Apply glue to the top of the headboard. Overhang or elevate the headboard so that you can center the 2x4 top piece on the headboard with a 1/2-inch overhang on all sides. Nail every six to eight inches with 2-inch nails.
Tip: For a king-size headboard, scrap wood can be cut and nailed perpendicular to the planks to keep planks in place.
Fill nail holes with wood filler. Let filler dry then sand headboard with 80-grit sandpaper. Fill nail holes again — wood filler can shrink when dry. Sand again, this time with 120-grit sandpaper. Finally, sand with 150-grit sandpaper.
Vacuum headboard with a soft-bristled brush attachment to remove sanding residue then wipe the surface with a damp washcloth. In a well-ventilated area, lightly coat the headboard with spray-on primer, following instructions on spray can. Let dry completely.
Brush on paint, working in the direction of wood grain. Apply two coats, allowing ample time for each coat to fully dry. To distress, rough up edges with sandpaper. Chisel between the plank boards to expose the cracks between the panel boards. Apply glaze to distressed areas and wipe off until desired look is achieved. Spray with clear coat to seal your headboard.
Follow the directions on your bed frame to attach headboard to the bed frame.
The beauty of the solid wood used to build this headboard can be preserved by choosing a stained finish. This headboard was finished with two coats of a dark walnut oil-based stain, topped with satin oil-based polyurethane. Photo by Nicole Barr.