DIY Headboard Project – How To

DIY Headboard

A couple months ago, I was inspired to create a list of 20 Fun Summer Activities in case anyone found themselves with nothing to do and free time on their hands. On that list, I included wood-working, which I hadn’t ever tried, until this past summer. Growing up, I had always admired my Dad’s carpentry abilities, since that is what he does for a living and he is very good at it. Though, I must admit, I never really had any interest in learning how to build anything myself – especially not a big project like a DIY headboard. That changed when I started dating David, and we began dreaming of all the things we could build together in the future.

fun summer activitiesWe started small, and first built a lawn game called “Washer Toss” which turned out to be a real hit with his family and at summer BBQ’s. It only took us (mostly David) a few hours to make the whole thing.


Next, David wanted to make a DIY headboard out of wood from a tree they had to cut down in his family’s backyard. This seemed like a pretty daunting task, but he was so determined that I decided to embark on the challenge with him. And thus leads me to:

How to build a DIY Headboard:

David planing the wood.

Step 1: We decided to use spruce wood from David’s yard, but you can choose any type of wood you would like. For our DIY headboard, we used 3 large boards that would act as the centre, or main part of the headboard. These 3 pieces all had “live edges” (that means they still had the bark around the edges). It gives the headboard more of a rustic look which is what David had in mind, and I really love how it turned out! Then we cut 6 regular planks of wood, all the same height, which we put together and used for the posts. That left us with 3 main pieces, plus 6 post pieces, equalling 9 boards in total.

Step 2: After you’ve chosen and cut your wood, the next step is to plane (or flatten) the boards with a wood planer. This scrapes off any inconsistencies from the top of your wood, leaving you with a flat, clean surface that is the same thickness from one end of the board to the other.

Step 3: At this point, we had all the planks planed and cut to fit our queen sized bed (63 inches tall for the side posts and 61 inches across for the 3 main boards). Next, David created these slotted posts for the sides of the headboard, which is probably easiest explained in the pictures below.

Basically, to create the slotted post, he put 3 planks together like a sandwich, the middle plank being the smallest – to create a slot for the 3 main centre boards to fit into. Keep in mind, David made the thickness of every single board the same, so he knew the 3 main boards would fit perfectly into these slotted posts. Then, he made the opposite post. He first used carpenter’s wood glue and clamps to get the wood into place, and then he screwed them together.

DIY Headboard
As you can see, I was being silly while David did most of the work.

Step 4: After the posts were screwed together, David used an electric orbit sander on all of the planks to make sure they were all smooth, with no sharp edges.

Step 5: Next, David and I did one coat of “special walnut” coloured stain using cloths, and then 3 coats of glossy varathane using paint brushes (letting each coat dry in between).

Step 6: The last step is sliding the 3 main board into the 2 slotted posts, and arranging them however you like. We measured that the boards were laying straight before screwing them into place.

Step 7: Add sticky felt pads to the bottom of the headboard, so you don’t scratch the floor, and then slide your DIY Headboard into place!

I hope that explained how we (mostly David) made our very own DIY Headboard!

If you have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them below. Also, a big shout-out to David’s Dad who helped us with any of the tricky parts!

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Related Post: How To Create A Vision Board


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