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A bedroom in an apartment with a double bed and a retro look antique patterned patchworked bed cover.

DIY: Upholstered Headboard

Inexpensive DIY Upholstered Headboard

It doesn’t matter what size bed you have, this project can work for a king, queen, full, or twin-sized bed. First, measure the width of the bed, allowing for a few inches of overhang on each side. Then decide how far down you want the headboard to go. Should it rest on the floor, be bolted to the bed frame, or hang on the wall?

Nailing the headboard to the wall would be the most economical choice. This way the board wouldn’t have to reach down to the floor. The bottom part of the headboard would be hidden by the bed, so it would take fewer materials. Fewer materials = less expense!

Next is the most fun part, deciding on fabric! This is where you should splurge if you have to since it’s what you be matching with your current decor or changing to match the headboard.

Wooden headboard of comfortable bed in cozy bedroom

How To Make DIY Upholstered Headboard

You can use a 1/4″ sheet of 4×8 plywood cut down to 77″ x 36″ to accommodate a king-sized bed (Home Depot and Lowes will both make cuts for free). Measure the plywood and use painter’s tape to divide the sections evenly, then drill a hole at each cross-section, where the buttons would be for the tufting part later on (if that’s your style). Painting tape makes the project easier; if any lines look ‘off,’ simply lift the tape and moved it around.

Next comes foam! You’ll have to decide what you’ll like best. There’s plenty of options to meet your comfort level and match the look you’re going for. Adhere the foam to the plywood by way of spray adhesive, then cut any excess off with an electric knife so that the edge of the foam and the plywood would be flush.

Make sure you attach batting before the fabric. Lay batting down on the floor, then lay the plywood on top of that (foam side down). Pulling the batting tight, staple it to the back of the plywood, starting from the center of each side, working your way out. An electric staple gun is your friend, it’ll make the job much easier.

Quickly iron over the fabric to remove any wrinkles and lay it out to avoid further wrinkles. Lay the plywood on top of fabric (batting side down), pull the fabric taut, and staple it to the back, working from the center to the edges, just like the layer of batting.

How To Add Button Tufting To A DIY Upholstered Headboard

If you want to add button tufting to your upholstered headboard, here’s where you’d do it. Keep in mind, there are many ways to add buttons for a certain look. This part is dependent on your style!

First, you want to create your buttons. Pick up a button-making kit from a craft or fabric store. Use remnants of your fabric to create fabric-covered buttons.

Before you begin the tufting part, do yourself a favor and get an upholstery needle. Trying to push a standard-sized needle through about 4 inches of fluffy stuff doesn’t work all too well.

Thread the (upholstery) needle with a similar upholstery thread color to your fabric and push it through a drill hole in the upholstered headboard, from the back to the front. 

Then slid the button onto the thread, and run it back through from the front to the back. Gently pull the thread tight to create a tufted look. Now, secure the loose ends to the back of the headboard with the staple gun. Repeat until you have three rows of 4 buttons. Now we hang our finished upholstered headboard!

Voila! And we’re done! You now have an elegant new fabric headboard that costs hardly anything to make.

Grey bed with quilted headboard and big wooden lamp