tufted headboard - tutorial

Monday, March 19, 2012

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?

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

I'll be linking up to these fab parties!



  1. I LOVE this! SO CUTE! And that turquoise night stand! I DIE :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  12. 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. 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. 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. Lovely headboard! You did an amazing job! :)

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

  17. This looks amazing! I love the all white look!

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

  19. Love this! It turned out beautifully.

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


  23. This is beautiful, Shelley! You are so talented!

  24. 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. YES! I will be attempting this!~ Thank you for a super tutorial!! :)

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

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

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

  30. sighhhhhh. soaking up the inspiration.

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



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

  34. Wowzers! That is one great looking headboard! Love the fabric - what is it??

    1. Thanks! The fabric is Premier Prints White Slub.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, you guys totally make my day!


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