I am excited to introduce to you my very first instructable! I thoroughly enjoy working with pallets and have been using my creations on instagram (@thirtyninseven) and Facebook (Facebook.com/397woodwork) to raise money for overseas mission work so go check out those pages. So enough about me, this particular project came about because of a need for a headboard and the strong desire to NOT spend a fortune on a solid wooden one from your typical furniture store. I hope you would agree with me that the finished project using reclaimed wood is as good as you would find for a fraction of the cost. Let me know what you think and I hope you enjoy this instructable!
Step 1: Supplies
So my supplies used for this project are a culmination of christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and impromptu Lowe's runs, all of which I have displayed in the picture above. I used equipment that made this project easier for me but a lot of what I used can be substituted in many cases (e.g. if you don't have an air compressor and nail gun a simple hammer and nails approach is just fine).
-air compressor and brad nailer
-Pencil and square
-4x8 sheet of plywood
-2 1/2"x3"x8' planks
Step 2: Create a Foundation
This step can be one of the most important in your project. Using a 4x8 sheet of plywood I created a simple design for a queen sized bed. Of course you can take this opportunity to be as creative as you want in your headboard design while following the same steps to come up with a great finished project.
I cut out a rectangle that was 4' tall x 62.5" wide (fits our queen size mattress). Once my rectangle was cut I used a paint can I had lying around to create two symmetrical notches in the top two corners in order to create my own design element. I cut out these two notches using a jigsaw and now I had a foundation for my headboard!
Step 3: Quick Tutorial and Video on Taking Apart Pallets.
Working with pallet wood can be challenging in more ways than one. Picking the right pallet as well as preparing it properly can help a project really shine and save you from breaking more pieces than you actually save (I have done this multiple times)! But included in this section I have a video that demonstrates the method I have found for quickly and easily removing pallet wood with minimal damage. For those of us who may not work with pallets enough to invest in a sawsall or something of that nature to take apart a pallet, all this requires is a hammer/mallet and a crowbar!
Aside from pallet removal, another important aspect of the preparation of the wood is to sand it down significantly making sure to remove all dirt, stains, wood fibers, and anything else that you wouldn't want to bring into your own home. Once the pallets have been removed, you have determined that the wood is solid and not rotting or weak, and they have been sanded all over we are ready to proceed to the next step!
Step 4: Put Your Puzzle Together.
This part is as simple as it sounds! I don't have any pictures for this but all that is necessary is to take your prepared wood and glue them to your plywood making sure to cover the whole thing just like you are piecing together a puzzle. Then I took my brad nailer and put some nails into each piece (~ 6 inches apart) to be sure that they weren't going anywhere!
Step 5: Apply the Border
This part is pretty easy! The difficult part is getting the curved sections of the border cut out but the simplest and easiest way I have found to get it right the first time is by creating a cardboard cutout of what I need. I did this by taking a cardboard square and tracing one of the notches at the top corner of the board. After that I just came out 3 inches and drew another line to complete the stencil (look at the picture for reference). Once the stencil was made I used it and the jigsaw to cut out two curved borders from extra pallet wood I had lying around.
After that three longer 3" x 1/2" pieces of wood were used to make the sides and top of the border. A bottom piece is unnecessary because it will be covered by the bed. Once I had my pieces cut and made sure they fit together properly (the top of the side pieces will need a slight curve to fit along your corners) I used wood glue and my brad nailer to apply these pieces to the edge of the headboard.
Step 6: Stain and Finish Strong
Almost there! Before I apply the stain I take my hand sander over the whole thing one more time just to smooth things over and clean up any sore spots that may be left. The stain that I used was called Gunsmoke. Instructions for using stain don't change no matter the project, Apply stain using long smooth strokes, allow to set for 5 or ten minutes, and wipe excess with a clean, dry, cloth. After the stain I also applied a couple coats of lacquer to give it a little shine.
Lastly, depending on the height of the bed you are creating this for, we must add legs. Measure exactly how high you need your headboard to be from the ground and then cut two boards that will get your headboard off the ground. Using the screws we mentioned in the supplies section, Screw these legs into the back of the headboard and your done. The biggest thing here is to make sure that your legs are sturdy and travel along the back of the headboard long enough to provide support. In my case I need to lift my headboard 26 inches off of the ground. Therefore, I cut two pieces of 3" x 1/2" planks 50 inches long in order to allow for two feet to be attached to the back of the headboard itself. And now you should be ready to stand it up behind your bed and enjoy your new piece of furniture!