How to Make a Reclaimed Wood Headboard (with new wood!)

*This is one of our most popular posts  – BUT it is from ages ago so we apologize for the poor picture quality! We’ve gotten so much better, I promise!

Okay, so truly this is a super easy project. Like almost 1, 2, 3 easy.

And it is a total cheat. It’s not reclaimed barn-board at all! Shhh. We used all new wood!
Tsk-tsk. Such rebels.

The only prep work is to decide how big to make the headboard. Since we have a queen bed, we decided on five feet wide by {almost} six feet tall. No rhyme or reason really. Just the approximate width of the bed and slightly taller than the width for height.


You will need:

  • palm sander OR sandpaper and some muscles
  • stud finder
  • pencil
  • level
  • wood (We used twelve 1″x6″x8′ pieces of spruce and had Home Depot cut them all down to 5′ long.)
  • 2″ screws (flat-head)
  • drill
  • old rag
  • Minwax stain in Special Walnut

Step 1: Decide where to put your headboard. Find the studs. Mark vertical lines with a pencil.

 Step 2: Sand rough spots and edges off of the boards. This is a headboard, people!

Step 3: Starting at the bottom (@ baseboard or floor), screw the first board to the wall using the stud marks you made in Step 1. Continue stacking the boards one on top of the other and fastening in this way all the way to the top (last) board.

Step 4: In a well ventilated room, and perhaps wearing a mask (trust me, this stuff STINKS when wet!), rub the minwax stain into the wood. Be careful to avoid the drywall around the headboard – tape it off with frog tape or slide a heavy piece of paper between headboard and wall as you stain. I only needed to do one coat, but if you would like it darker feel free to stain again.

Step 5: Make it look pretty! Dress it up! We used funkyshique’s love banner and some pillows I made.
And we absolutely ADORE it!


See, didn’t I tell you it was easy?! 

And it was inexpensive! Here’s our cost breakdown:

  • The wood was $2.97 per 8 foot length. That was the shortest the HD had. Times twelve boards = $36.
  • We had the stain. But if you were to buy it I think it’s about $9 for the small container. I used half that. Effectively $4.50.
  • I had to buy screws because somehow in our buckets of hardware we had no 2″ flat head screws. Go figure. $6.

So for $46.50 (plus tax depending on where you live) – voila!!!! If you want to add the burlap banner from funkyshique, add $33 (including shipping). For a revised total of almost $80. Still not too shabby!!


Any questions? What do you think of our Reclaimed Wood Look Headboard? 

PS. We loved the look of this headboard so much that we recreated it when we moved into our new house! See it here.

bed side

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time to Chat

  1. 3


    I LOVE that you did it with new wood! I was just having the conversation the other day that I want a reclaimed wood headboard… but we’re not in an awesome area like LA where scrap wood yards are turning over new materials on like a daily basis. I was nervous about the wood becoming rotted from spoiling in the rain… {yuck}
    So! Figured I’d just buy new wood, and make it look old… fantttastic!
    I love your simple idea of attaching it to the wall, rather than the bed.
    Yup! Following your lead and keeping this in my mind while I do mind.
    thanks so much!

    Pamela @

  2. 5


    What an awesome idea!!! I love the impressiveness that it adds to your bed. Thanks for sharing the tutorial! Great job!!!!

    xoxo laurie

  3. 7


    Love the cheat! Reclaimed wood may be the rage…but it’s just not always that easy to find! Thanks for sharing how to get the look!

  4. 9

    Bethany says

    Absolutely beautiful! I’m going to have to pass this idea along to a girlfriend who is looking for a headboard idea for her son. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. 17


    This is a great idea! You mentioned that the minwax was stinky. Does the finished headboard still smell like the minwax or does the smell go away once it’s dry?

    • 18

      aka design says

      Good question Krista! No, the stain no longer smells. Our unscientific explanation is that once the thinners in the stain dry, the smell goes away. Really it doesn’t smell at all after the stain is comepletely dry. :)

      • 19

        anthony sellers says

        Hi I just made a headboard similar to your and I love it. I let it dry out side for a couple days and today I let it sit in direct sunlight all day. It feels dry to the touch but still smells a bit. Do u thinks its ok ? I have an 11 month old that sleeps in the room with us. I have the bathroom fan on and tge celing fan. It just stll smells kinda.

        • 20

          aka design says

          Hi Anthony,

          That is going to have to be totally up to you and what you’re comfortable with. The smell does eventually totally go away – and I have a very sensitive nose. But with babe in room, be careful. Their lungs are littler than ours!


  6. 23


    Wow! I’m loving this. I want to build my own coffee table and this is exactly what I want the top to look like! And now I know what kind of wood to get too! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    • 24

      aka design says

      Thank you Ashleigh! The stained spruce does make for a beautiful reclaimed wood look. Would love to see your coffee table when you finish it! S.

  7. 27

    Allie says

    Could you just put two 2 x 4’s vertically up the back and affix the boards to that instead of directly to the wall so it is easily removed? Just curious…

    Might need to do this with my little boys big boy bed but it is a rental so I don’t to put in on the wall…


    • 28

      aka design says

      You totally could. Just be sure it’s going to be safe and not fall over if the bed gets scooched out from the wall (by playing, jumpin and other such things small children tend to do!). :) Maybe secure with an ikea strap that’s made for securing bookshelves to the wall?

  8. 29


    Love this project, your style is awesome. You had me at the LOVE banner! That’s what I can my husband. Im a follower now because just the few minutes looking around, we have similar thrifty ideas. Come on over and visit me too!

    Lucky 7 Design

  9. 42

    Trisha says

    Would it work if I stained the wood first and then nail it? I’m worried about getting it on the wall:)

    • 43

      aka design says

      Absolutely…in fact I would recommend staining it first. Truth be told we were just too lazy and wanted to get it up on the wall pronto!!! 😉

  10. 44

    Angelina says

    I absolutely love it! How do you think it would look if we did a white, shabby-chic look? Im just wondering if doing a wood colored headboard would go with my white furniture. Maybe I’ll give it a try! THanks for the inspriation!

    • 45

      aka design says

      I bet it would look gorgeous in shabby chic white!!!!! Maybe dry brush it?? Please show us pics when you’re done!

  11. 46

    Doughty says

    I actually just had a bed made and want to do the reclaimed look. My wood is cypress. Will the stain react differently to cypress? Do you have any suggestions for making new cypress look like old cypress? Thanks so much.

    • 47

      aka design says

      Stain will always react slightly different depending on the wood. I would test the stain on a scrap piece or somewhere not visible on your bed to see how you like it.

  12. 48

    Mellissa says

    So simple yet so elegant and beautiful!
    My sister just made a burlap light cover for her bedroom, I will have to show her this idea. Great job!

  13. 52

    Heather Linderman says

    Did you use a finish over the stain? I just stained wood for a headboard like this and am wondering if it needs a finish like polyurethane or something…thanks! Love it!

  14. 54


    I am very ecietxd about your post. I found Annie Sloan Chalk Paint at a local antique mall! It was $38.50 per can. I don’t think that is a bad mark-up at all. It is much better than a large shipping fee. I urge everyone to check their local antique shops…you never know! Hugs, Jan

  15. 55

    Kristin says

    I’m totally using your idea to put a new top on my old coffee table. I just happen to already have a headboard that I love or I’d do this too!

    • 64

      aka design says

      I saw an even simpler version where someone just hung there’s on the wall with those 3M Command strips!!! No tools required!

    • 66

      aka design says

      Um, good question. I think they’re about 7″ from point to center of the top and maybe 5″ wide (at the top).

  16. 67

    Bobbi Schmidt says

    How did you stain the headboard? How dark did it turn out? Am I correct when I say that it looks on more of the lighter side than darker? I just had my hubby stain mine with the same color and it looks way darker:/ He only did one coat, but he used one of those foam brushes. Do you think that would make a difference? Thanks!

    • 68


      Did your hubby wipe off the excess stain with a lint-free rag after a few minutes? If he didn’t, that may account for how dark it is. And yes a foam brush will put a LOT of stain onto the wood!

      • 69

        Bobbi Schmidt says

        I don’t think he did. I think we are going to try and sand it and restain it. How did you put your stain on? Did you use a rag to wipe it on and then another to wipe it off? Thank you for your help!!

  17. 73

    Kate says

    Hi, how do you make some parts lighter than others? do you just wipe it out unequally or it just comes out like that?

    • 78


      In many cases, yes. And in fact we did paint the wood before-hand at our current house’s bedroom. But at the old house, there was no room to lay out all the boards and the weather was bad. So on the wall it was!

  18. 79


    I love it, but I have a small bedroom, and unfortunately, in order to fit everything in our room, we have to butt the head of our bed against a window. So no place to nail a headboard to the wall.

  19. 80

    Erin says

    I just discovered your blog from Ana White’s site and I am totally addicted! With six kids our bedroom is pretty far from a “master”, more like the dumping ground for all the stuff that has nowhere else to go. I have printed off several bed/headboard plans for my husband (hint, hint) and so far still nothing but an old metal frame. This, however, looks like a project I could do myself. It’s like a giant version of some wall décor that I have made using furring strips to hold the wood together. Our bed must be in front of a window, do you think I could attach the boards to vertical pieces of wood rather than to a wall? I absolutely love your headboard and you are just brilliant to have come up with a simple yet awesome headboard.

  20. 86

    Carolyn says

    I was wondering if it would work to mount the wood onto 2×4 and then hang on wall rather than drilling holes into the wall?