Homemade Headboard

From friendship bracelets in elementary school to dorm decor when I first went off to college, summertime has always meant some serious quality craft time with my Mom—and I’ve got to say, this summer’s craft has made settling into my new apartment a whole lot easier. I totally love my new homemade headboard!

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Now, I would totally love to say that the inspiration of this headboard took form in my own mind, but I can’t take credit. The design did come from my own Pinterest feed though, and that still counts in my book. I did add my own touches and put the headboard together my own way. So here it is, folks: my Homemade Headboard.


Your first concern should be getting pallet wood—which is easy when your Aunt and Uncle have a printing company and throw away broken pallets behind their warehouse. If you don’t have an Aunt and Uncle who throw away pallets behind their warehouse, you’d be surprised at how easy old pallets are to find. Just look around town! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

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Next, all you have to do is to do is cut the pallet wood off of the pallets themselves. In doing this, make sure to be incredibly cautious. The saw you need for the job (a sawzall) will saw through your fingers (at least that’s what my Mom told me, and I didn’t test her theory). We got our saw at The Home Depot, but yours can be from anywhere similar.

You’ll need to cut enough pallet wood to make a big enough headboard for your bed. I have a full-sized bed, so I made my width 85” and height 35”. You’ll notice this is bigger than a normal full-sized headboard. This is because you’ll need to leave room for the little shelves on the side to go below the hanging lamps.

Finally, once you’ve got your pallet wood, go ahead and gather the other supplies you’ll need:

  • 1 piece of plywood custom cut to fit your bed (I just got the cheapest I could find, which was about $8.00 at The Home Depot)
  • 1 can of dark wood stain
  • Paint brushes
  • A drill and screws
  • Mod Podge
  • A grinder
  • A hanging-lamp-cord-thing
  • Lamp shades
  • Garden hanging hardware
  • Some kind of hardware to mount your shelves
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Once you’ve got everything you need, your headboard can start coming to life!


Step One: Stain Your Plywood.
Since you’ll be putting together pallet wood in puzzle-like-fashion, the plywood that you’ll be screwing it onto will inevitably show through in some areas. You will want that wood to be stained so it is not noticeable.

Step Two: Organize Your Pallet Wood.
Like I said before, you will do this in puzzle-like-fashion. Each piece of wood will be different, making this part take a little longer than you’d expect. Make sure to take into consideration the placement of the prettier pieces of wood. For example, when your bed is made, you don’t want your favorite piece of wood hidden behind pillows.

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Step Three: Screw It Together.
Yes, I was trusted with power tools. I did have some help from my Dad, Uncle and Mom for this one. Yep, I recruited an entire team. Once your pallet wood is organized together and placed on your plywood, begin screwing your headboard together with appropriately lengthened screws. Excess wood may stick out unevenly, which you may like or dislike. I wanted more of a clean cut, so I sawed off the uneven edges.

Step Four: Grind The Backside.
By screwing in a million pieces of pallet wood into the plywood, you’re going to created a death trap on the backside of the headboard. You’ll need a grinder to get rid of this problem. On this step, just make sure the back of your headboard is completely even and no screws are poking out.

Step Five: Mod Podge.
I used a gloss finish Mod Podge and painted on several layers to seal the wood. This made the wood a lot darker and enhanced its character, which I loved.

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Step Six: The Final Touches
Once your wood is sealed, you’ve pretty much got your headboard! All you have left to do is mount two shelves on the sides (I used excess pallet wood) and hang the lamps above them. Remember to measure the width and height of your bed to assure exactly where your shelves need to be mounted.

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And lastly, as far as setting up your headboard goes, there are a couple different ways to go about it. I attached 3 tall pieces of wood to the backside of the headboard and used my bed to pin it against the wall. If you’re in a living area where you can screw the headboard directly into the wall, I would recommend that instead. Just be creative!

So there it is, y’all: My Homemade Headboard How-To! Happy crafting!

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