Tuesday, May 25, 2010

$80 Headboard

Hey everybody, this is Mandi's husband John. I built a simple headboard for Mandi this past Mother's Day and thought I would share the basic step by steps of how it was done not because it was any great feat of construction (c'mon I build skateboard ramps) but because it's easy, quickly done, fairly inexpensive, and a perfect opportunity to use the finishing nailer you spent $100 on last March and seldom-to-never use.

1. Buy enough 2x4s to build a simple frame that will be tall enough and wide enough for your bed. In this case I needed 5 boards to make the headboard 73" wide and 58" tall. I doubled the legs at the bottom with 10" blocks to add strength and allow a perfect 4' for the bead board to attach to the frame. 3" drywall screws were used for everything.

2. Next take the leftover scraps of 2x4, cut some 45 degree angles on the ends and screw them into corners to make the whole thing stronger, tighter, and allow for more points of contact with the bead board that you just realized is much thinner and flimsier than you had hoped for at $15 for a 4'x4' area! (Notice I added an extra treated 2x4 I had lying around.) Now you're ready to attach bead board with that finishing nailer and 1 1/2" brads. (When it comes to bead board I like the 4" sections that are tongue and groove as opposed to the sheets that only look like bead board. It's too easy to tell the difference especially if it's for a small room or small project like this.) Bead board is sold in 8'x4" sections and all I had to do was rip them all in half with the miter saw and nail them down. Easy.

3. Once the bead board is down go around the sides and top with 6"x 1" pine boards that match the pine bead board perfectly. Then fill in the seams with 2"x 1" pine strips. Both are nailed in with the finishing nailer and 2" brads. (By doing this you've just covered up all the drywall screw heads so no need to use wood filler on this project unless brad heads bum you out.) The above picture shows the headboard after it was carried in and moved into position, ready to be screwed down and painted.

4. Secure the headboard to the wall using 3" 45's and 1 5/8" drywall screws. I used 4 45's total: one on the inside of each leg into the baseboard and one near the top on both sides of the window facings. Since the base is hidden there's no need to add trim or cover the 2x4's.

5. Painting is totally up to you. Keep it natural wood. Paint it. White wash it. Whatever. For ours Mandi wanted a white-washed look but with the same grey we painted our living room and dining room with. I mixed less than a cup of the water-based satin finish paint we had sitting in the shed with the same amount of water, stirred it up, and... painted. It went on easy, dried quickly, and gave it an interesting color but allowed the wood grain and knots to show through.

6. Once the paint's dry you're ready to push the bed frame and mattress against the headboard and attach them with a couple more 3" drywall screws. On our headboard the bed frame attaches with holes really close to the 45's holding the headboard to the wall so everything feels really solid and the thing is ready for the countless bounces and wrestle matches it will endure from Moonpie and Buddy. The final touch for our headboard was the two yellow cast iron birds perched on each end Mandi picked up at a local downtown furniture store.

7. So there ya go. A simple design and a custom fit that took less than two hours to finish and I'm guessing saved us a little $. Bye.


Amanda said...


Traci said...

That is really beautiful John. It will likely be a family heirloom. Love the how to and the price of good pine. Thanks for sharing. I love how you and Mandi look at things and think...'I can make that!' And then just do it. Love it!

mandi said...

Didn't John do a wonderful job on our bed?!?

A quick side note- these dimensions are for a king size bed. And the design was all his own. I came to him asking if we could do something with bead board for the head board and this is the design he came up with. Just perfect, if you ask me! And the birdies...why that was inspired by Curious George's bed in the original book series, of course!

Rachel said...

Beautiful work!

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

That looks fantastic! What a fabulous mother's day gift!

affectioknit said...

Awesome - I love that!

The Kramer Family said...

wooohoooo! i love it!

maybe this will inspire farmer j to make me a headboard so my "pillas" will quite creepin'.

Amanda said...

Hi Mandi! Thank you SO much for the trip ideas! I am so excited for you, too!! I'm hoping we'll eventually be able to see the East coast, especially D.C., but it will probably be a few more years. We can travel vicariously on opposite coasts this summer! LOL.

Kirby said...

Mandi (and John), I love it! Nice work! I love that beadboard and those BIRDIES!!