DIY How To Make Your Own Wood Headboard

DIY How To Make Your Own Wood Headboard

If you are a DIYer you are going to love this awesome headboard idea! You might even be thinking it's time to give your whole bedroom a makeover. We've got just what you need! I've given you some step by step instructions to create one for your bed and we also have some beautiful cozy quilts to warm up your space! This king size wood headboard features our Mill Stripe bedding and looks awesome with the dark stain. And the queen size features our versatile Maisie Patch collection.
Mill Stripe DIY Headboard Side
Mill Stripe Headboard Close

Cardboard or Wood?

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.)

I Didn't Even Need to Own a Saw!

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 the 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. 

My Bonus Surprise!

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! 


Lumber Supplies

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


Have Fun With It!

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 used 1 1/4" screws and 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


The Finishing Touches

Voila!  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!)


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?! Woohoo!!

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 was 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!

UPDATE #1: Over two years later, these headboards still look great! They survived the move into our new home and I just recently had the chance to update our DIY headboard blog pictures with new quilts, shams and pillows! Mill Stripe and Maisie Patch are two great custom quilt collections that our exclusive to Primitive Star Quilt Shop. Maisie Patch features the best primitive country colors! The checks, plaids and prints of these burgundy, black and khaki fabrics coordinate with so many of our other popular collections.  We designed the neutral grey and khaki colors in Mill Stripe to coordinate with all our Sawyer Mill bedding items.

 UPDATE #2: Did you notice the signs above our beds? I actually make those! Yes, that means I actually I broke down and bought my own saw. Ha! It was well worth it. I really enjoy making these hand painted wood signs for myself and for others. You are welcome to check out my Etsy shop and follow me on Instagram @house_to_home_signs

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Dress Up The Room With Quilts, Shams and Pillows

Maisie Patch DIY Headboard

DIY Headboard with Maisie Patch

Mill Stripe Bedding DIY Headboard

Are You Up For It?

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.

We've created a DIY Headboard Checklist to make your trip to the lumber yard even easier! Get one for FREE!

Get the FREE Checklist


How About a Complete Bedroom Makeover?

Primitive Star Quilt Shop has helped thousands of customers create bedrooms they love! Read How to Create a Primitive Country Bedroom Makeover Plan in 6 Easy Steps to see how we can help you update your bedroom space. Use code BEDDING15 to save 15% off your quilt, pillows and shams purchase.

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