Lately we’ve been getting more requests for furniture DIY projects. Luckily this awesome tutorial from Sarah Torrence of 508 Restoration & Design for a salvaged barnwood headboard landed in my inbox, and was just too pretty to pass up. Due to their size and the amount of use they receive, headboards can be intimidating, even if the form is fairly straightforward. Sarah had demystified the process and given us a great starter project for anyone looking to give their bedroom a bit of that rustic, organic feel a perfect quick and easy refresh for fall. Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah! —Kate
Read the full how-to after the jump!
This project was born because we needed a headboard, we already had some fantastic oak barn wood and we were ready to build something that was meaningful to us. In the end, we didn’t want anything fancy- just a simple peaceful room. We have worked with barn wood a lot and are familiar with how great it can look sanded, waxed, stained, stenciled…. but we have always loved the natural gray weathered look it has when we first collect it. Our main goal: create a simple headboard that is clean but looks as natural as possible. Even if you don’t have access to barn wood, a similar look can easily be achieved with regular wood from a home improvement store that is stained with driftwood stain. Either way, it doesn’t have to be perfect…. just your own! —Sarah
- old barn wood (any length)
- 1.5″ wood screws (depends on the thickness of your boards)
- (2) 1” x 4” x 64” boards for legs
- scrap wood & wood shims (optional)
- fine grit sanding sponge
- stiff-bristle scrub brush
- finish (we used 2–3 cans of Valspar clear flat spray)
- (4) 2″ bolts with 5/8 hex nut
- miter saw
- ratchet or wrenches for tightening bolts
- air compressor (optional)
1. Start by determining the size of your actual headboard (without legs) and chalk this area out on the ground. For our queen size bed, the actual barn wood part was 44” x 64”. This gives you a space to easily lay out your barn wood pieces.
2. Begin placing your pieces where you want them — do this before cutting by just laying them on top of each other. BE CREATIVE. We wanted ours staggered, so we just placed the boards on top of each other until we knew where our cuts would be. If you have long enough boards, you can just do them all one length.
3. Mark with a pencil where you want to cut each piece and cut with a miter saw.
Note: Keep in mind that actual barn wood is random and not necessarily square. So when you are cutting and lining things up, it won’t be perfect. This is the beauty. There will be gaps and imperfections.
4. Next, flip all the pieces over so that you can begin attaching the legs and secure the staggered pieces (joints).
5. Cut your (2) 1” x 4”s to the desired height for the legs. Our legs were 64″. Use the wood screws to screw in legs about 2″ to 4″ from the top and along the edges of the barn wood.
6. At every joint/seam, attach scrap pieces of wood (we used varying sizes, all roughly 1/2″ thick). Because the thickness of our barn wood was varied, we used the shims to make sure the front side of the headboard was fairly flush.
If you have chosen pieces that are all one length, you don’t have to worry about this step, although I suggest you screw another 1” x 4” along the middle of the headboard for extra support.
Now that the piece is constructed, it looks like this:
7. Make sure the surface is clean (splinter and dust free!). Start by sanding the entire piece thoroughly, but not heavily, with a fine grit sanding sponge. Then clean thoroughly with a DRY scrub brush. Finally, blow the dust off with an air compressor.
8. If you want to add something personal, now is the time to do it. We wrote “awake my soul” with chalk and then hand-painted over that with latex paint.
9. Spray with 3 to 5 coats of a flat, clear finish. We found that the flat spray was the product that kept the wood most true to its natural gray, weathered look. We added several extra coats of spray near the bottom of the headboard where our sheets would be. Let dry for 24 to 48 hours.
10. To attach to a basic metal frame, you will need to line the legs up with the frame and mark where your bolts will go. Then drill your 2 holes in each leg, insert the bolts and tighten.