I posted the headboard that my husband and I built over Thanksgiving weekend on twitter a few weeks ago and ended up with a few requests on how we made it…so I promised a blog post, and (albeit a little later than I anticipated) here it is!
So a little background…the whole project is based off of this picture I saw on Pinterest (if you want an invite to pinterest, let me know!) There wasn’t a tutorial or anything that went with it, so I was just kinda winging it.
The supply list:
- Six 6′ long boards (will depend on how wide your bed is) of varying widths. Mine are about 5, 7 and 10″ wide in pine planks. (How many boards you need will depend on how tall you want the headboard. We discussed having it go all the way to the floor, but decided against it. I think it would be cool to have an entire section of wall covered, though.
- 4 support boards for the back, just the skinny-ish long boards (husband insists I call them shims…we’re agreeing to disagree) so you can cut them into 4 pieces. They were like $1 something each.
- 1 5/8″ cool colored screws (just not silver, basically…I painted the heads of mine black with some extra paint I had) The length of the screws will depend on how thick of boards you go with.
- Diluted black or dark grey paint (approximately 1 to 1 ratio…I just put some paint in a cup and put some water in it until it was runny. Scientific, I know) I bought mine on the “already mixed but someone done changed their mind” table…there’s often a significant discount for these cans, so I always check there first.
- Grey stain (the exact kind I used is Rust-oleum Sunbleached) Side note, if you are local and going to do this project, I have excess paint and stain that I would love to give someone to use…let me know! The 80z container of stain should probably be plenty for this project.
I didn’t take any pictures along the way, which I regret now…so if you have any problems understanding what I did, feel free to ask!
First thing I did was arrange the boards on the floor in the order they would be hanging on the wall. Spaced out the thicker boards from the thinner boards until it looked good. I then marked the pieces I wanted cut to give it a more authentic look. I just eyeballed this so they were pleasantly staggered, then my husband cut them.
Prep for the wood was the most intensive part, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. Pine in itself is a really yellowish color, not at all what I wanted for our room. To give it a more authentic aged look, I started out by distressing it. Meaning I scrubbed it with a hard wire brush, pounded on it with a hammer, and whatever other tools my husband foolishly left lying within my reach. I also hammered screws on their side into the wood randomly and pulled them out. I’ve heard that dropping/hitting the wood with chains works really well, but I was fresh out of chains on this particular day.
For the paint/stain part, I did 2-3 boards at a time, since you need to do a few steps before the stain dries (and it does dry pretty quickly) Also, wear rubber gloves or some other protection for your hands.
First step is a light coat of the grey stain, which I applied with a 2″ wide paintbrush. Once you have that on the boards, using a rag, I dipped it in the diluted black paint and started rubbing it into the boards, making sure to get into the creases and all of the marks you made while distressing the wood. This part is really where you’ll get the look I was going for. Using varying amounts of paint and coats, you create a different look for each board. Some planks I used two coats of the black paint, just to give them a little different look. The paint does dry lighter, so if you feel like you’re going too far, you can wait for it to dry and apply another coat if you’d like.
Once you have the black paint as you’d like it, I applied one more light coat of the grey stain with a rag, mostly to seal the wood.
After the stain/paint dried, I painted the edge of each board with the black paint to give it a more finished look. Even the ones that aren’t going to be showing because they’ll be butted together, it makes a difference. Gives it a depth that I don’t think would be there if I had left it the light color.
We let the wood dry in a well ventilated area over night. In fact, do all of this in a well ventilated area, please.
As for assembly, after finding the center point of the wall, my husband used a stud finder (making at least ONE obligatory “Oh look, I’m a stud” joke, I’m sure) and attached four of the aforementioned long skinny-ish board (shims) directly onto the walls, then attached the planks to those boards with the 1 5/8″ screws. I wasn’t actually there for this part, but I’m sure it would help to have two people there, one for board holding, one for the screw putting in.
For the final step, we attached some pivoting lights, (I bought these) which I think, really completed the whole thing for us. They screwed right into the boards and the cords are just secured on the side and hang down behind the bed to the plug. It’s nice having our own lights since we keep somewhat different night schedules, plus the reduction of clutter on our nightstands from our old lamps is awesome. Open space on tops of furniture gives me the happies.
Hopefully this answers any questions you might have about this project, or suggestions on what I can include to make this more clear, please feel free to leave a comment below!