DIY Upholstered Tufted Headboard

September 28, 2012

I've finally completed my DIY tufted headboard project!! I owe a huge shout out to Jenny from Little Green Notebook for her DIY tufted headboard tutorial post. I couldn't have done it without the help!

As my first upholstery project, I had a lot of fun! But, it definitely wasn't easy (especially if you live in Manhattan). From trekking around the city with two sheets of pegboard, searching desperately for upholstery supplies (which are surprisingly nearly impossible to find), and carrying around a 4 ft long sheet of foam and large roll of batting - this project was dedication!

But I am really happy with my finished product.

Here's what I used:
  • 2 yards of fabric
  • Pegboard 
  • Upholstery Foam
  • Upholstery Thread
  • 5" upholstery needle
  • Batting
  • Spray Adhesive
  • 5/8" Button Making Kit and refills
  • Measuring Tape
  • Staple Gun + Staples
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
**Few notes to anyone in Manhattan trying to complete this proj - I got 2 sheets of pegboard from Home Depot (on 23rd), and it was still not big enough for my full bed! I ended up using 2 pieces of wood that are meant for a door frame to make up the extra width (56") - Yes this was a pain! Hence my earlier note about dedication, but Home Depot doesn't cut wood in the city. For other supplies - I highly recommend Zarin Fabrics in LES for fabric, foam and batting. I got my button making kit around the corner from Lichtenstein & Co, and my upholstery thread and needle from PS Fabrics & Crafts in Chinatown. 


To start, I had to decide what I wanted the headboard to look like. Searching online, the cheapest I found for the kind of headboard I wanted was a whopping $800. My final headboard cost me under $200! 

I started by attaching my 2 pieces of pegboard together. If you live in a city where The Home Depot will cut the pegboard for you, I'd suggest doing that. For a full bed, you need 56".

To do this, I used mending plates and cable ties to secure the boards together.

**Also ended up attaching two pieces of 3 1/2 inch wood to the sides to add extra length, but if you can get to a store to cut the exact size of pegboard for you - you can skip the attachment steps!

Next, I measured where I wanted the buttons to go. I ended up making mine 5 inches apart, and marked each spot with a circle and number so I'd know how many buttons to buy.

For button making, these button kits and refills are awesome, and super easy! Unfortunately my fabric was too thick to use this button size, so I ended up using the button making kit on a thinner fabric and then covering these with hand sewn buttons - instructions here (but hopefully you can avoid this!! It took me about an hour to do every 6 buttons).

And voila! The orange thread was used because this was all the regular thread I had, but it didn't matter because it won't show once you cut it down and attach it to the headboard.

Next, you want to take your board and foam and translate your measurements for the buttons from the pegboard to the foam. I measured out straight lines and then spots for the buttons to make sure they were in a straight line.

Then, you use your spray adhesive to attach the foam to the pegboard. Once the two pieces are attached and dried, use a knife to cut holes in the foam corresponding with your button markers. This will allow for your deeper tufts, and it's fun!

And cover your headboard with batting and staple the edges to the back of the pegboard.

Later in this process when I was tufting, I found it was easier to staple the fabric back with one layer of batting in between the fabric and the board, and that my staples were too short to go through the fabric and doubled up layers of batting. Just something to keep in mind - you might want to trim your batting at this step so it's not too thick depending on your staple size.

After the batting was secured, I started tufting - starting at the top and in the middle. To do this, you take doubled up upholstery thread, triple knot it around your button loop and feel out the board for your first hole. You then stick the needle through the fabric, batting, foam and pegboard hole and pull tightly. I recommend pushing on the button from the front of the board for a deep tuft. Using your staple gun, you secure the thread with staples pulling the thread at angles and stapling to ensure a tight hold.

Continue with this process of starting in the middle and moving to the edges as you work through each tuft of the board. While I was tufting, I also worked with the fabric to make sure the uniform creases were at the top of the board, and that the diagonal creases were standard from top to bottom.

Once you've finished all tufts, lay your board on the ground to secure the fabric on the underside of the foam with staples. My foam was 56" by 24", so you'll see it didn't cover all of my pegboard. I left some extra fabric below the foam to make sure the pegboard wasn't visible behind my bed.

I'm still working on my overall look for my room, but the headboard is a great start!


  1. YAYY CORBY!!! I am so proud of you. All that wine and button making really paid off. It looks fabulous...

  2. Thanks Linds!! Your moral support during button making was key.


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