Headboards and bed frames vary greatly in style and price. So when I was looking for a cost-friendly and simple update for my bedroom, I began to consider the idea of making my own headboard at home.
Thorough online research and video tutorials made the process seem within reach, and I was able to find the materials easily at my local craft and hardware stores. I even repurposed some extra pillows (for filling) and fabric (for the cover) from my closet that were taking up space and collecting dust. The entire assemblage took just a few hours, and even less time if you have an extra helper. Sound like a plan? Here's how to make this upholstered, tufted headboard at home.
What you'll need:
- A piece of MDF or wood board the desired size of your headboard
- Filling or foam
- Batting fabric
- Staple gun and staples
- Fabric of your choosing, large to cover the headboard with plenty of overhang
- Upholstery tacks or upholstery nails
How to make it:
1. Measure the bed and prep your MDF
Start by measuring the width of your bed to get the width of your headboard, and decide how tall you want it to be. Then have your local hardware store cut a piece of MDF to match that size. (Mine was approximately 56” wide x 32” tall x 1/2" thick, for our Queen bed.)
2. Pile on your filling
Lay the board flat and scatter your filling or foam evenly across the board. (I recycled the filling and stuffing from inside fairly new pillows that I was no longer using, instead of purchasing new foam.)
Around 3 inches of thickness is perfect for this type of headboard, but you can usually find foam in various textures and sizes at craft stores or online, which are usually a little thicker if you like a more overstuffed look.
3. Secure it to the board with batting
Now, unroll your batting and lay it on top of the stuffing or foam with plenty of overhang around the sides of the board. Batting helps keep the stuffing from sliding and creates a soft, thick layer around the wood’s edges and corners.
Cut the batting to be a few inches bigger than your wood board on all sides, and now carefully flip the whole assemblage over so you can secure that overhang to the back of the board, trapping the filling inside. (To do this, you might want to tape the batting down to the wood using masking tape, so none of the filling falls out.)
Once flipped, start stapling the edges of the batting to the back of the board—removing any tape, stretching it taught, and checking that the stuffing is still in place as you go—until it's stapled securely on all sides.
4. Place your fabric on the headboard!
Be sure your fabric is several inches larger than the headboard on all sides—and wash, dry, steam, or iron it (if needed) before securing it.
Begin by stapling one side of the fabric to back of the board, just like the batting. Avoid stretching the fabric too tight; you'll be tufting it on the other side using upholstery nails, and if the stuffing is too taut the nail heads might not be able to reach the wood through the filling.
Carefully bring your fabric around to each side, pulling gently to smooth out wrinkles, and staple the remaining edges to the back of the wood board, as shown.
5. Make tufts!
You can find upholstery nail heads or tacks at most local hardware or craft stores—they look like oversized, fancy thumb tacks—and by nailing them through the fabric and filling at regular intervals you'll create a tufted look.
For this headboard, I created three rows of tufts and measured accordingly, spacing the upholstery nails about 4 to 6 inches apart, and lightly marked the placement of each nail on the fabric with a pencil.
Keep in mind: When you nail the nail head to the board, the fabric will pull slightly—so your measurements will be slightly skewed. To accomodate, start with the middle-most nail and work your way out, stepping back to recalibrate any changes before you secure each next nail.
Hammer the upholstery nails through the fabric and to the wood, making sure your fabric and nail are secure, and then through the wood, until they're all attached. (If you are using more stuffing or a thick foam, you might need longer nails!)
6. Secure the headboard to your bed
Depending on the height of your bed, your walls, and/or type of frame you have, you can secure your headboard in various ways—and it’s best to consult your local hardware store staff on the best way to do so, accordingly.
Consider sturdy stainless steel and weight-appropriate wire, or sawtooth hangers and dry wall screws if you're fastening to the wall, which is probably easier than securing it to your bed frame. (But you can also purchase additional wood to secure your headboard directly to the bed, if you prefer!)
Have you ever worked with upholstery tacks? Share your tips in the comments!