Making a Wooden Headboard

I’m so excited about having this done. I’ve been wanting a headboard ever since we moved in, but other projects were put first due to necessity for storage and entertaining like the TV console and the dining room table. Finally though, we made ourselves a headboard. It makes a big difference!

Here’s the bed before:

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And after!

DIY wooden headboard

What you need:

  • 5 1×10 common boards, cut to size
  • Two 4×4 posts (or 2×4 if you don’t want the hidden shelf)
  • One 1×4 panel, for the ledge
  • Screws
  • Bolts and washers to secure it to the bed frame
  • Pocket Hole Jig
  • Drill
  • Sander/sandpaper
  • Wood conditioner
  • Stain and polyurethane


Organize the boards the way you want the wood grain to turn out and mark which one is the top, bottom, etc. Use the pocket hole jig to create holes in each board – 2 for the top and bottom piece, 5 staggered on the others. Screw the boards together.

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Create pocket holes in the 4×4 posts, staggering the holes from the existing ones on the front boards. For a shelf, screw the posts lower down on the top – we made a 5 inch clearance, which became a 4 inch clearance after the top 1×4 was screwed on.

DIY wooden headboard

For a hidden cord, drill a hole in the 1×4 either in the middle or on the side closest to the outlet you’ll be using.


Hand sand or use a sander to get everything nice and smooth. Wipe down a damp cloth and let dry.

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Apply one good coat of wood conditioner and let dry. Apply one thick coat of Varathane wood stain as directed, let dry.

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Apply 3 or 4 coats of Varathane semi-gloss polyurethane as directed. Let it rest for a few days so that the polyurethane sets.

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Attaching to a bed frame:

Line it up to the metal part where you’re going to be screwing it in and drill pilot holes. Use a washer and a screw to protect the metal of the frame and prevent the screw from slipping through the hole in the bed frame.

DIY wooden headboard

Pro Tips:

  • The 4×4 posts make this headboard quite heavy. We wanted the extra sturdiness and the easier ledge attachment, but a couple of 2x4s would work just as well.
  • Be careful with sizing of pocket holes and screws – we put a couple through the wood and had some small holes to sand and fill.
  • If you’re mounting to the bed frame rather than the wall, this will wiggle a bit and thus make some noise when you get in and out of the bed. We used weather strip foam to lesson the noise and protect the walls.
  • If your headboard gets squeaky, spray some WD-40 on the screws.
  • In terms of budgeting, this was a slightly more costly project – coming to about $140 for all the materials. You can certainly go for an IKEA headboard or use recycled pallet wood to save some extra money. Just decide what kind of look you’re going for and set a budget to guide the materials you choose.


Still thinking of ways to add lighting since this room doesn’t get much natural light – any ideas? Have you made your own headboard? What tips can you share?

Lydia Jane


DeWalt Sander

Wood conditioner

Varathane Wood Stain

Varathane Semi-Gloss Polyurethane

Wooster Brush

DeWalt drill

Spade bit

16 thoughts on “Making a Wooden Headboard

  1. The headboard is gorgeous. Also, how funny that our husbands are always helping us with the projects for the blog. My hubby does the same thing. All very cute!


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