DIY Tufted Burlap Headboard

As I mentioned before, I’ve been pining for a headboard for a while now. However, we have a space issue (not a lot of depth to play with in our bedroom) so many of the store-bought options wouldn’t fit, as they are often 3-5″ thick and come with legs, which would push the bed out quite a bit. After a little research and a sudden spark of inspiration, I decided we should make one and mount it directly to the wall. I am happy to report that over the course of a weekend, we tackled this little project and we are now the proud owners of a tufted headboard! It has changed the look and feel of our room dramatically. We’re thrilled with the result!
I’m also so proud to announce that Apartment Therapy featured our project – what an honor! Thank you, Janel!
Here’s a play-by-play….

This is what our bedroom looked like when we moved in:
Here’s what it looked like recently, when we were planning out the headboard sitch:
We considered creating a fun, more decorative shape for the headboard, but decided to go with a simple rectangle for our first attempt at self-upholstery. We figured tufting would add an element of complexity, so we just stuck with that.
We had local cabinetmaker Roman Kolbusz (rkcustomfurniture{at}yahoo{dot}com) cut a piece of mdf down to size for us. This is something we would have done ourselves, if we had the means to get a big piece of material home without a vehicle (even a $60 cab ride wouldn’t have helped in this situation!) and space for a skill saw and sawhorses in order to cut said material into a 54″x30″ rectangle (can you believe that local Home Depots do not cut material down?! Talk about missed opportunity – they could make a killing!) I digress…..
Roman was kind enough to put cleats on the back of the board, which would make hanging the headboard later a cinch:
We marked where the buttons would go and pre-drilled holes:
We originally thought we would spruce up the room with a patterned fabric, and while the options were endless at the various shops in the garment district, none of them screamed, “this is it!” until we happened on rolls of burlap at Mood Fabrics for $4 a yard. BINGO! Our bedroom already had a beachy feel to it, and burlap would be a fun and affordable alternative to a more traditional fabric headboard. Because the fabric was so well-priced, we were able to spend a little more on the rope-covered buttons for tufting, which as also found at Mood – we got nine for $4 each.
We bought 2″ thick foam and two yards of quilt batting from Daytona Trimming. We took the foam and mdf up to our building’s shared roof deck in order to spray mount the foam to the board without inhaling intense fumes and/or making our entire apartment a sticky mess:
Nice day!
Then we carted the materials back downstairs to our apartment and pulled the batting over the foam and staple-gunned it on:
After the quilt batting was secured, we stapled on a piece of heavy-starched cotton lining to prevent the batting from poking through the open weaves of the burlap.
Then, it was burlap time!
The tufted buttons were definitely the most time-consuming and labor-intensive part of the project. Our needle was a bit too short to fit through the mdf, two inches of foam and three layers of stuff, so Oliver had to get all MacGuyver on it and coax the needle through with a nail. Well done!
We used four pieces of upholstery thread, pulled the buttons as tight as we could and secured them to the back of the board by tying them around finish nails.
Our last step was to mount that bad boy to the wall… VOILA! The final product:
And the room with a little styling:
We got indispensable directions from a few other DIY-ers in the blogosphere, and we thank them for posting such thorough how-tos!
Charissa gave readers explicit instructions on Apartment Therapy
Grace on Design*Sponge did an outstanding video tutorial
Kate from Centsational Girl also made an elegant headboard for her daughter’s room with outstanding instructions. Thanks, ladies!

6 thoughts on “DIY Tufted Burlap Headboard

  1. Centsational Girl

    So beautiful, and what a great tutorial yourself ! Congrats on the Design*Sponge feature, yay! You did a fabulous job, love your choice of fabric too !

  2. KILLY

    Thanks ladies! Kate, seriously, your tutorial was instrumental! I love all of your projects!

    Denise, I hope you weren’t offended by my crapy peony “arrangement”! I’m no Denise Fasanello, that is for SURE. Luckily, peonies always look fab. The wall color is Benjamin Moore – Templeton Gray HC 161.

  3. Laura Parjanne

    Thanks for the tutorial, it will be very helpful for me as well! I have been wanting to make a headboard for a long time, but I was wondering how to add the buttons to it.. Now I know, thanks to you :-)

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