How To Make Your Own Wood Headboard

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Finished queen headboard
I’d been wanting to get a headboard for our bedroom for a while.  Our bedroom serves it’s practical purpose, but is lacking visual appeal.  Since a headboard seemed like a good place to start, I went on the hunt.  I looked for sales at stores, searched Craigslist regularly, and tried garage sales.  No great options appeared in my desired price range.  I couldn’t even find a good “piece of junk” to flip into a beauty.  I thought about taking the cardboard approach and wrapping it with fabric and putting nailhead trim around the edge to make it look real nice.  However, it hit me (right in the middle of Joann’s with my fabric and nailhead trim in hand) that I didn’t want to attempt a fabric headboard made of cardboard.  It just seemed like a whole lot of work for something that wasn’t even guaranteed to work out and last, while also not giving me that wood look I had originally pictured.  (Those of you who have attempted and succeeded at the cardboard headboard, congratulations.  I’d like to hear how you did it.)
 

Anyway, I had always thought about building my own wood headboard, but we Lowes cutting machinedon’t own a saw, and I didn’t want to spend the money on one when I only had one project in mind for it. (Let alone I wouldn’t know where to start at what kind of saw to buy.)  BUT!  I came across a blog that showed a very simple looking headboard and even said that Lowes would cut the wood right there for you (which solved my lack-of-saw issue).  Here’s their huge sawing machine.  That really simplified things.

I loved the simple look of the headboard, and decided to try the same structure, but with different measurements to adjust to my preferences.   My sketch and measurements are below, but you can adjust them as you like.   It may look official and well planned, but all I really did is put my hand to the wall around our existing bed, squinted, measured, and hoped for the best!  The two biggest factors are how much of the headboard you want to see above height of your bed, and how much you want it to stick out on the sides, if at all.  Mine is fairly tall, because our bed is already pretty high.  My measurements also allow the headboard to stick out a couple inches on each side.

Lowes wood pileHere’s the best part:  I was originally buying wood to make a king headboard.  My total cost in lumber was $71.  While loading the car (yes, it all fit into my tiny Honda Civic coupe) I noticed that my scrap pieces were decent length and I wondered if they’d be long enough to make a queen headboard for our guest room.  I got home a measured and it was!  I just needed two more pieces for the supports.  Another quick trip to Lowes and only another $6, and I had what I needed to make the queen headboard!  Ahh!  So for $77, you can make two matching headboards!  

Here are the measurements for mine, but again, you can adjust them to your preferred width and height.  

Lumber needed for this Queen Headboard:

  • -six 1x6’s at 66”
  • -two 1x4’s at 52” (vertical supports)
  • -one 1x3 at 56” (horizontal base support)
  • -one 1x3 at 25” (small vertical support) 

Total height and width: 55" x 66" 

Queen headboard specifications

Lumber needed for this King Headboard:

  • -six 1x6’s at 78”
  • -two 1x4’s at 57” (vertical supports)
  • -one 1x3 at 66” (horizontal base support)
  • -one 1x3 at 30” (small vertical support)

  Total height and width: 60” x 78”

King headboard specifications

 

Whether you try both, or just need one headboard, it’s so much fun to make!  I made the king first, but my second time around on the queen took me less than an hour!  

When you are buying your lumber, try to pick pieces with little or no warp.  That’ll Middle supportmake the assembly go smoothly and final piece look better.  Lay out the 1x6 boards so that they are even, and start with the small center vertical support to drill them all together.  I stood on top of the boards as I drilled to hold them down. (I didn’t have the help of my husband because I was too excited to start that I didn’t want to wait until he got home from his run.)

After the center piece, you can put the two verticals in place.  Before drilling these into place, be sure they are even so that the headboard isn’t lopsided when you stand it up!  Also, use your horizontal support to show you how far apart these vertical supports should be.  It is okay if the horizontal support sticks out some, (like you’ll see in my final king headboard picture) but putting them too far apart means you’ll have to take them out and re-drill them closer together so horizontal support will reach.

Back of headboard

 

Wala!  Simple.  Now sand it!  Sanding will not only get rid of any print or marks on the lumber, but will allow the stain to set better.  Oh, and I guess it will eliminate any potential splinters - kind of important.

Sander on wood

Now for the “finishing” touch!  I chose this Dark Walnut finish, rather than my typical choice of Jacobean.  I wanted a dark finish but only a tad lighter.  It was perfect.  Also, rather than using a paintbrush, I went with a sponge.  (Actually, it was a piece of leftover foam cushion I had from when I made my patio cushions, and it worked great!)

Stain

Woman Staining 

Here is the final queen headboard!  I only stained the top on this, since that is all that will be seen.  I realized after doing my king headboard that I didn’t really need to do the bottom supports.  But, whatever suits your fancy.  Be sure to wipe the stained wood with a cloth or sponge to get rid of any excess that will get sticky later.  

Stained headboard

Here is the final king headboard!  Here you can see that I forgot to use the horizontal support as a guide for how far apart the vertical supports should be, but it won’t make a hoot of a difference.  It is supported and hidden under the bed.

Headboard drying in garage

The towels protected the wall of our garage.  I kept these out in the garage for over a week to dry and air out.  I didn’t want our bedroom smelling like stain, so I had to be patient.   Can I share my excitement once more for getting two headboards for the cheap price of one?!

both headboards drying

One last thing.  People have different ways of securing (or not securing) theFelt Pads headboard.  We are still renting, and don’t want to put any holes into our wall, nor do we want any marks from wood against it.  So, here is the solution for us: felt pads.  I got these for $3.97 and cut them into pieces to use on both headboards. I put them on the vertical supports; one at each base to protect the baseboards, and one at each top post to protect the wall.  See images below.  This is the easiest way I could think of, and it worked great!  

 Felt pads at baseboards

Felt pads against wall 

I am thrilled with how these turned out! It makes such a difference in the look of both rooms!

Queen bed angle

 King headboard finished

Have you ever attempted a DIY headboard? What has worked best for you? Do you think this wood head board is right up your ally? Well, let me be the first to encourage you to give it a try! When it's time to pick out a new quilt for your DIY headboard, check out the quilt collections at Primitive Star Quilt Shop.

If you love DIY projects, you might enjoy reading about how we made our own chalk paint and brought new life to a desk.

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  • Hannah Euler
Comments 15
  • Mark
    Mark

    Nevermind! I see another comment about using the wall:)

  • Mark
    Mark

    Nice work on the headboard! I was wondering if you have it attached to your bed frame. If so, what did you do?

    Thanks!

  • Jacki Alcorn
    Jacki Alcorn

    I would say yes, Jordan. Whatever power tools you are comfortable with! :)

  • Jordan New
    Jordan New

    Could probably use a nail gun to secure boards right?

  • Jacki Alcorn
    Jacki Alcorn

    It was not secured to a metal frame just to the wall. Have a fun DIY weekend!

  • Beth
    Beth

    Did you secure this to a metal bed frame? Or just against a wall? Love this and am going to attempt this weekend! Thanks for measurements.

  • Jacki Alcorn
    Jacki Alcorn

    What a great idea, Kim! Not only is using left over floor boards a great way to recycle something that might sit in the garage for years, it’s also going to tie your headboard in to the rest of the bedroom. Best wishes with your DIY!

  • KIm
    KIm

    Ty for measurements I am going to use some left over flooring from the bedrooms.

  • Jacki Alcorn
    Jacki Alcorn

    The wood boards used are all pine.

  • Kristen
    Kristen

    What type of wood did you use?

  • Jacki Alcorn
    Jacki Alcorn

    Hi Ladies! Yes, the screws used were 1 1/2". And sorry but we do not have plans scaled for a full size bed.

  • Bri
    Bri

    What sizes do you use for a full size bed?

  • Lauren
    Lauren

    I just built this myself and it turned out beautifully! It will surely be the staple piece in my apartment bedroom at college. For those asking about screws, I used 1 1/2 inch long screws to secure everything together.

  • LaToya
    LaToya

    Same question what size screws did you drill

  • Tahoe Mama
    Tahoe Mama

    I love how easy this project looks! One quick question. What size and type of screw did you use to secure the support boards to the main body of the headboard?

    Thanks!

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