Published on May 10, 2019

Emily-Henderson_Sapira-Mattress_DIY-Headboard_Brady-Tolbert_Bedroom_Green-Velvet_Channel-Tufting_Channel-Tufted_masculine_boho_chic_headboard_7_edited1 Pin It
Project, styling, and design by Brady Tolbert.photography by Tessa Neustadt, courtesy of Style by Emily Henderson

While we clearly aren’t averse to shopping for furniture online, there’s something to be said for the sense of accomplishment you feel when you create something from scratch. The joy of filling a virtual cart just doesn’t compare to the thrill of picking up a drill, especially when you get to wake up and go to sleep with said DIY every day.

You may remember a not-so-little bedroom transformation LA-based designer and creative director Brady Tolbert shared on Emily Henderson’s site three years ago. The project in question is a sumptuous channel-tufted headboard. Spanning the entire width of one wall, the striking built-in piece is like no other backdrop you’ve seen before. Oh, and did we mention it’s swathed in velvet and took just half a day to construct?

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Project, styling, and design by Brady Tolbert. photography by Tessa Neustadt, courtesy of Style by Emily Henderson

“I knew that I wanted to bring some color into the room but in a very neutral way (does moss green count as a neutral?). Velvet was definitely an easy choice for me, as it felt luxe while still being inviting and comfortable to lay my head on,” shares Tolbert.

“Velvet was definitely an easy choice for me, as it felt luxe while still being inviting and comfortable to lay my head on.”

We weren’t surprised to find that the designer’s curvaceous upgrade took the Pinterest world by storm. Somewhere along the way, the custom treatment landed on the inspiration board of Bright Green Door blogger Jessica McGurn, who turned to Tolbert’s look for her very own DIY faux leather headboard. “After I saw Brady’s, I hunted hard online for something like it, and there was just nothing else like it out there at the time,” says McGurn. “I’m all about empowering women to tackle projects and try things that maybe they don’t think they’re capable of and to create a home they love on a budget.”

Smitten with this smooth silhouette? Ahead, McGurn and Tolbert share how you can craft a channel-tufted headboard of your own.

Gather Your Supplies

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photo by jessica mcgurn of bright green door

Tolbert and McGurn’s supplies lists vary slightly because McGurn decided to mount her headboard to the wall and Tolbert left his freestanding, but their all-in budgets came out to be roughly the same. McGurn’s total was $318 and Tolbert recalls his budget landing just under $500. The cushioning will likely be the most expensive part of the project if you stick with a fairly affordable fabric.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Foam bolsters, cut in half. Both Tolbert and McGurn used foambymail.com to order the padding. Width and length will vary depending on the space you’re trying to cover.
  • A tube of liquid nails
  • A staple gun
  • Wood boards (McGurn opted for nine 1″x 5″ boards, cut to 7′ long)
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver/drill
  • Hi-loft batting
  • Fabric of your choice (McGrun recommends going with seven to eight yards)
  • Electric knife
  • Scissors
  • Mounting brackets if you want to secure the piece to the wall

Cut Your Materials to Size

If your foam is already cut to size, this really only includes your wood boards and fabric. You can cut your fabric with plain household scissors—just be sure to leave enough leeway room to wrap it around the back of the board on the non-tufted side (Tolbert left 18”). Then, there’s a matter of the wood panels. Don’t worry—you don’t have to be a master woodworker to trim your boards down to size.  

“I’m all about empowering women to tackle projects and try things that maybe they don’t think they’re capable of and to create a home they love on a budget.”

“If you’re not comfortable cutting boards, you can always have the boards cut to size at Lowes or Home Depot,” suggests McGurn. “And if you’ve never used a staple gun or a drill, this is a good starter project because it’s pretty foolproof.”

Fold and Staple Your Fabric

For extra security, apply liquid nails to one side of the wood boards and adhere the foam cushioning on top to hold it in place. After it has dried, lay down your fabric, then the batting, and then your foam board. Pull the fabric tightly around to the back and secure with a staple gun.

Lock the Tufts in Place

If you’re doing this on your own like McGurn and Tolbert, note that this is the trickiest part of the process. While Tolbert connected his individual channels with strap ties, McGurn screwed her boards to a piece of plywood. “The most important thing is to make sure each channel is tight against the other,” she says. “You don’t want there to be any gaps.” The blogger added leather scraps to the sides of the plywood so no exposed wood would show.

“The most important thing is to make sure each channel is tight against the other. You don’t want there to be any gaps.”

If you want to leave your board freestanding like Tolbert, make sure you’re prepared to do the heavy lifting once everything is connected. It’ll weigh more than you think it does. “All the steps are pretty easy to follow and do by yourself, but because my boards were so long, it meant that I had a large headboard once I was finished; putting the headboard into place definitely should have been a two-person job, although I did it by myself,” he explains.

You can check out McGurn’s full tutorial on her faux leather headboard on Bright Green Door or get Tolbert’s complete how-to on Emily Henderson.

See more stories like this: 
Your Weekend Project Is Here: 9 DIY Chandeliers You Can Make in an Afternoon
Trust Us: You Can Definitely Make Your Own Awe-Inspiring Wall Hanging
Gentle Suggestion: You Can (and Should) Embroider Your Home Decor

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