$16 Pine Headboard for Queen Bed

We knew we needed a new headboard since Karrie's bed only came with a metal frame.  I said that rather then buy a headboard, I could make one out of wood as long as it wasn't too complicated.  We didn't want an upholstered headboard or any bulky ones that have storage drawers in them.  After looking at a few different headboards and searching on Google for simple headboard designs, I found this one from a company called West Elm.
white west elm headboard, make, cheap

This headboard typically sells for around $150.  It's just a simple geometric design that I thought I could build myself.  And the best part is that if i made it out of pine, it would be really inexpensive.  So the first thing I did was measure the bed.  We have a queen size mattress that's 60 x 80".  I also had to measure the metal frame to get the distance from the floor to the attach points.  Next I drew everything on Google SketchUp.  That way I could see how it all fit together and figure out exactly how long to cut each board. 

headboard google sketch up, sketchup, design, plan, dimensions

I uploaded the Google SketchUp file on my Google Drive account.  Here's the link to the SketchUp files in case you want to download them.

Queen Headboard.skb
Queen Headboard.skp

The other great thing about Google SketchUp is that I could see exactly how the headboard would look with the mattress and pillows.  I was able to determine how much of the headboard we would actually see.  And from that I determine how high to build the headboard to get the look we wanted.

sketchup headboard, white, grid, geometric, build, easy, make, cheap

Like i said earlier, i planned to build this out of pine which doesn't cost a lot.  The whole thing ended up costing less than $16.  Here's a list of the boards I used to build the headboard and their approximate cost:

1 - 8' x 2x4 = $2.50
4 - 8' x 2x3 = $9.00

4 - 6' x 1x2 = $4.00

I actually had some of the boards all ready in the basement so it was actually cheaper than I had planned.  I think i only had to buy the 2x3's, so my total cost was only around $9.

how to build a cheap and easy headboard, wood

I went with 2x3's for the outer frame because 2x4's would look too bulky.  And the only reason why i used a 2x4 for that bottom brace is because i had a few 2x4's in the basement and it would be hidden by the mattress.  

The first thing I did was decide on what type of 1x2 to use.  You can see from this picture that there's two different types of boards.  The boards on the left had a sharp corner while the boards on the right had a more rounded corner.
build a cheap headboard out of wood

We decided to use the boards on the right because it had better look.  More of a softer look with the rounded edges.  Next I cut out all of the small 1x2 boards that I needed to make the 5 rectangular pieces in the center of the headboard.  

plan, dimensions, measure, wood headboard, 2x4

Then I cut the 2x4 and 2x3's and started to try fit everything together.  I think i did have to recut some of the connector pieces.  But if one was a little too long i was able to replace it with another piece that was a little too short.

build easy wood headboard

Once I realized that at all fit together fine I began assembling the center section first.  This is something I could not have built without my new nail guns and air compressor.  It was actually pretty easy just putting a small amount of wood glue on the edge and then putting  two 18gauge nails through the boards.  I must say that it will be very difficult to build this with out a nail gun.

how to build make a wood headboard, for under $20

I tried to keep everything flat against the floor so that everything would be flush with each other.  I used my 50 pound anvil as a brace to hold the boards as I nailed them together.  Also since all the boards were cut to the correct length, as long as I joined up the edges I knew it would all be at 90°.  Here's what it looked like half way through building the center section.  I still had to attach the upper and lower vertical pieces.  The nails held everything in place as the glue dried.  But before it dried i made sure that everything was square and that the two end pieces were even with each other.

nail, glue, wood, headboard plans

Next I built the outer 2x3 framework.  This time I used long screws that I countersunk into the board.

build 2x4 headboard for bed, make, plans

Here you can see that I countersunk the entire head of the screw about a half-inch into the 2x3 itself.

simple 1 day headboard for bed

It all fit together pretty well.  I attached the inner rectangles to the outer frame with glue and toe nailing.  Once again, the nails were only used to hold it in place as the glue dried.

cheap, easy to make pine headboard, bed, plan

You can see one of the problems I had.  Since we used the 1x2's with rounded edges, they didn't fit together very well.  So I had to figure out some way to fill in these gaps. 

spackle wood joint

I knew I would have to use spackle to fill in the nail heads and I figured that it would work perfectly to fill in these gaps as well.  So I use my finger smush in as much spackle into the joints as I could.  This picture shows the spackle after just the first coat.  I ended out doing another layer of spackle and then sanding everything down smooth.

how to fix a wood joint with spackle, how to spackle

Here's what the entire headboard look like after spackling the joints on the front and back of the headboard.

headboard under $20, cheap, easy to make, build

I knew that we were going to paint the headboard white, just like the original picture.  So i used some of the leftover primer paint that we had from redoing our family room.  

headboard plans, dimensions, bed, queen bed,

Then I did a second coat of paint the next day.

twin, full, queen, king, bed, headboard

We then had to decide what type of finish we wanted.  I did a test piece so that we could see what it would look like with one coat of paint, two coats of paint, paint with polyurethane, and then paint with a wax finish.  We ended up liking the finish that was just two coats of paint.  Though it's hard to see any difference from the picture.

paint, polyurithane test piece,wood

The last thing i had to do was drill the holes to attach the bolts to the metal frame and countersunk them a bit so that the bolt heads would not dig to the wall.
counter sink bolt, damage wall

I was worried about it not be attached solid enough to the frame and possibly cracking the board, but once it was bolted together it seemed very fine.

make west elm headboard, white, plans

Here's what it looks like with just one pillow at each side rather than two.  More of the headboard is visible and less is being covered up.

build a cheap headboard, pine wood, queen bed, white

It turned out really well.  My favorite type of projects are the ones that turn out strong, look good, and can be made for much less than they can be bought at a store.  This headboard ended up being all three of those things.  Plus it did not take that long to make, only a few hours of building, then a few hours of spackling sanding and painting.

headboard plans, build, make

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