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How to Make a Nautical-Inspired Headboard With a Sail

Create an industrial-style headboard with a nautical touch by using PVC pipes to form the bed frame and stringing a sail in between the pipes.

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Courtesy of Design by Joanne Palmissano, Photo by Susan Teare

PVC pipes painted silver make this bedframe look like metal. Instead of a sail, you could hang a canvas, a flag or any type of sturdy material.

We made another version of this headboard without the sail. We strung twine along the top section, then clipped postcards onto the twine. How to Make an Industrial-Style Headboard With PVC Pipes

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Materials and Tools:

- chop saw (or PVC cutter)
- level and tape measure
- grommets and grommet tool
- 2.5" PVC pipes (see below for queen measurements)
- PVC pipe primer and PVC pipe cement
- hammered-silver spray paint
- twine
- a sail
- 2 PVC elbows, 2 PVC tees, 2 PVC adapters (if needed for the flange to match pipes) and 2 PVC floor flanges (get pieces that are smooth on the inside, not the screw-in kind)
piece of salvaged sail to fit inside top section

Cut the Pieces to Size

Measure out the size of the headboard, then cut the pieces of PVC piping with a chop saw or a PVC cutter. Here are the dimensions for a queen-size bed:

two horizontal pieces at 59"
two bottom pieces at 38"
two top pieces at 24"

Build the Frame

Lay out the pieces (Image 1) and dry fit them with the connectors to make sure they fit. When you're ready, use the PVC primer (purple, seen in Image 2) and then the PVC cement, and push the pieces together. Use a level to make sure you have them straight before letting the pieces dry.

We needed to use an adapter insert inside the plumbing floor flange because it was larger than the PVC pipe (Image 3).


It is helpful to have two people when putting the whole thing together. Again, make sure everything is level before letting it dry. Cover the whole thing with the PVC primer (purple). This will help the paint adhere to the piece.


Spray-paint the headboard with silver-hammered paint for a metal look. You can also try it in black. Let dry. Turn the headboard over and do the other side.

Cut the Sail

Cut the sail, hem along the edges that need it.

Add Grommets

Place grommets along the edge by following the grommet package instructions. Make sure the grommets match the grommet punch.

Hoist the Sail

Add line and attach the sail to the headboard.

Joanne Palmisano is the author of Salvage Secrets (W.W. Norton, September 2011). Visit her blog, also called Salvage Secrets.