How to Make it: Faux-Tufted Headboard

Although I hate the phrase “DIY”, I wanted to make my own tufted headboard to go in my new bedroom-to-be. I took a little pinterest inspiration and added my own touches. The total cost of the headboard was $11.28– thanks to recycling old supplies laying around the house.

Want to make your own? Here’s how I did it:


  • Sheet of Plywood. (according to Dad make it at least 1/2″ thick to be sturdy) (should be a little wider than your mattress– a Queen is 60″, by as tall as you want it from the top of your mattress + 3″ so the edge is below your mattress)
  • 2- 2″ x 4″ Boards. (as tall as the floor to the top of the sides of your headboard)
  • 1″ Thick Foam. (enough to cover the plywood + 3″ on sides & top/bottom) (I recycled my old memory foam mattress topper from college– can also find foam at craft/fabric stores)
  • Adhesive Spray.
  • Wood Glue.
  • Staples & Staple Gun.
  • Fabric. (Same amount as foam) (You’ll want a heavier weight, upholstery fabric)
  • Buttons. (3/4″  to 1″ in size, depending on the look you want, quantity depending on the look you want)
  • Paint and Paintbrush. (For the headboard legs– whatever color you want, or in my case, whatever is laying around the house)
  • Various Tools. (Depending how you want to design your headboard)

What to do:

  • Measure and design. Figure out the width and height of the headboard and 2″ x 4″ legs. Also create a pattern for the top of your headboard. It can be simple and straight across the top, or have a more decorative design. I traced this out on cardboard to make the look I wanted, then transferred it onto the plywood. 

Tracing the headboard pattern.
  • Cut. Cut out the correct size of your headboard and the design on top. The 2″ x 4″ support boards can simply be attached with nails and wood-glue to back of the headboard or can be pieced in for a sturdier headboard. (With Dad’s help, we cut out slots in the 2″ x 4″s and slid the headboard into it with wood-glue in the groove.)
Cutting the headboard shape.
Tapping the glue-filled 2″ x 4″ legs onto the headboard.
  • Attach the foam. I laid out the foam, placed the headboard on top, and cut around the edges with about 6″ extra on each side to pull onto the back of the board. Then, apply the spray adhesive to both the foam and the board– this helps create a strong bond. Let it dry for a few minutes and then stretch the foam around the edges of the headboard, again applying spray adhesive to both sides. It is important to use the adhesive and not just staple it because if the foam moves around too much, it may rip from the staples. As the glue dries, use a staple gun to secure the foam all around the back of the headboard. After the foam was attached,I gave the headboard legs a few paints of white paint, since they will be visible.
Foam attached with spray adhesive.
Cutting the foam so it can wrap around the headboard legs.
Adding staples to secure the foam.
  • Upholster the fabric. In a similar method as the foam, lay the headboard over the reverse side of your fabric and trim the fabric with 6 or more inches around the headboard so that it can be stapled to the back. I begun with the top of the headboard because I knew the curves would be the hardest to upholster. If  you have ever made clothing, you know that you must clip fabric on curves so that it will sit flat– if you include curves on the top of your headboard, you’ll have to do this as well. Work with the fabric across the entire top of the headboard, clipping and pleating over the curves so that it sits flat, then use the staple gun to secure it. Then, fold over to create a nice corner and staple the sides. To work around the legs, I stretched the fabric of the bottom and stapled in a middle, then clipped in to fold the fabric around the leg, and just folded the excess fabric up on the front of the leg (see picture).
Clip the fabric so that it stretches around the curves of the headboard.
Neatly fold over the corners and staple.
Clip up to the point of where the leg meets the bottom of the headboard so that the fabric can be pulled to the back of the headboard on the bottom. Tuck the excess fabric around to the side of the headboard and staple it.
Finished corners around the legs.
  • Create the faux-tufts. Decide how many tufts you want and where they will be placed on the headboard. Carefully measure and mark these locations with chalk. A real tuft would have holes through the wood, and pull the fabric through it, but you can get the same appearance by stapling into the foam and sewing a button over it. It is an easier and time-saving alternative.
Mark the location of the tufts with chalk and staple to create a tufted look.
  • Add buttons. Use extra fabric from your headboard to cover the buttons. Make sure fabric is tightly secured. To attach the buttons to the headboard, it is easiest to use a curved upholstery needle and sew it through the headboard 1/4″ above and below the staple with 3-4 stitches. Pull tightly so that the button sits in the indent created by the staple and knot the thread a few times.
Covering 3/4″ buttons.
Sew the fabric on each side, and then around the corners to create a rounded cover.
Finished buttons.
Attaching buttons with upholstery needle.
  • Finished! You can attach the headboard to your bedframe if it allows for it, otherwise the legs will make it stand securely against a wall.
Pretty good for $11 & around the house supplies!

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