Make a Contemporary Upholstered Headboard for Under $30

Make a Contemporary Upholstered Headboard

Want to make a contemporary upholstered headboard for your bedroom, but don’t want to spend the three to four hundred dollars or more to buy one? Using a contemporary style headboard is a fast way to update any style bedroom and freshen your look. Here is a step by step home decorating project to make your own upholstered headboard for a fraction of what buying one would cost!


One sheet of pressboard or plywood

(We found a 4’x8′ sheet at Home Depot for less than $11!)

Foam mattress pad or other padding

(Used a twin foam mattress pad on clearance for $9)

A flat sheet of your chosen color, large enough to cover and wrap around your board

(We used a twin sheet to cover our headboard from Walmart for less than $5)

Staple gun


Glue gun

Glue sticks

4-8 Buttons

(We bought plain metal buttons for $2 at Hobby Lobby)

You could also use buttons that can be covered with fabric of your choice, also at craft store.

An extra person to help move the headboard while working on the project.


Step 1:

Cut your wood to the size of the finished headboard. I had the home improvement store do it for me, and the first two cuts are free. For a queen headboard I recommend to have it cut to 62-65 inches wide, and to whatever height you prefer. I simply used the 48 inch side as my finished height.

Headboard step 1


Step 2:

Lay the foam padding on a firm surface, then lay the board on top. Wrap the foam tightly around the back, then staple into place, every couple inches or so, Be sure to keep pulling it snug every time you staple to keep the edges consistent. Wrap it over the top and sides. If your foam sheet is too short to reach to bottom of the headboard, make sure it at least covers enough so that the un-padded area will be below the level of the pillows behind the bed, and therefore will not be seen. If you don’t wrap the foam around to the back, or if your foam is too thick, use a batting layer over the foam to soften the look. You could buy quilt batting at the craft store, or you could save money and pick up a quilt at the thrift store for just a few bucks. Make sure you wash it in hot water and dry on high heat. Also, have the back side face out so that you wont see a color or pattern through he finished fabric cover on the headboard.

Headboard step 2


Step 3:

Lay your sheet or fabric right side down on a firm surface, and then the board on top, face down. (That is foam side down on the back side of the fabric.) Now wrapping the fabric around to the back, staple every couple of inches until all four sides have been secured to the backside. Remember, it is VERY important to pull the fabric taut as you staple each opposite side, you want the front side to be snug and smooth.




Step 4:

Turn your headboard over to the right side. Measure out and mark on the fabric where you want your button tufting to appear. Remember, in a contemporary headboard, less is more and simplicity is key. We simply marked six equidistant buttons, keeping them at least 6 inches from the top, and 12 inches from the side. We did two rows of three. You could also do a single row of three or four buttons, or a double row of four if you are doing a king size headboard. Work out your design on paper. Remember, measure twice, mark once!



Step 5:

Use your staple gun to staple a “tuft” in your button tufting marks. Make sure you press down hard with the staple gun to make a secure tuft. You can do two staple if necessary in a crossed pattern.



Step 6:

Using your preheated glue gun on low temp, fill your tuft partially with hot glue, then place your button on the glue and press gently. Don’t use too much glue, you do not want it seeping up around the button. If you find it seeping up, don’t press down on the button just let the glue set. Make sure you do not touch the tip of the glue gun to the fabric, that could possibly ruin your entire project! If that happens, just cover with another sheet of fabric, re-staple the tufts and continue. (Ask me how I know this…:))




Step 7:

It’s time to place your headboard! My headboard is simply help in place against the wall by the weight of my bed, and doesn’t move at all. If you would prefer to attach it, you can either use bolts to attach it to the bottom of the bed-frame (you will have to drill holes into your headboard) or you can use special hardware for attaching it to the wall called flush mounts. They attach to the wall and then the headboard and then slide together. Ask at your hardware store.

Make a Contemporary Upholstered Headboard

Done! Make a contemporary upholstered headboard for less than $30!

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  1. I am confused how you made the crosses with staples?

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Staple once one direction, then turn the stapler at a right angle to the first staple, and staple again over that one… Did that make sense?

      • Which side are you stapling on to make the tufts? I assume the front but then wouldn’t the staples be visible?

        • Kathy Woodard says:

          Hi Amanda, Yes, we stapled from the front, and you are right, they would have been visible, which is why we hot glued a button over the staples! Hope this helped!

  2. Did the headboard go to the floor? Did you anchor it to the walls? I was thinking of getting a wooden bed frame and attaching something like this to it.

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Hi Elise,
      Ours did go to the floor, but we didn’t have to anchor it, the weight of our bed held it in place nicely… You could anchor it though with heavy duty hardware… ask at your local home improvement store, they should be able to help you find the right hardware for your situation…

  3. Hello-
    Thank you for posting this! I want to make one of these so badly, but am terrified of the project :/ I may be leaving a few questions (I hope you don’t mind) but yours has been the best/cheapest tourtorial I have found…
    1. I am wanting to make a king size headboard and would like for it to go to the ground, any suggestions on measurements or what type of wood to purchase? I want it to be one piece of wood and I am afraid one sheet won’t cover it…??
    2. Again, since I am wanting to make a king size headboard what do you suggest for the padding? And any suggestions on where to purchase?
    3. Did you fold the sheet on the long sides first and then the short sides to get the perfect folded look?
    Again sorry for all the questions I am just in desperate need of some crafty advice :)

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      1.- In order to make sure its one piece as you want, to the floor, I would use one sheet of 4×8 plywood, laid on its side… It won’t be as tall, but still give you the look you are going for. You can have the home improvement store cut it down so that it will be just slighting wider than the width of your bed.
      2. I suggest quilt batting from the craft store, they have it in wide widths on rolls and can cut it to your size.
      3.I folded the long sides first, but the key is just taking your time to get a nice, neatly folded corner.

      You can do this! Good luck!

  4. Lyndsey says:

    So what were the actual dementions of your finished headboard? I know you said it can be from 62-65 inches wide and you said 48 inches high…was yours 62?

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      For my queen bed, ours was 48 in high and 62 inches wide, which made it just slightly wider than the bed frame itself… Hope that helps!

  5. This looks like a great idea! Just one question, where did you get the foam mattress pad?

  6. Heather says:

    This is an awesome tutorial! :) I think I understand how to do it all. Just 3 questions :)
    1.) what dimensions would you recommend for me for the wood. I am making a headboard for a full size bed.
    2.) could you send a couple links do the type of buttons you used? :) I looked on hobby lobby for what u used but I couldn’t find something that was like what you used and I love exactly what u used.
    3.) how many buttons did u use? it looks like you used 6 buttons. Is that right?
    Thanks :) -Heather

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Hi Heather, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! Simply measure the width of your bed and add 2-3 inches, then decide how high you want your headboard to be…there are no rules! A taller headboard commands more drama in the room, and lower headboard is a more contemporary look… As far as the buttons, I bought them in the fabric department in Hobby Lobby… they are the kind that can be custom covered…I just didn’t cover them… Sorry I can’t remember the brand name, but if you ask someone for those kind, they should be able to point you in the right direction… And yes, I used six buttons for my queen bed, but again, there are no rules! Good luck!

  7. Great tutorial! My husband and I made a headboard like this (before we saw your post), and I will now add buttons to our headboard to finish it off!. :) also, we used what is called a “French cleat” to hang it to the wall (hope I spelled that correctly). , Love the button tufting, andnow it will feel more complete ! Thank you!

  8. Hi Kathy, is there a short video that you could send me on how to Taft. I am not quite understanding how to do that.

  9. Excellent idea for the button tufting!! I have been postponing making a padded headboard for fear of the button tufting! lol Thanks for posting!!

  10. Making this over the weekend! It’s a Christmas present and I can’t wait to show off the finished product!!

  11. Tiffani davis says:

    What kind of plywood did you use? I looked up plywood so that I’ll know where to buy it from and there were so many different types. Does it matter what type of plywood it is?

  12. Quick question, so you have a queen bed and you had your plywood cut 65 in width and 48 in height?

  13. Now did you cover the entire board with the batting and sheet, down to the bottom? There was no picture of the full board after being covered. Just wondering because my bed doesn’t have a skirt and if you can see the exposed board under the bed will that look tacky? Just curious what underneath the bed will look like? Thanks!

  14. Malisa Price says:

    did you use an egg-looking foam pad? If you didn’t would that style work if I turned it facing the wooden board? Thanks for you tutorial!

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      I used an old memory foam pad, but you are right, and egg crate pad (they are cheap!) turned flat side out would work!

  15. you can also put 1×4 boards screw to the back of headboard, then screw the legs into studs on the wall beneath mattress. or I saw a 1×3 screwed in center back of headboard leave 1 inch and another 1×3 screwed into studs of wall but don’t screw all the way in so u can lift headboard up and hang it one on the other that should fit snug, although if u can see from the side u might be able to see little board so maybe paint wall color, not sure never made one just going too and I’ve had it planned out in my head for a long time. if u hang shear netting from ceiling its going to drape on each side of headboard anyway, or like my room the headboard with night stands is all that fits at end of wall. hope that didn’t confuse anybody, I just saw it on HGTV done that way.

  16. Hi just found this on pinterest and can’t wait to make one for my daughter! Quick questions: on the batting or foam, did you cover the whole board with it and just the part that would be bed height and above, and then cover the entire board with fabric (sheet)? And did you use the kind of flimsy plywood or the thicker kind (which seems really heavy!). Thanks so much for your help!

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Hi Anne! I only covered the part that would show… And the plywood I used was pretty sturdy, though if you mount it to the wall, you could go with something thinner… Good luck!

  17. Diane Foster says:

    Thank you for this great instruction sheet! We had made one years back, and did use a French Cleat to hang on wall. We were wanting to make another with the buttons .. plus you gave great inexpensive ideas, i.e. thrift store finds for the batting and sheets instead of the expensive fabric. Thank you!!

  18. I just wanted to tell you that I think you did an amazing job. I am looking forward to using your tutorial to do this for me and my boyfriend’s California King size bed (wish me luck) this is going to help so much. Thank you and congrats again on a project well done. I hope you complete more projects so you can post those as well! Thanks again!

  19. Hi! I just made my headboard using this tutorial and it turned out beautiful so I wanted to say thank you for posting such a helpful project. My budget was 40$ and this costed me ~35$ and I am just so happy that it looks like such a high quality expensive headboard but only I know how much it costed hehe. THANK YOU!!

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Hi Sarah! I’m so glad it turned out so well! Nothing transforms a bedroom like a nice looking headboard, and that it cost so little makes it super sweet!

  20. I just did this. It looks amazing :-). Thank you!!!

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Hi Amy! Glad your project turned out well! I’ve since update mine with a fresher print fabric… I’ll have to post new pics!

  21. When I pull up your insturctions, The pictures don’t load!

  22. We did this last weekend and I love it! The only problem is somehow one of the measuring tapes I used left a small oil mark on the fabric and now that’s all I can look at! What have you used to clean your headboard that doesn’t leave a water ring behind?

  23. I’m confused. How much of the board did you cover? Two people asked the same question and got differing answers. Did you cover the board entirely, or did you cover only the part that was showing (above the mattress)?

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      I only covered the part that shows with the batting material, but then I covered the whole thing with the fabric so it wouldn’t be obvious. Hope that makes it clearer!

      • Hi! I am wanting to make this for my king size bed. Same question as the last reader’s…but I am a little confused too.
        So did you PAD (with the foam) the entire board? If you just used the foam padding for the top part, that shows, then cover the rest of the entire board with the sheet… and if so, how does the foam padding not slide down? The tightness? Or did you staple it underneath the foam? I just want it to be as easy as possible and not make it look homemade! :)) Thank you!!

        • Kathy Woodard says:

          I stapled the foam padding onto the backside first, then stapled the fabric over it second. My foam only covered the part that was seen, but yours could cover the whole headboard if you chose… Hope that helps!

  24. One more thing… I want to do mine in white…would you recommend using something like Scotch Guard for stains, dirt and/or oil? Not that I’m dirty…but it’s life :) Thanks!!

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      I’ve never tried any of those, but it sounds like it could help with all white! Let me know, I love all white too!

  25. Christian says:

    For the Queen Size how much fabric did you use? And is there a certain kind of fabric that is better for this?

  26. Abigail says:

    Hi there!

    How thick was the foam mattress pad you used? I’ve only been able to find 1/2″ one for that cheap!

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