Picture of Headboard from Wooden Pallets
A few things the reader should know:

This is my first Instructable.

I am pretty much learning as I go with wood working which is why, along with the pleasing aesthetics, I began using reclaimed wood from old pallets.

I will welcome any constructive comments that will help me better my skills.

Parts you will need:

About 2 wooden pallets worth of wood (I called around to lawn and garden stores and factories in the area to find my wooden pallets.  Most places are happy to part with a few)

Preferred color of wood stain (I used Miniwax Golden Oak)


Screws (dependent on the thickness of your wood)

4" Bolts

Black latex paint (optional)

Light fixture (optional)

Black Spray Paint (optional)

Tools You will need:

Circular Saw

Reciprocating Saw (optional but will make things easier)


Electric Sander (also optional but will make things easier)
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Step 1: Get some Reclaimed Wood and Supplies

Picture of Get some Reclaimed Wood and Supplies

After disassembling the pallets (by hand at first until I bought a reciprocating saw which made it much easier) I laid the wood out to get a general idea of how much space I could cover.  For my bed it had to start two feet off the ground and be about 4' by 3'.

Step 2: Cutting and Sanding (lots of sanding)

Picture of Cutting and Sanding (lots of sanding)
After sketching out the shape on paper and figuring out the dimensions it was time to cut the wood and sand it.  Once the wood was cut and smooth I began to assemble it into it's final shape.  I have limited space and had to construct it in my driveway which meant I had to move the wood when not working on it.  To remember where each piece went I numbered them with pencil on the back.

Step 3: Screwing it Together

Picture of Screwing it Together
As I said I'm not the most experienced wood worker and have been learning as I go.  I thought about how to attach all the wood and decided to use four boards cut just under the height of the headboard to screw to the back.  This worked well and ended up being pretty sturdy too.
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rustrocket84 made it!6 months ago

Pretty easy to do. My belt sander, random orbit sander, and jig saw were great for this. Used my miter saw on all the ends just to have some square ends in the middle. I used 4 long pallet boards for supports on the back that I will attach to my bed frame that will get done tomorrow. Used Rustoleum Dark Cherry stain. Easy to appy and covers great with single coat.

tkotlarz8 months ago

well done! Love the look! Thanks for sharing!

prewdaddy1 year ago

Very nice! I think I'm gonna have to try this one.

awesome job on this. I enjoy seeing stuff made from shipping pallets .....and enjoy making stuff from them as well. keep it up and hope to see more from you.
DIY Dave1 year ago
That's awesome, I really like the light built into the headboard
DIY Dave1 year ago
That's awesome, I really like the light built into the headboard
cainn1 year ago
Looks amazing!! Something like this would look awesome just hanging on a wall as a piece of art!!
PaleoDan1 year ago
Liked this so much, I made my own. I got some (free) scrap cedar baseboard trim, an old outdoor light that I spray painted and some stencils along with a little left over stain and here you have it...

Thanks for the inspiration.
Gates19541 year ago
This is pretty cool! I'm looking to make a headboard for my queen size bed, but I'm thinking I want a shelved headboard. This may work, just put a frame around it and add some shelves! Thanks for the instructable!
jackOrip1 year ago
awwww. I was making this very Instructable and you beat me to it! haha Since I had no idea what to stain it with, I kept putting it off. Thanks for giving me the exact brand name and color because that is EXACTLY the look I was going for. I even have a silhouetted tree painted on the bedroom wall that matches your painting. If I didn't know better, I would ask my wife how you got in our bedroom. LOL. Great first Instructable!!!! Keep it up.
Absolutely gorgeous! I've been looking around for an idea to make my own and I just found it. Thanks so much!!!
Stunning and inspiring design! This is the best I've ever seen pallet wood treated for interior, since it's all too often installed as-is -- straight from the pallet. That can look pretty gross...
Great work!
Looks great! The head board turned out really nice! I've done a couple of headboards before. An option is to skip the legs and mount it directly to the wall behind the bed.
zomfibame1 year ago
I've done a number of odd little projects with pallets, but I never thought of this. very nice.
kminer49er1 year ago
Great first Instructable! The design and accent elements really add to it's appeal.
KOJohnson1 year ago
Again, be VERY careful with pallets! Most are impregnated with pesticides, many with arsenic compounds--remember, not all are made in the United States. Besides, you never know where the pallets have been, what they've been immersed in, what leaked onto them. You may have noticed that you can't get Tylenol any more--because it was being shipped on toxic pallets. It's best to get your lumber from some other source that you're sure of. Sealant or no sealant, I would never sleep every night with my head a few inches from pallet lumber!
Actually, most pallets are not treated with pesticides or arsenic compounds. That may have been the case many years ago, but in 2001 the EPA abolished the use of arsenic in the treatment of soft-wood pallets. Oak or other hardwood pallets used for domestic shipments are not treated. After 2006, most international shipments use heat-treated pallets, so pallets coming in containerized shipments do not contain toxic pallets. Over a thousand pallets a day pass through my business from both domestic and foreign sources and I have over 24,000 pallets used to store product in my racks and none were treated with pesticide. Yes, there will be some old pallets out there that were made before the ban even though the average life of a shipping pallet is less than two years. But it is very easy to determine if you have a 'safe' pallet. There will be a stamp, in black ink, on side or end of the pallet with the letters "HT" for 'heat treated.' There are some pallets out there that were treated with methyl bromide, a particularly nasty chemical, but they will have the letters "MB" stamped on the side. Leave these alone but I haven'e seen any of these in years.
PaleoDan1 year ago
Really like what you did here - great job!
kaladar1 year ago
Looks amazing! I'd be interested to see a shot from the back too, please.
I would also like a shot of this all set up with the bed too, please. I am loving this instructable.
gumper11 year ago
Good job! As previously mentioned....
A shot of the back of the headboard assembled would be nice.
Great looks really professional -- I will copy this but make one for a King Size Swedish bed I think and will add maybe 2 lights - thanks for the lovely idea.

Just wondering about the sanding -- did you have to do it all with an electric sander? I assume you went down in grades?

JB :)
Also was just thinking maybe I would try to make curves at each of the ends so as to avoid any 'sharper' corners.
Wow!! Great job! I really like the look. Learning as you go is the best way, I think. You learn all the tricks that the "pros" tell you can't be done!!
Oscelot1 year ago
Awesome instructable. My only suggestion would be that it needs more detail on the support structure and the legs. Even just a photo would help. Can't wait to see more instructables from you!
bwallace51 year ago
Neat project but with deep respect, A note of CAUTION! Using salvaged wood from industrial pallets is not too healthy. The pallets are soaked with chemical to ward off insects for years, NOT too good to breath air coming off the wood. User may contain the chems to the wood by coating with it with a sealer and varnish. Do not breath the saw dust. Keep children from touching the wood. Best to keep this reclaimed wood on the outside of the home.
Additionally, the companies who use the pallets often spill even worse chemicals on them. I speak from experience of someone who was in manufacturing for 25 years. I would not use a pallet, unless I knew exactly what it had been used for and where it came from
John, very good point. I know my company use to send all the returned plastic re-useable pallets thru a special dish-washer just because of not knowing what was spilled.
astack2291 year ago
Love it! Great job!
LOVE the look!! Well done.
I love your "Nightmare before Christmas" tree limb graphic. Makes your charmingly rustic headboard a stand-out!
msteers1 year ago
This is awesome. Definitly going to give this one a shot.
I'm thinking I'm going to add some of the boards sideways for small shelves and possibly throw in a couple USB ports for phone/tablet chargers too!
Treated wood pallets are so marked, in my experience. Very few in this area treated- the vast majority are just raw wood.
Phiske1 year ago
Love it! I always love asymmetrical wood work. And using reclaimed wood is always a plus.
DavidM451 year ago
Great Job! Brilliant Design!

someone should try one with wine barrel stays run vertical, I'd love to see that.
thx David
canida1 year ago
This is beautiful!

I love the idea of attaching things directly to the headboard, too. Looks great!
bakunin1 year ago
Spoooky! I love it.
Very nicely done! Thx for sharing.
drook751 year ago
This is awesome. I want to do one just like this, but without the light and with an original art design. Your design is great. This is a very organic looking piece and would look great in our bedroom. My wife would love it, and I would love making it! Thanks for the great idea! I also have recently started woodworking. My father in law bought a second hand table saw which helps a lot. So far I've built a bookshelf, matching nightstands for my wife and I, and am now working on a linen closet. When that's done, this is next on the list!
tomstearns1 year ago
Wow! This is a fantastic idea!
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