For a while, we seemed to be making simple, padded headboards for lots of clients. With our partner, we would construct simple headboards that would get padded and wrapped in fabric. Sometimes we'd put a few buttons on.
There is nothing easier than making buttons. The "half ball" button fronts and backs can be bought at any arts and crafts or supply store, and using either a swatch from the headboard fabric or a cool coordinating fabric, the buttons literally snap together. We would measure out where we wanted the buttons to go, and drill a tiny hole through the back of the wood. Once the batting, and fabric where stapled into place, we would measure out where the holes were on the front of the headboard and with a heavy needle and fishing line, push through the fabric, batting and feel for the hole in the wood. Once in place, we would pull the fishing line as tight as we could to create the tufted effect and then tie the button off, using a washer to keep the fishing line in place. What ever mess was made in the back of the headboard was coverded with black felt so everything looked clean (although with the back of the headbaord facing the wall you could leave out the last step and not worry what was seen from behind.)