Herringbone Headboard – tutorial
Holy Moley People! This DIY Herringbone Headboard is perhaps the coolest thing we’ve ever made!
If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw some pictures that showed us trying to use pallets to make a headboard for my son. Well, that was a big, fat FAIL! We kept breaking the boards, and they had huge gouges in them from the nails. On top of that, I read that many pallets were treated with chemicals we wouldn’t want to be sleeping next to. Since our pallets weren’t marked to say if they had been treated or not, I didn’t want to take the chance that my son could get sick. So, I put it on the back burner until I got a better idea.
Two days ago, I saw this post from Amy Krist and it got me thinking about his headboard again.
This table top used about 80 paint sticks. A headboard would probably need about a thousand. So paint sticks were out of the question. I didn’t have the patience to collect them over time, and then to cut them all down and stain each one… my god, I’d still be there, chopping off the handles. Eiy-yie-yie! But I loved the idea of the many colored stains, so that was my jumping off point. I love the Herringbone pattern, and my son agreed it was pretty cool, so that was settled.
I headed to Home Depot and picked up my my supplies. I was making a queen size headboard, so all my measurements are based on that size headboard.
This is what I bought:
- 16 – 8 foot 1 by 4 white pine boards – not pressure treated. (I seriously over bought. I only needed about 7).
- one 4×8 foot piece of 3/8″ underlayment. I had this cut down at HD to 3 foot tall by 62″ wide (two inches wider than a queen size bed).
- Three of the mini cans of Minwax stain. I used Ebony, Mahogany and Espresso. I had Walnut and Grey stain at home.
- Staples for my Ryobi crown stapler – 1 inch.
- Elmer’s Wood glue Max
- One tube of Liquid Nails
- one 8 foot long pine (select?) board for the cleat to attach to the wall.
- Minwax Polycrylic water based finish in clear satin.
I already had at home:
- Walnut and Gray stain
- Speed square
- Rags to apply stain
I started by staining the pine boards different shades. I left one piece with no stain. I also stained one side of the underlayment board with Ebony stain, so that if there were gaps between the boards, you wouldn’t see the wood color peeking through. Then, I let them dry overnight.
I decided to go with longer pieces of board for the pattern, so I cut half of the boards into 17 & 1/4″ lengths. (I measured five boards across laid side to side, which was 17 &1/4 inches long.) I figured if I needed more, I could always cut more. At that point, I knew I had bought way too many boards. Oops! I might have make another one to sell…
We started by measuring to the center of the backboard, and put the corner of the first piece there. I used the speed square to make sure it was laid at a 45 degree angle to the top edge. Then we dry fit the first few rows, laying out the pattern and figuring where to put the colors. I think spacing the colors evenly was the hardest part of the whole project. We didn’t want it to look like a straight pattern, and we didn’t want the colors to touch either. It took a bit of tweaking to make it just right.
After the first few lines were planned out, we started to glue the boards down, starting with the top piece. Because some of our pieces of wood were slightly warped or twisted a little, we found out quickly that we would need to staple them down also at each end of the boards to hold them on to the back board. I tried the hand stapler first (mostly because it was in my tool bag, and therefore on hand, and I was feeling a little lazy) but it wasn’t strong enough, so I got my Ryobi crown stapler from the garage and used that. For a battery powered stapler, that thing has some power!
When we got to the ends, we just marked the undersides of the boards using a marker along the edges of the back board. After the first few pieces were laid, it was pretty easy after that to follow the pattern. By the way, I am somewhat of a glue oddball. I know that Elmer’s wood glue works great, but Liquid Nails seems to set faster, so I just put two dots of Liquid Nails on the ends and a squiggly line of Elmers down the center of each piece. Even after we stapled all of the boards down, I kept using both types of glue. Obviously, you don’t have to do this. Yes, it’s overkill, but we all have our quirks… 🙂
When all the boards were glued on, my husband took the saw around the edges to even out anything that wasn’t straight.
Then I went around the edges and stained them with the Ebony Stain. Not only does it give the edges a cleaner look, but it also filled in the places where the wood had split on the edges when we were cutting them.
After all that, I cleaned off all the sawdust, and applied the first coat of Polycrylic. I used clear satin because I didn’t want much of a shine. And I used the water based formula because it dries faster, isn’t stinky and cleans up quickly.
This is after one coat of the polycrylic. After this coat, I used 220 grit sand paper and sanded the entire thing. Even though it felt smooth before I applied the poly, after it dried, it seemed to make every rough patch stand out. The quick sanding took off the rough edges and places where the grain was scratchy.
I like the little bit of distressing it gave to the piece too. Then I gave it a second coat of poly and let it dry.
Okay, so you are wondering how heavy is this little masterpiece, aren’t you? HEAVY! Much too heavy to just attach to the wall with a couple of hooks. So we made a cleat to hang it on the wall. We used two pieces of 5 foot pine, cut on a 45 degree angle, so they fit perfectly together when you hang it on the wall.
Because it’s so heavy, my husband made sure to attach it directly to the studs, with not one, but two screws on each stud. Then, all we had to do was drop it in. That baby isn’t going anywhere!
I am completely in love with that headboard. I think it’s the very best thing we’ve ever made – except for the kids, of course! ;P
I love all the different stains and the manliness of it. It’s perfect for a teenage boy’s room, which is by far, the hardest room in the house to decorate. But it would also look great in a guest room or master bedroom. Love love love it!
So that’s it. Did I leave anything out? Any questions?
Thanks for stopping by!