DIY Project: How to Recover a Tufted Headboard

Jan 13, 2013

I still can't believe that not only did I manage to recover my headboard, but that it looks good! It looks really, really good! If you remember, I'm in the process of completely redoing my master bedroom. I decided to go with a completely different look than the rest of my house. It's white with touches of black, a little contemporary, but still elegant. As much as I adored my tan silk tufted headboard, it just did not go in the new room. I decided to try and recover it instead of buying a new one in white. I figured if it didn't work I wouldn't be out much money. Here it is before.

Yes, I still have snowflakes on my dining table. I decided to decorate for winter this year. Doesn't everyone do that? Just kidding. I forgot about them and the Christmas decorations are already up in the attic. They might be there a while.

I went to a local fabric store and scored three yards of fabric for a total of $13.50! It's Christopher Lowell fabric in a white microsuede. I like it because it won't show the tan fabric or the batting through it. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to recover it when I bought the fabric.

My first step was to see what was under the black backing. I was hoping to see knots where the buttons were tied so I could take the fabric off and start new.

But, that would just be too easy. I would have to take the entire headboard apart to get to where the buttons are tied.

I considered forgetting the tufting and wrapping the fabric around the headboard, but it just looked loose because it couldn't get tight enough due to the tufting under it. So, I sat there and stared at it for a good twenty minutes. Eventually, I came up with a plan. I decided to cut little slits in the fabric and wrap them around each button. I tested it out on an end piece and it worked!

I began by laying out my fabric with an even amount hanging off the sides of the headboard. I should have allowed for more fabric on the end because I took a little fabric from the end as I tufted. Thankfully, I had enough fabric by the time I was finished tufting to wrap it around the side of the headboard. I secured the end that I initially started on with staples. Then, I pulled the fabric tight and made a little tiny notch in the fabric with an exacto knife over the button I was working on. I made the slit a little larger with scissors and increased the size as needed to slip around the button.

Done tufting! My fingers are still sore a day later. I barely had enough fabic to staple the end around the side, but thankfully I did.

Here's a closer look after I made pleats with the excess fabric between each tuft.

I was thinking I would also wrap the existing buttons with the fabric, but that did not work at all. I found button covers at the fabric store and used the kit to wrap the fabric around each button. Did I mention there are 29 buttons? It's easy, but tedious. I just popped them on top of the old ones when I was done covering them and they actually stay in place. I'm going to put a little glue on the edges to really secure them. That way the buttons will only be glued to the new fabric. It will be easier to take them off and the old buttons won't be damaged.

Here it is finished!

I'll have a room shot with the headboard soon. Right now, I've got paint samples on the wall and all sorts of tools spread around the room. It ain't pretty!

I still can't believe I did this. It really was easy and if my non-crafty self can do this, anyone can!


  1. did a great job! Cant wait to see it in your room.

    1. Thank you! I'm taking a break from painting the walls right now. I'm determined to finish this room ASAP!

  2. Beautiful!!! You make it look easy :)

    1. Thank you! I promise it was easy and now I know how simple it will be to get a new look in my bedroom if I decide to change it up again.

  3. Love this! I may have to try! Mine is covered in vinyl, glad to see yours come out so nice!

    1. It's a great alternative if you can't easily remove the old cover. I'd love to see how it turns out if you give it a try!

  4. I am reupholstering a tufted headboard and this is so helpful! I do have a question about the buttons...did you put the new buttons on top and stitch them in or put the top of the button kit over the old buttons without the backing? Thanks!