DIY Linen Tufted Headboard


diy tufted linen headboard king

I’m ecstatic today to finally share with you my completed headboard and transition to the king bed!  As we spoke about last week, Matty and I got a new mattress from Tuft & Needle, and were able to upgrade to a king! Previously we wouldn’t have been able to fit a King sized mattress up our bending staircase, but the mattress from Tuft & Needle came in a 12″ x 12″ x 60″ box, so it fit up the stairs just fine.

With my previous queen bed, I’d made a linen headboard with a nailhead border.  The past design took just an hour or so to complete and was under $60.  I wanted to up the ante a little bit this time and create a headboard that was inspired by the restoration hardware chesterfield style that I loved.  After we got the mattress in the room, however, I realized that a rectangular headboard would cut off way too much of the built-in bookcases, so I decided instead to create a scrolling design which allowed more of the bookcases to be visible.


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For this design, there was more work involved due to the tufting and creating covered buttons.  The majority of the cost of the entire project was actually wrapped up in the 2″ foam that I used to creating deep tufts (whereas on the last headboard, I just used batting).  None of the steps taken were very difficult, but I can certainly say that covering over 40 buttons was certainly time consuming.  All in, the total cost was $318.  I used lots of JoAnn’s coupons (60% off this weekend!).  Definitely make sure to get those coupons out of the mail (or just use their app) before buying the materials, as I saved about $250 using them.

diy tufted king headboard

Aside from the actual headboard, I dressed the bed in the dotted West Elm sheets, a while West Elm duvet cover, and various throw pillows.  I still want to explore a few more pillow options to be closer to my original vision (and add it a little more brown and navy)!   Are you interested in seeing the step by step headboard tutorial?  Keep on reading for the full material list, photos of our process, and PDF with plans and measurements.  

I’ve supplied some bed plans via PDF for helping along with this project too!


  • 4′ x 8′ piece of 3/4″ plywood
  • 2″ foam – 2 pieces each 2.22 yards long
  • 3/4″ batting
  • 2 (18 pc) button cover kits
  • 3 yards linen fabric
  • waxed upholstery thread


  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • string
  • jig saw
  • power drill
  • upholstery needles
  • upholstery staple gun (I use one that I attach to my air compressor, but a hand stapler will work fine)

ONE measure out your board with your first two cuts.  You’re going to take the board down from 48″ x 96″ to 45″ tall x 80″ wide.  So, you’ll need to measure 3″ to cut off the bottom, and 16″ to cut off the short side.  Then, use a saw to cut these two pieces off.  Keep the 2″ wide scrap as you’ll use this for the headboard legs.

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TWO next, you’ll draw out your scallop design.  Start by drawing a center vertical line just go give yourself some bearings on where the center is while you work.  The scallop design will be comprised of three arcs.  For your first arc, start on one of the short sides, and measure 28″ up from the bottom.  Tie a pencil to a pieces of string and measure out 10″ of length.  With your finger holding the end of the string, draw a 1/2 circle with a 10″ radius.  THREE you’re going to make the center arch.  Make a mark on your center line 18″ from the top.  Measure out 18″ of length on your pencil string and hold your finger at that 18″ mark.  Draw a big arc starting out at the top center dropping all of the way down to the right and then go back to the left, creating a 1/2 circle. FOUR now you’re going to connect these two arcs.  Using 18″ of string length again, put your finger in the top corner of the wood and draw an 18″ radius arc.  It should hit both circles previous circles.

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FIVE you can see the beginnings of your scallop now!  Erase all of the unnecessary lines so that you can see your cut lines clearly. SIX use the jig saw to cut on your scallop design.

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SEVEN after the general shape has been cut out, mark the spots where you’ll want your tufting/buttons.  I made mine each 6″ apart.  There is a guide on the attached PDF plan.

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EIGHT lay both of your foam pieces on top of the wood side by side so that all of the wood is covered, then cut off the access foam around the scalloping. An electric turkey knife works perfectly and cuts foam like butter.  If you don’t have one of these, just use a serrated bread knife.  NINE after the foam is cut to shape, lay your batting over the foam and cut around the edge, leaving about 6″ of overhang beyond the foam.

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TEN drape your linen over top of the foam and batting, leaving the excess hang. ELEVEN cut about 10 inches of waxed upholstery thread and thread your upholstery needle. Go up through the bottom of the headboard through one of your pre-drilled holes.  Remove the needle from the thread, leaving the thread sticking out of the fabric and foam.  Go underneath the headboard and thread the piece that is still hanging below and thread it through the other predrilled hole, so that it comes up through the top next to it’s other end.

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TWELVE pushing down very very strongly with your thumb, tie the thread in a knot to create a tuft.  The tighter you can get the knot the better.  Do not cut the tails, just leave them for later! THIRTEEN After the tufts are made, but before you apply the buttons,  staple the overhanging fabric and foam to the back of the headboard.  You’ll need to pull it very tightly.  Tighter than you’d think you should. In the areas where there are big curves, you will need to make some slits into the fabric so that it wraps freely.  Just don’t make the slits too deep so that it rips up into your headboard.

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FOURTEEN on the corners. fold the fabric over like you would when doing a hospital corner on the foot of your sheets, then staple to secure.

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FIFTEEN after the whole perimeter has been secured, apply the buttons.  Just slip each button onto the strings that you knotted in step twelve.

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SIXTEEN cut the tails off after you’ve knotted each button.

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SEVENTEEN remember that 3″ strip of wood from the first step?  Cut it into three 18″ pieces for the headboard legs. EIGHTEEN secure the legs at level heights to the back of your headboard using wood screws.

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Wow, eighteen steps, but doesn’t it just look wonderful once it’s finished?


I pared it with the linens I mentioned above as well as a few of our Grandiflora pieces!  The Claudia silver stool perches at the end of the bed and the Asta rug lays underfoot.

A few people asked me to report back on the Tuft & Needle mattress and I’m excited to say that (so far!) we are really happy with it.  It was very firm the first week, but is softening up and the last couple nights have been wonderful.  I’m happiest that we didn’t spend thousands on something from a rando salesman.  Here is the best thing – it’s just $600, so we certainly don’t feel bad for indulging in a little upgrade.


I LOVE how all of the colors, textures, and shapes have come together.  The headboard is so traditional, but the pillows and color are rustic and natural.  It’s a wonderful combo!


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