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July 27, 2009

DIY Painted Wood Headboard

This headboard will look great in almost any space: The painted wood and symmetry of the piece befits a traditional home, and yet, it’s clean lined-simplicity is equally in-tune with a contemporary aesthetic. This DIY project is easily modified to suit the size and style of your bed and space, and takes only a day to complete! The approximate cost for this budget-friendly project is under $200.

Materials & Tools

  • 2” x 4” spruce wood boards (see Step 2 for measuring directions)
  • 1/4” chipboard (see Step 3 for measuring directions)
  • 1/8” masonite board (see Step 4 for measuring directions)
  • 2” finger jointed pine slats (the specific measurements of the slats are 5-16” d. x 1-11/16” w. and can be purchased in 8’ pieces.)
  • Wood glue
  • 2” wood screws
  • Caulking
  • 1 quart primer and paint
  • 4 L-brackets
  • Finishing nails & wood filler
  • Industrial Velcro tape (medium to high strength) or 1 set of “d” rings for either side of your headboard.

Step 1

Determine the overall height and width of your finished headboard. Antonio wanted to cover an unattractive doorway, so his headboard is a dramatic 92” high and 64” wide. Keep in mind that you may want to design your headboard to be approximately 2” wider than your bed on either side so it nicely frames the linens. 

Step 2

Photo Bed Wood DIY Elte

Create a frame using 2” x 4” wood pieces based on the measurements and design of your headboard. Your frame should be 1/2” smaller in width and height than your finished headboard. Consider a ladder design that is simple and sturdy; use two 2” x 4” pieces to create the left and right vertical sides, and two horizontal 2” x 4” pieces at the top and bottom to complete a rectangle. Then, screw in one horizontal 2″ x 4″ piece every 18-24″ to secure the vertical pieces together. The number of horizontal pieces used will depend on the height of your headboard. Use L-brackets and screws to secure the four corners of the frame.

Step 3

Secure 1/4” thick chipboard to the front side of the headboard using screws. If you determine the measurements of the frame ahead of time you can have a building supply store cut the chipboard to size for you. Use a maximum of one or two pieces of chipboard to cover one entire side of the frame (the chipboard is used to keep the frame taught and together, so the fewer pieces the better). The chipboard needs to be secured flat to the frame and any seams should be flush with one another.

Step 4

Secure 1/8” thick masonite board(s) to the chipboard with the smooth side of the masonite facing out. Cover the entire surface of the headboard using wood glue in a caulking tool. Ideally, use one piece of masonite to cover the entire face. However, for larger headboards such as the one shown here, two or three pieces may be necessary. Although the masonite doesn’t affect the structural integrity of the headboard, it’s smooth finish will be easy to paint and looks cleaner in the end. 

Step 5

Cut the pine slats to cover the perimeter of your headboard and secure down with wood glue and finishing nails. Use one slat for each of the four sides of the frame and place horizontal slats equally spaced from top to bottom. Bellusci strategically placed the slats where they would cover the masonite seams. If you choose to do the same, just make sure they’re evenly spaced for a symmetrical end result. 

Step 6

Cut the pine slats to cover the top and sides of your headboard (covering the 2″ x 4″ frame) and secure with wood glue and finishing nails.

Step 7

Countersink all nail heads and fill with wood fill. Caulk all the edges and seams where the slats lay on the face of the masonite boards. This gives a smooth, seamless finish.

Step 8

Prime and paint the headboard. It took Bellusci four tries before he finally found what he describes as dolphin gray, the perfect colour to complement his hotel-chic bedroom. Although masonite boards are naturally smooth, sanding in between the primer and paint coats is a good idea, as the primer may have roughed-up the surface.

Step 9

Photo Bed Wood DIY Elte Wall Headboard

Adhere Velcro tape to the backside of the headboard and the wall to keep it in place. Keep in mind that if you have protruding baseboards you will need to affix a block to the wall and attach the tape to it in order to project the tape out far enough to meet with the headboard.  Alternatively, you can hang your headboard the same way decorator Sabrina Linn did in Step 7 of her DIY Upholstered Headboard project: Install screws in the studs of your wall and “d” ring hanging hardware on either end of your headboard. Once the “d” rings and screws are installed, simply hang your headboard on the wall.

Step 10

Photo Bed Wood DIY Elte Wall Headboard Bedroom

Place your bed in front of your new headboard.

Variation: Try reducing the height and expanding the width of your headboard to cover most, if not all, of your wall to achieve a mod, retro look. With a wide headboard, consider attaching shelving that doubles as bedside tables.

Get more ideas in our DIY & Home Improvement section.

Author: Beth Edwards

Michael Graydon