I built this headboard before I owned a Kreg Jig. The only tools you need for this are a saw, hammer and drill.
After having our bed lying on the ground for many years of our marriage, I decided to try and build a headboard myself. I didn’t want to build out a whole frame since I was brand new to building, so I knew whatever I built would have to attach to a metal bed frame somehow. I didn’t say it was an interesting story.
I wanted a taller-than-average headboard, so these are the boards I used. You can use fewer boards, wider boards…whatever gives you the look and height you’re going for.
- Six 1″x6″x6′ boards (You can go higher quality if you want. These are pine).
- Two 1″x4″x 6′ boards (For the legs that will attach to a metal bed frame).
STEP 1: SAND BOARDS
This is a small enough project that you don’t NEED an electric sander, but if you’re going to be building more pieces or refinishing furniture, you might want to invest in one. Wipe the boards down so there’s no dust.
STEP 2: ATTACH BOARDS TOGETHER
If you do have a Kreg Jig, just use 5-6 pocket holes on the side of each board.
It helps if you have two people. I was alone, so I lined up the edges of all 6 boards against the cement step in my garage so they wouldn’t move. Then I placed the 1×4 perpendicular to these boards and put 2 nails through each board.
I made sure the top of the 1×4 was half an inch below the top board so you wouldn’t be able to see it. Then I determined how tall I wanted the headboard to be and cut the 1×4 to that size.
Do the same thing with the other 1×4. Make sure the legs are even so you don’t end up with a slanted bed. Also, MEASURE the width of your metal bed frame to make sure you will be able to screw the legs into it.
STEP 3: REINFORCE
To give extra support throughout the middle of the bed, you could use some more 1x4s. We already had these metal plates, so to save money I used them.
STEP 4: USE WOOD CONDITIONER!
Just follow the instructions on the can. If you skip this step, your stain will turn out blotchy. Then you’ll be sad.
STEP 5: STAIN AND WHITEWASH
This is the first gray stain I ever tried. It’s Weathered Gray by Rustoleum and the color varies depending on what kind of wood you use it on. For me, it’s way too uniform of a gray when I stain pine, so I whitewashed the whole thing. To do this, mix equal parts white paint and water. Brush it over the project and you get an awesome, naturally weathered look. Since it’s so watery, you will get a lot of dripping, so make sure you have a drop cloth under the headboard.
STEP 6: PROTECT WITH WAX
I used Minwax finishing wax. You just take an old sock of piece of t-shirt and rub it on…it’s really impossible to mess up with this stuff.
STEP 7: DRILL HOLES AND ATTACH BED FRAME
Stand your headboard up where you’re going to have it in your home. Line up the metal bed frame and use a pencil to make marks on the board of where the holes in the metal frame are. Drill holes where your marks are and use bolts, washers and nuts to attach.
Above is a good picture to show what happens when you don’t use wood conditioner and just have the stain on there. This part has no wood conditioner or whitewashing done (since we’d never see this part of the bed).
That’s it! Enjoy your $50 headboard.