Introduction: Easy Headboard Shelf

About: Hello. I'm a freelance designer who makes a lot of different things for fun.


If you have a bed frame with an attached headboard that doesn't reach the wall, you may have this same problem: you have an unstable surface in a convenient place. You can't put things on it, because they could easily fall behind the bed, and it's a dangerous place to place drinks, especially if it's padded.

You might just put a solid board on top, but it's still not very stable. In my case, the gap between the bed and the wall was bigger than the headboard itself, so a board would just tip back and fall behind the bed.

Due to my rental agreement, I can't screw anything into the wall. But I need a place to put my remotes, books and beers! What's a renter to do?


My solution just uses simple physics to make a very stable and level surface where I can put all my G-rated bed stuff. Read on, Instructablee!

Step 1: Here's What We're Going to Make!

Materials you'll need:

2 boards of any kind. I just cut a random table end in half and used that. The important part of this design is the custom measurement.

  1. Board 1 (shelf)Width: As wide as you like, as long as it's less than the bed width. Depth: From the front of the headboard to the wall.
  2. Board 2 (brace)Width: Less (or equal to) board 1's width. Height: about the same or less as the shelf's depth, but this isn't so important.

Wood Glue.

A wine cork, to protect the wall.

Circular saw or table saw. I used a jigsaw because that's all I've got. (PS Mom, if you're reading, Christmas is coming)

Step 2: LET'S DO THIS.

  1. Measure the distance from the wall to the back of the headboard. Let's call this W2B. Also, measure the distance from the wall to the front of the headboard. Let's call this W2F.
  2. If you are started with one piece of wood, cut it lengthwise. Your main piece (the shelf) needs to be W2F deep, or slightly less.
  3. Your second piece (the brace) should be W2F deep or less.
  4. Mark your board so you know exactly where to glue the brace onto the shelf.
  5. GLUE GLUE GLUE. Follow the directions on your wood glue. I used Gorilla Glue and it has held up well.
  6. (take a break while the glue dries)
  7. Cut a cork into even slices. You will glue them onto the back of the shelf to protect the wall. I suppose you could glue felt or something instead.

Step 3: Finished!

Finally, a place to put all your bed time clutter. I've found this shelf to be exceptionally stable - more than I expected. The front edge is kind of ugly on mine, because of the particleboard I used, but I intend to finish it with some veneer edge banding.

Hope you liked this project. It's made my life much better! Please vote for me in the Shelving Contest if you're so inclined :)

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