.  I did 2 staples per hole, tying off the thread to the 2nd one.

I hope that wasn't too confusing.
Once all the buttons are in place, go around the top and bottom folding the excess fabric into neat pleats and secure the extra fabric with your staple gun.  I only did 1 pleat per short side at the middle button.
I mounted a french cleat on my bedroom wall (not the one pictured...but actually one that holds 200 lbs).  I made sure that my headboard would go slightly below the top of my mattress.  I didn't want to see any gaping and I think it looks more finished this way.
And wa-lah!  That seems like a lot of instructions, now that I just typed it out.  Just take it one step at a time.  There's definitely some easier headboards to make and there's some steps to take in this kind to make it easier than I made it (like cutting your boards only once!).

I do love it and it makes the statement in the room that I wanted it to.  If your wondering about the fabric.  It is actually an Ikea Ritva curtain panel.  For 2 extra long curtain panels of durable fabric, only $25.  Pretty awesome deal and I have a whole other panel to do something else with.

The mercury glass lampsquilt, and curtains are from Target.  The side tables and sideboard are craigslist finds.  Our chandelier is from Home Depot.  The color in our room is Benjamin Moore Glacier Blue.

And in case you were wondering how it worked with our newly painted wainscotted bathroom...I tried to match the bathroom paint to the headboard.  I think it worked out.  Now go make yourself a headboard!!


  1. AH!!! I'm so in love. You are so dang crafty. Great job. Why did you not staple the fabric first? It seems that in most tufted headboard tutorials that I've seen, they staple the fabric first. (Maybe I'm imagining this)

  2. I'm guessing you mean staple the fabric where the buttons were attached?? If you look at this tutorial ( she did this. With 3 inch foam, I decided stapling wasn't going to work for me. By the looks of cre8tive design's foam, it was not as thick. By all means, try it and let me know how it works!

    And if you're talking about stapling the outside first, it would be hard to estimate how much fabric to leave loose in the middle. When you go button to button, you can pull the fabric and shape it how you want to. If you staple first, the fabric might be too tight for nice looking puckering.

    Does that answer the question, okay?

  3. Well done ma'lady, it looks great! And now I'm officially motivated to start posting projects again... (we'll see how long that motivation lasts!!)

  4. Holy cow, that's amazing. Job well done! Thanks for sharing! Michelle Hinckley

  5. Looks gorgeous!! Ours is made with pegboard so the holes were already drilled, but I'm super impressed you drilled your own!

    1. Pegboard next time for me if I use the same tie method - for sure. It would save time.

  6. Hi, this is one of my FAVORITE DIY headboards! May I ask what button size you used, and did you cut the holes out of the foam too?


    1. I did cut into the foam and used about 1 inch buttons.

  7. Hi! Awesome headboard. It truly looks A-mazing! I was also hoping you could share what size buttons you used. Thanks!

    1. They are the buttons that are about 1" diameter.

  8. Did you use the the regular sized curtains or the extra long. You mentioned they cost you $25, but on the Ikea site that is for the regular sized. Just want to make sure I get the correct sized curtains!


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