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DIY Tufted Fabric Headboard: the Do’s and Don’ts

In the process of making our master bedroom a real retreat, we decided we wanted a headboard. We looked for options to buy, but we had already spent a fair share in the bedroom and we wanted to be able to DIY one since it would be much more affordable then buying one.

There are TONS of tutorials out there for making a DIY Fabric Headboard, this is not one of them. I am going to walk you through some of the dos and don’ts for creating your own headboard. Since none of the tutorials seemed to run into any problems that we did, I wanted to share our experience and what we did to solve the problems we encountered. So learn from my mistakes and keep this handy when you decide to do your own.

*The links in this post are affiliate links. *

First things first. The good.

  • We used this tutorial to figure out the basics, but we learned a LOT along the way.
  • We actually used a curtain for our fabric. We loved the look of the curtain and couldn’t find fabric that looked similar or that we liked as much. It did increase the cost a bit, but it was worth it since we love it so much. So use any fabric you like 🙂
  • Having a staple gun with a compressor was amazing! We were lucky enough to borrow a friends staple gun and it made the job so much easier.
  • If you want it to be a quick project, gather everything together first. You could do this in an afternoon if you needed to.

Here are some dos and don’ts we are sharing with you from some of our snafus.

Spray Adhesive

DO
Use a high quality adhesive that has a strong stick. We used 3M 90 Hi-Strength Adhesive and it worked amazingly! You need to spray it on both surfaces in order for it to bond.

DON’T
Don’t use a cheap spray adhesive to attach the foam to the wood. When we used a different brand, the foam started to lift at the sides and top. You want to make sure that the foam is really stuck to the wood before you add your batting.

High Density Foam

DO
DO purchase your foam online. There are several options, but I am an Amazon fan, so we ordered this exact one. It was amazing and when cut to size I needed just one small piece.

DON’T
DON’T buy all of this at the craft store. It is soooo expensive. I needed just a 12″ x 6″ piece to fill one spot so I bought it there for under $5 from scraps.

Creating Buttons

DO
DO use extra tools to make sure the buttons hold. We were able to use a hammer to help make the buttons. See the pictures below for tutorial.

DON’T
DON’T underestimate the thickness of your fabric. We couldn’t get the buttons to snap in place.

How to make tufting buttons the easiest way

how to make button
1. Line up your cut fabric with the center of the mold.

2. Flip the mold over.

3. Press button top into mold.

4. Fold fabric around the button top and place on your back.

5. Using the push tool, keep the back on the button in the mold.

6. Using a hammer for leverage, push down on the push tool being sure to push the hammer in a circle.

7. Pop out button.

8. Admire your work.

Creating the Tufting

DO
DO use small, flat bottomed wood screws. We added the screws to the wood first, leaving room to spin the string onto the screw then drill it the rest of the way in.
*Just be cautious of the depth of the screw with your wood and make sure it is flat on the bottom of the head – we used 3/8″*

DON’T
DON’T use staples. The staples would allow to much give in the string, allowing it to slip out after stapling in place.

Threading for the Tufting

DO
DO use Spiderwire. It is a super strong fiber that is used for fishing. This was the only thing that was strong enough to keep the buttons in place. We even looped it around the button to help keep it in place.

DON’T
DON’T use upholstery thread. The thread is so thin and feeble. We had buttons popping off at us like when Aunt Marge was blowing up and popping buttons in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Threading the Headboard

DO
DO use an upholstery needle or I even used a canvas needle because it was longer. The best way is to loop the Spiderwire and place the loop through the eye of the needle. Then slide the needle through to the other side. Now you have a loop for your button and you are finished with the needle.

DON’T
DON’T use a normal needle. This is nearly impossible.

Read also: How To Make Mid Century Minimal DIY Kids Play Table

Our Method to Thread the Buttons

How to thread a button for tufting the easiest way. Also using Spiderwire is the best way to go.

1. Loop the Spiderwire and thread through the eye of the needle.
2. Push the needle through and pull the looped wire out.
3. Thread the wire loop through the button loop.
4. Pull the wire around the button.
5. Pull the wire tight around the button loop.
6 Your button should be secured on the wire.

Materials

  • 1/4 in plywood in your desired size
  • 2 in High Density Foam
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Batting
  • Fabric of your choice for covering
  • Staple gun (pneumatic or manual) and staples
  • Scissors
  • French Cleft

If Tufting

  • Button Kit
  • Extra fabric
  • Hammer
  • Spider Wire
  • Upholstery or Canvas Needles
  • 3/8″ Flat bottom head screws
  • Drill with 3/16″ drill bit and screw head

Directions

  1. Measure your bed for width and desired height. We purchased our 1/4″ plywood (the Home Improvement Store cut it for us), high density foam, batting and fabric long and wide enough to cover the headboard. For reference, we did a 30″ x 60″ for a queen bed.Once you have gathered all of your materials (and decided if you will tuft the headboard or not) then you can get started.
  2. If Tufting – Plan out your button spots by using painters tape. You can place the painters table how you would like the buttons spaced and use that as your guide to drill your holes. Once you have decided, drill your holes through the wood using a 3/16″ drill but.
  3. Measure out and cut your foam to fit on the board. It is ok if you have overlap, you will trim this off with an electric meat cutter after securing. Using the 3M 90 High Strenght Adhesive, spray a section of the wood and one section of the foam, allowing it to get tacky, then adhere. Do this for each section of foam to attach. Allow to air dry outside for a bit to reduce fumes.
  4. Lay your headboard foam side down onto your batting, trim the batting if necessary. Pull the batting securely and begin to staple a long side, smoothing down and tugging lightly at the batting as you staple down the line. Stand the headboard up, smooth out, pull tightly and continue on the other long side. Continue with the wides.
  5. Using the same technique as the batting, add the fabric to your headboard. I suggest washing it before applying it to the headboard.

I hope that you will be able to learn from our mistakes and have a frustration-free headboard project. Let me know how it goes.

AboutKara

I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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