In this post: How to make a plank wood headboard. We loved it so much, we did it in two houses!

Making a semi-masculine, rustic-looking wood plank headboard is very easy.

Dean and I should know, we’ve created one in each of our last two houses!

how to make a wood plank headboard

Just grab a few wood pallets, dismantle them, sand down the pieces then follow our instructions below and you’ll have the perfect rustic wood headboard in a weekend!

And if you don’t have any wood pallets kicking around, you can actually use new wood stained to look old – which is actually what we did!

how to make a diy wood pallet headboard

Since we built this wood headboard in our last house and our current house in rooms in which we wanted to maximize space, we did this headboard the really easy way.

aka design bungalow master bedroom wood headboard

How to Make a Wood Plank Headboard

First you need 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.

Of course if you have a smaller or larger bed, you can adjust accordingly. 

masculine wood headboard


  • palm sander OR sandpaper and some muscles
  • stud finder
  • pencil
  • level
  • wood (we used twelve 1″ x 6″ x 8′ 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


1. Whether you use new wood or wood from pallets, after cutting PLEASE  sand the boards. You don’t want any splinters or rough spots in your headboard!

2. In a well-ventilated room and perhaps wearing a mask (trust me, this stuff STINKS when wet!), rub the minwax stain into the wood. Wipe off excess with a clean, lint-free rag. I only did one coat, but if you would like it darker feel free to stain again. Let stain dry thoroughly!

For a step-by-step tutorial on how to stain wood, check out this post

3. Decide where to put your headboard. Find the studs. Mark vertical stud lines with a pencil.

pencil lines on wall

3. Starting at the bottom (@ baseboard or floor), screw the first board to the wall using the stud marks (and painter’s tape box) you made in Step 3. If it helps you visualize and place boards, mark the outline of your headboard with painter’s tape first. Continue stacking the boards one on top of the other and fastening in this way all the way to the top (last) board.

diy reclaimed wood headboard

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 or minus depending on where you live) – voila a wood pallet headboard!!!! 

Any questions? What do you think of our wood headboard?

shannon pixie photo and signature

home made lovely book on table with get it now text button

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  1. I really like the headboard. I am glad you emphasized sanding – I might even put a coat of poly on it to make it easier to dust and clean. Love the “love” banner on it – I didn’t think of hanging something like that on the headboard. Keep these good DIYs coming! I really like that you used a chest in the first house as a nightstand. Looks great and what storage.

    1. True, I imagine poly would make it easy to clean. I haven’t had issues with it, but over time it could get quite dusty! The bedroom in the first house was so small, there was no option other than a dresser as a nightstand!

  2. Do you recall the name of the fabric pattern on the far right pillow (yellow/grey with branches)? Looking to make a coverlet with that fabric.

  3. This is fantastic, I’ve been looking for an inexpensive headboard idea for my master bedroom that won’t be to girly for hubby’s liking! Will definitely have to show him this! Thanks for sharing such a fantastic tutorial — Romany

  4. I would love to make this for the guest bedroom! I’d want it to look more like old brand. Can you suggest a stain that would achieve the look?

  5. quick silly question…did you attach the bed frame? Using your method to do a headboard at the cottage and wondered about attaching the frame to keep it from moving? 🙂

  6. I love this idea. And I have many boards left from when we had wood floors installed in our house. Do you think I could use those to make a headboard? And the boards are a blonde color, can I darken them in some way? I would love any thoughts you have on the matter. Thank you!

    1. You could use those, sure. Whether you can change the color depends on the wood and the finish already on them.