DIY Planked Headboard

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Hey guys!  If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen a sneak peak of this project (you may have even asked if the tutorial was up for it ;))

DIY-Pallet-HeadboardIt took me longer than usual to get final pics (finding a time when my kids rooms are actually picked up is near impossible in the summer 😉 ) but I managed!  This is the last of my 3 kiddos beds.  If you missed the first two, you can see them HERE and HERE!  I have held off on this room because I wasn’t sure exactly what design I wanted but surprisingly, I was inspired by a reclaimed wood floor that I spotted in a restaurant – go figure 😉

*** Update – Free Printable Plans for this headboard are now available!  Click the image below or HERE to print!  And, a special thanks to Jay from Jay’s Custom Creations for creating the printable version of these plans!


So, I came home and got to work!  This is seriously such an easy headboard to build.  There’s really no wrong way to do it but here’s what I came up with 🙂  This headboard is for a full mattress but very easy to convert to add width or subtract for another size.

purebond-plywoodI started with a piece of 1/4″ Purebond Plywood that I had Home Depot rip down at 37.5″x52″.  You can read all about why we LOVE Purebond Plywood HERE!

plank-cutsNext, I started cutting planks.  This is a great project to use your scraps on!  I chose 1×2, 1×4 and 1×6 boards and you can see in this picture that I alternated them.  I put a 1×4 between each row.  The first cut you make doesn’t matter, just make sure to stagger your joints as you go.  I also tried to use longer pieces under rows where I used shorter pieces. The planks will fit flush around the edges of the plywood so that it is completely covered.

Stain-ColorsNext, I stained each of the boards using 4 of my favorite Varathane stains – Wheat, Early American, Dark Walnut and Kona (you can find the stains HERE on Amazon). Again, no rhyme or reason to the pattern, I just tried my best to mix them up so the same colors didn’t touch. Try to keep the pieces close to their original spots to save a headache 🙂 *** To stain these, I used a foam brush (one per color) and wiped on one-coat, let the stain sit for about 5 minutes then wiped it with a clean cloth.

distress-edgesOnce the stain dried, I used my Ryobi Corner Cat Sander to distress the edges of the planks.

glue-planksThen, I glued each plank onto it’s spot on the plywood

pallets-glued-downand placed them exactly where I wanted them.  You can move them around a bit while the glue is drying.

Nail-palletsOnce they were where I wanted, I used my Ryobi Airstrike Nailer to shoot 1-inch nails through each of the planks – at least get a few on the ends of each plank and the center.

drill-pocket-holesOnce the glue was dry, I drilled 1 1/2″ Kreg Jig pocket holes into the back sides of the planked headboard (this will help attach the legs).

attach-legsThen, I attached the legs with 2″ Kreg screws (the pocket holes are circled in the pictures).  The legs are 2×6 boards cut at 53″.  I stained the boards before attaching them to the headboard.  You can use any stain for the legs, I chose Dark Walnut for mine.

headboard-with-legsProgress so far!

apply-glue-for-trimTo dress the top up a bit, I applied a line of Gorilla Glue wood glue along the top of the headboard

attach-first-trim-pieceand used my Ryobi Airstirke Nailer with 1 1/4″ brad nails to attach a 1×3 to the top. (the 1×3 trim is cut at 65″ and centered on the headboard so that there is an overhang on the front and back side.

attach-top-trim-pieceFor the top trim, I attached a 2×4 board, cut at 67″, with 2 1/2″ spax wood screws and wood glue.  I like to use my impact driver when I’m drilling into 2x boards – saves the arms!  You can also use your drill for this part! This board is centered on the 1×3 so that there is an overhang on the front and back and there will also be a 1″ overhang on each end.

trim-attachedHere is the headboard with the trim pieces.  I do recommend staining the trim pieces before you attach them – apparently I was just too darn excited to get this sucker done 🙂  It was a pain to stain it after.

distress-legsI also distressed the legs once the stain was dry.

headboard-completeWoohoo!!!!!  One last finishing touch!

thumb-tacksWhat I loved so much about the restaurant floor was the exposed nail heads on each plank.  So, I picked up a package of nickel thumb tacks at Home Depot – athey did the trick 😉

hammer-thumb-tacksI just hammered them in to the corners of each plank.  This part doesn’t have to be perfect, just eye ball it.  I did off-set mine from plank to plank.




DIY-Pallet-HeadboardNow, all of my kiddos have their mattresses up off of the floor and on really cute (cool for my boys) custom beds 🙂  And, the best part is….I can start on mine!!!!! I found the quilt at Pottery Barn Teen but I don’t think it is available anymore. You can look at their quilts HERE!

I do love the platform bed that I designed for this headboard and you can find the Free Plans for that as well HERE!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Here are the beds that I build for our other kiddos 🙂

DIY-Storage-Bed-2Twin storage bed for my daughter

DIY-Platform-Bed-on-WheelsPlatform Bed on Wheels for my teen son

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  • Hailey

    What are the measurements for a king size?

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  • Kori Levine

    Did you only use 4 stains for the headboard? I know you noted 4, but it looks like there’s one lighter than the Wheat stain. Thank you.

    • No, I just used those 4 🙂

      • Kori Levine

        Thank you so much. Wanting to do this in my older sons room once I get a few smaller projects under my(tool) belt first. My kreg jig came in this weekend and excited to get started

  • Cayenne Trostle

    What was the final dimensions of the bed frame once you had the finished product? I am trying to figure out if I planned the conversions for a king size the right way but am just not too sure

  • Samantha

    How would you adjust the dimensions for a Queen headboard?

  • Tommy L.

    Here is my spin on the headboard. Thanks for the design and plans, I think it turned out awesome!

    Things I changed- I Didnt have a pocket jig, so I used (3) 1×6″ boards top, middle and bottom to mount the 2×6″ to the plywood.
    Also, I mounted the individual planks with screws from the back, along with liquid nails.

  • jmm907

    Just finished the headboard. I am really happy with the final product.

  • Joel Haney

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! I tweaked things a bit (like used 4×6 posts and didn’t cover up the nail holes with tacks) and ended up with this as a gift for my wife for our 10 year anniversary. We think it turned out great and should last us many, many years. Thank you for the detailed build info!

    • Brandon Anderson

      Looks great, do you have measurements you used for the foot board, I’m planning to make mine like yours but in a king. Just trying to get the proportions right for the foot board compared to the headboard. Also did you just satin the plywood backing on the foot board?

      • Joel Haney

        Thanks Brandon. Let me know which measurements you’re looking for and I’ll post them up for you. Are you looking for just the board section between the posts? On the foot board I started with the plywood, stained and attached the planks to one side, used the Kreg jig/screws to attach to the posts and then stained and attached planks on the other side. Obviously on the head board I only needed planks on one side, like the example. Let me know if you have more questions, I’m glad to help.

        • Brandon Anderson

          thanks for the info, Mostly height wise, compared to the head board, how tall did you go with the foot board. Now that I think about it what did you use as cap pieces, since you went with 4X6’s as this is my plan also. Did you line up the planked board to the front of your posts or are they off set at all. Thanks again.

          • Joel Haney

            My headboard I made 62″ tall and the foot board is 44″. Nothing too magical about those heights, they were just what worked for me so I could still see my TV from bed 😉 . As for cap pieces I used 1×4 on top of the head/foot board, with 2×6 on top of that to finish it off. the 2×6 is wide, but I think it fits the scale nicely. I set back the plywood/planks on the head/foot board so that the finished look has equal indent (not the right word) between the two, even though the headboard obviously has no planks on the back that faces the wall. Hope that helps, let me know if you have other questions I can help with. Good luck!

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  • Janel

    Are there plans for a twin bed?

  • Kyla

    What are the measurements for a queen size bed?

  • CaitD

    I just had to tell you- this blog has been LIFE CHANGING!!!

    I have always been pretty handy and crafty, but have never tried my hand at woodworking. My husband and I just bought our first home and of course- that means lots and lots of furnishing. I saw this headboard and fell in love. I have been working on it after work all week and it is looking fabulous! Super easy project for a beginner (seriously, I had never even used a saw before this!) and also not too time consuming.

    Just wanted to thank you for your amazing blogs and all the great tips- I love everything about these project and will be back for more!

  • dfpigg

    Hello, I am hoping to build this bed this weekend. It will be my first
    project so I’m slightly nervous :). It will be a queen bed attached to a
    metal frame, with possibly building the platform at a different time.
    Anyways, my question is could you please give the measurements for a
    queen bed? I right now am looking at 60×48 but don’t want to be wrong.
    Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your help!
    LOVE your site.

  • dirtyfairy420

    Can you tell me if this can be made without the kreg jig? I desperately want to make this headboard and platform but do not have access to that tool. Thanks!!

  • Christina Pickering

    How would I adjust this for a twin size bed?

  • kaylee

    What would be the measurements for a queen?

    • Cindylynn

      PLEASE can someone help me with measurements for a King? I have the added measurements for the platform frame but can’t find anything in the comments here for the King Planked Headboard! THIS is BEAUTIFUL!! so excited about making it!! Thanks

    • Marcia Brzezinski

      Hi. If you want to build it yourself just google for ‘woodprix’ . I know you’ll find good solutions for your idea.

  • Angela

    These are so beautiful. I just have two question. I am planning on building one for our king size bed. How did you attach the headboard to the platform? Do you have the dimensions/cuts for a king size platform and headboard?

    Thank you!

  • Tod

    Wow great looking headboard and I love everything the look. I am all new to this but I appreciate you sharing it

  • Alyssa

    Hi! I love this platform bed frame and headboard,definitely going to be making both! I have a question though, when you nailed the planks to the plywood did you nail from behind or the front of it….im thinking behind, but i want to make sure


  • Megan

    I really want to make this bed but I need it for a twin mattress. I am guessing these plans are not for a twin????

  • rjcross

    In person what are the undertones of the Dark Walnut
    and the undertones of the early american?

  • Ross

    I love this…looks great. Two questions:
    1) Do you have pictures of the frame that the mattress sits on? Or did you build just the runners?
    2) Do you seal or do any finish after you distress the edges of the wood? If not, is there any concern that the wood isn’t sealed? I ask because I genuinely do not know.

    New subscription for my reader!

    • Hi Ross! I’m so sorry I missed this. So happy to have you subscribe 🙂 I just posted the tutorial for the platform frame and the mattress sits on cleats. I just added a link to the beginning of this post to find that tutorial. I didn’t use anything to seal the edges. We usually only seal pieces that will see a lot of wear, like table tops etc. However, it is probably best to protect the finish but we won’t tell if you don’t 😉

  • Cara

    O how I wish I would have thought of making my kids beds before wasting all the money ordering from pbk! This is soooo awesome! I LOVE the look of the tacks it just adds the perfect touch! Maybe I will have to sell my boys beds and make two of these for them! LOL! Thanks for always sharing y’alls amazing plans! Love them all!!!

  • Ashlee Ault

    I would LOVE it if you guys made plans for a wishing well!!

  • deb rhoads

    Love it! The thumbtacks add so much to it. Great idea.
    Just one question regarding the Kreg jig. When you attached the side legs to the headboard you did a 1 1/2 hole and then used 2″ screws. Can you explain how why you used this measurement? I am new to the kreg so I haven’t had to do something like this yet.
    Thank you.

    • Sure! That’s a great question! You always set the Kreg jig pocket hole for the wood you are drilling into. In this case I was drilling into a 2×6 which is 1.5″ so I set my pocket hole for 1.5 inches and you use 1/2″ longer screws so that’s where 2″ screw comes in. If you are drilling for 3/4″ holes you use 1 1/4″ screws. Hope this makes sense 🙂

  • Angela W

    You can read all about why we LOVE Purebond Plywood HERE! You seem to missing a link. I was very interested. Thank you for your attention to detail with all your projects!

    • Thank you Angela! I totally left the link off. It is there now 🙂

      • Angela W

        Hi, it is under picture number 2 and sorry to reports, the HTML link is not there. Can you simply provide the url, so I can take a look? I did a search for Purebond plywood on the website and different projects came up – quite a few actually. Thanks for your help!

  • Melissa Stanley

    I have a bed with a standard metal frame keeping it off the ground. Any suggestions for attaching a headboard like this to one?

    • Hi Melissa!
      That shouldn’t be hard. You should be able to screw the bed frame directly into the 2×6 legs of the headboard! Hope this helps 🙂

  • Rachal

    I absolutely LOVE this! We are in the process of moving and I am planning on building all our furniture for the new home. I love all your plans so much I can’t figure out what I want to do first. Probably a table (my kids are kind of tired of sitting on the floor to eat). Thanks for keeping the great plans coming.

    • Thank you Rachal! I did the same with our new home and a table was the very first thing on my list followed by beds:) good luck! Send us pics when you finish!

      • Amanda Runzer

        I am wondering what kind 9f wood you used on this headboard!
        Love it!