tufted headboard – tutorial

Some affiliate links are used at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog! For more information, visit my Disclosure.

You guys asked – here it is!

Supply List:

  • MDF
  • Brackets and screws (if using multiple pieces of MDF)
  • Marker
  • Jig saw and protective gear
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Foam
  • Spray adhesive
  • Fabric
  • Piping
  • Sewing machine, pins, scissors
  • Button kit for tufting (found at sewing or craft store)
  • Large tufting needle
  • Heavy twin for tufting
  • Small dowel rods for tying off tufting (you could even use large washers)
Here we go!

STEP 1:  Trace your headboard pattern onto your piece, or pieces, of MDF.  To help make sure each side of your headboard is the same, you can use a large piece of paper or cardboard that has only half the pattern on it and then flip it to get an exact match.

STEP 2:  Use a jig saw to cut out your pattern.  Of course, use protective eye wear during this process.
STEP 3:  If using multiple pieces of MDF, attach them together using brackets on both the front and back sides.
STEP 4:  Trace and cut out your headboard pattern onto your foam batting.
STEP 5:  Attach it to the MDF using spray adhesive.  Make sure you do this in a well ventilated area as this stuff is really, really smelly.  Depending on how tightly rolled the foam batting was when purchased, you may have to weigh down the curled edges to get it to adhere well.

STEP 6:  Here comes the sewing!  Measure out a strip of your fabric a few inches longer than the measurement that goes all along the sides and top (you will more than likely have to stitch a couple pieces of fabric together to get the full length).  You want the width of the fabric to be 3 inches wider than the depth of the headboard.  This will allow you enough fabric to place two rows of piping along the edges.  Make sure the width between the two rows of piping measures the same width as your headboard.

STEP 7:  Stitch the piping in place using a zipper foot or one made especially for piping.  When finished you now have one piece of fabric that houses 2 edges of piping.

STEP 8:  Place the piped piece over the top and sides of the headboard.
STEP 9:  Lay the front panel of fabric over the front of the headboard and pin to the piped piece.  You can also pin the large panel of fabric to the batting to help it stay in place while pinning.  Repeat for the back panel of fabric.
STEP 10:  Trim excess fabric leaving yourself a 3/4 inch seam allowance. 

STEP 11:  Stitch pieces together using your zipper or piping foot and turn right side out.  Slip it over and check for fit.

I originally planned on this being the completed headboard.  But, the plain white fabric looked too plain.  This would have been perfection had the fabric been a print.  Then pulling it off and throwing it into the wash would have been a breeze!
I sulked for a couple of hours, bummed it hadn’t turned out as fabulous as I imagined it in my mind.
Then my husband came to the rescue and said, “Why don’t you just add those button things?”
Here are the steps for adding tufting. 
Keep in mind I had somewhat given up on the project so pictures will be hit and miss.
STEP 12:  Remove the slipcover.  Measure out and mark where you want your buttons to be placed.  Now do the same on the back (the MDF side) – there’s a reason for this.  I initially thought I could drill straight through the foam backing and go through the MDF.  Nope.  The foam gets wrapped around the drill and stops.  So you need to mark out your placement on the back as well since that’s where you’ll be drilling from.
STEP 13:  Drill holes for the tufting.  Drill from the back of the headboard (the MDF side), stopping as soon as you go through the MDF so the foam doesn’t get wrapped around the drill bit. 
STEP 14:  Slip the slipcover back over the headboard.
STEP 15:  Start tufting using the buttons you assembled using the button covering kit.  Thread your tufting needle with approx 2 feet of twine (always better to have too much twine than too little).  Push the needle in the headboard through the hole you drilled in the back.  Make sure to maneuver the needle through the foam so that it pokes out through your mark you made on the front of the foam.  Make sure you have one of the ends of the twine still hanging out the back of the headboard.  Slip your button onto the needle and down the twine.  Slide the needle back into the foam and through the drilled hole in the back.  You should have both ends of the twine pulled through the back. 
To secure the tufting, you can use short pieces of dowel rods or even large washers.  Place your piece of dowel between the two pieces of twine and pull one end over and under to hold it lightly in place.  Now pull TIGHTLY to get your tufted look, and tighten down your dowel rod.  To tie it off I just tied it in a bow – no knots.  This way you could untie the tufting and remove the buttons if, God forbid, the slipcover gets filthy and needs to be washed.  I’ve not had any issues with the tufting loosening.
Get some help moving your headboard into place against the wall, push the bed tightly up to it, and enjoy!
What do you think.  Is it something you’ll end up trying?
Pin It

For more about Izzy’s big girl room, click here.

I’ll be linking up to these fab parties!



  1. Lindsay Avatar

    I LOVE this! SO CUTE! And that turquoise night stand! I DIE 🙂

  2. Julia {Pawleys Island Posh} Avatar

    I want to try tufting. I really want to. I'm scared. You make it look so easy! Another great project girl!

  3. Kristina Clemens Avatar

    What a wonderful tutorial! So helpful for those of us to whom upholstery eludes. My dad made one for my mom a few years ago and I couldn't believe it. I'm just no good at it. Yours is just lovely! =)
    Kristina J.

  4. pam {simple details} Avatar

    What a fabulous headboard!! The room looks so cute yet sophisticated, perfection!

  5. Linda@Coastal Charm Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this…I will be saving it in my fav's! Hop over today and grab my starfish featured button for your blog…yes you have been featured at NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAY!!!


  6. 17 Perth Avatar

    This is such a great tutorial!! That headboard is adorable.

  7. Shannon MadiganMade Avatar

    What a great tutorial and beautiful bed! So light and airy. Love it!

  8. {Hi Sugarplum!} Avatar

    This is waaaaaay beyond my skill level, but I love it!!! It's amazing, and so are your skills!

  9. Jennifer @ Delightfully Noted Avatar

    Fab tutorial you put together but I can just see how disasterous this would probably turn out for me. I predict a crooked hump of a mess but I guess I could just describe it as whimsical then….LOL Great job, it is beautful!

  10. elizabeth@themustardceiling Avatar

    Wow! Your headboard is fabulous! Thanks for the tutorial…I can't believe it is DIY.

  11. Jenny Melrose Avatar

    This is amazing! The headboard works so well with the room. I'd love it if you'd share this at Whimsy Wednesdays at http://www.thenymelrosefamily.blogspot.com/2012/03/whimsy-wednesdays-3.html. I'm following via bloglovin.

  12. Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife Avatar

    I think it's awesome, but I don't think Ill try it b/c I don't think mine would turn out as good as yours 🙂

  13. Kristin@gratefulbelly.com Avatar

    Awesome idea, I love it! I'm a new follower and would love to have you stop by my new blog and follow, too. My first link party/give-away is running now through Saturday night. I'd love to have you share this!

  14. Jill ~ Jillify It Avatar

    LOVE the headboard!! It is amazing!! I would love for you to link up at my party going on now at Jillify It!

    I'm a new follower!


  15. Michelle Avatar

    Lovely headboard! You did an amazing job! 🙂

  16. Kathryn Avatar

    Once again, I can't believe one woman has this much talent. You make it seem to easy, too! You're incredible.

  17. Megan Brooke Avatar

    This looks amazing! I love the all white look!

  18. Kiana Spencer Avatar

    I chicken out every time I want to do this! Great job!

  19. Miss Charming Avatar

    Love this! It turned out beautifully.

  20. Aubrey {All Things Bright and Beautiful} Avatar

    I really couldn't be more jealous of your mad sewing skills…seriously, that is one thing that I've just been too completely chicken to try. I even have a super talented grandma that can sew just about anything, and yet, here I am completely stumped when it comes to sewing! *sigh* I guess the first step would be to get a sewing machine, huh?? (c: This definitely turned out perfect!!! I love the tufting, it really was the perfect touch, way to go hubster!

  21. Anna Williams Avatar

    I LOVE making upholstered headboards – so simple and affordable for the impact they make. I love the way yours has turned out and your idea to slipcover is great. I tufted mine but I'm already thinking about reupholstering it! This room is gorgeous by the way 🙂 xx

    Anna (My Design Ethos)

  22. Jen Gilday Avatar

    That is so beautiful! I love it!!! Thanks for the tutorial!


  23. Brandi Avatar

    This is beautiful, Shelley! You are so talented!

  24. Alisha @ Crafty Brooklyn Army Wife Avatar

    This is so beautiful!! Great job!! Stopping by from Truly Lovely linky party and your newest follower.

    Here is what I shared this week: http://craftybrooklynarmywife.blogspot.ca/2012/03/vinyl-amp-cover.html

  25. Kristy Avatar

    YES! I will be attempting this!~ Thank you for a super tutorial!! 🙂

  26. The Yellow Cape Cod Avatar

    Fabulous tutorial! Pinning for a future project. Thank you for sharing.

  27. Angie Avatar

    This is amazing! I love it! Very well done, it's just beautiful. I am totally inspired to do one now.

  28. Suzy www.savedbysuzy.blogspot.com Avatar

    I wish I could sew like you!! You make it look so easy too. This is one of my most beautiful tufted headboards out there.

  29. Anonymous Avatar

    Love your tutorial but do not understand how you got the depth on the headboard. MDF is not that thick

  30. michele Avatar

    sighhhhhh. soaking up the inspiration.

    come visit anytime–great giveaway right here: http://hellolovelyinc.blogspot.com/2012/04/april-giveaway.html



  31. dirose Avatar

    Anonymous- I was wondering the same thing re the depth. I was thinking it must be from the foam. I am going to buy my foam from Fred Meyers (Oregon) called "Camper Pads." They are only about $20. a pad (don't know exact size but almost twin bed size.) I have used these in the past for other projects and tons cheaper than buying the foam at the fabric store.

  32. ACHanson Avatar

    Oh my gosh!! I love it!! You did such a great job!!! I am going to apply this to my future to do list. 🙂

  33. Sanjushka Avatar

    what can i say? it's amazing, can't wait to do makeovers in my room, thanks for the idea!

  34. Just Spiff It Avatar

    Wowzers! That is one great looking headboard! Love the fabric – what is it??

    1. Shelley {Crazy Wonderful} Avatar

      Thanks! The fabric is Premier Prints White Slub.

Meet Shelley

Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

Latest on Instagram

Search by Category


Never Miss a Post
Get the latest posts and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Thank you!  Check your email for a message from me!

Wonderful Finds

You Might Also Like