DIY Weathered Wood Headboard

DIY Weathered Wood Headboard

DIY weathered wood headboard from

As part of our master bedroom makeover, the Texan and I decided that it was way past due that we have an actual headboard.  Our guest bedroom bed has a darned headboard; shouldn’t we?  How fancy of us!  That being said, we aren’t quite fancy enough yet that we want to spend much money on it (ie: any money, at all).  So we turned, yet again, to our scrap wood pile for a few leftover 2×4’s and some dinged-up pine boards (all of which can be acquired for a nominal fee at your local home improvement store).

We started by building the frame; this took a bit of baffled staring at the wall where the headboard was going to figure out the exact dimensions.  We’ve got light switches and window frames to factor in, but really, it boiled down to a personal preference on how we wanted it to look.  We figured out roughly where we wanted the peak of the arch to be, and roughly where we wanted the edges of the arch to be, height-wise.

Legit, professionally-drawn headboard plans from
Our professionally-drawn plans. Hey, it isn’t on a napkin!

Once we had decided on all that, it was time to build the frame.

DIY weathered wood headboard from
We cut the four pieces according to our height (42 1/2″) and width (72″) requirements, then screwed them together with metal straps from the home improvement center.

Next, we cut our 6″ wide pine planks all to length (29″, which is the length from the bottom cross piece of the headboard to the highest point of the arch).  Here’s a little tip: before you assemble these, use an electric sander or even just sandpaper (I used a Dremel) to knock down the corners along the lengths of the boards–even though they sit side-by-side, those edges still tend to be rather sharp….if there is one thing you don’t want your headboard to be, it’s sharp.

DIY weathered wood headboard from
Line your boards side-by-side and face-down, and place the frame on top of them. Screw through the frame and into the boards, one screw in each top and bottom. We used 1-5/8″ length screws–long enough to go through the 2×4 and into the boards, but not long enough to go all the way through the boards.
DIY weathered wood headboard from
Millie monitors the Texan’s progress.

At this point, the basic headboard is assembled.  But we wanted to get crazy with the top edge and do an arch.  Which is a little tricky.  This, I’m sure, could be done by one person, but it is a lot easier with two, trust me.

You want to start with the headboard laying flat, face up.  You also need a pencil and a long length of twine.

Making an arched headboard from
Millie monitors the Texan’s progress.

Find the midpoint of the top edge of the headboard (which is where the highest point of the arch will be), then measure straight back a ways (we used an extra board as a straight reference, because the eventual point you are looking for will fall somewhere below the headboard).  The farther back you go, the more gradual of an arch you will wind up making–you’ll have to fiddle with it a bit and figure out what shape arch looks best for what you are doing.  But basically, you just need to have one person pin one end of the string down (this effectively, is the center of the circle that your arch is a part of), and then tie or hold the other end of the string to a pencil, carefully drawing your line by moving the pencil along in an arc at the end of that string.  You’ll have to practice a few times without making a mark to really figure out what works best.  I am sure there is a more precise way of doing this, but I was never any good at math, so this is quite mathy enough, thank you!

You’ll wind up with a pretty legit arch:

DIY weathered wood headboard from
You can see I screwed up a few times. (meh.)

It was time for my favorite tool: the Dremel Trio, which is a handy-dandy little multi-function router-thingy (it routs, it sands, it cuts, it slices, it dices!  JK on the last two–I got carried away).  Carefully, I cut along my not-so-painstakingly-done guidelines.  You can see I didn’t make the cleanest cut….

DIY weathered wood headboard from Farmhouse38.comThe arch I wound up cutting was wobbly, at best.  But I figured that because I wanted this headboard to be pretty weathered and beat-up looking, having a wobbly top edge wasn’t the worst thing in the world.  I did sand the living daylights out of the top, which took the wobbliness down quite a bit.

Next, it was time to beat the wood up.  I wanted some glaring imperfections, so I gathered a few weapons and took my aggressions out on this poor, innocent headboard.

Distressing new wood at
Some of my favorite distressing techniques/tools include: tapping a nail in little clusters to emulate worm holes, letting a grinder skip across, repeatedly hitting with both ends of a hammer, etc. Distressing wood is fun.

If there are any splintered wood bits from all your abuse, be sure to give those a quick sand.

Time for stain!  I began with a layer of grey stain (Varathane Weathered Grey).

DIY weathered wood headboard from

Next, I layered on a basic brown stain (what we had sitting around: Minwax Early American):

DIY weathered wood headboard from

I hate the smell of stain.  I cannot think of anything worse than that smell, right next to my head, soaking into my sheets, as I try to sleep.  Ugh.  So, at this point, we left the headboard outside for several days to air out.  I’ve also read that if you scrub white vinegar on it, it helps to neutralize the smell.  So I did this….a few times.  I like to believe it helped.  Honestly, I think it did.

As is typical of most of our projects, there was no rain in the forecast, yet it began to rain, so we had to move the operation into the garage (which ain’t great for photos).  The next step was to do a white-washed effect over the top of the stain.  I used some semi-gloss Behr Swiss Coffee white paint that we had sitting around.  Using a cheap wooden brush (I like the effect the coarse bristles create), I would load it up with paint and then brush most of the paint off into a rag before rubbing and brushing it onto the headboard.

DIY weathered wood headboard from
This is what a ‘drybrush’ looks like. You can brush this on for a streaky, wood-grained effect, and you can also use it to smudge areas and create a sort of color haze. You don’t want there to be any areas of thick paint–if you accidentally get some, use a dry rag to rub it off as much as possible.
DIY weathered wood headboard from
Finished white-washing.

Again, we let this sucker sit in the garage for a few days to air out (also, before I started painting, I mixed a tablespoon of vanilla into the gallon of paint, which helps neutralize the paint fumes without affecting the color).

The final embellishment came in the form of metal star ‘nailhead’-looking trim.

DIY weathered wood headboard and metal star source from Farmhouse38.comMy source for these little pretties is one of my best. kept. secrets.  And I’m gonna go ahead and reveal it to you….deep breath: King Architectural Metals (  This is where I acquire all sorts of metal bits and bobs (wrought iron fence pieces, cast iron star washers, barn stars, etc.) It is pretty much my most favorite, random, wonderful place to shop.

I went ahead and drilled a center hole in each little star (taking care to remove or sand off any resulting sharp spurs).  I then pre-drilled a hole into the headboard where I wanted each star, and then nailed them each into place with a little furniture tack (acquired from the home improvement store).

We finally placed the headboard and secured it to the wall with a couple of screws in the legs.

There you have it!  A nice little addition to our nice little bedroom, if I do say so myself.

DIY weathered wood headboard from


  1. Awesome!

  2. I smile every time that I open one of your posts. What will she be up to now, I ask. Yet again, never to disappoint, this fabrication is clever, sweet, and well documented. Kudos! Check out my new post on the second part of my AR trip with P Allen Smith. 😉

    • We have a four-year-old neighbor, and last weekend when we were running the saws, etc, to build this headboard, he looks at his mom and says, “They’re always up to SOMETHING over there!” Hilarious. He knows me too well.
      I will go take a look at your post–thanks for the comments!!! 🙂

  3. what a great job you did! Beautiful headboard!

  4. Naomi

    Love the star details and your shop hand(hen)!

  5. Love the detail

  6. Great job! I love the star nail heads!

  7. David

    Really, really great job!

  8. jean

    Very nice. I like the curve and color. The nail heads are delicious.

  9. I’m glad to see Millie was on the job!! I would love to have chickens but, apparently, it is against the city ordinance where we live. If food prices keep going up, I may have to get one as a hidden house pet that lays eggs!! Even though my DH and I have been repeating for decades a line from a Saturday Night Live series of skits where this little oriental man keeps saying “Chicken make rousy house pet!”… One has to wonder…. Hey, love the heardboard!!

    • Hey, I can personally vouch for the fact that they make pretty entertaining house pets. 😉

  10. Dianne

    now don’t you need one of these for the bedside?

  11. This is just beyond beautiful. I LOVE your two part staining/dry brushing. I have something similar in mind for our dining table. Now I really want to get that project started 🙂 Love those stars. What a fantastic detail. And so YOU! Thanks for revealing your source. I clicked over. Looks like a place you could spend a long long time.

    • Can’t wait to see the table!!!
      I know–King is awesome–especially when you have a raging metal star addiction….I need to cool it with the stars but that’s not. going. to happen. 🙂

  12. Featuring your fab headboard today on my blog, you are awesome, really

  13. Emma

    And you call your self “Farmy”? Girl you have got to be super-ultra-mega farmy in order to have thought of this

  14. Tracy

    Love this!! We are going to try and attempt this for my TX guest room… Couple questions for you… Where did you get the TX Longhorn pillow and how about the night stands? I need small night stands for the room I’ll be doing this in and could use some help. Thanks!!

  15. Love the headboard pattern. And I had been looking high and low for metal stars so I am just thrilled to know about King Metals!

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