How to Upholster a Framed Diamond Tufted Headboard









This DIY is sponsored by Home Depot. I'm so proud to be working with them on this content series where I'm reinventing old furniture and giving it a new life. I truly believe the best way to get higher quality furniture at a lower price point is to buy vintage pieces and repurpose them. Home Depot is dedicated to being eco-friendly and I think this type of recycling is a great step in the right direction. Thanks, Home Depot!


I really wanted a pair of tufted headboards for my girls rooms, but tufted pieces can be especially expensive! I picked up a pair of these vintage headboards for next to nothing at a thrift shop and thought I could probably come up with a way to reuse these rather than buying something new.

I took a quick photo and then played around in photoshop with the placement of the tufts. Since there are a lot of curves in this piece it wasn't just a matter of doing some math, like with most tufting projects I've done.



Once I had the tufting placement down, I started pulling off the old upholstery.



Underneath the top layer was a realllllly old piece of silk that was super sunbleached. I always love pulling apart old upholstery to see what fabrics are hiding.


The part that hadn't bleached out was a gorgeous lilac. Played to my ombre obsession :)



I used this underneath fabric to mark out my tufting design. The basic idea is to keep everything in straight rows and then offset the rows, like laying bricks or drawing polkadots. The rows will line up diagonally and horizontally.


Then I pulled off that bottom layer of fabric and batting so that all that was left was the wooden frame.


I used some of the batting to mark off the shape of my foam. I used the batting instead of the fabric because I needed to foam to be cut a little short so it would be pretty far inset from the bed frame.



The foam I used here was a repurpose too. I used some camping foam! It's such a cheap way to buy 2" or 3" foam.



I used a serrated knife to cut out the shape, but I wish I had an electric knife. Those work so well for cutting foam.



The foam fit perfectly inside the frame, right where I wanted it, about an inch in.



I used a combination of the serrated knife and a pair of scissors to shave down the corners of the foam at about a 45 degree angle.





I cut some small holes in my fabric guide so I could draw some registration marks on the frame.




I had jotted down all the measurements on the fabric guide too, so it was easy to quickly double check my marks.



I drilled through the frame with a 1/4" drill bit. It's a good idea to drill pretty large holes in your frame backing to make the tufting go faster.



Once the holes were drilled, I layed the frame on top of the foam and marked the tuft placement by poking a sharpie through the drill holes.

The next step is vital to getting the deep-tuft look. You have to take out all the foam where each button will go. I just use a little paring knife to cut a simple hole around the registration mark. You want the hole to be sort of angled so the opening is wider and the bottom of the hole is about the size of your buttons.



One the foam is cut in an angled circle, you just have to grab the cut piece, pull, swirl and rip. This part goes so quickly!



You can cut or pick out addition foam as needed to created the right shape for the tufting holes.



I used my trusty can of spray glue to affix the back of the foam to the bed frame. You really want the foam to stay put during the tufting process so this step is important.



Cover the foam with a layer of high-loft batting.



Lay down your fabric on top of that and round up an extra long needle (mine's about 5") and some upholstery thread (Don't use regular thread here. It needs to be upholstery thread).



Turn on a show and enlist a cute little helper who is eager to push back bedtime.



I skipped explaining the step about making my own buttons because there are lots of different companies that make button covering kits and they all have different instructions. So just pick up a kit and some refill packs and follow the instructions on the back. I used 5/8" buttons here. Also I always use a little dollop of Magnatac glue when I make my own buttons, just to reinforce the hold, especially when using thick fabrics like velvet.

Okay so here's the tufting process:

1) Double up your upholstery thread and thread your long needle. I use two arm-lengths of thread each time and I can get two buttons done with that.

2) Your first tuft should be the middle hole in the very top row.

3) Your needle should pass first through the back hole, through the middle of your foam divot, and finally though your batting and fabric.


4) Leave about six inches of thread hanging in back and then thread your button in front. Because you doubled up your upholstery thread, four individual threads should be on your button.

5) Trying to keep all your threads tidy, pass the needle back through the foam and hole in the frame. It might take a few pokes to find the hole again since you're searching blindly, but it gets easier after a few tries.

6) Now pinch your button and sort of push and wiggle it down into the foam divot. At the same time, pull the threads from behind the frame.




{Next, get excited because that looks like a real, legit tuft. Also, send your little helpers to bed because it's after 8:00. Then enlist your sweet sister in law, who's in town visiting with her cute new husband, to lend a helping hand.}

7) With your helper pushing the button as far in as possible, pull the threads in back very tight and staple them down on to the frame. Pull the threads in the opposite direction and staple in again. Repeat a couple times and tap in the staples with a hammer to make sure the staples are flush and in there tight.


8) Here's the most important thing I can share with you here: Work in rows. Start with the middle button and work your way out in the row. Then start the next row in the middle again and work your way out.

Once you finish your first row and are ready to start the next row, play with your fabric and start making folds in a diamond shape. It's surprising how easily the fabric naturally folds into the diamond shape. The goal is for the surface of the upholstery to be smooth and as tight as possible. For a professional look, you want all the extra fabric to go in the folds.



Rather that placing your tuft wherever your needle appears and having to deal with the consequences with the folds later, CHOOSE where your button will go by making the folds first and sort of pushing your fingers in the foam divot. You'll know exactly where to put that needle and the button.


Keep working away, going row by row, starting from the center and working out.


Once all the tufts are done, the back of your frame looks like this:



9) Staple around the perimeter of the headboard between the foam and the frame.



Another important part:
Keep in mind that all interior folds should be in the diagonal/diamond shape. All the extra fabric around the perimeter of the headboard should go into vertical or horizontal straight line folds. Try to keep everything tight and smooth.


Almost there!


10) Next I trimmed away all the extra fabric and batting. Try to get as close to the staples as possible.


11. I decided I wanted to lightly touch up the frame. I always love the look of a crusty old frame with bright and clean new upholstery! But this frame was looking more dingy, less patina-ed, so I brushed on a little bit of white glaze and some of my favorite Ralph Lauren paint in Parlor Gold. Just a little bit of each though, so the frame still looked old.


All ready for the last step: trimming!


I used these steps to make matching piping out of the same velvet. I think the cording I used was 1/4". Nice and thick so it fills in the gap between the foam and the frame with all the staples and the fabric/batting mess.


I just used my favorite glue, Magnatac, to glue the piping in place. Use a generous amount, but be careful not to drip. It's really hard to get this glue off velvet especially.


All done! I know I always say this, but this project was so fast and easy. I started the project last night just after dinner time and was done after the Republican debate and two Walking Dead episodes. Not too bad!



I was so glad to be able to reuse those old headboards to get the exact look I wanted for my girls bedroom! I love the shape and it makes me so happy to have these special pieces in my home rather than a pair of more expensive and generic headboards from a place like Target or Urban Outfitters.


122 comments:

Janice said...

Absolutely amazing! Love how all the colors work together,

Anonymous said...

I am in accordance completely.

Danielle Oakey Interiors said...

Wow, these turned out fantastic, I think I will be giving it a try!

Denise Briant said...

Jenny, You are inspirational, one day I want to grow up and be just like you!

Denise Briant
Design Savvy of New Jersey

Lauren said...

I LOVE those headboards! The pink color is divine! Can't wait to see more of your girls' bedroom!

Naomi G. said...

unbelievable. you did such a good job!! i am so impressed. can't wait until i have the time to do my very own diamond tufting. i envision a white velvet headboard. aah! now i just need to find the right re-do piece. thanks for this great tutorial!

Sally@ Abode Casa Home said...

Turned out amazing! I guess now I'm on the lookout for some vintage headboards so my girls can have their fourth bed in three years. Always redoing. I love your blog and I never comment, but I know you're an AZ girl (I married an AZ boy and we live here now) and we have some mutual friends. I think you know my friend Jenna in NY. Anyway, I am going to have to feature some of your wonderful ideas on my own blog soon. Love it!

Jen @ RamblingRenovators said...

The headboard looks really lovely Jenny and I adore the sneak peek of the girls' room. Its so great you could give new life to this old headboard. I'm crushing on the magenta velvet you used.

Thanks too for the very detailed post and abundance of photos. I've never tried tufting but now I know how if I ever try it out!

Amanda (Sweet Tea Paperie) said...

I've seen a lot of tufted headboard tutorials, but yours is definitely the most informative and well constructed I have seen. Thanks for taking the time to put together such a wonderful, detailed tutorial!

Marcus Design said...

Oh my goodness Jenny, it is absolutely gorgeous! Not only is it more special that the headboards you find at Urban Outfitters or Target, it is WAY more beautiful! If only I could have you here to help me do that in one evening!! Incredible.
Nancy xo

PP@pimpmybricks.wordpress.com said...

This is one of my absolutely favourite things you do on your blog - the 'how to's. And you make it all seem so orderly and achievable. Me, I'd probably have glue all over the entire room if I tried to attach piping, but this post does make me at least consider trying. Thank you.
PP

Heather (love your space) said...

Um, amazing! I can't believe I'm the first commenter on this post. I made a pair of raspberry velvet(ish) headboards for my two girls, and I thought about tufting. I'm glad that if I ever do it, I'll have your tutorial-they are always clear, straightforward, and make the project totally approachable.

I'm a big fan of everything you do!

Heather

kristenk said...

looks fab.... attempting my first tufting this weekend :)

southerninspiration said...

Wow, Beautiful!!! You did a great tutorial!
Suzanne

Natty by Design said...

I love it!!! Thank you for all the detailed information on getting the deep diamond tufts. We be using for sure.
Natalie

Kristi said...

I am in awe. And I love that you said it was easy.

Stacey said...

YAY! I loved this tutorial and LOVED the finished headboard. Incredible work, I'm so inspired! Thanks!

Kahli said...

I love love love love it! It is fantastic that color is amazing. Best thing ever. Where did you get that poster above the headboard?

kayce hughes said...

Beautiful finished product! I have to say that I also fell in love with the original floral. It might be the inspiration for a floral in my spring line.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

OMG that is just awesome!!

Aja said...

It's GORGEOUS!! I love the velvet ypu chose. And what a great tutorial! Thank you so much for being so thorough and sharing all your insider tips!

Jesselyn said...

You made that look so easy. I just tufted my headboard. Not the diamond tufting though now I wish this tutorial had came 3 months earlier! But the tufting was SO hard. Trying to get the needle to get thru to the back of the headboard was frustrating!

Barbie said...

You. Are. Amazing. A project like that seems so intimidating to me, yet you make me think I could almost do it. What a girl you are!

Pam @ bibbidi-bobbidi-beautiful said...

Wow, they look gorgeous! You're amazing as usual!

bevy said...

wow! just wow! you are one talented gal!

Koren said...

You are amazing, Jenny! I wish i had the DIY talent you do! Where is that gorgeous hued magenta velvet from??

lily said...

I love this!

Kae said...

You always make such great tutorials. super easy to follow and great results. Can't wait to try a tufted headboard in the near future.

Emily said...

Gorgeous! Love the fabric you picked.

Miss Rubio said...

OMG!!! This is incredible! It's absolutely gorgeous. I am saving this post to my favorites so I can come back to it when I want to make my own headboard. Thanks.

Miss Rubio said...

OMG!!! This is incredible! It's absolutely gorgeous. I am saving this post to my favorites so I can come back to it when I want to make my own headboard. Thanks.

kay*(from india.with love) said...

oh my gosh. fantastic! i've been way too afraid to attempt tufting but upon my return home i'll need a headboard and think i just might give it a try.

Tanya and Colin said...

Amazing! Just wondering where the bedside wall lamp is from?

Interior Designs said...

Excellent DIY. Straight from the expert. I appreciate your effort to post this step by step photos.

Kim said...

These headboards are fantastic!! And your post is SO thorough- thank you for the DIY steps- you are always a wealth of knowledge!

Kristen said...

you are amazing! I looooove it.

tupelo gold said...

jenny you are kind of a big deal :)
that was amazing

Jen West Design said...

Speechless. As usual.

Dara said...

Jenny - These look great! The fabric is perfect!

Anonymous said...

You amaze me!
Thanks for the info :)

Sam, Leave The Nest Up To Me said...

Gorgeous! Love the purple with the gold frame. You certainly are talented (and patient!).

npd said...

as always, amazing!!!! I always want to try your projects when i see them even if i'm not in need. gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! they have so much more character than something you could have brought brand new.

Kelly@Bungalow Blue said...

It looks amazing, great job! This is one of the best tutorials I've seen in a while-you make it look so easy :)

Julie said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!!!!!!

Thanks for the tutorial:))

amber wallace said...

Seriously amazing! I have been so intimidated to redo my sad brown diamond tufted headboard but, I think I might be okay now.

And I was just adding this picture and link to my post today and my daughter came in and said "that's a beautiful bed I should have! Can I have that bed someday Mama?" You've even won over my six year old :)

So impressed!

Amy said...

You write the best tutorials! And, you always make your projects look so easy and not intimidating!! These headboard are adorable!

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

Brilliant. And your explanations were really clear. Still don't think I could ever tackle this. It is encouraging that you could do it one night. I'm so impressed!

Red said...

@Tanya and Colin I found a similar lamp here: http://www.lightinguniverse.com/wall-sconces/house-of-troy-ws751-decorative-swing-wall-sconce_g272970.html I loved it too!

Rachel May said...

I love all of your how-to posts! That purple velvet is awesome!

Dina @ Honey + Fitz said...

Good grief that looks fantastic! What a gorgeous color on that velvet too! I love how you detailed each step. I got a little scared around step 6 or so but you make it look so easy and the result is definitely worth it.

Sixty-Fifth Avenue said...

I am so impressed! I love the shape and the fabric is gorgeous!! I am inspired.

Janna McCalley said...

Awesome! I love your tutorials! Thanks for sharing.

Lauren said...

Wow!!! That is amazing!!

pam {simple details} said...

Totally gorgeous! Thank your for all the tutorial & tips ~ can't imagine me finishing it that quickly! :)

Jenna said...

What a great tutorial. Thank you for all the details!! I really like how you cut the foam (an inch on the sides and out of the button holes) it makes all the difference. Beautiful job.

heyhomeslice.blogspot.com

katie [the bright life] said...

This is awesome! I always thought tufting would be too much for me to handle, but this has me thinking I might be able to make it happen! Thanks for the inspiration! XO, Katie

modernchemistry said...

as always, your work is beautiful. looks like a million bucks, and you did it yourself! thank you for the great tutorials - your blog continues to be one of my very favorites.

Michelle said...

WOW! that headboard look beautiful! the right color, texture & that diamond tufting...DIE!

Jennifer said...

looks great! loving how the room is coming together.

Unknown said...

This is so AMAZING!!! I will be on maternity leave very shortly. I can't wait to meet my new baby and I'm equally exited to take on this project for my master bedroom. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Where did you find camping foam? I can't find it for the life of me!

GirlieBeku said...

Woowwwww, impressive!!!

kcinteriors said...

You just amaze me. It looks awesome and the fact that you did it so quickly is just jaw dropping. You're incredibly talented!!

Hannah said...

I'm obsessed. The color is perfect too, the girls will still love it as they grow older. Great job!

Champage Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

Campbell said...

I am speechless. That is so incredible that you can do that - AND make me think that I can too. Thank you for being so inspiring!

Shannon Gillman Orr said...

Thank you so much for posting these tutorials, I know that they take a lot of time to put together! But they are a great reference and inspiration for projects on my dream list.

Lauren said...

Holy cow! It looks amazing and I love the velvet color!

Anonymous said...

OH. MY. GOODNESS.!!!! That is gorgeous. I wish I needed a tufted headboard. I just want to try to make one. Thanks for sharing how you did it.

--deb

Natalie Soud said...

Jenny, you're so talented! This looks unbelievably professional.

Crystal said...

They are SOOO gorgeous! True envy over here. Thanks once again for sharing such a great tutorial. I'll bet you have a lot of readers hoping you will tire of these as quickly as you did your upholstered chairs!

rachael adele // for the love of design said...

you are beyond talented! i have wanted to do this for so so long! i'll have to read this 38 times before i start. such a good tutorial!
http://www.fortheloveofdesignblog.com

Cheryl said...

i absolutely love this! I was just shopping for framed upholstered headboards today with my husband and everything is so expensive. this sounds like a great DIY project!

Lindsay said...

SO impressive! I am definitely inspired!

L.A. in the bay said...

oh my gosh! this looks amazing!

Carson said...

Can you tell us where you got that print ofI the girl on the bike that is hanging over the bed. Thanks.

Amber said...

That looks PHENOMENAL! You did a fantastic job!

treasureandtreats said...

That such a gorgeous headboard!!! I would be so scared to attempt this project. Absolutely stunning!

Rosa @ FlutterFlutter said...

Gorgeous!! You did an amazing job!

Jill said...

Wow-- Jenny, you are amazing! Looks fantastic! You did that in ONE evening? It looks much harder than you describe. GREAT job!

Ann said...

Awesome tutorial!! Thank you so much for sharing. I am loving that brilliant color as well.

Splendid Little Thrills said...

these are so gorgeous!!!! i actually have some old sheets in the same floral pattern the headboards were originally covered in. Pink velvet looks much better!

monika said...

i'm officially inspired! so much so that i ordered maganatac and pulled out my HUGE fabric pile and found the pink velvet i've been squirreling away. now i'm going to make two little girls very happy. thank you! you made it simple.

neha said...

Woh! So impressed! Thanks very much for sharing :)

lifeloveluxe said...

I'm just speechless! This is exquisite work and you make it look so easy. Congrats on a beautiful piece.

Emily said...

I did a tufted headboard for our master bedroom. It didn't turn out nearly as well. I'm thinking it's time for a makeover when we re-do the master bedroom!

Tanya from Dans le Townhouse said...

This is phenomenal! So professional and fantastic!

montanachic said...

You did such a great job and I have wanted to learn tufting so thank you! My only question is how much larger does the fabric need to be than the headboard since I am assuming it shrinks during the tufting process?

laxsupermom said...

Wow! That turned out amazing! Great tip on hollowing out the tuft areas - I've never done that before, but now I know for next time. Thanks for sharing.

Tiffany said...

Thank you! I just bought one of the upholstery books you have recommended, but the only thing it didn't touch on was diamond tufting. You have my favorite tutorials. I love how you are an over sharer... I totally relate. BTW I have noticed your adorable nail polish in a few tutorials. What color is it? You make me want to paint my nails, and I never paint my nails! Thanks Jenny.

LindsB said...

So so beautiful, but then agian I wouldnt expect anything less from you!!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful tutorial! Next time try threading the button first, then thread the needle. Your tufting work will be from the front. So much easier. You can still staple off on the back or tie through a second button.

Crissy @ House of Marlowe said...

I can't believe how gorgeous that is! WOW!!!!

molly @thewaffler said...

Not to bad???? Try terrific!

Jessamie said...

Um, I'm definitely featuring this on my Friday Finds this week!!! Awesomemess

JWK said...

THEY LOOK FABULOUS!!!!

Mrs. Chic said...

LOVE IT! The velvet is amazing swoon!

Curtains In My Tree said...

I am amaized.

I have wanted to do button tucks on top of a round ottoman? Any idea for me ? since I can't frill holes

I love the velvet

Lindsay said...

Beautiful!!! I want to make one! Your tutorials are the best.

Caitlin at the Desert Domicile said...

WOW!!! They look so great!!! How do your girls like them?

Pearl said...

Oh my word. That looks SOOO CUTE!
Great Job!

Pearl

Andrea @ Strawberry Chic said...

Wow that is amazing...and it looks so professional! I've been keeping my eye out for a headboard like that (glad to know even if I find one in bad shape I can spruce it up!)

campnlulu said...

The bed is wonderful!! Please, please share the source of the poster...

Dani Lou said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I have my mom's childhood bedroom furniture set, which is all adorable white painted wood, and has two twin beds. I also have her bedspreads, and THEY ARE MADE OF THE FLOWERED FABRIC ON THOSE HEADBOARDS. I would recognize it anywhere! How crazy.

Krystle said...

This doesn't look easy, but you've given such fantastic instructions that it's not intimidating at all! I may try this with a plain old rectangular headboard. The diamond tufting looks amazing. Now, where did you get that swing arm wall sconce?! I've been searching for what feels like ages...

la la Lovely said...

So adorable.. and super impressed.. I could never do that in a million years!
xo Trina

kristenk said...

This post is getting a lot of love on the interwebz... going to keep pushing it out there. Fab tutorial. Just used it this past weekend :)

kate @ undeniable style said...

I adore the fabric you chose! Have an upholstered headboard myself (purchased), but you make this look too easy! (should have tried to DIY) One of my favorite projects since I started reading your blog!

xo,
kate

theitgirlproject.com said...

Jenny - you are so incredible, I am SO impressed with your DIY talents and drive. You inspire me to do more with my time in the evenings when I get home from work.

Ofelia said...

Beautiful project!!! I wish I can do something like that one day for my own bed or my daughters!!! I promise one day when I find a headboard like that I am going to get it!! Good job.

Loretta a/k/a Mrs. Pom said...

This is an amazing job! I have one question - how did you estimate the amount of fabric you would need to cover the headboard with the tufting?

Courtney said...

I love seeing the amazing transformations.

Amanda said...

OH WOW!!! I have always wondered how they got those deep tufts in headboards- thanks for sharing this. It just looks amazing!

chantekdress said...

I'm so speechless! Gorgeous, beautiful, smart and save cost for buy new bed. Amazing, keep up good work. I love your creativity.

Michelle said...

Headboards are beautiful!

jo said...

Such a gorgeous stunning color! i would love to try something like this, ill have to keep my eye out for an antiqued headboard. Thanks!

http://le-lovin.blogspot.com

Nat and Holly said...

Thank you!! This tutorial is perfect for an old headboard (already tufted) that I want to switch out fabric for. All your steps will be so helpful when I finally tackle it. Thanks!

Between Blue and Yellow said...

That looks so good! Way better than anything you could have bought at a chain store. You are super talented :)

jmat said...

Looks so good,well done. Thanks for the post. XX

insideways said...

Thank you for such a detailed tutorial!!

khiavdim said...

OMGOSH! I LOVE YOU! ROPE! I never even thought of that for the trimming!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the picture on the wall, where do you buy it?

la Vivda Lola said...

this is awesome I just made my head board I should have added tuffs to it thanks so much .. this rocks

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