Total Cost: about $50, Total Time: about 16 hours, Tools Required: tape measure, saw (circular, miter, hand), hammer, drill
I started with a couple of scrap 2″x6″ pine boards for legs. My headboard was inserted into the frame of my bed. The legs could be any dimensional lumber, it only needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the headboard material and be able to mount to the wall or the bed in some way. I cut these boards to 5 feet in length giving me about 3 feet of height for the headboard. The other 2 feet would be from the mattress to the floor.
I then used a couple of 2″x4″ pine boards for the bottom and top cross sections which completed the frame of the headboard. These 2×4’s were cut to 68 inches long giving me a total width of 72 inches or 6 feet. My bed is king size and 6 feet is the distance side-to-side. These cross pieces could be adjusted wider or narrower depending on the size of your bed.
Since I would be using pallet wood as the material for the exterior of headboard, I needed support in the middle of the frame to attach the variety of lengths of pallet slats. I used pallet risers cut to length between the top and bottom support of the frame. I also used pallet risers to frame out the location for the recessed shelf. The shelf would be 4 feet in length and about 6 inches in height. I also added a few smaller pieces of riser material throughout the frame at 1 foot increments in order to easily measure and cut the pallet slat material for the exterior.
Adding the pallet slats to the frame was pretty simple, just match up slats of the same width to form a row across the frame. I mixed different colors and textures and worked from the top down. I used my compound miter saw for these cuts, but a hand saw would work as well. I attached the slats to the headboard frame with 2 inch finish nails shot from a nail gun, manually nailing the slats would work just as well.
I used slats for the rear of the recessed shelf as well as the top and bottom of the shelf. I used a couple of wider pieces of pallet slat to give the vertical edges a finished look.
The only 2 pieces of lumber that I purchased for this project were an 8 foot 1″x8″ and an 8 foot 1″x10″. The two boards were about $10 combined. I used the 1×8 for the finished sides of the headboard and the 1×10 for the finished top. For a decorative finish, I used my router along the under side of the top piece to cut a quarter round edge. I attached all of these pieces with the same 2 inch finish nails. These boards gave my headboard a depth of about 10 inches which was necessary for the design of my existing bed frame.
After everything was assembled I sanded the headboard with an orbital sander and 80 grit sandpaper followed by 220 grit sandpaper. The sanding took off all of the rough edges and dirt and gave the headboard a smooth finish. Then I stained everything with miniwax dark walnut stain to match the rest of the bed frame.
To further customize the headboard I added some very inexpensive coach lights that picked up at Lowes for $12/each.
I drilled holes through the pallet slats to feed the wire through then ran 18 gauge lamp wire that I had on hand to wire the lights to switches that I mounted inside of the recessed shelf. I chose black switches and plates to blend into the headboard. Unfortunately, the switches and switch plates were more expensive than their basic white counterparts. Total cost for 2 switches and 2 plates was about $10.
I also drilled a couple 1/4″ holes into each corner of the shelf near the switch in order to feed a phone charger through.
Overall this headboard was very easy to build and it turned out great.
A few pictures from different angles to show more detail.
Check out my video for more information. Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions.