DIY: Barn Wood Headboard {Part one – the construction}

September 27, 2011

Whoa my good­ness. We finally have a head­board! AND, lucky for you, we actu­ally took pics of our process this time! Wooooo hoooo. So, here it goes.…
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

We used oak barn wood that we scored from Nathan’s brother a while back. Same stuff used to make our small barn wood kitchen table. We have a queen size metal bed frame– no head or foot board. Soooooo, with no real plan, we just set out to put our head­board together.…
First, we laid out all our best pieces.

DIY: Barnwood Headboard

I didn’t want just a few straight boards nailed together, I wanted to stag­ger the pieces to cre­ate interest…of course, this also cre­ated more work. We laid them out on top of each other.…roughly how we wanted.…
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

DIY: Barnwood Headboard

There was some debate as to whether to keep the old nail heads in the wood, but in the end we took them out for easy-ness sake
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

{SIDE NOTE} It was early morn­ing and COLD — for it only being September.…but we were kid free for the day. Nathan was cap­tur­ing my attempt at being really exited that this was finally get­ting done. Which I was…but as you can see, the cof­fee was still need­ing to be drunk. I did my best.
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

Back to the work. To fig­ure out the SIZE of the head­board for a queen, we just went up to our bed­room with a mea­sur­ing tape and guessed. Super tech­ni­cal, I know. Then we drew the out­line directly on our work­shop floor in pen­cil to help us line up the boards reli­tivly straight. Here is where you could have left a jagged edge, but we opted to have it clean cut.
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

Using the miter saw, Nathan cut the pieces to fit how we laid them out.
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

DIY: Barnwood Headboard

Here is the final size we came up with for a queen after all the boards were cut and laid out… 44″ x 64″
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

The wood we used for the next few steps will vary for you because we just used any left­over wood that we already had. But you can find sim­i­lar some­thing sim­i­lar at any home improve­ment store.
The 2 main boards hold­ing it together and con­nect­ing to the frame were roughly 1″ x 4″ and 65″ long.

We wanted the actual barn wood part to begin 22″ off the floor. So we attached the barn wood 22″ from the bot­tom of our 1″ x 4″ pieces with screws in case we needed to make any adjust­ments (nails seem more per­ma­nent).
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

And, since we opted to have the front look stag­gared, we had to screw in pieces along the back were the boards met.  Again, we just used scrap wood. We also used shims since the barn wood var­ied in thickness…doesn’t look that great, but super secure and sturdy.
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

The con­struc­tion process wasn’t very hard– just time con­sum­ing. It took close to ONE day (even with out the kids). Doing it again would go much faster since we know how and have all the mea­sure­ments. Here is what we had after the construction:

DIY: Barnwood Headboard

I know other peo­ple who have done head­boards attach/hang them directly to the wall. How­ever, the oak we used was WAY to heavy and most of our walls were plas­ter. This is why we have the legs. Also, I move our fur­ni­ture around a lot and I wanted the option of mov­ing our bed.

I am work­ing on putting together the other photos…but PART TWO will how you how we sealed the boards and PART THREE will show you how we attached it to the frame and you will see the final pics!



DIY: Barn Wood Headboard {Part one – the construction}" class="pin-it-button" count-layout="horizontal">Pin It
  • Found you on the Daily Thred web­site — love this! Send­ing it to Hubs so we can hope­fully copy you — just need to find some reclaimed barn wood.

    Thanks for the tut. :-)

    • Awe­some– send me a pic of your head­board when you are done! Thanks for the tip– hadn’t seen that on the Daily Thred.

    • Anony­mous

      Awe­some– send me a pic of your head­board when you are done! Thanks for the tip– hadn’t seen that on the Daily Thred

  • Pinkylynn60

    love it!! love any­thing that can use re-purposed items. barn wood is very good to use for many projects.

  • Eileen

    Im glad I looked this kind of a project up.  Im plan­ning on a head board for a king.  The good part is I have doors already made.  I plan on doing what you did to put together on boards.  Thanks for the pic­tures.  How did you dec­o­rate?  I plan on leav­ing han­dles and tieng dry flow­ers old sign and pic­ture and string­ing mini lights ill try to post it :) 

  • NickC

    I really enjoyed your use of the old barn wood for a head­board. I just got some old wood myself and will be using your post­ing as an out­line for build­ing mine.

    I wanted to let any­one else inter­ested in doing this the con­cerns with using out­side wood for later indoor use. If the wood still has mois­ture in it then it could have wood bor­ing bee­tles or bugs (i.e., ter­mites). You can either chem­i­cally treat the wood or heat treat it. I would rec­om­mend heat treat­ing if pos­si­ble, since there are dele­te­ri­ous effects from the chem­i­cals (espe­cially so close to your head!). Heat treat­ing is only rec­om­mended for “green” wood, or else it will lit­er­ally catch on fire in the oven the lum­ber yards use. If you are want­ing to heat treat your wood, then do a sim­ple inter­net search to see about local lum­ber yards that may be able to help.

    How­ever, if the wood you are using is fairly old and dry (as appears in this project), then you are likely fine. The bugs and bee­tles leave with the mois­ture, so you should not be too con­cerned with trans­port­ing them into your bed­room. That being said, do a care­ful visual inspec­tion, and even cut off a small sec­tion to exam the inte­rior of the wood. If you don’t see live bugs then you should be ok.

  • Eliz­a­beth Binion

    do you know what size you would make a full

    • Nathan_at_508

      Hi Eliz­a­beth,
      As you can see in the post above we made our head­board 64″ wide for a queen, which means we made it 4″ wider than a stan­dard queen mat­tress. In the end, adding those 4″ makes the bed about the same width as the head­board once you add the sheets, pil­lows, com­forter etc. Using the chart below you can see a stan­dard Full mat­tress is 54″. Based on those dimen­sions I would 3–4 inches to that for your head­board.
      TYPE:                 DIMENSION IN INCHES
      Crib                     28“x 52″
      Twin / Sin­gle        39“x 75″
      Full / Dou­ble        54“x 75″
      Long Twin*           39“x 80″
      Queen Size         60“x 80″
      King                   76“x 80″
      Cal­i­for­nia King    72“x 84″
      Hope that helps!

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  • Steff

    How did you de-bug the old wood? What pes­ti­cide did you use?

  • RKsolid

    Love this, finally a tuto­r­ial! Liv­ing in a city I don’t have much space to make this or a saw or farms nearby! You should sell them!

  • gillian

    where do you sug­gest I get the wood from?

    • Nathan_at_508

      That’s a tough one. There’s really no easy answer — if you know some­one who lives on a farm that has a decay­ing barn you could ask about that, or some­times you can find this kind of stuff on craigslist. I think the key there is to just checkin on craigslist every cou­ple of days for a while until some­thing pops up. The next best thing is to find some old pal­lets — the wood doesn’t have quite the same look but its very sim­i­lar and old pal­lets are much eas­ier to come by. Check with local busi­nesses to find some free pallets.

  • JD

    Very nice design — I wouldn’t have thought of putting spac­ers behind the boards to cre­ate the uneven look. Curi­ous, do you have any prob­lems with the wood “shed­ding” or leav­ing dirty marks on pil­lows or sheets? (or is this some­thing to be revealed in Part Two?)

    • Lori Upton

      Sand the boards lightly to get rid of the splin­ter­swing and dirt.

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  • Sherry

    Just won­der­ing, if you didnt attatch it to the wall, do you worry the head­board will crash onto you? I know it has legs but im unsure of how it would stay up against a wall, squeezed by a bed…

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  • Soon­tobe­MrsMitchell

    Work­ing on our head­board now as I type! We didn’t have old barn wood as much as I wish we did, instead we broke apart old pal­lets and used that wood! I saw this post today and imme­di­ately start­ing plan­ning! I’ll let ya know how it turns out. Right now I’m just hav­ing trou­ble piec­ing it together the way I want! Thanks for all the help!

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