Last month, Heather's mom wanted me to make her a padded headboard for their guest bedroom. I started off with some MDF (multi density fiber) board and cut out the shape I wanted for the headboard. Attached some 1x4's that will eventually attach to the bed frame.
Wrapped the front with batting, stapled it down. Then covered it with fabric and stapled that down. The key is to pull the fabric tight before you staple it down.