DIY Tufted Wingback Headboard

It all started when my mom said “I’ll buy you that sewing machine you’ve been wanting if you make me a tufted headboard like yours”. I agreed. I must be crazy because I really got  the short end of the stick on this deal, but I’m always up for a new project and she’s my mommy bird. I had to.

Here’s how it turned out!

DIY tufted headboard

Here’s how my headboard turned out… her inspiration (our room isn’t decorated yet, so no judging)…

DIY tufted wingback headboard

My headboard is about 12″ taller and has nailhead trim. She doesn’t really like nailhead trim so we left it off hers… less work for me so I didn’t complain about it. I didn’t have enough photos of the process of making our own headboard since it was B.W. (before Waffle) so I held out for my mom’s headboard. The steps were the same (except for the nailhead trim.)

DIY tufted wingback headboard

DIY tufted wingback headboard

Basic measurements and supplies for my mom’s headboard:

DIY tufted headboard

DIY tufted headboard


  • fabric
  • quilt batting
  • foam (we used convoluted mattress pads layered up)
  • hardware for “hanging” the headboard (if you make the wings, it won’t actually be hanging. The wings will be supporting the weight but the hardware will just secure it to the wall.)
  • (4) 5-6″ L-brackets
  • stainless steel T-square
  • utility knife
  • pneumatic stapler and staples
  • hot glue gun
  • 3/4″ plywood for the headboard back and the wings
  • 2″ x 2″ x 1/4″ wood for the “caps” (you’ll need one per button)
  • wire clothes hanger
  • drill
  • chisel
  • hammer
  • button cover kits
  • scissors
  • embroidery floss
  • upholstery needles (around 5″ long)

Total cost:

Under $175!!! Take that $2,545 + $125 shipping, king-size Restoration Hardware headboard!

Build the Wings (2.25″ x 7″ x 54″):

DIY tufted headboard

Build the headboard back (76.5″ x 28″):

  • Trim the wood
  • Measure for the button placement
  • Drill holes where the buttons will go

DIY tufted headboard

DIY tufted headboard

Make the Buttons:

We used a couple Dritz button cover kits and made 29 buttons. (The kit explains how to make them.)

DIY tufted headboard

Yay a button! (Ps, this is my sister, Lindsay.)

DIY tufted headboard

They’re so cute you could eat them. But don’t!

DIY tufted headboard


Next, we laid the foam in place. We used foam mattress toppers from Walmart and layered them. (Foam is expensive!) We had to temporarily tape it down so the layers didn’t shimmy out of place.

DIY tufted headboard

Then we flipped the board over and used a wire hanger to poke through the button holes in the wood to pierce the foam. When you do this, mark the hole with a sharpie before pulling the hanger out. The hole will be so small that you won’t be able to see it otherwise.

DIY tufted headboard

Then we traced the button  size around each hole that we pierced into the foam. Then we removed the foam all the way down to the wood in those little spots so the buttons had a space to nest into when we start tufting.

This photo shows me working, and Lindsay pretending to work. The tape measure was totally unnecessary in this step. Thanks for your help, Linds…

DIY tufted headboard

DIY tufted headboard

DIY tufted headboard

I can’t begin to tell you how staticy the foam was. I’d put it in the trash and it would literally bounce back out and stick to me again as if I was placing the wrong sides of magnets together. We should have taken a video because we were in tears laughing about it.

DIY tufted headboard


Then we set the board up on two chairs, one on each end to hold the headboard up off the ground enough for us to crawl under it. We removed the tape, layered one piece of batting over the foam, and then the fabric on top. We left about a 18″ of extra fabric and batting on each side of the wood so that we had enough slack to do the tufting and to wrap the edges when we were done tufting.

We strung the buttons using embroidery floss (doubled up), and using a decorator’s needle (or upholstery needle about 5″ long) we searched for the button holes in the foam and the wood pulling the thread through to the back side.

DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard

DIY tufted headboard

Then we used small pieces of wood about 2″ x 2″ (which we called “caps”) to hold the button strings in place. I pushed the button down from the top side, while the Lindsay pulled the string taught from below and glued the cap over the hole in the wood securing the string in place.

I made sure that the fabric was pleated in a diamond pattern as each button was secured in place. Be sure that your fabric is kept square with the wood throughout this whole process. It’s very easy to shift the fabric, which could leave you with too little fabric to wrap around the edges when you’re all done.

DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard

DIY tufted headboard


After all the buttons were securely in place, I wrapped the edges of the fabric around to the back and stapled it in place with a pneumatic stapler. I made sure to follow along with the pleating as we did with the tufting.

DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard

We added those long pieces of wood on the back because we had planned to use french cleats to attach the headboard to the wall, but had we screwed the hardware straight to the back of the headboard, the depth of the wooden “caps” would have prevented the cleats from connecting with each other. Buuutttt…. we ended up having to use different hardware because of the awkward installation process. My mom’s wall is shorter because of a slanted ceiling/wall so we weren’t able to pick up the headboard and slide it into place like we did for my headboard at home.

DIY tufted headboard

Attach the L-Brackets:

Travis chiseled out a space in the wings for the L-brackets to sit flush in. If you don’t do this part, the brackets will show through the fabric as lumps… and we don’t want lumps.

DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard

Cover the Wings:

I layered two pieces of batting and then the fabric, then I flipped it over (fabric on the bottom). Make sure the fabric and batting extends past the wings enough so that the ends can fold up and be stapled on the back (the topside in the photo below).

DIY tufted headboard

I pulled the fabric tight as I wrapped it around the wings so the edges would have a pronounced square shape. I also cut out notches in the fabric for the L-brackets.

DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard

DIY tufted headboard

Attach the wings:

This is my brother, Chris by the way…

DIY tufted headboard

All done!!!

DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard

We actually didn’t attach it to the wall yet because my mom is going to be repainting her bedroom this week. We redecorated her bedroom this weekend and the yellow just isn’t working anymore. I’m guessing we’ll go with a light brownish color. Once it’s painted, I’ll update the post with the results.

See the slanted walls I mentioned earlier… tricky tricky with the hardware.

DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard DIY tufted headboard

Confessions of a DIY tufter:

Let me be honest with your for a hot second. The difficulty level of this project may not be for everyone. I’d call it a 7 or an 8 on the “waffle scale”. My sister is not a DIYer and she complained… A LOT. The tufting and pleating was a big pain in the butt. Our fingers and backs were sore and our patience was gone after who knows how long. It gets easier once you get the hang of it, but it’s tricky. This was my third tufted headboard attempt and I’ve learned a lot, but most of it was practice. Our first attempt was easy because it was a queen-size headboard without wings. Then our current bedroom headboard at the top of the post was trickier because it had wings and it was longer and taller. We tufted the whole thing and we didn’t have enough fabric left over to wrap it around to the back and staple so we had to redo it!!! Trav nearly had a cow. But the second go around of tufting went much faster and it looked nicer too. So my mom’s headboard went much smoother. Practice makes perfect and this is really one of those kinds of projects.

Ok, so that wasn’t quite a “hot second”, but I had to get that off my chest. So… I hope you still give this project a shot, but don’t give up. You can do it. I believe in you 😉

DIY tufted headboard



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38 Responses to DIY Tufted Wingback Headboard

  1. Karen Taylor says:

    Ashley, Lindsay, Travis and Pooder! You guys did a great job!!! I love my new room!! I do need
    accessories, however… HINT HINT Ashley!!!

  2. Your headboards look great! Nice job.

    • Thanks Carrie! I’ll be making another pretty soon (for my sister), but it will be a little different. I’m thinking rounded, curved wings this time. Nothing like making things extra tricky 😉

  3. Lane says:

    Looks great! How did you remove the foam in those spots where the buttons go? Thanks!

    • Thanks! I’ve made 3 headboards now and have used a couple different techniques. The first is to use a hole saw bit, but you have to do it by hand without the use of a drill otherwise you’ll rip an enormous hole in the foam. And the other option is to use a utility knife to cut an X and then tear away the foam. This is the method I used for my mom’s headboard in the tutorial. It’s quicker to rip the foam by hand and since the batting and fabric will cover it, no need for it to be perfect. Hope that helps!

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  5. Vallarie says:

    This may be a silly question, butmive been wanting to do a tufted wing back headboard for quite sometime. Anyway, how does the headboard stay up? I see that you made legs for it, does the weight of the mattress prevent it from falling over?

  6. Vallarie says:

    Also, would you go into more detail about the option of hanging it from the wall?

    • The headboard at my house was hung with flush mount hardware that I bought from Lowe’s. It sits on the ground but the hardware holds it against the wall too. My mom’s headboard is freestanding and the bed is holding it against the wall. I think the best method is the flush mount hardware just to keep it in place.

  7. Whitney N Fortin says:

    What size buttons do you recommend?

    • My buttons were about an inch or so wide. I think they look nice but I used smaller buttons on my mom’s headboard. I think I prefer 3/4″ but its such a small difference in the finished product. Since the button nestles into the foam, you have to bore a hole for it to fit inside. The smaller the button, the less foam you have to pull out. Like I said, its not going to change the overall appearance much.

  8. Kandice says:

    Can I ask how you figured out the measurements? I want to make a king sized, winged and nail trimmed like the one in the photo at the very top but am unsure how (and what) to measure? Lol

    • I based my measurements off the size of our bed frame. The headboard is about an inch or two wider than the frame. Then the wings go outside of the frame, so that the frame could slide in place between the wings. Our headboard is pretty tall too, my mom’s wasn’t as tall since the angled wall is behind the bed. But for mine, I wanted a good bit of the headboard to show when the bed is made up. On a regular day, meaning the bed isn’t made up, our headboard looks huge! lol

  9. Adrienne says:

    Hello, What kind of fabric is that that you used and how much did you buy?

    • I used a natural linen from Joann Fabrics. I can’t remember how much I bought because I ended up going back for more when I didn’t have enough for the wings. As long as you have about 18-24″ in excess on all sides of the headboard, you should be fine. That will give you enough slack for tufting and wrapping the fabric around the edges. Sorry I don’t have exact measurements!

  10. says:

    Looks Great. I don’t know if you mentioned but all in all how much did it cost you to buy and build everything? from wood, screws, to buttons? comparing to purchasing already made?

    • I spent around $125 and the headboard was modeled after a $3,000 Restoration Hardware bed. Of course theirs is extra pricey but it is absolutely cheaper to make your own if you have the tools to do so!

  11. nicole says:

    Wow not bad. I was looking at a few no name cheap ones. Cheapest i found will be $377 with shipping and tax which isnt to bad. Its actually nice but good to know its inexpensive. My husband will die if i make get in on this lol. Thanks for getting back to me.

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  13. Ebonid says:

    Can you please explain how you built the wings exactly

    • Most of the photos are from my mom and stepdad’s headboard. They actually built the wings shown in this tutorial. Since the tufting is so much work, they offered to help by providing the structure to work with. Then I upholstered, tufted and attached the wings. The headboard shown with the nailhead trim is mine, and I did build the entire thing myself (with my husband’s help). My mom’s headboard is much shorter than mine and since I didn’t build those wings, I don’t have the measurements.

      The wings were constructed with plywood. It’s basically a hollow box. It’s not solid all the way through, otherwise it would be really heavy!

      It’s 2.25″ wide, 7″ deep, and 54″ tall. First, the outside and inside pieces (largest sides) are connected to the top and bottom pieces (smallest sides). Then the front and back are attached (where the nailhead trim is applied on my headboard).

      I hope this was at least a little bit helpful!

  14. Xenia Qualls says:

    What will be the dimensions for a queen sized bed with wings?? If you could tell me please. 🙂

    • Hi Xenia,

      A queen bed is about 60×80″ so the headboard back piece’s width (refer to my sketch at the top of the blog post) would need to be 60 inches wide. Be sure to adjust the total height of the finished headboard to the height of your mattress. Our bed sits up higher than a lot of beds. Good luck!

  15. PT says:

    How far apart are your tufted buttons?

  16. Teddy M. says:

    Yep– Definitely read this wrong and made it to your dimensions.. and I have a queen!! Thankfully it can be cut down, and I didn’t make it too small so all is not lost! AY yi yi. Looks GREAT though, thanks for the tips!!!

  17. mary easterling says:

    Great looking headboard and room. Tell your mom to paint the wall color up the sloped ceiling for a better visual effect.

  18. Katelyn says:

    what size bed did you use for this tutorial? i have a full size bed and I’m wondering if i can use your measurements.

    • We have a king sized bed so you would have to modify the measurements of the back piece to be narrower. You’ll also have to adjust the wings and overall height to match the height of your bed. It’s just a little adjusting to make it work for you. Good luck with your project!

  19. Cake Diane Teemer says:

    Ahh I know this is an old post but I was wondering if you could tell me the measurements for your bed I have a king size and I want a tall frame too , Im not good at math at ALL lol and I have been trying to figure this out before I go to get the wood cut but I want to be sure, oh yeah btw AWESOME Blog! I have my mother and all my aunts checking you OUT ! Keep up the great WORK! Thanks

    • Hi! Thank you for the kind words! The measurements on the blog are for a king sized bed. Just make sure you adjust the height of everything (back and wings) to fit the height of your bed. My bed is probably a little higher than the average bed since my mattresses are deep. I recently had twin baby boys so life has been a bit… busy. I’m really hoping to get back into the swing of things on the blog one day.

      • Cake Diane Teemer says:

        Congrats on your son and thank you so much ! I understand take your time , I have a little one rolling around in me and this queen bed is about to get up graded before he comes lol Good luck and blessings be with you! :):)

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