Tufted Headboard Tutorial

Upholstered Tufted Headboard

Total time: 2 hours
Total cost:  $100.79

I am going to teach you how to make your own upholstered tufted headboard in 10 easy steps!  These retail for hundreds of dollars.  I found this one at JC Penny starting at $479.00.  You’ll be able to make yours look just the way YOU want it!

How to build a tufted headboard









Supplies needed:
2 yards of fabric (I used suede: $12.49/yd)
2.5 yards of 1 inch foam ($8.49/yd)
spray adhesive ($9.99)
two packs of upholstery tacks ($1.49/pk)
2 picture hanging hooks ($.50)
MDF board 1 inch thick ($30)
-cut to 5 feet by 30 inches, the store will do it for no cost.

Tools needed:How to build a tufted headboard
Electric carving knife
Heavy duty staple gun
Heavy duty staples
Tape measure
Scotch tape



Make sure your MDF board has been cut to the size of headboard you want. (Home improvement stores will make the cuts for free.)  For a queen size headboard 5 feet long, 30 inches high is perfect.  Take your MDF board and lay the foam on top, and mark where to make the cuts.  The board needs to be covered completely in foam.  It can be in pieces.

How to build a tufted headboard

Get out your electric carving knife.  This part is so much fun!  The knife cuts through foam like a hot knife through butter!  (If you don’t have one, you can use scissors, but know that it is FAR less entertaining.)  Cut along your marks.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.
How to build a tufted headboard

You’ll need to go outside for this one.  Lean your MDF board against a support, and spray the snot out of it with spray adhesive.  Make sure it is good and sticky.  Let it sit a minute or two so it gets tacky.  Then just slap the pieces of foam right on, like a puzzle.  Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Just make sure the board is covered by foam.
How to build a tufted headboardHow to build a tufted headboard

Carving knife time again!  This step is just as fun as before.. just run the carving knife along the edges to trim the foam.

How to build a tufted headboard

Lay out your fabric, face down.  I picked silver suede because it’s neutral and matches my bedding.  I also like the suede because it gives good texture. (And it’s soft!)  After you lay the fabric down, drop your foam board right on top, also face down.  Then start stapling along the top.  Don’t pull too tight yet.  Make sure it’s just even for now.  If your staples aren’t going in all the way, just reinforce them with a hammer.  Once you’ve got the top row stapled in place, do the bottom row.  Make sure you pull the fabric so it’s not loose.   Don’t pull it skin tight, or it will rip when you put your nail buttons in.

How to build a tufted headboard

Ever wrapped a present?  Today you wrap a present for yourself… a beautiful headboard!  haha, but seriously, that’s how you do the corners.  Tuck them in at 45 degrees, pull tight, and staple.  Then trim the extra floppy fabric away.

How to build a tufted headboardHow to build a tufted headboard

Here’s where it gets very customizable.  You can put your nails in any pattern you want.  You can create a diamond tufted pattern, or as close or far as you want from each other.  I figured 6 inches apart looked pretty standard, so that’s what I did.  I taped two pieces of paper together, and made a grid of 6 inch squares, then poked small holes in it with my nail heads.  I laid it down on the top of my headboard, and made a small dot.  I kept lining up my pattern, and making dots til the entire surface had been marked.

How to build a tufted headboardHow to build a tufted headboardSTEP EIGHT:
Get out your pretty nail heads.  I picked white ones because I thought they would pop against the gray.  (And they do… and I really love it!)  Poke your nails into the fabric, right where the dots are.  The foam will hold them in place.  Don’t do it sloppy though, because if you put them in crooked, when you hammer them in, they WILL bend.  So take your time, put them in straight.

How to build a tufted headboardHow to build a tufted headboard

Use one of your scraps of fabric, and cover the top of the nail head, and hammer it a couple of times til it sticks in the MDF board.  Now, go through the whole board.  You will LOVE the transformation.

How to build a tufted headboardHow to build a tufted headboard

Flip your headboard over, and measure 12 inches in, and 1 1/2 inches down, on both sides.  This is where your picture hanging hooks go.  Quickly install those.  And you are ready to hang it on your wall behind your bed.

How to build a tufted headboard
This project is fun, easy, and AWESOME!  Everyone will be so impressed with you and your new found upholstery skill.  Enjoy!

How to build a tufted headboard


Peace out and have a happy crafternoon.

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  • Sybarite

    I am disappointed that no one has commented on this yet. 🙁 This would be a quick and easy way to get tufted look without anywhere near as much effort as true tufting!

  • vee

    Where did you buy the suede? Is it real suede?