Introduction

From Shipping Pallet to Headboard

Warehouses, contractors and large shippers are good sources for used pallets. They are very often thrown out; so chances are someone will be happy to save on the disposal fees by giving them to you. Make sure the wood is not contaminated with any toxic or degradable materials. The wood should be intact but otherwise imperfect and varying in patina.

Step 1

Original_Pallet-Headboard-Cut-Apart-wood1_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-Cut-Apart-wood1_h

Break Apart Pallet

Use a reciprocating saw to cut right behind the planks and through the nail shanks. Be sure to use a fresh blade and this step will go quickly. For this twin-size headboard, we used eight planks of varying widths.

Step 2

Original_Pallet-Headboard-pile-wood2_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-pile-wood2_h

Gather The Wood

Even if one pallet provides enough wood, break down several pallets so that you can mix up the planks and have a varied look.

Step 3

Original_Pallet-Headboard-measure-wood3_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-measure-wood3_h

Determine Height

Measure the combined height of the bed frame, box spring and mattress and then add 32". Ours was 24” + 32” makes our bed frame 56” tall.

Step 4

Original_Pallet-Headboard-cut-wood4_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-cut-wood4_h

Make the Legs

Cut two legs to the correct height. We scored some salvaged barn wood to use for the legs. Also, cut an intermediate support to 32".

Step 5

Original_Pallet-Headboard-plan-layout5_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-plan-layout5_h

Plan the Layout

Mix different planks from different pallets so you will create a more interesting headboard.

Step 6

Original_Pallet-Headboard-position-legs6_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-position-legs6_h

Layout the Legs

Position the two legs on a work surface and square them up so that they are 2" narrower in width than the finished headboard.

Step 7

Original_Pallet-Headboard-center-support7_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-center-support7_h

Add Middle Support Piece

Center the intermediate support between the two legs and apply construction adhesive at the top row.

Step 8

Original_Pallet-Headboard-position-first-plank8_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-position-first-plank8_h

Layout Top Plank

Position the first plank so that it is slightly higher than the tops of the legs.

Step 9

Original_Pallet-Headboard-position-first-plank-one-inch9_v

Original_Pallet-Headboard-position-first-plank-one-inch9_v

Position Top Plank

Make sure that both sides of the plank extend 1" beyond the legs on each side.

Step 10

Original_Pallet-Headboard-position-nail-first-plank10_v

Original_Pallet-Headboard-position-nail-first-plank10_v

Fasten Top Plank

Using firm downward pressure, shoot two 1-1/4" 18-gauge finish nails into each leg and the intermediate support piece.

Step 11

Original_Pallet-Headboard-crack-or-split11_v

Original_Pallet-Headboard-crack-or-split11_v

Go Close to the Splits

If there is a crack or split in the plank, be sure to fasten on each side of it.

Step 12

Original_Pallet-Headboard-continue-rows12_v

Original_Pallet-Headboard-continue-rows12_v

Add More Planks

Apply construction adhesive and insert nails for each subsequent row and continue installing planks tight to the previous row. Discard any planks that have excessive curvature.

Step 13

Original_Pallet-Headboard-screw-to-flatten13_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-screw-to-flatten13_h

Get Rid of Warpness

Pallet planks are thin and usually have seen better days, so it’s not uncommon for them to be warped. Use course-thread drywall screws as necessary to pull these in tighter before nailing.

Step 14

Original_Pallet-Headboard-all-planks-on15_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-all-planks-on15_h

Finish Securing More Rows

Continue installing planks in a random pattern.

Step 15

Original_Pallet-Headboard-double-check-measurement16_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-double-check-measurement16_h

Measure The Height

Make sure the last board finishes just below the top of the mattress.

Step 16

Original_Pallet-Headboard-sanding-planks17_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-sanding-planks17_h

Sand it Smooth

Use an orbital sander to smooth the roughest spots with 80-grit sandpaper and then lightly sand the entire surface with 220-grit paper.

Step 17

Original_Pallet-Headboard-sanding-plank-edges18_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-sanding-plank-edges18_h

Get Around the Edges

Sand the edges, top, and rear overlaps on each side.

Step 18

Original_Pallet-Headboard-taping-design19_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-taping-design19_h

Add Some Personality

Give the rustic wood some flair with a custom design. We added a pop of green with a free-hand tree branch. Trace your pattern in pencil first or free-hand it with painter's tape.

Step 19

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Original_Pallet-Headboard-taping-design-close-up20_h

Press the Tape Down

Be sure the tape is tight and firmly adhered to prevent paint bleed.

Step 20

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Original_Pallet-Headboard-sponge-on-paint21_h

Apply Paint

We wanted the design to have some imperfection, so a sponge was used to apply the paint.

Step 21

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Original_Pallet-Headboard-stencil-paint22_h

Add Leaves

A stencil was used to create the leaf pattern.

Step 22

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Original_Pallet-Headboard-let-design-dry23_h

Let It Dry

Allow the paint to dry.

Step 23

Original_Pallet-Headboard-brush-on-sealer24_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-brush-on-sealer24_h

Apply a Clear Coat

We used shellac because it is a natural product, is easy to touch up and dries super fast which means less time between coats.

Step 24

Original_Pallet-Headboard-brush-on-sealer25_h

Original_Pallet-Headboard-brush-on-sealer25_h

Add a Second Coat of Sealer

When the first coat is dry, lightly sand the entire surface to remove any lifted wood grain. Apply the second coat heavier and work it into any cracks and crevices. The clear coat will accentuate the colors and textures on the slats such as these original mill lines and paint.

Step 25

Original_Pallet-Headboard-side-angle-beauty_v

Original_Pallet-Headboard-side-angle-beauty_v

Attach to Bed or Hang From the Wall

Mount the headboard to the bed frame by using small carriage bolts or attach the headboard directly to the wall using a cleat.