Framed Tufted Headboard Tutorial

First, a story:

It all started with a flea market. My husband and I got up early one brisk Sunday morning to hunt out cool vintage items for our home when we came upon a gorgeous purple velvet tufted headboard with an intricate wood carved frame. We knew immediately we had to have it so we haggled for a bit, agreed on a price and we brought it home. I mean, just look at how amazing it was:

After completely decorating our bedroom around this piece, including refinishing all of our other furniture to match, we noticed weird sand like pellets coming out of it. Turns out the inside was infested with drywood termites and most of it was rotting away. There was no saving it and we had to toss it immediately before those little bastards invaded other parts of our home. Lesson learned: do not buy wooden furniture from unreliable sources at flea markets :(

We searched and searched for another one like it, but to no avail. Similar items online were going for $1000 and up. No bueno. That’s when that trusty voice my mother ingrained in me as a child chimed in and shouted: “WE CAN MAKE THAT”. And so we did. It was not as intricate as the original but I think it turned out pretty frickin cool.

I do not claim that this is the best way to go about this, but this is what my mom and I did and it worked. Thank you Trading Spaces for your lessons in tufting!!

Here is what you will need:
Wooden Peg Board
Wood trim (we used  crown moulding)
Fabric of your choice (stretch velvet worked like a dream)
2″ deep foam
Button Cover Kits ( I made all my buttons ahead of time)

Upholstery Needle (4-5″)
Upholstery Thread
Spray Adhesive
Wooden Appliqué &  Small thin craft wood (optional)

Staple Gun
Sharp Bread Knife or Electric Knife
Paring Knife

1. Figure out the size you want and using butcher paper, muslin or something equally large, draw out the shape making a template for your headboard. This step is important as it will make buying the correct amount of supplies much easier. I realized this after going into Joann with just a general shape in mind. My mom and I spent about 40 minutes using supplies around the store to make a mock up on an unused cutting table to get the correct measurements of my headboard. Good times.

Home improvement stores will cut down the pegboard for you. I had mine cut to the length and height I needed.

Paint your trim the color you want. We opted for a layer of purple and then a layer of white so we could distress it and make it look worn. Very shabby chic, plus it matches the rest of my bedroom furniture.

2. Draw your shape onto the pegboard and use a jigsaw to cut it out. Make sure the middle of the board is a line of holes so your tufts are not off center – this is important!

3. Using the width of your wood trim as a measurement, mark where your frame will go on the pegboard (we discovered later that it’s probably best to make this 1/2″ shorter than the actual trim otherwise you might be cutting down the board once it’s time to attach it).

4. On the back of the board, starting in the middle mark where you want your tufts to go. I did 7 holes in between each tuft in a diamond pattern.

5. Cut your foam to fit inside the lines you drew on the board. Electric knives work great on foam, but we didn’t have one so I just used a sharp bread knife and it worked fine. Depending on your shape you may have to piece together chunks of foam. Mark on the foam where your tufts will go.

6. Using a small paring knife, cutting in at an angle like you’re coring a tomato cut out circular junks of the foam so your button will sink into it a bit. This will give you nice deep tufts.

7. Using spray adhesive, secure the foam to the pegboard. Layer on the batting and then your fabric. It’s now time to tuft!

8. Having 2 people for this part is key, unless you are some kind of superhero! I can’t imagine trying to do this alone. My mom and I used the backs of her kitchen chairs to support the board (you don’t want it to bow too much because that could crack the pegboard). This gave us a great height for me to be able to sit underneath and my mom to access the top. Cut your thread long enough to give you a lot of extra to tie with. Double thread your needle (no need to knot off the bottom). Starting with the top middle tuft poke the needle up through the foam, have the person on top thread the needle through the back of the button and back down through the foam and out the same hole, then applying pressure on the button while you tie underneath.

I discovered that it is incredibly hard to try to get a secure staple upside down, so my mom brilliantly suggested using toothpicks to anchor the knot in place while doing all the tufts.

Once they are all done you can flip the headboard over and secure with staples. Staple the thread 3 to 4 times pulling in opposite directions for each staple. Because I am overly cautious I left the toothpicks in and also used Fray Check on the knots and ends of the thread.

We used a stretch velvet fabric so we didn’t have to manipulate it very much to make a cool diamond pattern in between tufts. I would imagine if you had a non stretch fabric you would have to play with it a bit to get the folds to look right.

9. Following the lines you drew for your border, use the staple gun to securely attach the edges of the fabric to the board pulling the batting and fabric tight as you go.

Because the bottom of the headboard will be hidden by the top of the mattress, we opted to not put wood trim there, so once your sides are secured to the board, flip it over, pull the batting & fabric around to the back of the board and staple.

Once again I used fray check on the fabric along the outside of the line of staples.

10. Trim your fabric & batting close (but not TOO close, you don’t want it to pull out) to the staple line.

11. Measure out each piece of your wooden border carefully cutting the correct angles for your design to match up. I’m sure there is some mathematical, professional way to do this, but my mom and I just kind of went for it and had to do a few recuts to get it right so unless you know the correct way to do this step leave some extra length on your piece until you have the angles right!

12. Using wood glue and clamps, secure each frame piece to the board.

13. If you have obvious gaps in between wood pieces, use some caulk to fill it in. Don’t go too crazy with this, a couple thin layers will do.

14. Optional Step 1: If  you have an obvious gap between your padding and the wooden frame, you can use a coordinating trim to glue along the gap. We bought a purple cording but didn’t end up needing it.

15. Optional Step 2: Take your wooden applique and glue it to a thin piece of craft wood so there is a couple inches below the applique to attach to the headboard. Paint to match your trim. Glue to the back of the headboard so the applique sits flush on top of the frame. Personally, I think this little feature adds SO much character to the headboard!

You can hang your headboard directly to the wall using flush mounts.

Even though I was pretty angry about our flea market headboard having to be tossed, I am super glad it gave my mom and I the opportunity to work on this super fun project together. At the end of the day I will love this headboard so much more because I made it!!


This entry was posted in Tutorial and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted Mar 04 2013 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Ew to the termites but look what you and your mom made. Holy crap that is beautiful. You are one talented team!

  2. Posted Mar 04 2013 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    That’s so bad ass! My mom and I always say, WE CAN MAKE THAT! Thanks for sharing such a cool project :)

  3. Pili
    Posted Mar 04 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what an amazing project! And it looks absolutely amazing!

  4. Posted Apr 24 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    That is AWESOME!

  5. Eve
    Posted Jul 16 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Kudos.Great instructions and pix.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>