Head of the Board! Headboard Tutorial


I have been living without a headboard for the last 4 years. Well, technically I have never had a “real” headboard, but I have been wanting one. In college, I made one out of an old door that we had sitting around, (in this post you can see it) it was a great headboard, but I wanted a “real” one so I left it when we moved, and I haven’t had one since! Such is life.

Headboard Tutorial

Well, the thought of having a “real” headboard has been on my mind for a while now. If you have read this blog, or searched the archives, you probably know I am not going to go out a buy one. . I just can’t swallow the price tag of the cardboard furniture that they make nowadays. That and I definitely cannot afford the “real deal”.
So, I’ve let the desire ruminate for a while.
And a golden idea struck me… Kitchen cabinet doors! Yea!..uh…What?


That is right kitchen cabinet doors. They are pre-made raised panels, which removes the need for expensive router bits and table saws.
So, now I am going to share the plans with you, because what are blog buddies for, right? Wanna sneak peek at the finished product first? I feel like a genie in a bottle granting your wish, and now I have that Christina Aguilera song in my head… not what I meant at all!
As we made this, we learned some things and figured out how we should have made it (to simplify it). So, we have a TON of pictures that are not exactly right.  So, we built a model, and made an instruction sheet so when building this follow the steps on the instruction sheet and not the order in the images.  And as always if you have any questions, please just leave me a comment, I will clarify when necessary through the comment section below.
We have worked very hard on this project, and have spent a lot of time creating this tutorial, so I have a request, please! This project may not be reproduced on any blog without receiving written permission before posting. If you receive permission, you may use the finished headboard image only, and link back to Remodelaholic for the tutorial. No part of the tutorial may be copied except for personal incidental noncommercial home use. If you build the project, and post about it, please link back to the instructions on Remodelaholic. Thank you.
Now that the tough stuff is out of the way, I want to clarify one more thing, this project is meant for those of you without a lot of tools, and just a basic understanding of building, so BE careful! On that note, IF I were going to spend real money on the wood (and buy walnut or poplar or some other nice hardwood) I would have built this very differently!
Headboard Tutorial instructions:
Supplies needed:
2 – 4 old kitchen cabinet doors
Various 1 x __ Mdf boards (size depends on cabinet doors!!)
(we used: 1 x 3’s approx 16 linear feet, for the bottom rail and all vertical stiles
1 x 6 approx 12 linear feet, for the top rail and top shelf)
9 linear feet of small base board molding
1 -8 foot 4 x 4 cut in half ( I had Home Depot do this)
3 – 8′ long 2 x 2’s
(optional: to hang on wall an 6′ long 2 x 4
cut in half on a 45 degree angle on a table saw)
Miter box and saw
Screw driver, drill bits and screws
Hammer and finish nails
Nail set
Sanding block (or sanding paper wrapped around a piece of wood)
**Measurements are all relative for this project.
They depend on a number of things, like the size of bed you have,
the size of doors you find, how many doors you use etc.
So, I have attached an image with a few of our our measurements called out
so you can get a better understanding of scale, just keep in mind you will have to make it
according to your supplies.
When you buy MDF boards the length wise front edges are chamfered (or rounded off on corners) So, in order for butted edges to look clean, and well planned, after cutting all the vertical stiles to length, sand the top flat edge to match the horizontal edges. That way a straight angular end won’t butt up to a curved edge, instead both will be rounded off and look even, and well planned!
If you want to make a matching foot board,
instead of the 2 x 2 frame you would just attach the doors to another face frame on the back.
And use pocket screw on the inside of that face frame to attach it to the posts.
To better understand the headboard, and see clearly what is what, 
I color coded an image, and called out some things on the next.
To hang this on the wall attach the bottom half of the optional 2 x 4 that has been cut in half at a 45 degree angle to the wall like so. The other will hold the headboard to the wall!
This project can easily be customized. I saw a headboard online while surfing that could be made using these instructions. See, you could easily make the headboard below as well, by only using two large doors, and aligning the top of the posts with the top of shelf and attaching that top shelf all the way across.
(source E-how here and here)
I must tell you that we actually spent much less than $30.00 on this project by using old scraps from other projects. That price is more likely what you will spend buying all the wood etc. But, I thought it would be fun to give you our cost breakdown anyway, because honestly I am such a deal lover that it is fun to share.
Our Final Cost Estimate:
$8.00 – 4 Kitchen cabinet doors
$7.00 – 8′ long 4 x 4 (we have scraps and an AWESOME project planned for these!!!)
Used old wainscoting molding(from Asheville Kitchen Remodel)
Used old 2 x 4’s cut to 2 x 2 (from Asheville Kitchen Remodel too)
MDF (left over’s from our Screen making tutorial)
Screws and nails from our stash
Tools already owned
Paint (left over from Laundry room remodel)
Caulk (laundry room remodel left-overs)
Plaster for patching (left over from our unfinished column project)
Grand Total: $15.00

Remodelaholic is written by Cassity and Justin.  Cassity has a degree in interior design and Justin is a landscape architect, so we adore everything that makes up a HOME!  We love to share home remodeling ideas and projects we’re working on. From huge kitchen renovation ideas to small bathroom remodels, there isn’t anything we won’t try to tackle (at least once!).  We are in the midst of our third whole home renovation, so there should be a lot more inspiration coming your way.  We hope that you will stop by often for home design inspiration, tutorials, interior design tips, delicious recipes and what is going on in our family life.
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. One of the best demonstrations I’ve seen. Love the idea of using cabinet door facings. Wish I has seen this before I went out and bought an old wood panel door that I have to strip down and resize.

  2. Love it! Love a fellow skinflint as well(aka mom). I have three large cabinet doors that I bought for a changing room, won’t work in my sewing room because the ceiling sloops. Over the garage. Any way I am gonna cut them into, out them together, a little scrap wood and a lot of seat in Alabama, and “snap”. A headboard to hand on the wall! Yep gonna hang her just like yours. Wish me luck, think that I’m gonna print this off. Thanks again. God, I love women with tools. Channeling my inner Tim Allen. ????

  3. I found your post today and I absolutely love this! I’m in my sixties so I’ll have to ask my husband to help me BUT I have the cabinet doors. With your wonderfully detailed instructions I think it’s do-able. Thanks so much for sharing this, you’ve made my day!