How to Make a Wooden Button Tufted Leather Headboard

Written by b.t. alo
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How to Make a Wooden Button Tufted Leather Headboard
A button tufted leather headboard is a luxury you can make yourself. (morning bed image by araraadt from

Tufted leather headboards are the ultimate in headboard luxury and style---and commercially made ones can really cost a lot. While any leather product is fairly costly, you can save a heap by making a tufted leather headboard yourself, and still come out the other end with a professional and stylish looking leather headboard---people won't believe you when you tell them you made it yourself, which is the ultimate DIY compliment.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plywood, 1 inch thick, 30 by 40 inches
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Spray glue
  • Hypoallergenic foam
  • Electric knife
  • Batting
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Soft leather, 45 by 35 inches
  • Hammer
  • Upholstery needle and thread
  • Wooden back hole buttons

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  1. 1

    Rule three lines, 10 inches apart across the length of the plywood. On the top and bottom line, mark a dot every 5 inches. On the middle line, mark the first dot at 7 1/2 inches in from the side, then a dot every 5 inches, stopping with the last dot again 7 1/2 inches from the other side---these middle dots are positioned midway between the dots on the top and bottom.

  2. 2

    Drill a small hole, big enough for the upholstery needle to fit through, at each dot marked with the pencil---these are where the buttons will eventually go.

  3. 3

    Spray the glue onto the plywood, then position the foam on top, cutting the sides to be flush with the plywood using the electric knife.

  4. 4

    Lay the batting on the ground, then place the plywood, foam side down, onto the batting. Cut the batting so that it is about 5 inches wider than the plywood on all sides.

  5. 5

    Pull the sides of the batting up and over the edge of the plywood and foam, stapling down on the back of the plywood. Start from the centre, and work your way toward the edges, to get an even stretch on the batting.

  6. 6

    Lay the leather on the ground, wrong side up; then place the headboard, batting side down, into the centre of the leather. Attach the leather to the back of the plywood in the same way as you did the batting, being extra careful to make the stretch on the leather even, and checking the front of the headboard to make sure the leather is sitting how you want it. If not, undo a couple of staples and readjust until you are satisfied.

  7. 7

    Hammer a staple halfway in beside each drilled hole in the plywood. Double-thread your upholstery needle with upholstery thread, knotting one end securely to the half-hammered staple.

  8. 8

    Poke your needle through the hole in the plywood, through the foam and batting and out of the leather, keeping it as straight as possible. Pull it through until you can see the tug on the knot around the staple.

  9. 9

    Pass the needle and thread through the thread loop on the back of the wooden button, then poke it back through the top of the headboard, and out the hole in the plywood at the back.

  10. 10

    Pull on the thread until the button starts to indent the surrounding leather. Once the indent is as deep as you'd like it, tie the thread off onto the staple, wrapping it around the staple a couple of times, keeping the tension on the thread all the while.

  11. 11

    Hammer in the staple all the way, and staple a second staple over the thread knots, to ensure they are secure. Repeat this with the remaining buttons and holes, making sure to keep a uniform indent depth on the leather front.

Tips and warnings

  • This tufted headboard fits a standard single-sized bed---adjust the size of your material to suit larger bed sizes.
  • Faux leather works just as well as real leather, and is cheaper, and vegan friendly.

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