Instructables

Headboard & Nightstands Combo

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Cedar Fence Headboard 023.jpg
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My hobby is using low-cost or, preferably, FREE materials to build cool stuff. It's been said that some people can take $200 worth of materials and make it look like a $20 project. Others can take $20 worth of materials and make it look like a $200 project. That latter group has my undying allegiance and the difference is what I call workmanship. Details to come but I only spent about $30 to build this project . . . well within anyone's price range, eh? So I hope you'll take this journey with me and see how simple it is to build some furniture you can be proud of from now on.
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The 2nd image shows the solar-powered post cap lights purchased many months ago and finally put to good use.
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Step 1: Let's Get Started

Picture of Let's Get Started
Cedar Fence Headboard 002.jpg
Cedar Fence Headboard 003.jpg
Cedar Fence Headboard 004.jpg
Cedar Fence Headboard 005.jpg
Cedar Fence Headboard 006.jpg
Cedar Fence Headboard 007.jpg
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The only materials I bought new for this project were two 8' 4x4 Douglas Fir posts (I only used 56" of each of them), two 8' 2x4s, and two black knobs for the drawer pulls. Total cost was about $30. I didn't include the cost of any paint or clearcoat as I had access to some already-opened containers of it, didn't use any appreciable amount and, therefore, it didn't cost me anything. If you have to purchase your finish materials, then your costs will be a little more.
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Because this thing would be awkward, if not impossible, to move in one piece, and because my bedroom is upstairs with a 90-degree turn at the top of the stairs, it seemed prudent to build it as components which could be taken apart and reassembled inside the room. I built the whole thing first in the shop and then took it apart to paint the posts plus those little horizontal blocks you see. The small blocks were "half lapped" onto the back side of the posts which is to say 3/4" by 3-1/2" was removed from each block so their inside faces would line up with the upper rail. Then they were attached to the back side of the posts with Titebond II wood glue and screws. Both the upper and lower rails are "let into" the posts in grooves 3/4" deep which I cut with two passes of my router -- removing 3/8" with the first pass and another 3/8" with the second pass. Then I used a jig block to locate 5/16" holes for the 5/16" carriage bolts which secure the rails to the posts. On the back side of the rails, I used a spade bit to create a recess for the flat washer, lock washer, and nut for each of the eight bolts. Then I used an offset grinder/cutter/sander to trim the ends of the bolts flush with the back sides of the rails.
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Mostly I just didn't want to cut those nice 8' rails. They were sticking out about 14" on each side, so I thought why not continue the fence board theme on down to the ends of the rails . . . to tie it all together . . . and build on some cute little nightstands to go with the headboard?
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In the 2nd image, you can see that I added that third short rail to position the height of the nightstands. The top of my mattress is about 24" off the floor so I positioned the bottom edge of this third rail at 22-1/2" off the floor. Then I added the two vertical 2x2s to define the rear corners of the nightstands. All screws in this project are used by first pre-drilling the piece to be attached with a 3/16" bit and then using a steel burr-removal bit to cut a countersink for the screw head. This technique pulls the pieces together nicely and all one needs to do is snug 'em up just enough -- without stripping the screw trying to bring the screw head flush.
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In the 3rd image, you can see where I also screwed through that 2x2 into the post to hold everything nice and tight.
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In the 4th image, you can see what happens when you forget the brackets for the hollywood-style bed frame are between six and 10" off the floor. Somehow that got the bottom edge of the lower rail located 10" off the floor which is too high! If you remember to locate the lower rail at the right height, you won't have to add this goofy little block like I did.
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In the 5th image, you can see that the added-on block is completely hidden and the view of all these extra screws is blocked by the mattress and box springs anyway. [NOTE: If you ever plan on using that outlet, NOW is a good time to plug in your whatever.]
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In the 6th image, you'll notice I added a horizontal 2x2 block which gives the soon-to-be-added short fence boards something to slide down against. The little Formica nightstand top sits on this block as well. I tend to design things as I go and this is how this one went.
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In the last image of this step, you can see how things are starting to come together. If you build this AND take the time to paint the ends of your upper and lower rails to match (black satin in this case), you'll be glad you did as the ends remain visible in the finished product.
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Icecreamismine11 months ago
I like it
sail4free (author)  Icecreamismine11 months ago
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Thanks for your comment. Now I just have to figure out what to build next . . . after finishing the small coop for my little Bantie hens, that is. It has a vinyl floor and a little custom nest box. They're gonna' have it good whether they know it or not!
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foobear11 months ago
drool... gorgeous
sail4free (author)  foobear11 months ago
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Thanks for your comment. Everyone who sees it in person really likes it too -- very satisfying for me knowing how little it cost to build it. And the way it so easily comes apart makes moving it a breeze.
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Topsey Kretts11 months ago
That's clever, I like it :)
sail4free (author)  Topsey Kretts11 months ago
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Okay -- I'm confused -- do you "like" it or do you "love" it? Either way I'm encouraged and delighted. Thanks for your commment.
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Topsey Kretts11 months ago
That's clever, I love it :)
sail4free (author)  Topsey Kretts11 months ago
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THANKS for your comment. I usually just kinda' start in on any given project and let the materials tell me which way to go. For a queen-size bed, the 8' 2x4s for the rails are w-a-y too long but I didn't want to cut them, so it's like, "What to do? What can I do?" And then the built-in and attached nighstands started to take shape. I'm lucky to work in a shop where there are lots of scraps so it doesn't cost much to give something a go and see what happens.
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WayneEarl11 months ago
love the project and the foncepts behind it. BTW - rewiring/relocating the solar panels so that they are closer to a light source is a fairly straightforward project - i believe there are a few 'ables around here with good instructions for this.
sail4free (author)  WayneEarl11 months ago
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Thanks for your comment -- moving the panels could work. On these lights there are two screws each which can be used to secure them to the post. I didn't use the screws so it's pretty easy -- really -- to just move the lights to the window sill for recharging. If one wanted to leave 'em on all night, that's what I'd do -- just move 'em to the window sill each morning and move 'em back to the posts at night. They do look VERY cool (when lit) at night and they don't come on until it's dark in the room . . . very romantic (smiles).
JIM
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I just love, love, love this! That is just an awesome rustic design and I love the solar light addition!
sail4free (author)  Penolopy Bulnick11 months ago
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I'm glad you like it! One can get used cedar fence boards for FREE just about anywhere. I already have a big stack of 'em so I just went through and picked out the ones I liked the best. I love working with used wood as the price is right and any scraps can be burned in the stove or campfire = no waste.
JIM :o)
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