DIY Rustic Headboard Tutorial

Due to the overwhelming response from my Mini Bedroom Makeover, and the wealth of questions regarding the making of the headboard, I thought it was best to write a specific post detailing how it was made and the challenges that I encountered in the process.

Step one was purchasing my wood. I chose pre-cut 6′ boards from Home Depot (we have a king size bed). These are what the boards looked like once I got them home from the hardware store.

(Sorry about the photo quality — this was a cell phone pic.)  Please note: when choosing your boards,  the “prettier” boards in my opinion (second board from the right) bow more than the others — although I think it’s totally worth it! :)  I positioned the boards in the order that I wanted them to look on the wall, then I marked the back of each board by number order. I also put an arrow pointing in the upward direction so that I would remember the placement when I went to install the headboard.

Next was the wood staining process. I moved the boards to the garage since fumes with wood stain are extremely strong. I chose Minwax in the color Jacobean and brushed the stain on in the direction of the wood grain using a cheap throwaway sponge brush. Then after each large section, I wiped with a dry rag. I just LOVE how the stain made the wood grain pop! Ideally, I would’ve left them in the garage for 24 hours to dry and then add a wax finish, but because of my time constraint I rushed to install them as soon as the stain was dry to the touch. I later applied the wax finish after the install and big reveal.

On each end of each board, I drilled two equally spaced holes where I wanted my drywall screws to go. I didn’t bother finding studs since the boards weren’t that heavy to begin with. I’ve hung heavier pictures on the wall using drywall screws, so I wasn’t worried in the least. I measured, then positioned and leveled the bottom board first and screwed it into the wall. It’s important to note that on my first try I didn’t use long enough drywall screws. This required an additional trip to the hardware store, but what project doesn’t? :)  At the end of the day, 2″ screws worked well for me. If you look closely, you may be able to tell that a couple of the boards still stick out a little bit from the wall. I’m okay with that and actually like it when these type of things aren’t “perfect.” That’s what makes it unique and a little more rustic rather than a perfect, manufactured look.

I’m extremely happy with the results and would do it again in a heartbeat! It really is easier than it looks. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email here or leave a comment below.

Lots of love,
Mary

Linked up here:
http://bebetsy.com

73 thoughts on “DIY Rustic Headboard Tutorial

  1. Anonymous

    This is exactly what I'm looking for in my master! What kind of wood did you use and how many coats of stain did you do? I can't wait to get started. Thanks for making something so beautiful.

    Reply
  2. Mary - because i like to decorate

    Thank you for all of the kind comments!@Sarah – The chest in front of the bed was a thrift store find that was painted. You can find that project at the following link: http://becauseiliketodecorate.blogspot.com/2011/11/hayden-coolest-antique-cedar-chest.html@Lauren – The giant fork and spoon was purchased at Pier One. Those are one of the few things I own that I did not buy on sale :(. I think they also have a matching knife!

    Reply
  3. Jesse

    I just wanted to say that I’ve looked and looked at DIY rustic headboard ideas and they all seemed just a little bit beyond my reach, until yours. You make the steps simple. Thank you! So, because of this, I bought my wood and tools Friday! Just one question, and I think I know the answer to it, but after looking at some you tube videos on staining wood I’m conflicted – did you use a wood conditioner before staining? Its a clear coat that takes 15 minutes to dry and helps the stain go on more evenly. I realize the look is to be distressed, and that is what I want, so is it better not to do the wood conditioner? Or did you use it to avoid too much of a blotchiness when staining??? Thank you!! Have a FAB day! ~ Jesse

    Reply
  4. baneberrylane

    I just wanted to say that I’ve looked and looked at DIY rustic headboard ideas and they all seemed just a little bit beyond my reach, until yours. You make the steps simple. Thank you! So, because of this, I bought my wood and tools Friday! Just one question, and I think I know the answer to it, but after looking at some you tube videos on staining wood I’m conflicted – did you use a wood conditioner before staining? Its a clear coat that takes 15 minutes to dry and helps the stain go on more evenly. I realize the look is to be distressed, and that is what I want, so is it better not to do the wood conditioner? Or did you use it to avoid too much of a blotchiness when staining??? Thank you!! Have a FAB day! ~ Jesse

    Reply
    1. becauseiliketodecorate

      Hi Jesse, thanks so much for your kind words! I’m so glad you’ve been inspired to create your own. It really is as easy as it looks! To answer your question, no, I did not use a wood conditioner. As long as you don’t let each section sit to long before moving on to your next area, you shouldn’t have any trouble with blotching. But I’m sure it couldnt hurt if you feel more comfortable using it!

      Reply
  5. Teresa

    Ok…..I just finished making my headboard, thanks to you, I love it and it’s all because of you that I was able to do it, it is the easiest project ever, thank u for your step by step instructions, b/c the wood I chose – some were uneven- I cut my sixth board in half and put on each side vertically, it gave that little bit more that i needed asvfar as width goes!!! Love love love, your blog rocks my face off

    Reply
  6. Kim

    Love this amazing headboard! Can’t wait to do it in my own bedroom! What size boards did you use? 6′ by ? 12 maybe? This looks so great!!

    Reply
  7. Jen

    I love this headboard! I’m about to move into a small bedroom and need something just like this to make a statement in the room! Thanks for sharing.

    Jen

    Reply
  8. Pingback: DIY Old Rustic Headboard | Fall For Design

  9. Reina

    Hi. I just came across your blog recently because of pinterest! I must say you’ve got me so addicted. I love how you make everything seem so easy to do and yet they look ridiculously amazing. I’m inspired and have already found a new love/home at home depot thanks to you. I also picked up a few beat up old frames from the thrift yesterday. The headboards in particular are amaze and definitely caught my eye so I picked up a few boards as well. I have one question, I see you’ve used annie sloan soft wax for a lot of your projects. Did you use the same one with the head boards or did you use the dark wax? Thanks – Reina

    Reply
    1. becauseiliketodecorate

      Hi Reina, thanks so much for your kind comments! I used the clear wax on the boards although if you wanted a different look, you could also use the dark wax. I found that the wood stain used was dark enough for me. :)

      Reply
  10. Catherine

    So excited! Just finished staining my wood and letting it dry and it looks so great! Can’t wait to see how great it looks on the wall!

    Reply
  11. Ashley Allen

    It says you used 6 foot boards for a king headboard. Wouldn’t that be shorter than the width of the mattress? Was going to make one but wanted to make sure first. Thanks

    Reply
    1. becauseiliketodecorate

      I think your right in it being a couple inches or so shorter, however, whats pictured in my photos are 6′ boards and I don’t notice the couple inches. It’s up to you, but 6′ worked just fine for me and it’s easier since the hardware store stocks them at that size so no cutting is required. :)

      Reply
  12. Robin

    I really love the headboard and the overall design of the room. I especially love the swing arm lamps and the ceiling fan/light. Can I ask you the brand and model of fan this is? I’ve been looking for something like this and I can never seem to find one I like.

    Reply
  13. Melissa

    Hi, I love the color combinations of this room. I was wondering if you could share with me what the paint color is that you used on the walls? This is the color I would like to use for our guest room. If not, that’s fine.

    Thanks,

    Melissa
    redflycreations(dot)com

    Reply
  14. Whitney H

    What was the name of the color stain you used on the headboard? I love the deep color! Thanks for such a cute idea!

    Reply
  15. Whitney H

    Sorry! I always hate it when people leave dumb questions that were already answered in the blog! Somehow I totally didn’t notice that you already had the name of the stain in the actual post :o) Thanks!

    Reply
    1. becauseiliketodecorate

      I used Annie Sloan Soft Wax in clear. It gives a softer finish and it’s easy to apply without the nasty smell. This type of wax is only sold in specialty stores, but it’s worth it. A comparable product would be Fiddes & Sons Supreme Wax in light which is sold on ebay and amazon. It’s totally a preference thing and poly would work just fine if you prefer.

      Reply
  16. Pingback: Cabeceros | Hibou

  17. Crystal

    Wow, such a stunning headboard. Getting ready to make my own! Quick question. How far up from the floor level did you place your lowest board? Looks like you can see about 4,5 boards from the top of the mattress? Any guidance is appreciated, dear sister and kindred spirit!

    Reply
  18. Pingback: Creative DIY headboards to match your skill set | Homes Gardening

  19. Courtenay

    We are closing on our lake house on Friday!!! I am so excited to do this in the master! Headed to Home Depot now!!! Thanks, Love, Love, Love this blog!!!

    Reply
  20. Clarissa

    This is beautiful. I’m going to the hardware store tomorrow to get the supplies. you said the boards are 6′ how thick are they?

    Reply
  21. Judy

    Thanks for the inspiration and tutorial. I made the headboard with 1×6’s for a single bed and attached it to two posts (the hard part) which are screwed to the bed. Everyone loves the headboard. The color is beautiful, and I am so glad you turned me on to the kona color.

    Reply
  22. jillian

    I love this! What is the width of the boards you used? Also did you start your boards right above the molding or midway up the wall?

    Reply
  23. Pingback: 80 Headboard DIY | Rilane - We Aspire to Inspire

  24. Heather

    I love the boards for the headboard… I will be doing this when we redo my sons this september. What color is your walls, I was looking for a color similar to that blue.

    Reply
  25. Pingback: DIY Headboard #1201

Leave a Reply