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Looking for a simple bedroom update and love the rustic farmhouse style? One quick search and you will see that there are some gorgeous rustic farmhouse headboards trending (thanks Chip and Jo for getting us hooked on Farmhouse Decor!). Many of them are expensive, and maybe you want something that you can tailor exactly to your color scheme or taste? Don’t worry, today I am sharing our simple, DIY Farmhouse Headboard project. Plus I am giving you all the plans and tips so you can make your own.
Okay, so Joanna Gaines I am not, but she did get me hooked on her iconic farmhouse style.
We recently moved to a new home, and with that, we found ourselves moving from a place with a tiny master bedroom, to one that was bigger than our old living room. So we upgraded from our queen bed to a king. I decided this was also the perfect opportunity to add a headboard.
In our entire marriage of 19 years, we have never had a headboard. We have never had a grown up room.
It was time to fix that.
But, after searching, I couldn’t find a headboard that is exactly what I wanted, in the colors I wanted. Plus, Farmhouse headboards were expensive.
Anybody that has moved recently knows that you are tight on money for a bit after, so I decided I would see if I could make a headboard for a more affordable price.
Homemade Farmhouse Headboard For Under $100
I began sketching out plans, and decided it was time to price out materials. Turns out, I could make my own headboard for a fraction of the price that I would pay buying one. Plus it would give us a good chance to actually set up our tools and use our new garage. (Yay for no more apartment living!)
I am going to share our plans and step by step directions for this farmhouse headboard. Keep in mind, the cut sizes are for a standard king size bed, but you can easily adjust them for another size if needed.
Also, I always like to put a disclaimer that I am not someone that makes these items all the time. My DIY’s are all things I come up with, and tackle on the fly. I am not a perfectionist, and so I am pretty okay with some things being “close enough.” I also may not do things the “correct” way according to experts (this refers mostly to my painting methods).
I knew we were capable of building a headboard for pretty cheap as we had already built a toddler bed (which we are currently converting into something else… stay tuned for that one).
So off we went to Lowe’s and picked up some supplies and got to work.
Supplies to build a headboard
There are several ways to make this headboard, and we considered multiple different options. I will tell you what we used, and then give you some alternate ideas after.
I wanted the headboard to have a rustic, barn wood feel, so we opted to utilize cedar fence posts instead of 1×6 boards. First, they were cheaper, and second, they already had a bit of a rustic feel to them, so I thought it might be easier to make them look weathered.
Second, our frame that our mattress sits on is a bit too long for our mattress. So we opted to build a 2×2 frame to mount our boards on. The other option we considered was using a large sheet of plywood.
For reference, our headboard is 80 inches long, and 4 feet tall, and the bottom sits on top of our bed frame. It mounts to 2×3 posts that we attached to our frame. Again, you could easily make a headboard that sits on the floor and you simply push the bed up against it, to make it a bit easier than mounting it.
In the end, here is what we ended up needing for how we made our headboard:
- 9 – Cedar fence planks cut to 60 inches
- 2 – 1×10 boards that were 4 feet long
- 2 – 2×2 cut to 78 inches*
- 4 – 2×2 cut to 44 inches*
- 1 – 1×4 cut to 80 inches
- Liquid nails
- 2 inch wood screws
- Bolts or a mounting system for your bed frame (if you choose to mount your headboard to the frame)
- 2 – 2x3s that cut to slightly shorter than the height of the headboard plus the height of your frame (if you are using this method to mount your headboard)
- Paint or stain
* May be discarded in place of a sheet of plywood cut to the dimensions of your headboard as mentioned above.
How to build a Rustic Farmhouse Headboard
This headboard took us about 3 days total to make, but a lot of that was due to drying time. You could probably finish this headboard in one day, let it cure/dry, and then mount it in about 1 hour. We started on a Saturday, took Sunday off, and had it on our bed by Tuesday evening.
Step 1 – Build the frame
Our first step was to build the frame we would be putting the boards on. Knowing our bed was too long and we kept looking our billows between the walls and the mattress, we decided to build our headboard so that it would sit on our frame, and be mounted to 2×3 posts which we bolted to our frame.
We simply used 2×2 boards that were 78 inches long and then ran four 44 inch 2×2 boards between them, making sure everything was square.
My lack of perfectionism was strong here as I was happy to guestimate the spacing on the center “poles” but we did make sure they were square.
Step 2 – Layout
Our second step was laying out our boards to make sure they would fit and be to our liking. This would also let us know if we needed to trim up any of the boards before we began sanding and painting.
Tip: Buy extra cedar fencing planks in case some really do not fit well together. We personally were okay with some spacing or holes in the wood here and there, but some were just too crooked, etc.
Step 3 for building your own headboard – sanding and painting
We sanded down all of our cedar planks (prior to the picture above) and our boards. Then we made sure to wipe them off before beginning our painting process.
This is where your personal style comes in. If you love more natural, wood tones, you could simply stain your wood and seal it and call it good.
I knew I wanted grays and blue, teals and aquas mixed in. But I also wanted that “weathered wood” look.
My painting method
I love chalk paint. It is so easy to use. I had seen a technique a while ago on Lowe’s YouTube channel (which I cannot find for the live of me right now) where they used paint and a rag to lightly color the wood. I used that as my jumping off point, but here is ultimately what I did.
I poured chalk paint into plastic cups, and then added water to thin it out a bunch. I took lint free rags (you could use cut up tees, etc) to wipe the paint onto the boards, making sure to let the natural grain of the wood come through.
I did different base colors on the boards, some using the charcoal gray, others using a color called antique aqua. Then I let them dry.
After they dried, I took each board and put the other color on top, making sure to leave areas where the first color could come through.
I repeated this process, touching up certain areas a few times, until I liked the look of the headboard. (Note: these boards are still not attached, but laid out to get the feel of how they look overall.)
Then I made my big mistake…
I decided instead of my tried and tested sealant I have used in the past, that I was going to use Rust-oleum’s Clear Chalked Paint topcoat…
So why was this a mistake? It may not have been for everyone, but it was for me because it changed the color of the paints. They now were super dark and the antique aqua took on more of a green color.
But the great thing about chalk paint is you can just keep painting over it.
So after the topcoat dried, and we realized we did not like the coloring, I then took an Aged Gray chalk paint, and a lighter aqua color, used the same technique as before.
This time, I also let a few areas of the darker colors come through. I even sanded down the light gray in a few areas where I felt it needed a little more of the dark coloring.
Once the paint had fully dried, I used Krylon Spray Chalk Sealant and gave this a couple of coats on each board.
Now it was time to let it dry before putting everything together.
Step 4 – Assemble Your Homemade Headboard
Once everything was dry and ready to handle, it was time to take the boards and attach them to the frame we had built.
Liquid nails is your friend here. We used it to be able to attach the headboard pieces and shift them slightly as needed (though you have to work quickly).
Originally, we thought about just screwing the pieces on from the back, but realized that wouldn’t give us the ability to make sure everything was lined up well. So liquid nails it was.
But not wanting to leave it just to glue, no matter how strong it is, we did also screw the boards in place once the liquid nails had set. I kept having thoughts of being asleep and a board falling on my head if we didn’t do this step, but you may trust the glue more than I did.
At this point I have not yet attached the 1×4 board on the top. We wanted to make sure that once we got the headboard upstairs on our bed, it was level. I had checked it a few times in our garage, but I wanted to check it actually on the bed. Had it not been level, we would have put the board over the top with the 4 inch side covering the boards to make it level. (I hope that make sense?)
However, since it was level, we put it across the top so that it had overhang, attached using L-brackets because we do not own a pocket jig, and we did not want to invest in one just for this project.
(Don’t worry, you will see how this board is attached in a moment.)
Step 5 – Attach your headboard to your frame
Once you have put your homemade headboard together, it is time to bring it into the room.
As I mentioned above, we chose to mount it with the headboard sitting on top of our frame, but we needed to secure it so it wouldn’t be able to tip over.
For this, we used 2 2×3 posts that we bolted to our frame.
We centered our headboard and clamped it to the posts, as well as the bed frame, to make sure it wouldn’t move.
3 inch wood screws were the perfect length to go through the posts and the 2×2 headboard frame and secure it to the bed.
If you want to give the sides a finished look, which we plan to do in the future I think, you can take 1×4’s, cut them the needed length, paint and stain them, and attach them to the sides.
Enjoy your new Rustic Farmhouse Headboard
I really love how this rustic farmhouse headboard turned out.
To complete our Master Bedroom for the time being, I used a repurposed console table that I made over a few years ago, and then we took an old folding book shelf and painted it the same color to make “nightstands” for our room.
We are loving having a “grown up room” finally. Crazy enough, this is only one side, so we still need to get a couple of chairs or something to fill in a bit of the space, but for now, this is great! I really love how the project turned out.
If you make your own headboard based off this post, be sure to leave a comment or email me a picture letting me know how it turned out!