Build a Tufted Headboard with Nailhead Trim

When this headboard showed up at the weekend party, I knew we had to feature it! 

How to make this nail head tufted Headboard, #tutorial #bedroom #diy featured on Remodelaholic,

I may be a little head-over-heels in love with headboards… We’ve featured dozens of great headboards here on Remodelaholic, and I’m always a fan of beautiful headboards that you can make yourself, like these:

diy woven headboard, Little Bit FunkyDIY Woven Headboard | Little Bit Funky

build a rustic headboard, Being BrookeRustic Headboard | Being Brook

make a shutter headboard, East Coast CreativeDIY Shutter Headboard | East Coast Creative

tufted picture frame headboard, Vintage RevivalsDIY Tufted Picture Frame Headboard | Vintage Revivals

West Elm window headboard knockoff, Decor and the Dog at remodelaholic.comKnock-Off West Elm Window Headboard | Decor and the Dog at Remodelaholic

diy cabinet door headboard at remodelaholic.comCabinet Door Headboard | Remodelaholic

diy union jack pegboard headboard, Our Fifth HouseUnion Jack Pegboard Headboard | Our Fifth House

Now, I’ll let Elisha teach you how to build this tufted headboard.

Build a Tufted Headboard with Nailhead Trim
by Elisha of Pneumatic Addict Furniture

build a diy tufted headboard with nailhead trim

I am so honored to write a guest post for Remodelaholic today! I have admired Cassity and Justin’s work for a long time! 

My name is Elisha from Pneumatic Addict Furniture. I’m an overly independent DIY’er, who loves school, thrift stores, and watching Nova documentaries. I also have 4 year-old twins, have a husband in college full-time, and work as a hairstylist. So, as you can guess, I like to burn the candle at both ends. 

I want to show ladies that power tools don’t have to be scary! And to look at furniture not as it is, but how it could be. Instead of spending tons of money to get the piece of furniture I want, I often find an inexpensive piece, invest some sweat and make it fabulous! Like I did with myDon Draper DeskCheck out my blog, and maybe you’ll catch the vision too!

I sometimes take custom orders to build or refinish furniture. That was the case with this headboard. A client had seen my post on How to Tuft a Headboard the EASY Way and sent an inspiration photo. Very beautiful, classic, and clean.

tufted headboard inspirationsource

Looking at the inspiration photo, I noticed that the sides were nice and thick. To get that look, I needed to add a frame around the edge. To do that I started with the curves first. I took a wide piece of 2x lumber ( It was actually a  2×10 that had broken in half) and screwed it on the back side of my headboard, over the curve, making sure to extend past the edge a bit. I drove screws in from both sides to make sure it was attached very well.I started with a sheet of 3/8 in OSB that I cut to size and shape. This is for a California King, so the measurements are 46 in tall and 78 in wide. My husband didn’t believe me at first that a Cal-King is actually narrower than a traditional King. A traditional King mattress is 76 in x 80 in and a California King is 72 in x 84 in.

how to build a tufted headboard

 Next, I used flipped the headboard over, and used my jigsaw to trace the curve and remove the excess 2x.

build a tufted headboard

 how to build a tufted headboard

Now that I had a pretty, smooth curve, I took some 2 x 2 and framed out the straight edges. Since my boards I used for the curves were cut square on the ends, I just cut my 2 x 2 at 45 degrees to butt up into it. This is what the back of the headboard looked like when I was done.

build a tufted headboard frame

Don’t worry if you have a couple small gaps. As long as they are small, the batting and fabric will cover them up and it won’t make a difference.

build a tufted headboard frame

I then traced out the area  I wanted the foam to be placed. For this headboard, I wanted a 6 in frame. I got several good tips from this video from GACMKC on YouTube. I would definitely recommend checking out some of their other videos too. Very informative!

I used my staple gun to attach 3 layers of upholstery tack strip around the inside of the shape I traced, Following the video. Why? I’ll explain later.

build a diy nailhead tufted headboard build a diy nailhead tufted headboard build a diy nailhead tufted headboard

 Next, I cut my foam to size, using an electric bread knife. I attached my foam, using spray adhesive and lining up my edges with the tack strip. If you are only using 1 in thick foam, you can skip this next step. If you want a thicker, more plush headboard and are using 2 in or thicker foam, you need to round the edge of the foam. If you watch the video, it shows what to do well. I took my staple gun, and on the very edge of the foam shot a tight row of staples. Be careful to catch enough foam to pull it down, but not too much to deform the shape.

build a tufted headboard using foam


Once that was done, I draped my batting and fabric over the face of the headboard.

build a fabric tufted headboard

Next, I wrapped the batting and fabric around the headboard and attached it to the back with staples. Make sure to make relief cuts if your headboard shape has any curves.

how to upholster a tufted headboard

Now, I tufted the headboard the cheater’s way. If you want your tufting to be deep and traditional, do all your tufting before stapling your fabric to the back. On this headboard, I wanted smooth, shallow tufting, so I wrapped the fabric and stapled it to the back before tufting.
Start by making small pencil marks where you want each button to be placed.
Then, you’ll need some short, heavy-duty wood screws, and washers with a diameter slightly smaller than your buttons you are going to use. I recommend #8 or thicker screws, approximately the same length as the thickness of your OSB.
tuft a headboard using screws and washers Start in the middle of the headboard. Place a screw through a washer and line it up with one of your pencil marks.
Push the screw down with the drill, all the way to the wood if you can. Slowly start to drill, making sure to not snag the fabric or foam with the screw. Once the screw starts to take in the wood, you can speed up. Tighten the screw as far as it will go. The screw will create the tufting and the washer will keep the fabric from pulling over the screw.
tuft a headboard using a drill Work from the middle out, being mindful of any pleats or creases you would or would not like to see.

After I’d tufted each mark,  I covered the same number of buttons with the same fabric. Then, using a strong fabric glue, I glued a button over each screw.

 Once I had all my tufts in and even, I pulled the fabric taut and began to staple around the foam. Remember the tack strip? It made it super easy to get a straight line of staples. I simply pushed my staple gun up to the tack strip, which I could feel under the fabric, stapled and moved down the line. To make sure you don’t get any funny fold or creases, start stapling from the TOP and work your way down the sides. Don’t worry, the nail head trim will cover the staples.

how to tuft a headboarddiy tufted headboard

 For the nail head detail, I chose to use Dritz nail head trim strip. It applies much easier than individual tacks and makes it MUCH easier to get a straight line. The trim strip is flexible and will bend around curves. You just have to use a rubber mallet, or hammer covered in cloth to pound in a tack in the pre-drilled holes. Super easy! I purchased mine from Joann’s, but it is easily found on-line as well.


 I stapled some backing to the frame on the back side and screwed on a cleat I made to hang it from the wall.  There is a good tutorial here on how to make a cleat and hang it on the wall.

 Here it is all done!
build a nail head tufted headboard Notice how I just leaned it in front of my headboard to take a photo? It will be a few inches shorter hanging on the wall instead of sitting on my mattress : )
build a white tufted headboard with decorative nailhead trim
Here is the inspiration photo again.
You could also attach upholstered 2 x 4s to the back if you would like it to stand instead of hang.

build a nailhead tufted headboard

Thanks again Cassity for letting me share my tips and tricks!
Thanks for sharing your method for this beautiful headboard, Elisha! I’m sure your client loves it!
+ posts

Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Great headboard! Quick question: when you stapled down the edges of the foam to round it out, did you do this on all sides, or only the top?
    Thanks 🙂

  2. How did you measure and create the curves on the top corners. I am trying to recreate the shape, size and curve but can’t figure it out.

  3. Beautiful.

    I am making it right now!!!

    Quick question … why did you nail the fabric around the back prior to nailing it at the foam border? I keep going over it my head and can’t figure it out.