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Reinvent a Room: Budget Decorating Projects

How to Make a Rustic-Style Headboard (page 1 of 2)

Learn how to build this basic tongue-and-groove wooden headboard. We gave it a weathered, barn-wood look, but you can paint or stain it any style or color.

More in Decorating

  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Creating a weathered and distressed look starts with lumber selection. It may be counterintuitive, but when picking lumber for this project you'll want to look for imperfections such as knots, gouges and nicks. However, do select boards that are straight and true.

This project uses pocket-hole joinery. If you're not familiar with it, take a look at the basics.

Cut List

Use the dimensions listed as a guide, but be sure to double check measurements as you build and make adjustments before you cut the parts.

sub footer (1) - 3/4 x 4 x 64-1/2
footer (1) - 3/4 x 4-3/4 x 66
sub header (1) - 3/4 x 4-3/4 x 64-1/2
header (1) - 3/4 x 5-1/2 x 66
front stiles (2) - 3/4 x 2-1/2 x 50
side stiles (2) - 3/4 x 2-1/2 x 50
rails (2) - 3/4 x 2-1/2 x 58
long slats (9) - 3/4 x 3-1/4 x 61-1/2
short slats (8) - 3/4 x 3-1/4 x 30-3/4
headboard cleat (1) - 3/4 x 3-1/16* x 63
wall cleat (1) - 3/4 x 3-1/16* x 63
*at the widest point

The finished dimensions (as shown in Image 2) are 53" high x 66" wide x 5-1/2" deep.

Build the Header and Footer Assemblies

Position the sub footer flush against one edge and centered (3/4 inch from the ends) on the footer as shown in Image 1.

Attach the sub footer to the footer using glue and #17 x 1-1/4-inch wire brads as shown in Image 2.

Position the sub header as shown in Image 3 (3/4 inch from the edge and end). Attach using glue and wire brads.

Build the Stile Assemblies

Use Image 1 as a guide for drilling pocket holes in the front stiles and side stiles.

Position the side stiles flush with the inside edge of the front stiles as shown in Image 1 and attach using glue and 1-1/4-inch pocket-hole screws as shown in Image 2.

Attach the Rails to the Stiles

Use Image 1 as a guide for drilling pocket holes in the rails.

Position the rails flush with the ends of the front stiles as shown in Image 2 and attach using glue and 1-1/4-inch pocket-hole screws as shown in Image 3. This assembly is the frame.

Attach the Frame to the Header and Footer

Position one end of the frame with the back edge of the side stiles placed 3/4 inch from the end and back of the sub header as shown in Image 1 and attach using glue and 1-1/4-inch pocket-hole screws as shown in Image 2. Be sure to clamp the assemblies in place before joining them.

Position the other end of the frame with the back edge of the side stiles placed 3/4 inch from the end of the sub foot and attach using glue and 1-1/4-inch pocket-hole screws. Be sure to clamp the assemblies in place before joining them.

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