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:

kay* said...

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!

Moonlight said...

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!

leah said...

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

Pacific NW Blogfan said...

Looks really fantastic. Congrats.

Pacific NW Blogfan said...

Looks really fantastic. Congrats.

My Crafty Home-Life said...

very smart!! It looks stunning.

Andrea said...

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

Terese said...

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

Mel & Liza said...

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

Mel & Liza said...

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

suzyq said...

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!!!!

Priscila B. said...

great idea!!!

Amanda said...

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

Ferren said...

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

Samantha said...

You are a genius!!

Jean @ Flower Hill said...

Using pegboard is genius. The headboard looks amazing!

Jules said...

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!

Lindsey said...

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.

Glenda @ Magnolia Bend Drive said...

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!!

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

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.

Emily Ann said...

Great tutorial!

Jillian {Her Split Ends} said...

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

Proper Hunt said...

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

Lauren -HCP said...

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

Lauren -HCP said...

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

Rebecca said...

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!

amber wallace said...

The peg board is brilliant! You are so inspiring!

Angeline said...

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

cecilia said...

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? ;)

Amanda said...

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

Kristin said...

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

Lindsey said...

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. ;)

Jill said...

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

maggie said...

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

Erin said...

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

http://leeanderin.blogspot.com/

Tyne said...

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!

Sita said...

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

Sarah said...

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.

The Baum Squad said...

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. ;)

Kacey said...

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?!

Emily said...

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

Lauren | Seventeenth and Irving said...

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.

gloss white said...

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

Connie @ Daydream In Color said...

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

Julia said...

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...??

Jenny at LGN said...

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

Kristen said...

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!

Bridget said...

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!

Miggy said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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!

Emily said...

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

Jessica Nicosia said...

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!

cecy j said...

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

Mrs. SE said...

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

Anonymous said...

Beautifully and professionally done! Thanks for sharing your method!

Terrie Mathison said...

Fantastic tutorial! Thanks! It looks fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Holy Cannoli. That was brilliant.

Renee said...

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

Home Designer said...

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

Heidi @ Budget Wise Home said...

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

Daily Cup of Couture said...

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

Erin | Holtwood Hipster said...

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.

Daniela said...

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

D said...

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

kathleen said...

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!!!)

Paul said...

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

sarahbarksdaledesign.com said...

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!

Lemanie said...

WOW!!! I am so impressed!! That is awesome!! =)

strongwomenstudy said...

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!

Jenna at Homeslice said...

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.

Kim H said...

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!

arielbrittany said...

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?

Jenny at LGN said...

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

xx

dearmolly said...

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.

Nicole Vroman said...

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!!!

Ann E. said...

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!

Amber said...

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!

radhi said...

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!

LanniBug said...

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.

GinnyM said...

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!!

Jenny at LGN said...

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!

Anonymous said...

How did you attach it to the wall?

Anonymous said...

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.

Bonnie said...

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!

Abby Kozel said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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!

Julie said...

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

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! Peg board. Looks great.

Becky said...

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.

Jennifer said...

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. ;)

RMC said...

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?

mamm3 said...

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?

Jenny at LGN said...

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

Fizz Fizz Bang said...

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

A Page said...

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

Jenny at LGN said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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?

Mrs. Sutton said...

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

happyhappyyum said...

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

Melissa Baumgart said...

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.

Jenny at LGN said...

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!

Niamh said...

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)

pagehall said...

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

pagehall said...

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

Curran said...

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?

Jenny at LGN said...

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

Good luck!
xx

Jenny at LGN said...

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!

mollyc said...

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?

Meghan said...

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

Anonymous said...

Love it! Will be trying this in green asap!

Cortney said...

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

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