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DIY Upholstered Headboard with Tufted Buttons

This green upholstered headboard may be my favorite DIY project yet. I created this simple DIY tufted headboard for our guest bedroom and it completely transformed the look of our old platform bed. The beautiful green looks fantastic against the pale blue/gray walls and is really the focal point of the entire space. I have created a step-by-step tutorial for you to follow and create your own headboard for less than $200.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

How to Make an Upholstered Headboard for Under $200

[This post includes affiliate links, thank you for supporting Building Bluebird! For a complete list of materials for this project, scroll to the bottom of the post.]

We purchased this Pottery Barn platform bed after buying our first home over 12 years ago. It not sits in our guest bedroom and is still in good shape, so I decided to keep it and make it work in the new design. For a fresh new look, a DIY upholstered headboard was immediately added to my to-do list.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

I also purchased new bedding, including a bed skirt that hid the platform and baskets and softened the overall look.

1 | Choose the Design of Your Upholstered Headboard

Size

To begin, I measured the length of the platform bed (76”). I chose the width of the headboard to be 75” so there would not be any overhang on either side of the platform bed.

For the height of the headboard, I measured from the top of the platform to my desired height which totaled 41”. I want the headboard to make a statement and to be visible even with the pillows propped up against it.

Shape and Style

Once the dimensions were determined, I considered the shape of the upholstered headboard. While a tall square headboard is nice, I wanted to give it a more custom look. The Belgrave headboard shape has the traditional look I wanted and seemed easy enough to create. To further add dimension to the headboard, I added a few tufted buttons to the overall design.

Fabric

Originally, I planned on using a neutral fabric, like a soft khaki, for the headboard. Then I saw an image on Pinterest of a stunning green headboard that I could not get out of my head! Choosing a bright green fabric for the headboard was definitely out of my comfort zone but I was excited to give it a try.

In the Bargain Hunting bin at Joann Fabrics, I found this green suede fabric (similar) for $9 a yard.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

The green fabric looks nice in front of the gray/blue walls and the blue checkered bedding.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

2 | Purchase & Cut the Plywood

The plywood is the base of the upholstered headboard where the fabric is attached. I found a piece of plywood at Home Depot for $14 and they cut it down to the headboard size. This is service is available free of charge at local Home Depot stores.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

The Belgrave headboard shape includes a scallop cut on the top corners of the headboard. Using a mixing bowl from our kitchen, I traced a half circle with a black sharpie. As I got to the edge of the plywood, I straightened the semi-circle so that the corners looked like 90-degree angles.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

I cut the first corner of the headboard using a jigsaw. Next, I used that corner scrap to trace the same scallop on the other side of the board. This ensures that the scallops on each corner are even.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

3 | Prep the Base of the Headboard for Buttons

To avoid the upholstered headboard looking like the green monster, I planned for 7 tufted buttons on the board. Three buttons on the top row and four on the second row.

How do you add buttons to an upholstered headboard? Easy DIY | Building Bluebird

Determining Where the Two Rows of Buttons will Sit

First, I marked where the top of the mattress would hit the headboard.

41 inches – 12 inches (mattress) = 30 inches of visible headboard

Next, I measured from the top of the mattress to the top of the headboard and divided by 3. This creates three horizontal sections on the headboard divided by 2 lines. The two dividing lines are where the buttons will sit horizontally.

30 inches / 3 = 10 inches

The top row of buttons will sit 10 inches below the top of the headboard. The second row will be 10 inches below or 20 inches from the top of the headboard.

Placement for Top Row of Tufted Buttons

To determine the placement of the top three buttons, I divided the width of the headboard by two to find the center and location of the middle button. I divided 37.5 inches by 2 again to find the distance from the center button to the buttons on its left and right.

75 inches width / 2 = 37.5 inches

37.5 inches / 2 = 18.75 inches from center to the button on the left and right

Placement for Bottom Row of Tufted Buttons

For the bottom row of 4 buttons, I knew that the distance between each button would be consistent at 18.75 inches. The buttons on the second row would be centered between the buttons on the top row.

Starting at the center mark of the headboard, I divided 18.75 inches by 2 to find the placement of the first buttons.

18.75 inches / 2 = 9.4 inches from the center of the headboard

Next, I measured 18.75” from each of those markings from the left and the right of the center of the headboard.

Drill Holes into the Plywood

Using a drill, I made holes at each button location that was large enough to string a button through.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

4 | Attach Memory Foam to the Headboard Base

Based on my research, I decided that the headboard needed 3 inches of memory foam. This would add cushion and be thick enough to not look like a cheap DIY project. It is the focal point of the guest bedroom and I did not want a thin, flimsy headboard to ruin the look.

Because my headboard design is so large, it was difficult to find 3” foam that was under $100. In an effort to save money, I improvised and ended up using 1.5” mattress foam for XL twin beds. To secure the foam to the plywood, I used gorilla glue spray adhesive. I placed the foam on the plywood, lifted one side of the foam, sprayed the plywood and foam, then pressed them together. Once one side was secure, I rolled the foam back and sprayed, and pressed it in small sections until it was completely attached.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

I used three foam mattress toppers to get the desired thickness since two foam toppers fit like a puzzle piece and remained 1.5″ thick. After attaching each foam topper, I would cut the excess off the end of the headboard and around the scallop.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird
Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

I used the remnant memory foam to fill the small section of plywood exposed at the bottom of the headboard. I wasn’t too concerned with getting it perfect because it is hidden by the mattress.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

5 | Add Batting to the Headboard

With 3 yards of batting (same amount as the fabric) I was able to double up the layer of batting for extra cushion.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

I started at the top of the headboard, wrapped the batting around the plywood, and stapled it to the plywood. Once the first layer was secured on the underside of the headboard, I attached the second layer.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird
Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

6 | Staple Finishing Fabric to the Headboard

Before bringing the headboard inside, I quickly steamed the finished fabric. I laid the fabric on the ground with the unfinished side facing up. We carried the headboard inside and placed it face down on the fabric.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

Once inside, I added a few more staples to the batting since it was a bit awkward stapling upside down in the garage.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird
Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

The first area I began stapling the fabric was the scalloped corners. I wanted the fabric as smooth as possible on the front of the upholstered headboard and I think starting at the curves helped to prevent rouching.

Next, I stapled the top center of the fabric, bottom center of the fabric, and both sides so that the fabric was evenly taught across the headboard. I continued around the headboard pulling the fabric taut and attaching it to the plywood with a staple.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

Finally, I removed the excess fabric from the back of the headboard.

Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird
Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird
Green upholstered headboard with DIY tutorial | Building Bluebird

7 | Create & Attach Fabric Buttons for Tufting

I found a button kit at Joann Fabrics and easily made 7 fabric buttons using the remnant headboard fabric. You will need to buy (or in my case borrow) a large needle to push through the 3″ thick headboard.

Step-by-step tutorial for a DIY upholstered headboard with tufting | Building Bluebird
Step-by-step tutorial for a DIY upholstered headboard with tufting | Building Bluebird

Adding tufting to a headboard is really easy. To attach the buttons to the headboard, I cut a long piece of string and stapled one end of it near the first hole drilled on the back. I pushed the needle from the back of the headboard (through the drilled hole) through the fabric in the front as straight as possible and threaded the button.

DIY upholstered headboard with tufting and green fabric | Building Bluebird

Then I threaded the needle back through the drilled hole in the back of the headboard and pulled the strings tight so the button was slightly indented on the front. I secured the other side of the string with another staple to the plywood. Follow the same process with the remaining buttons.

How to make an upholstered headboard | Building Bluebird

8 | Install French Cleats on the Wall & Headboard

The final step of this upholstered headboard DIY is hanging it on the wall! I purchased two french cleats to attach on each side of the headboard because of the size.

DIY upholstered headboard with tufting and green fabric | Building Bluebird

I definitely think this was the best route to go to secure the headboard to the wall, but it was a little tricky getting everything to align properly. If you decide to use french cleats for your DIY headboard, my recommendation is to read their directions!

I found a long level (48″) helpful when attaching the cleats on the back of the headboard so it didn’t look crooked. The level helped with the placement on the wall as well. I had to make a few adjustments and have lots of patience to get the headboard perfectly straight! 🙂

DIY upholstered headboard with tufting and green fabric | Building Bluebird

DIY Upholstered Headboard Reveal

I am so happy that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and went with the bright green fabric. It looks beautiful with the blue checkered fabric and Danika Herrick fabric pillows on the bed. This bed is the star of the show in our guest bedroom. I hope this easy, no sew tufted headboard inspires you to create one of your own!

DIY upholstered headboard with tufting and green fabric | Building Bluebird

Whenever I am able to reuse a piece of furniture and breath new life into it, I am a happy camper. I am still amazed at how different this platform bed looks when it has a headboard and a bed skirt!

How to make an upholstered headboard with tufted buttons - green headboard - guest bedroom

Along with saving money by reusing our old bed, I spent less than $200 building this one-of-a-kind headboard that I love.

DIY upholstered headboard with tufting and green fabric | Building Bluebird

Upholstered Headboard DIY Materials

Total = $171


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