DIY Projects

November 18, 2010

DIY Tufted Headboard

This great project came from crafty H&H reader, Leroy Danclar. We loved it so much, we wanted to share it. It’s an affordable way to update your existing bed, and infuses a room with texture and warmth for the cooler fall or winter months.

Photo Blog DIY Headboard White Bedroom

The bed above is from Stephanie Vogler’s Vancouver condo (she’s the co-owner of chic Yaletown decor and design mecca, The Cross). Try your hand at creating a similar headboard with these easy-to-follow steps.


  • Tape measure and pencil
  • Staple gun
  • 5/16″ staples (heavy duty)
  • Screwdriver
  • Long sewing needle
  • Scissors


  • Strong heavy grade thread ($1.50)
  • Fabric (2 m x $10/m = $20)
  • Cotton batting, 2″ thick (2 m x $8/m = $16)
  • Eight 4-hole plastic buttons (usually buy these together in a bag) ($2)
  • Four premade fabric-covered buttons (1-1/4″ wide) (details on how to make these are outlined below) ($4)
  • Two 30″ x 30″ artists canvases, 1″ thick, wood frame ($42)
  • Set of metal fitting plates (you can find these at your local big box home building store, usually come in a set with screws, check the aisle with the door hinges) (1 package, $3)

What it Cost



Fabric-covered buttons: Many fabric stores can quickly make fabric-covered buttons for you if you provide the fabric. For this project, Leroy used the same fabric as the actual headboard for the buttons. You don’t need much fabric and it’s cheap. He had his buttons made for 60 cents each.

Step 1: Determine the size of the headboard

Decide on the size of the headboard you need. This project is based on a queen sized bed. A queen is 60″ wide, so Leroy purchased two premade 30″ square, 1″ thick artist’s canvases. You can find these at any art or craft store. If you can find a canvas already stretched that is 60″ wide, you’re ahead of the game! However, using two smaller canvases will not only save you money, you’ll easily fit them into your car or on the subway.

Step 2: Attach the canvases together

Place the two canvases face down, side by side on the floor so that the back wood frames are exposed. You should notice all kinds of staples where the canvas has been stretched around the frame. Using the screw driver, the metal fitting plates and the screws, attach the two canvases together. The wood frame should be soft enough for you to do this manually using the screw driver. Equally space each of the brackets in place for added support.

Step 3: Upholster

Spread the fabric out on a flat surface. Make sure that you have enough fabric to wrap around the edges of the canvas. An extra 6″ all the way around should be enough. Place the cotton batting on top. The batting should be one piece cut a little bigger than the size of the headboard. You may want to double up the thickness of the batting, depending on how “pillow like” you want your headboard — double it for a dramatic tufting effect. Place the attached canvases face down on top of the cotton batting. Using the staple gun, pull the fabric around the frame of the canvas, and staple at the back. Continue to attach the fabric to the frame by stapling along opposite sides, pulling the fabric taut as you go. This will require patience to ensure the fabric doesn’t ripple. The beauty of this project is that everything (staples, raw edges of fabric, etc.) will be hidden at the back of the canvas. Cut away any excess fabric using scissors. At this point, you should have what looks like a large fabric pad. You could hang the headboard up as is at this point, but the tufting will give it that finished sophisticated look.

Step 4: Measure and sew on buttons

Working on the backside of the canvas frame, measure and pencil mark where you want to locate the buttons. For a queen headboard with four buttons, approximately 12″ from the top and spaced 12″ apart should work, but take your time perfecting the spacing. Using the small 4-hole buttons and the needle and thread, simply thread a button on both sides of the fabric (one on the canvas side and one on the fabric side). A long needle will be handy to ensure you get through the layers of fabric and batting. You’re essentially sewing the buttons together on opposite sides of the fabric. The trick here is that the plastic buttons will do all of the work and the tension from sewing the buttons together will pull the fabric, creating a tufting effect. All loose strings can be tied off on the backside of the canvas. Once you’ve attached all eight buttons you should be able to attach the four fabric-covered buttons on the front. Again, use a needle and thread. Keep in mind that these fabric-covered buttons are mainly decorative, so a drop of hot glue could work just as well!

Step 5: Mount on the wall

This headboard is ultra light — it’s just canvas! Hammering four finishing nails directly into the wall should be enough to mount it. Position your bed in place and you’re done.

Special thanks to Leroy for submitting this project!

In the summer, try a more modern version like this DIY painted headboard, or try constructing this fabric-wrapped headboard from our Online TV show.

Photo credit:
1. House & Home Condos, Lofts & Apartments 2009 special issue, photography by Kim Christie