DIY Tufted Headboard

I've made a couple of diamond-tufted headboards now (Joanna's was only my second though) and I feel like I have a pretty good sense of the easiest DIY approach now. For another tufted headboard tutorial I did, check out this post. I would say any upholstery job involving tufting is sort of an advanced DIY, but is this project definitely doable (maybe even fun?).


Gone are the days when I spend hours mapping out and drilling holes in plywood! I've been using pegboard and it is PERFECT for these headboard projects. Cheap, lightweight and sturdy enough. You'll be hanging the pegboard on the wall so it's okay that the board is not completely rigid.


I had Home Depot cut down the board for me, so it was just the right size for Alex and Joanna's queen bed. The holes on pegboard are 1" apart. You do have to do a little math and mapping out to figure out your button placements, but once you have the formula down, it's just a matter of counting it out and marking the holes with chalk.


I had three rows of nine buttons and two rows of eight for a total of 45 tufts. (!) I wanted a lot of tufts though, so you could do less. I think it's a good idea to look at inspiration images first and count the buttons on that headboard and estimate the spacing you'll need for the look you're after.


I purchased my 3" upholstery foam at Joann's with a 50% off coupon. I definitely recommend using exactly 3" foam for this project. Otherwise the headboard will look thin and cheap. An important note - you only need enough foam to cover the top two-thrids or so of your pegboard. My foam was 24" tall and my pegboard was 40". The bottom part without the foam goes behind the bed.

So, to mark out your foam, lay the pegboard down perfectly on top of foam and use your registration marks and a sharpie.


One of the secrets of getting deep tufts is removing the foam where the buttons go. My method is pretty lame - I just use a paring knife to cut a hole around the registration marks. You just grab the foam bit, twist and pull out.


You'll fly through this step. It's a fun and easy one.


See how the foam only covers the top two-thirds or so of the pegboard?


Secure the foam to the pegboard using spray adhesive.


And lay down a sheet of high-loft batting on the top of your foam. The fabric goes on top of the batting.

**EDIT: A quick note about fabric. I used two yards of SOLID color fabric for this project. If you want to use a pattern (which I don't really recommend for tufting, unless the scale is super small), you'll have to piece together two or three panels of the fabric so that the piece is wide enough and so that the pattern matches up and runs the right way. Better yet, just use a solid fabric :) You can run the fabric horizontally (called railroading) and just get two yards and call it good.

PS You really will only need two yards for a queen size headboard. I was worried that the tufts would take up lots of extra fabric. Not at all. Maybe an extra couple inches total were needed for the whole headboard.


Here's the part where you'll need lots of buttons. You can buy button making kits and refills for just a few dollars (I used the 5/8" size). It does take some time to make all the buttons though, so this would be a good place to enlist the help of a friend and get it done assembly style.


Using a long upholstery needle and doubled up upholstery grade thread (NOT the all-purpose stuff! This thread is more like twine), triple knot your button, and find your first button hole.


From the front of the headboard, push the needle through the fabric, batting, foam hole and pegboard hole, all the way out the back.


Pulling out and down as tight as you can, put a staple into the pegboard over the thread. But still keep pulling that thread to keep the tension. Put in a bunch of staples with the thread being pulled in different directions to secure that button in as deep as it can sit.


And your first tuft is done! You always want to start in the center and work your way out horizontally.


Be sure to leave the edges for last. I found it was taking me about an hour per row in the beginning. By the end I had it down to 20 minutes a row. Honestly though, my fingers were absolutely throbbing at this point! I busted this headboard out in a night and it would have been better to split up the tufting part into two nights, just to give my fingers a rest :)


Like any upholstery project, there is something to be said for keeping a soft hand and sort of artfully playing with the fabric. Especially when deciding where to place the button in the fabric and in getting the fabric to fold right. Play with the fabric and it will work with you. It's absolutely begging to sit in a diamond shape if you help it along a little. :)


Once all the tufting is done, you'll just need to finish off the edges. Don't just roll the fabric back behind the pegboard and staple it down. The key to nice looking upholstery projects is all in the lines. Minimize the bumps and wrinkles! The fabric, especially along the edges should be flat and smooth. To make the edges of a headboard smooth, fold in a line going straight out from each tuft toward the perimeter. The fold takes care of all the excess fabric so that the edges can be smooth and taut and ready for you to staple down on the back side.


To finish the bottom of the headboard, where the foam ends, just push your staple gun up under the foam a little and run a row of staples along the whole front bottom. Then pull the fabric down over the bottom edge of the exposed pegboard, neatly fold behind and staple back, like you did with the other three edges of the headboard. And that's it!

We screwed three D-rings into the back and used a couple Wall Dog screws in the wall to mount the headboard.


You can see in this shot how the foam only starts above the mattress. This way the mattress sort of sits into the headboard.


PS The camel linen is from Gray Line linen, from their Warsa line (only $9 a yard and it comes in all the colors under the rainbow).

111 comments:

  1. This is such a fabulous tutorial (I appreciate how thorough you are) and the result looks so non-DIY. Making my own headboard is something I've been considering and I think you've given me enough courage to attempt the project!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the palette used here!
    From what I understand after looking at all the published photos of the room makeover, I believe the colours are even better in person than in the photos with the artificial light!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Clever, clever on the pegboard! Love the whole project. Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great tutorial. I love that you can make the most complicated of projects look simple. I may have to give this one a try.

    ReplyDelete
  5. And this is why you are a beloved blogger! This is incredible. Great work Jenny.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amazing work, thanks for the tip on the fabric, I am on it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a good looking project, thanks for the tips on the fabric!

    ReplyDelete
  8. How brilliant to use pegboard, I always use plywood - and hate the process
    So glad I came across your post today
    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's a genius idea to use the peg board! Thanks for the tip & all the pics, you really make it look doable!

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're so crafty! It's so inspiring. I wish I had more energy on the weekends to do this sort of thing. These types of projects really make a difference in the home!

    Ferren
    http://www.easyart.com/trends

    ReplyDelete
  11. Using pegboard is genius. The headboard looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are killing me this week! Most brilliant tutorials ever! I've been coveting that headboard ever since you started posting about Joanna's room, and now I (mostly) think I can do it myself. THANK YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  13. You do the all time best tutorials! I just did your skirted table DIY project in my home the other week and you made the directions so easy to follow.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for the tutorial. This is the best one I've seen. Not sure I am brave enough to try it, but if so this will be my guide. Love the way it turned out and their bedroom. I think your Great!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great tutorial -- you make it look so easy! We'll be DIY-ing a headboard soon so this gives me the confidence that I can do something fancy on my own.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a great and easy way to get a tufted look! Fab tutorial...thank yoU!

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is a great DIY! Now I really have no excuse for making my own headboard!~ Thank you for this!~

    ReplyDelete
  18. Jenny--
    Love it. I have wanted a tufted ottoman for awhile, your tutorial makes me think I could tackle it myself:-)
    Thanks!!
    Lauren

    ReplyDelete
  19. Jenny--
    Love it. I have wanted a tufted ottoman for awhile, your tutorial makes me think I could tackle it myself:-)
    Thanks!!
    Lauren

    ReplyDelete
  20. I wish I had seen this before I made my own headboard!!! Oh the agony of measuring and drilling! And the holes were all to small the first go around. Pegboard would have been brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  21. The peg board is brilliant! You are so inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you for sharing your tips, Jenny! Love the use of peg board -gorgeous work!

    ReplyDelete
  23. this is super thorough and actually makes me feel like i can do it. i can sew a button like nobody's business. that makes me qualified to do this, right? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  24. genius!!! I have always wondered how they got those deep tufts- its digging out the foam- Thank you for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  25. The peg board is brilliant!!! I love the color of this headboard too! Thanks for the detailed tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Excellent! I can't believe how clear and easy to understand your directions are. :) This will definitely be in a guest room in my future. I'd have one in our bedroom, but I'm deathly allergic to dust mites and it wouldn't survive a hot wash once per week. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great tutorial! The end product really looks professional. I love it!
    - Jill

    ReplyDelete
  28. Pegboard! That is ab-so-lute-ly genius!! Thanks for the great tutorial.

    ReplyDelete
  29. OMG you make that look so easy. Love your fabric choice.

    http://leeanderin.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  30. this tutorial is amazing. cannot wait to try it. About how much fabric did you end up using. I want to cover all my bases here!

    Thanks for the inspiration and help!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Great tutorial Jen! I have really enjoyed seeing all of your tricks and tips for putting this fabulous room together!

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is awesome! Using pegboard is a great idea. I've been wanting to do a tufted headboard, but drilling all the holes evenly seemed so daunting. This I can do! Thanks so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh my gosh. I have been waiting for the post. Checking in a couple times a day to find out where that headboard came from. And you made it! It turned out incredible. Dang, that I'm not that gifted with fabric and needles. I just might have to scour the internet looking for a copy cat. Way to go. Love the way the bedroom turned out. Very inspirational. Please come to my house when you are in Snowflake again. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Very cool! Awesome tutorial. I've always loved the look of a tufted headboard (tufted anything, really) but the process seems so daunting. Maybe not?!

    ReplyDelete
  35. That headboard looks fantastic! I would love to try this sometime. Does the fabric below the foam go all the way to the floor?

    ReplyDelete
  36. I bow down. What a great, informative tutorial. I think I finally feel comfortable to try a DIY of this level - your idea of using pegboard is just genius.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks for the detailed tutorial Jenny, the headboard looks beautiful! I might have to start with the DIY Sunburst Mirror but I think i'll tackle this one one of these days too.

    Dene

    ReplyDelete
  38. What a great tutorial! I definitely need to make one of these when I get a house!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Lovely! What do you do at the bottom of the foam? With the pegboard being larger...? I'm assuming you covered the pegboard with the fabric...??

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thanks for the sweet comments, friends!

    You'll need about 2 yards of fabric for this project. I'll update the post with more info. (you'll need more if you're using a pattern).

    Sorry the last step about finishing the bottom part that goes behind the bed is a little ambiguous. I was sure I had photographed this part, but I can't find the images anywhere.

    The basic idea is you staple underneath the foam, coming from the front. But you don't cut off the fabric. It just sort of runs down the front of the pegboard. Then you can fold and wrap it behind for stapling like with the rest of the perimeter of the headboard. It looks much more professional to keep the pegboard covered in fabric.

    Hope that helps to clarify! Let me know if you have more questions!

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  41. This is awesome! Using the pegboard is genius, and the finished product is beautiful! I think I have to attempt this one...

    I seriously love that all of your DIY projects don't look DIY at all - great job!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Jenny. What a great looking headboard. The pegboard is a great idea.

    My tufting got a lot better when I discovered to remove the foam in each area first. I've found that an apple corer (the kind with a serrated tip) is great for digging out the plugs of foam.

    Can't wait to see what you're up to next!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I love these tufting DIY's. I'm still on the look out for a headboard like your girls'...those are perfect. And this is a close second. Rock on Jenny.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Amazing! Probably a bit advanced for me, but I would love, love, love to know how you did those blackout shades in their apartment -- I've been looking for some, but they are so expensive!

    ReplyDelete
  45. It looks so awesome! The pegboard is genius! Pinning for a later date. :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. I have been WAITING for this tutorial ever since Joanna said that you would be posting the DIYs for her room. I am going to tackle this immediately, your directions make it sound so simple!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Wow, this looks amazing. Great instructions and the finished product is fantastic + I love how you accessorized the room. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  48. This is AMAZING! We're totally making this once we move

    ReplyDelete
  49. Beautifully and professionally done! Thanks for sharing your method!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Fantastic tutorial! Thanks! It looks fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Holy Cannoli. That was brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  52. You are so amazing! And Joanna's headboard looks fantastic! You did a great job!

    ReplyDelete
  53. It's beautiful. Excellent taste and idea. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I'm so impressed. In the earlier posts, I thought it was professionally done. And the pegboard is pure genius!!!! Ah-mazing!

    ReplyDelete
  55. This is phenomenal!!! I cannot believe you were able to do this yourself! xx

    ReplyDelete
  56. Absolute genius. I love your DIYs- you make it look like the rest of us mere mortals can do it too and I love that about you! You even inspired me to tackle that Maskros-Sputnik and it's now one of my favorite things in our home. The headboard is going to make it onto the project list as well.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hi! Love the pegboard idea. So clever! I also love the lamps! Could you please share where you got them? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Thanks for the tutorial... on my list to make. I love the lights... would you mind sharing your source for those.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Is the pegboard all one huge piece, or is that two pieces put together? If it's two pieces, how did you get the two pieces to stay together?
    (Thanks so much this is an awesome DIY tutorial!!!)

    ReplyDelete
  60. I read your post, I definitely don't have the motivation to try it myself but it was very interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  61. I am so glad you posted this DIY. I have been needing to make a headboard and want to tuft one, but have been putting it off due to not really knowing how to get started. Thanks Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
  62. WOW!!! I am so impressed!! That is awesome!! =)

    ReplyDelete
  63. I have been showing my husband pictures of this headboard since I found it saying 'THAT is the headboard I want to make'. (We've been talking about making one for awhile) So I practically squealed out loud when i saw that you posted instructions! I can't wait to get started on this project!

    ReplyDelete
  64. How smart to use pegboard! I'm sure that makes things way faster.. brilliant. I love the mustard yellow you used, it picks up the yellow in the pillow perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Hi Jenny, I tufted a little bench recently and when I got to the folding and pleating of the sides, it just wasn't laying as neatly as I would have liked. A quick search on the internet led me to an upholsterer's site who suggested slicing a straight line (about a 1/3" deep)from the button hole on the top of the foam and then down the side of the foam. The extra fabric easily tucked in straight and neat. I hope that makes sense. I think on my next tufting project (cause there WILL be a next one)I'm going to make shallow slices for the diamonds as well.
    Love your blog, keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  66. This is the best DIY upholstered headboard I've seen, my husband and I are really excited to do this. I had a quick question though! What size buttons did you use?

    ReplyDelete
  67. I totally forgot to mention the size of the buttons! Thanks Ariel! I used 5/8".

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  68. Fabulous tutorial! I've recently made a headboard sans diamonds and am now considering redoing the job. Thankyou for posting - and I'll be checking out some more of your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Hi! This weekend, we followed your tutorial and made our very own king size headboard! The details you included in addition to the pictures were exactly what we needed! Like you, we finished the project in 1 night and our hands were KILLING us, but in the end, we LOVE the finished project! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

    ReplyDelete
  70. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am so in love with this headboard, I can't believe it is something I can actually make!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hi Jenny,
    My husband and I are DEFINITELY trying this project. We were wondering if that is one piece of pegboard, or two that are somehow connected? Do you mind sharing the dimensions of the pegboard?
    Thank you so much! Your projects are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  72. you are amazing! this tutorial is so perfect and makes me want to go tuft everything in sight! thanks so much for all your helpful tips always. you have the most gorgeous design aesthetic!

    ReplyDelete
  73. Found your tutorial through pinterest and I must say, yours is the best tutorial I have read concerning Headboards. I have been looking for weeks for one that not only explains making the headboard, but explains tufting in a manner that I can understand. I will be using this tutorial when I go to make my head board.

    ReplyDelete
  74. I need help ASAP! I am in the middle of this project and my brand new staple gun doesn't seem to be getting the job done. I don't know if it is the gun, the pegboard, my technique or all of the above.

    1 out of 5 staples barely penetrate the board. They seem to be wavy/curved (not straight) and once I reposition the thread to keep tension the staple just pops right out and I have to start all over again.

    It's too late to turn back now and I've searched everywhere for advice...HELP!!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Ginny, I use a powerShot Pro staple gun with the same brand staples (important!), and my staples went in flush 90% of the time. Hope that helps!

    ReplyDelete
  76. How did you attach it to the wall?

    ReplyDelete
  77. How wide did you make the headboard? I don't want it to look too puny above my queen mattress, but don't want it to look oversized either.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Looks great! Fab tip on using a pegboard. I was thinking about doing a tufted headboard so this post is very timely. Thanks for all the great info!

    ReplyDelete
  79. I love, love, love this headboard! I can't wait to buy myself a staple gun and give it a try.

    Where are those amazing lamps from?? Will this be in a future blog post? I just can't get enough of them!

    ReplyDelete
  80. Excellent source for info! I was hesitant to do the project thinking i would not drill the holes even, but the peg board is BRILLIANT!!!THANK YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  81. OMG...i love you! Awesome detailed post just in time for my next project!
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  82. What a great idea! Peg board. Looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Great tutorial-- just one problem though! I made my own headboard from this and it was working great, but I needed more than two yards of fabric. Maybe I didn't pull as tight or something but lesson learned! Err on the big side... I'm ordering 3 yards of fabric now and redoing it. Otherwise looks awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Popped over from Nesting Place...

    Thanks for the fabulous tutorial! Can't wait to try it. We have been headboardless for ten years...how tragic. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  85. Jenny,
    Repeating what everyone else said - this is hands down the BEST tutorial for this project. I was so excited to see it come up in my Google Reader because I had been putting off tackling this b/c it seemed like it could be difficult, but your tips make it seem so much more manageable!

    I just have one technical question. Once you are finished stapling down the thread on the back, what do you do? Do you need to tie it to secure it or do the staples secure it enough? It makes me nervous, like the thread would eventually snake back out the staples over time?

    ReplyDelete
  86. I completed this project up until I tried stapling into the pegboard which has been impossible. Even turning it upside down & using bodyweight just makes them crumple.
    I will now have to start over with some plywood & start drilling holes.
    How did you get plywood & staples(I used a heavy duty stapler) to work?

    ReplyDelete
  87. Mamm3 - I use a PowerShot Pro stapler from Home Depot (about $35) with the same brand staples and it worked great for me. Every 10th staple or so would go in well, but great otherwise.

    About the tying question - I didn't feel the need to tie the thread ends because I used a lot of staples, but no harm in doing that if it makes you feel more secure!

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  88. I am dying for the fabric on that throw pillow! Will keep scanning comments after I post this one, but I don't suppose you could share the source of that? Thanks! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  89. can you please tell me about the linen you used. The price is awesome, and was thinking about it for a chair slipcover. Is the weight of that fabric durable enough? Thanks! Amy

    ReplyDelete
  90. Amy - I would say it is durable enough for medium use upholstery. I probably wouldn't put it on my primary sofa for my living room. They do have heavier duty fabrics with bigger weaves. You should call them to ask. Those only come in very neutral colors. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  91. Can't wait to start this! thanks for the inspiration.
    It looks like you used 2 or 3 pieces of pegboard. How did you attached them together?

    ReplyDelete
  92. You are a GENIUS! I am definitely going to try this myself. Thank you for a brilliant tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  93. I loved this post so much I tried my own version! I think it worked out pretty well!

    http://happyhappyyum.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/makea-padded-bedhead.html

    Courtney

    ReplyDelete
  94. HELP! It's me again, Melissa. Did you use a specific depth of staples. After running out to purchase the staple gun that you suggested, hardly any are going all the way in. Still. Thanks for any input.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Melissa - I think I use 3/8" staples. Try using a hammer to tap in the staples the rest of the way. If you do this, you'll only need to use three or four staples per tuft, since the staples will be in so snug. Hope that helps! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Hi there! I used your tutorial to make my very first tufted headboard. Here's a link to it (we used a VERY bold pattern and bright buttons!)

    http://nearlydomesticated.blogspot.com/2012/05/guest-room-complete-ish.html

    ps. I linked to your blog in a previous post when the headboard was in progress (I hope that's okay)

    ReplyDelete
  97. Where did you get your buttons? I went to JoAnn's and they were $10 for only 14 buttons!

    ReplyDelete
  98. Where did you get your buttons? I went to JoAnn's and they were $10 for a pack of 14!

    ReplyDelete
  99. I love this tutorial! Just one question - You mention that your headboard is 40" tall, and that the foam is 24" of those inches - any idea how wide it was?

    ReplyDelete
  100. A queen mattress is 60" wide, so we did 63" on the headboard to give it a little wiggle room.

    Good luck!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  101. I bought my button kits here in the fabric district somewhere. I think each button was like 15 cents. You should look around online, or start saving up those Joanns coupons!

    ReplyDelete
  102. I made this headboard a couple of weeks ago and it is FABULOUS! Your directions were perfect and such a great idea to use the pegboard. We already had a low, flat headboard so we just screwed the pegboard into the old headboard and added a little bit of light wood pieces to the back to make a brace. I did need a little more than 2 yards of fabric just to make sure I had enough to work with.
    I haven't noticed the buttons loosening at all, but do I need to do anything else to secure the threads? I have seen a few places where people put hot glue in the holes...do you think that is worth it?

    ReplyDelete
  103. Hi Jenny, Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I made my own here:

    http://involvingthesenses.blogspot.com/2012/06/diy-button-tufted-headboard.html

    ReplyDelete
  104. Love it! Will be trying this in green asap!

    ReplyDelete
  105. Such a great tutorial!! Thanks! I'm buying the supplies to make my own tomorrow! :)

    ReplyDelete

I so appreciate hearing from you. Nice comments make my day! Thanks for keeping things light here, friends! :)