Introduction: DIY Headboard for Bench or Bed

DIY Headboard
During the winter I had the opportunity to build several projects for
a local bakery. One of the projects was a bench to go along one
wall. It was a simple rectangular box with some applied trim on
the front. The customer added an upholstered cushion to the
top. In addition to the base she needed a decorative back to go
with it to be hung on the wall. She liked the idea of a vintage
headboard. However, the bench was approximately 10' long x 30"
tall so a custom one was in order. The following project can be
adapted as a real headboard or as the back to a bench. Size
isn't much of an option as long as you keep things visually
proportional. The construction is simple but uses pocket hole
joinery. A pocket hole jig and screws can be obtained at any Lowes
or HomeDepot.

Materials

1 x 4 pine boards (four 8')
1 x 6 pine board (one 6')
pocket screws
two table legs
1/4 inch
plywood
caulk
wood glue
paint

Tools required

miter
saw
jig saw
drill

driver
pocket
hole jig
nail gun
Router

Safety First!
Before you begin, please make sure you wear safety glasses, a dust
mask and hearing protection.

Step 1: Step 1

Step 1

The project
needed to resemble an old head board. I needed some posts for
the ends that fit the scale of the project but didn't cost a
fortune. I settled on two table legs from Lowes. They
would be mounted upside down and hopefully not look like a table leg
when we are finished. With the table legs in hand I used them
as the base for a sketch to work out the dimensions. I settled
on the bed having three paneled sections with a slight curved area at
the top on each end.

After buying the legs I used them to lay
out the size of the headboard and get a sense of scale. I then
drew up a rough sketch as a guideline.

Step 2: Step 2

Step 2

I began fabrication with the top portion across the top. At each end
the piece slopes down before it joins the end sections. I took
one 1 x 4 x 8' and glued another approx. 2' 1 x 4 at each end
hanginging about a foot past the longer 1 x 4. It was clamped
and glued as well as pockets holes omn the back. I freehand
sketched the sloping curve. I then took a small piece of scrap
1x4 and followed the line using the 1x4 as a spacer to keep the
spacing uniform. After this I cut out the top and bottom
pieces. Go slow and be careful to cut neatly and in one piece.
I then used the cut pieces upside down at the other end to act as a
guide to duplicate my cuts at the other end.

Step 3: Step 3

Step 3

The bottom piece
that runs the length og the headboard is about 116"long. I
cut a couple of 1 x 4 s at about 5' and joined them at the ends with
glue and a couple of pocket screws. It can't take much stress
so handle it gently till everything is assembled. I then laid
it and the top one parallel to each other. I placed a leg on
each end and traced the edge onto the long boards. I then cut
the boards along the marks to make a snug fit against the legs.
I then drilled each board at the ends for pocket holes on the back
and then attached them to the legs with screws and glue.

Step 4: Step 4

Step 4

The headboard is divided into separate sections. I measured between the top and
bottom boards and placed a 1 x 4 cut to length in between at
the middle. It was joined at the top and bottom with pocket
screws and glue. I then found the middle and divided out the
spacing for the rest of the panels. As a short cut you can lay
your board perpendicular to the long ones underneath and trace
your lines ensuring a snug fit. I repeated the steps above for
each divider board except for the two located at each end. For
the end pieces I used 1 x 6s. I cut them to length. I
then free hand sketched a curve on one side of the 1 x 6 and
cut it away. I then overlayed the cut 1 x 6 with the other and
traced the shape on the other board. I then cut it out. The
boards were then mounted at each end like the others.

Step 5: Step 5

Step 5

Although it is oversized, the headboard still needed to resemble a real piece of
furniture. To add some detail I ran a router over the top
edge. I then clamped a block of wood at the top and bottom of
each divider board and ran the router on each side of them. 1/4"
plywood was added to the back to fill in the spaces. Those were
just glued and nailed into place. Each was about 1/2"
larger on each side of the hole it covered to overlap.

The whole piece needed to be sanded and then the panel
sections caulked. I used Spackle to fill any booboo's.
The headboard was sanded and then primed and painted antique white.
You can paint or stain your with anything you like. The design
is very flexible to adapt to your needs. I hope you enjoyed
this Instructable. I look forward to your questions and
comments.

Comments

author

It turned out great! That bakery looks like the most adorable bakery in the world! The headboard really fits in well with the decor!

author

Thanks! I did several projects for them that I plan to turn into Instructables. I built the shabby chic tables in the photo and they will probably be the subject of the next one.

author

Oh I can't wait to see more from you!

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