How to Make a DIY Tufted Headboard

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Hello Internet! Today I am bringing you one of my coolest projects to date, and something that I’ve been itching to do for a very, very long time – a DIY tufted headboard!

DIY Headboard Under $100

Let me tell you.. this was NOT an easy task. I ended up hurting my wrist while doing the tufting and I swear my fingers were about to blister by the end. As you can see in the photos, though, it was totally worth it.

Here is the finished product, with black snakeskin vinyl, diamonds, and all:

Finished DIY Tufted Headboard

You will need:

  1. Wood cut to the size and shape of your desired headboard and legs cut to the appropriate height.
    • You don’t need anything too expensive, but don’t get the cheapest you can find as it’s usually doused in chemicals (ask the people at your preferred home improvement store.) You can totally make a beautiful rectangular headboard if you’d like, but I chose to add some shape to mine using a jigsaw.
    • For the legs, I used 1X3’s and made sure to have a good amount on the actual headboard. I mounted mine so the bottom of my headboard would begin where the bottom of my mattress begins.
  2. A drill with drillbits to make holes in the wood and screws appropriate for adding legs.
  3. Foam and batting.
  4. A furniture-grade staple gun with lots and lots of staples!
  5. Enough fabric (I used a black, vinyl snakeskin material – UHHMAYZING) to cover the headboard, plus more. My headboard is made for a queen bed so it’s a little over 80 inches, and I used 2 yards. This was barely enough to make it to the sides once everything was tufted, so I would recomment at least 2.25 or 2.5 yards for a Queen headboard.
  6. Heavy duty upholstery needles, thread, and whatever type of buttons make your heart pitterpatter.
  7. Patience, time, motivation, sheer will, determination, and strength, baby!

Take a look through the gallery below to get an idea of the basic steps.

The basic steps are outlined below. This is pretty much thought vomit all over the page as I didn’t really plan this out, and I’m sure you will need plenty of improvisation, but here is what I did.

  1. Buy the wood, cut it to my desired shape.
  2. Mark the needed holes. I did this by using an old headboard I found on the side of the road (I know, weird, right?) as a template. You can mark yours by measuring whatever dimensions you’d like, just make sure it’s even!
  3. Drill the needed holes.
  4. Lay the foam and batting on top. I added extra batting as you can see in the photo, mostly because my material was a stiff snakeskin vinyl that was likely to need more oomph once I started tufting.
  5. Cut holes in the foam. There are dandy tools for doing this – I got creative and used the open end of a curtain rod, shoving it through the foam like a cookie cutter to create the holes.
  6. Lay your fabric on top. Adjust it as needed.
  7. Begin tufting. Start from the middle, work your way out. This is very hard – you should really have someone helping you and have the board standing upright. I didn’t, so here was my method:
    • Thread needle with the button, poke it through the hole/foam on top of the headboard (I had mine set up on patio chairs parallel with the floor)
    • Flop onto the floor under the headboard while still holding the needle, pull it through as hard as you can to make it actually tuft (I actually hurt my wrist after doing this multiple times. Ow.)
    • Fumble for your staple gun and hammer nearby as you are still holding the thread taut
    • Staple the string multiple times in multiple different directions to make it stick, as hard as you can, then hammer those babies in!!
  8. Once you’re done tufting (Good job! You made it!) staple the remaining fabric all around the back edges of the project. You will need a lot. of. staples!
  9. Finally, add the legs, as seen in my photograph. Stagger the screws, make sure they aren’t long enough to go through the foam, make sure you put enough of the leg on the actual headboard to provide adequate support.
  10. Admire your work! You just completed one of the coolest projects possible!

I am so proud of this headboard and am completely head over heels for it. Please please please, if you do this, leave a link in the comments so I can check it out! I plan on doing a headboard roundup and would love to include your project, especially if you were inspired by mine.

Feel free to pin and repost with credit. Have a great day!!

XOXO Hannah

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  • AmberLovesArt
    October 5, 2013


    I’m curious as to how you attached the legs of your BEAUTIFUL headboard to your bed frame. I’m in the process of making my own, but I’m not sure how I would go about attaching the headboard to my frame once I’m finished. Did you drill holes in the legs and attach them will screws and nuts to the frame? I appreciate any help that you can offer.

    Thank you,


    • Hannah
      October 12, 2013

      Hi Amber! I actually haven’t attached it as I built my bed frame as well, and it’s sortof an interesting take on a platform/slat bed that doesn’t really have a good place TO attach to. Since it’s against a wall, though, it’s not a problem and I actually prefer the mobility of it since I like to re-arrange sometimes. 🙂 I did a quick search though and if you have the traditional metal bedframe, something like this would probably work perfectly: Headboard And Footboard Adapter Conversion Plates, Set of 4 Plates

      Let me know how it goes & I’d love to see a link to yours once it’s done (if you post it!)

  • MAC
    October 14, 2013

    LOVE the fabric. Where did you find it?

    • Hannah
      October 15, 2013

      Thank you! I bought it in Downtown LA. I believe it was from Michael Levine’s. 🙂

  • glam on a budget
    July 15, 2014

    I absolutely love!! your headboard I’m a young single mother and I’m always looking for easy affordable diy home improvement ideas this is my favorite by far it looks like you spent at least 3× what you paid I will definitely be doing this project in the next few weeks thanks for sharing

    • Hannah
      July 15, 2014

      Thanks so much, I really appreciate it! I have another one coming soon, hopefully.. 🙂