Headboard 101

I had posted a while ago about our headboard inspiration for our new house here in Portland.  Click here to catch up.  There are times in life when you see something you love, try to recreate it, and it turns out horribly.  Your expectations were so high, the original too good…you know how the story goes. I am happy to say this was NOT the case with our headboard.

Mr. Fancy Pants never ceases to amaze me.  We joke with him all the time that he should be able to do everything, a Jack of all Trades if you will, because he is an Eagle Scout.  In all seriousness though, the man can do everything.  I had no idea he knew how to use power tools or BUILD something for that matter!  Only one thing to say about that.  I was wrong.

If you didn’t see my previous post, here was our inspiration for our bed in our new house.

Reclaimed wood headboard from the Ace Hotel

We discussed wood first.  Considering the wood would pretty much make or break the piece, we wanted to make sure that we had lumber with character.  A friend in Austin suggested going to The ReBuilding Center–the area’s largest collection of building and remodeling materials.  That was our plan until my mother called and offered to bring up the wood that used to make up the fence from my childhood home in Texarkana, TX.  Free lumber that has already been aged for 10+ years?  YES please!

Mom graciously (though there is not really a word that will touch the surface of what all she did for us) offered to come help us pack in Austin and unpack in Portland.  She brought about 20 panels from the old fence with her up to Austin and we loaded them into the moving truck along with everything else.  For those of you who care about the construction, I am going to go through our process as best I can, for those who don’t, enjoy the pictures!


  • 10 recycled fence boards (6′ x 8″)
  • 3 extra stained boards (6′ x 4″)  — We threw these in for some variation
  • 4 pieces of wood to act as braces (88.5″ x 3.5″)
  • Table saw (thank you ADX!!)
  • 2 x 100 count boxes of black wood screws

We wanted our headboard to be 92″ tall which is how we determined how many boards to use.  We had extra stained wood from our shelving project (more on that later) and we decided to mix it in to break up the board sizes.  We also decided that we wanted to have more of a “laid brick” look to it.  Rather than keeping all of the boards the full 6′ long we cut them in varying lengths to mix and match.  You’ll see from the pictures, all of the boards were different colors so this added a lot to the overall look.  The boards were 6′ long.  We arranged the rows the boards into three variations: 

  • Full length (6′)
  • 1/3 + 2/3 (24″ board + 48″ board)
  • 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 (3 x 24″ boards)

Mr. Fancy Pants cutting down our fence posts to the lengths we need!

You can't see it but I have some SWEET protective eyewear on (and by sweet I mean not cool at all).

We laid out the brace boards equal distance apart and began piecing together the fence wood on top.

Making progress! Since all of our lumber was a little different color, we tried to mix and match between the boards we had cut to put together good color variation.

Still working! I would like to on record of saying that I was helping, I am just helper & photographer. Please don't think I made William build this by himself. I'm a good helper!

In go the screws. We put a screw into the brace along each cut in the wood. The larger boards had two screws on top of each other (vertically) and the smaller screws just one.

It is now about 10:30 at night (on a week night) after a run to Wal-Mart for more wood screws. We get it into the house and this is the look on his face. I think it says, "How do I let you talk me into this stuff??"

















To which I say, "Isn't it worth it?!?!!?" Here's the finished product minus the skinny top board that went on after the bed frame was built. The headboard would have been too tall to stand up had we put it on with the others.

We set out next to buy a mattress, find bedding and a bed frame.  The mattress part was easy.  We snagged amazing bedding from Restoration Hardware on sale and then were just waiting to find a bed frame.  After about 2 weeks of searching, we decided, what the heck!  We can build that too!  And so we did.  Stay tuned for the finished product!

  1. Hey, Sweet Sally!

    Your dad told me about your bed and sent me the link! (He is so very proud of you two, just in case you didn’t know 🙂 ) It is so very much fun! I love it, and can’t wait to see the completed project!!! I will save the link this time, so I can keep up with you two West Coast relatives! I am also, so very proud of you for taking this step and cannot wait to see what God has in store for you.

    When I first saw Will with his new glasses, I thought, “wow, he looks like Daddy!” Ya see, Dad had those glasses…. Back -in -the -day! But when I saw Will with a saw AND the glasses, it is crazy how much it reminded me of Daddy!

    Well, we are headed to Baton Rouge shortly to get Jana B moved in, so I had better stay focused on the task-at-hand, finish packing, and do the errand thing so we can leave!

    Take Care,

    Lana B

  2. I am totally stealing this idea. I’m thinking reclaimed pallet boards because I don’t have any of those sexy fence boards. I bought an unfinished frame to try to match things up.

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