How To Make A Tufted Headboard For Under $100

This custom tufted headboard for under $100 will save you money and create a beautiful statement piece in your bedroom.  Tufted Headboard For Under $100

Two of my girlfriends requested building not one, but two tufted headboards. However, none of us had built a headboard before, but they thought I was the mastermind for this project and signed me up.

Furniture pieces are very hard to come by when you live overseas on a military base where shopping for specific items is almost non-existent. On top of that issue, we have to shop smart & stay on budget because who knows if we can take that piece with us to the next duty station. All I am saying is “weight restrictions”.

Let’s Build A Custom Headboard From Scratch

If you like to build these amazing headboards, please consider that we live overseas and some of the prices are different. I did my best to choose the most affordable option online for you, so you can simply order them if you don’t have a local hardware store. (affiliated links present)

– Supplies needed: –

Project 1 (square tufting)

Project 2 (diamond tufting)

– Tools needed: –

– Instructions –

Step 1.

Measure your bed frame width and the height of your bed including mattress. Cut the plywood to the length or your bed frame and the preferred height you want your headboard to be. We went with 30″.

Step 2.

Cut the 2×4’s to the height of your headboard. Example: If your bed is 29″ high and the headboard is 30″, your 2×4’s will be 59″ long.

Note: You want the headboard to be slightly lower 2-3″ behind the mattress.

Step 3.

Place the 2×4’s underneath the plywood right at the edge, hold them in place and pre-drill 4 holes for the screws, two at the top and two at the bottom.

We also used the scrap pieces from the 2×4’s to support the middle, so the headboard won’t bend when leaning against it.

Step 4.

Mark the headboard for the buttons. We used a grit paper to mark the wood, a pegboard will work just fine for this too. Start by measuring the center of the headboard and work your way out. Use a 1/4″ drill bit to drill through the board so you can attach the buttons later.

You can add as many squares or diamonds as you like to the headboard.

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-mark and drill upholstery holes

Step 5.

Place the mattress topper on the edge and staple one side to the back of the headboard. You want the smooth side facing the plywood if you use one king topper and fold it in half.

Note: We used 3 layers of foam topper on the second project with the navy blue fabric. The first foam we laid ridges down and the second and third layer of foam we laid so the ridges faced each other.

The picture below is project 1 with only 2 layers of foam topper.

Project 2 with 3 layers of mattress foam topper  Tufted Headboard For Under $100

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-attach the foam topper

Step 6.

Once the top is stapled to the back of the board, lift the topper and spray glue in sections onto the plywood. Stretch the foam slightly and press it down to adhere.

Staple the bottom to the back of the headboard and spray glue between the foam. Stretch and press down to adhere.

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-Spray glue to the plywood

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-spray glue the topper to the board

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-staple foam to the headboard

 – Project 1 – Square tufting

Lay the fabric on top of the foam and start working from the top center outwards. The easiest way while tufting is to lean the headboard again the wall or use two chairs and lay the headboard on top of the cushion or the armrests.

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-tie buttons

How to tuft

  1. Make fabric buttons with this Dritz kit. Use the upholstery needle and upholstery twine.
  2. Start by threading a long piece of twine through your needle. Push the needle through the drilled hole from the back to the front. Start at the top and center-most hole, and be sure to keep your needle straight.
  3. While you hold the needle from the back, carefully press down on the foam from the front until the needle comes out in the front. Pull it out slightly.
  4. You’ll want to staple the end of the upholstery twine in a zig-zag pattern to the bottom and knot the ends so they won’t slide through. Then you will be able to walk around to the front and pull the needle the rest of the way through.
  5. Now thread your covered button in the front.

Note: If you do the tufting while the headboard is laying on chairs, have someone help to do the back part for you, while you do the front.  Tufted Headboard For Under $100

Thread the button in the front

  • Thread the needle through the loop of the covered button.
  • Loop it through the shank again.
  • Pull the button down the thread and tighten it with the button going as deeply into the foam as you can. The loop should cause it to hold in place for a bit, if not just pull it tight again.
  • Cut the thread at the end and pull the needle off.
  • Tie the two pieces of twine tightly into the underside of the button.
  • Pull the two twine strings to the opposite side of the button and tie off again. Do this several times alternating between the two button sides so it is secure.
  • Cut off the excess string and tuck it under the button.
  • Pinch the fabric to create a pleat.

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-lay fabric on top and secure buttons to the back

Tuck the fabric

  1. On our first project, we missed this step. That’s why I am giving you a bit more details about “how to tuck” the fabric. This way at least yours will be perfect the first time.
  2. After your first button, stop and tuck to create a little fold-over lip that goes up and to the left and right. Now add the next button, then create the pleat again… this will ensure you have the right amount of “give” needed between each button moving forward.
  3. It allows that perfect little tuck between each button in the top row and affects the rest of the rows as well.

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-finished tufting

Finish up the headboard

  • Once you have completed adding all buttons, pull the top pleats tight and staple the fabric in place at the back. Make sure all your fabric tucks are facing the same direction.
  • When all the pleats are stapled in place it is time to secure the fabric all around. Lay the headboard face down on the ground.
  • Then fold and tuck the corners on your headboard from the top sides down and pull across to create a perfect top-to-side seam, then staple them in place. Continue down both sides, pulling the fabric as you go.
  • When you reach the bottom, lift the headboard upright and trim any excess around the legs. Tuck the fabric under, pull it tight, and staple everything on the back.
  • You do not need to staple the front of the leg since it is pulled tight from the back.

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-stapeling fabric to the back

– Project 1 –

The finished project for a square tufted headboard

Tufted Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade

– Project 2 | Diamond tufting –

This project was done almost the same way, but we added one extra layer of mattress foam topper, the buttons were placed in a diamond pattern and the fabric was a medium navy blue linen.  Tufted Headboard For Under $100

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-threading the buttons

Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-staple fabric to the headboard

Tufted Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-Finished 1

While we worked on the second headboard, we realized that it was much easier to complete although we did a few additional steps like; tuck pleating and more buttons.  Tufted Headboard For Under $100

This was a great project you could make on your own if you are not in a rush, or if you plan on using it the same day, this can be completed in one day if your best friend or hubby is helping along.


Tufted Headboard under $100 via Oheveryhinghandmade-Pin me

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  1. Hi Bettina! I love you DIY pins and blog. I have always wanted to make one of these for our guest bedroom and I think I can now. I also loved your post on your family… You girls have grown! I was the one who taught you prenatal yoga in Oki:). Thanks for the inspiration!

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