DIY Tufted Headboard

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

Ok, I am so unbelievably happy with this project I don’t even know where to start. I have always wanted to diy a headboard but at the condo we just had a couple canvasses above the bed and it worked out. With the move, we upgraded our bed from a queen to a cal king and the bed is literally too big to have bedside tables. This obviously causes a few problems, lighting being the main one. We knew we needed a solution and a headboard with sconces seemed like the natural choice. I have to give HUGE thanks to my hunny for designing and building this beautiful piece. I only specified one thing that I wanted, that was a fabric element and he totally rolled with it. I love having someone who feeds my creativity so well- it’s so nice to come up with an idea, and within a few hours having him really take interest in it. If you are in the market for a headboard I cannot encourage you enough to consider making your own. You can easily do it for $100 and a few hours. I would say that ours is a little more complicated and detailed as we did our own electrical and required a number of power tools but you could easily do something like this, this or this.

Here is a breakdown of what ours cost:

  • Plywood = $50
  • 2 2×12 cut in half = $30
  • Fabric, batting, 4 button kits, upholstery needles and thread = $90
  • Foam = $53
  • Sconces x 2 = $60
  • Switches = $3 (we had the plugs and cords already)
  • Stain = $18
  • Total = $304

And here is what our old master looked like in the condo:


Alternate Headboard Ideas  | 1924 London

Alternate Headboard Options  | 1924 London


In absence of a jig, clamps and a square were used to secure 2x6s into place while attaching strap ties. This step will require a Pony clamp and a 10’ Black Pipe. To prevent splitting of the 2×6’s, pilot holes were drilled for each screw using a 9/64 drill bit. Use 1½” screws to attach strap ties to the beams




Attach large plywood cap to back of frame using more 1½” screws. This gives the structure rigidity and stability. It will also give distance from the wall at the top to compensate for molding that sticks out from the wall at the bottom



Measure position for wall sconces. Each sconce has a mounting place that screws onto the 2x6s and from which bolt studs protrude for attaching the sconce. In the center of the plate is a hole for wires to run through. Position plate and use ¾” drill to drill hole through 2×6 for the wires to stick out the back. Because the mounting bolts have pan-heads, use a 3/8 bit to drill recesses into the 2×6 for bolt heads to rest in.




Measure position for light switches. The sconces will have independent switches, one on each side of the headboard. Once position on the 2×6 was determined, a router set to the thickness of the switch was used to create a cavity on the back of the 2×6 in which the switch will rest. Also rout out two notches on the top and bottom of the cavity for the wires to come in and out of the switch. Repeat for the other side.



Sand and stain the frame. We started with a dark Mahogany colour that after a few coats was still looking too red. We decided to buy a darker colour and only ended up needing one coat.


For the inset:

Measure the size of your space in the frame, less a 1/4 inch on all sides (roughly the thickness of batting and fabric) and cut a piece of plywood to those measurements. Next, if you are going the tufting route- mark out your button pattern. You can play around with this a lot. You will need to decide between diamonds and squares (we went with squares) and how dramatic of a look you want. The more buttons the more dramatic a headboard. We opted for simplicity and clean lines so we settled on 3 rows of 4. Once you have decided on your pattern, measure and mark your plywood so that you can drill holes for your needle to go through. We did them quite small and when we moved on to the tufting portion it was a bit tough to get the needle back through the hole. I would suggest a 1/8″ hole.


Follow the directions on your button covering kits to cover them with your excess fabric- I was really surprised by how difficult this was. I was not able to cover even a single one of these buttons. C did them all! The problem here is that the fabric has to be cut just right and the backs are extremely tough to clip on. Overall totally worth having, I can’t imagine it with different coloured buttons. Just a heads up it may be extremely frustrating if you are on your own.

Button Covering Kit  | 1924 London

Spray your foam and plywood with a spray adhesive and place on top of plywood inset. Lay plywood piece down on your batting, wrap around and staple to the back.


Once your plywood has foam wrapped in batting, lay your fabric out on a smooth clean surface and tightly wrap and staple to the back. We found doing the top and bottom then sides kept things nice and smooth. Flip the board over and check as you go. If you are using a fabric with a print or design this is where your project can start to look diy. Be sure to line up your print! Fold the corners neatly and staple lots to secure it


Once your piece is covered you can take your long (4-6 inches) upholstery needle, thread it and tie a washer to the end of it. From the back side, push the needle through the wood, foam, and fabric; place the button on the front, wrap around a few times to secure, and push the needle through to the back.


For extra security, we stapled the washers down.



DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

Now I am leaving out a few pictures here because this post is getting longer and longer. At this point you place your inset into the frame and from the back screw in using 3/4″ counter sunk screws.

Mounting and wiring the lights comes next. As previously shown, holes for the cables and recesses for the mounting bolts were measured and drilled in the front of the 2x6s. The mounting plates were screwed in and the lamps wired to 16/2 SPT-2 double electrical cord using the marrettes supplied in the sconce kits.

We ran the lamp cord down to the two recesses previously routed for the light switches and wired in the switches. The cords were then stapled to the back of the frame.

Each lamp uses its own modified extension cord. This eliminates the need to wire in a plug and simplifies the electrical work by having each lamp on its own power supply, thereby eliminating a bulky junction box – something not overly conducive to do-it-yourself’ers.

Lastly came the installation. The original plan was to have the headboard bolted to the bed frame via the flanges at the bottom of the frame. This was abandoned because it didn’t provide any way of securing the top from falling over, and also allows the bed to be moved around independent of the headboard.

The headboard is instead secured to the wall with a single 4″ #10 screw in the center of the bottom crossbeam. The 4″ screw is long enough to go all the way into the wall stud and has enough bite that only one screw was needed.

The final step was to plug the two cords into the wall and hope that the lights worked.

And now for the grand finale…

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

The switch that is on each side, and look at that grain! Ladies, when using wood I know we tend to want to paint it, but stain is so the way to go! You get the look we all love with a nice re purposed look. I absolutely love the close up details!


DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

When we got our new bedding I got rid of all of our black throw pillows but now that we have the dark headboard I am wishing I held on to them, don’t pillows just make a bed that much more inviting?

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

DIY Tufted Headboard with Frame  | 1924 London

DIY Tufted Headboard with Sconces  | 1924 London

The light looks really yellow in these pictures but I think that was because I was playing around with my camera

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

DIY Tufted Headboard  | 1924 London

Have you made your own diy headboard? If so leave your link in the comments- I want to see them!

Kirsten xo


2 thoughts on “DIY Tufted Headboard

  1. Another great option for hanging headboards that I’ve used myself are the The Hillman Group Hangman Picture Hanging Systems available at places like lowes. 4 small screws hold the base bar and the second peice attaches to the wood back of the head board. You simply “hang” the headboard on the base bar and it holds incredibly securely and distributes the weight across the whole backing! The 18″ one can hold 200lbs!

    Love the look and design of this one!

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