9 Ways to Make a Wooden Headboard


There are many options for DIY headboard projects and I spent a couple of days reviewing many, too many, of these projects on YouTube and created a table of information for each. It is amazing what a bored person can find to do during the pandemic lockdown.

There is also much more information below the tables to help you with this project so check it out.

A simple wooden headboard can be created with a door, plywood, or boards. First, cut door or wood to length, attach the 2×4 legs from the back with 2″ screws, sand the wood with 220 grit sandpaper, and apply paint or stain. Attach to existing bed frame using headboard brackets.

How do you Make a Simple Wooden Headboard Videos

Scott Boyd Recommended Project and Video in Table 1:

Table 1. Simple Wooden Option with Legs

TitleEasy DIY for Under $40
ByAshlyn Carter
Cost<$33.00
Difficulty Rating2
Helpfulness4.5
Like vs Dislike Percentage97.9
ProMaterials and cut list for a queen bed included in the description area.
ProVery simple to build
ProHas legs for attaching to bed frame
ConNone!

Table 2. The $20 Rustic Headboard

TitleThe $20 Easy DIY Project
ByThe Rehab Life
Cost$20.00 (more like $30 – $4 if you have your own stain and screws)
LegsYes
Difficulty Rating1.5
Helpfulness4
Like vs Dislike Percentage97.0 (not sure why there are 369 dislikes)
ProInformative information popups including material list.
ProDimensions for various bed frame sizes in description area.
ProVery simple design and to build
ConNone that I can think of. Let me know if you think of one and I will add it.

Table 3. Simple Design with Plywood

TitleEASY DIY with Plywood
ByAnika’s DIY Life
Cost$25 – $75 depending on pine, maple, or oak plywood
Difficulty Rating1.5
Helpfulness4
Like vs Dislike Percentage98.2
ProSuper simple and only one sheet of plywood, two two by fours, and stain.
ConNone, I like this project

How do You Make a Door Into a Headboard?

Table 4. Beautiful DIY Simple Repurpose Project

TitleBeautiful DIY from an old wood door! Its EASY
ByBrandon Lund
Cost$80.00
Difficulty Rating4
Helpfulness3
Like vs Dislike Percentage97.7
ProGood tip to make tight joints
ProBeautiful finished product
ProGreat idea for the door knobs, even if only a fraction of the people in the world can follow his method.
ConIt is more of a show and tell video rather than a step by step guide.
ConHe is using equipment that you are unlikely to have in your garage.

He says at the beginning of the video that basic tools can be used, but you will have to figure that out yourself.
ConHahahahahahahha, now he is using a welder lol. I can forgive using a paint sprayer and a drill to mix paint because most of us can figure out how to paint with a brush and mix paint with a stick.

But a welder???

And claiming “Its Easy” in the video title is BS!
ConDoes not show how to install on bed or wall.

Table 5. DIY Vintage Door Headboard

TitleDIY Vintage Door
ByCoral
Cost$20.00
Difficulty Rating2
Helpfulness4
Like vs Dislike Percentage97.6
ProShows how to install the decorative door handle with glue (not a welder!).
ProGood step by step details showing how to paint the door to look vintage.
ProShows how to install on wall.
ConSpends too much time describing the parts of a door. Minor issue and you may like it, but I want to know-how, not become an expert on doors (my two-cents).

Table 6. Woodworking: How to Make a Headboard From an Old Door

TitleWoodworking: How to make a headboard from an old door
ByFisher’s Shop
Cost$30.00
Difficulty Rating2
Helpfulness4
Like vs Dislike Percentage97.7
ProVery attractive with dark stain (I love dark stain).
ProSimple design with only a door needed. No extra trims or moldings.
ProSimple to follow and can be done with only a drill if you don’t cut your door to a different size.
ProUses DIY wood cleats to hand the headboard on the wall.
ConThe title claims it is an old door, but it looks new to me. It never had paint, stain, or hardware installed so I am not sure how this makes it old.
TipDon’t worry about trimming the door to make the hinge indents (mortise) disappear.

They disappear when the door is installed hinge side down.

If you don’t want the doorknob installed then you can fill the hinge mortises with wood glue and sand flat. Nobody will notice.

Another option is to cover it with trim. This is easier and looks much more elegant.

Table 7. A $25 Rustic Wood Headboard from Vintage Wood Door

TitleA $25 Rustic wood option from vintage wood door
ByVintage Revivals Home & Garden Decor
Cost$25.00
Difficulty Rating1.5
Helpfulness3.5
Like vs Dislike Percentage97.7
ProsThis design has legs that can support the headboard rather than attaching it to the wall.
ProsA bed frame could attach to the headboard legs or an entire wood DIY bed frame can easily be built and attached. Repeat the project for a footboard.
ConsIt is ugly… to me. But I know many people love this look so my opinion means nothing.

Table 8. The Easiest DIY Headboard Ever.

TitleThe Easiest DIY Ever
ByRoots & Wings Furniture & Home
Cost<$25 if you don’t use PVC brick mold for trim
Difficulty Rating2
Helpfulness4
Like vs Dislike Percentage97.7
ProShe lists the width you need to cut each door for the different bed sizes in the description area.
ProShe lists the supplies required in the description area and they are affiliate links, but this is fine.
ProVery attractive finished product.
ConShe says you can use anything for the trim on top of the door.

What she does not mention is that she is using expensive PVC brick mold trim for around exterior windows and doors that cost $22.40 each.

Ouch. You can buy much cheaper trim. Not to mention the PVC cannot be stained so it has to stay white or you can paint it.
ConThe backgound music was like a broken record and was annoying me by the time I got to the end. And it is only 7.33 minutes long.
ConI only noticed cleaning the door with a wet rag for preparation for paint.

I would recommend at least a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper to give the paint more holding power.

Table 9. Door into Headboard

TitleDoor into Headboard
ByMike Lew
Cost$25.00
Difficulty Rating2
Helpfulness3.5
Like vs Dislike Percentage100% (but only a few reviews)
ProMr. Lew shows you how to fill the door knob hole.
ProUses 3/4” plywood, 1” x 3” pine, and 3/4” trim trim to cover the hinge mortises and make a decorative molding
ConMr. Lew did not show how to make the plug for the doorknob hole.

Best Wood for onstrution

The best wood for headboard construction is pine as it comes in many sizes for lumber and plywood. Pine plywood options also include a one-side layer of finer wood, such as maple, oak, and birch. These plywoods are easily stained and can look like a professional cabinet maker built them.

Will it Be Comfortable?

Wooden headboards are not comfortable. Sitting up in bed and leaning against a wooden model, especially if it is not flat due to moldings and trims, is very uncomfortable even with pillows.

If you want a comfortable wood headboard you can build your own and build it on an angle and with foam padding covered with upholstery.

Many manufactures sell upholstered options, but I have not seen any that are angled for comfort when sitting up in bed.

Do I Really Need One for Your Bed?

You really don’t need a headboard for your bed as they were invented to insulate the sleeper from the cold air from exterior stone and concrete walls. This was long ago before the invention and implementation of wall insulation construction techniques.

Would a Floor Standing Model be Better for Me?

A floor-standing headboard may be better for your project because it has legs and attaches directly to the bed frame, which increases the structural strength of the bed frame.

This configuration also allows the headboard to move with the bed as a single piece of furniture when moved for cleaning or reconfiguration of the bedroom.

Wall-mounted models are just fancy large wall decorations more than a true headboard. Wall-mounted units often do not have legs.

Without legs they are hung on the wall like a large heavy portrait, which requires fastening directly to the wall causing damage that requires repair and painting when the bed is moved.

Should the Bottom of my Headboard be Above Mattress?

The bottom should not be above the mattress because:

  • pillows will fall down between the wall and the mattress.
  • it won’t look as nice when the wall is visible under the headboard
  • it is a safety issue as hands and head can be cut against the bottom of the headboard.
  • It would allow more dust and dirt to fall down behind the bed, which would require cleaning more often.

Are They Worth It and Should I Build One?

Headboards are often worth it because:

  • they add functionality to a bedroom when they have bookshelves, drawers, and hooks.
  • they add beauty as an additional piece of furniture.
  • they increase the comfort while sleep as insulation against the cold in winter in drafty or poorly insulated houses, like old farmhouses.
  • they add individuality for children and adults, especially when building homemade models using each person’s own custom design.
  • they can increase the strength and sturdiness of the bed frame when it has legs and is attached to the frame.

Does it Have to be Against a Wall?

A headboard does not have to be against a wall if it is attached to the bed frame and it has legs. Most bed frames have universal metal brackets, or the option to purchase and attach to the bed frame and the headboard attaches to the bracket.

You can design your version in any configuration that meets your needs. They all work and you only have to please… you.

Need extra sleeping space for guests and your children’s friends? Check out my article on trundle beds here. You can create new beds under existing ones.

Scott Boyd

A semi-retired workaholic in Thailand is a challenge. It is too hot to keep building adobe and earthbag buildings so a new project was needed. I became interested in bed frames after purchasing a bamboo bed frame from a local supplier here and I learned there is little information about them on the Internet. So now I spend my days researching, testing, and reporting my findings to help others while having an occasional beer and istening to 60s and 70s B side rock, blues, and much more.

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