Clayton Blog

A Do It Yourself Shabby Chic Headboard For Anybody

If you don’t have a garage or a shop, it can be hard to build all of those awesome Pinterest ideas that you are dying to make. I’m a guy, but I still look to my wife’s account for inspiration when we need something and I think we can build it.


The only problem is that I live in a two bedroom apartment on the third floor. While I have to put off my dreams of living in a tiny house with an ample work shop, I have to pick up my tools and start building something.


Finished do it yourself stained Shabby Chic headboard


When my wife said that she wanted a headboard, it seemed like the perfect project to blog about! Anybody with little time, few tools or downstairs neighbors can make this do it yourself shabby chic project in a couple evenings.


The Project


Although we think shabby chic is our style anyway, building things with a rustic twist means you don’t have to be as precise when you make cuts with simple hand tools, thus taking some pressure and stress off the building process. In fact, you can even rough up your new headboard for an even shabbier look.


This headboard is sized to fit a queen-sized bed, but the width can easily be changed. Once done, you can screw it into the wall behind your bed or attach to the bedframe, as we have chosen to do.


The Tools You Need


  • Cordless drill
  • Combination square
  • A good handsaw
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil


Tools for making a Shabby Chic headboard drill saw combination square


The Materials

  • Five 1”x8”x 5.5’ board
  • Two 1”8”x 4.5’ board
  • Two 1”x2”x59” strips
  • One 1”x3”x68” board
  • Box of 8 gauge, 1.25 in. drywall screws
  • Small can of wood stain (darker stain will hide the screw heads better)
  • Nuts and bolts (if you mount to bed frame)


My grand total was under $100, and you will likely have stain and lots of screws left over for other shabby chic decor projects.


If you want an easier route, buy 10’ or 12’ boards at a home improvement store and have a worker cut the dimensions. You may have to trim a few pieces further, but this saves money, time, and room if you drive a small car.


Step 1: Lay out the "back" for the frame

Make sure the back boards (the ones that are 5.5’ long) are lined up and square. This will be the back. On the top board, mark three inches from the top and make a line (figure 1). Put a vertical line in the middle. This will help you line the top board (figure 2). Line up and attach with three screws.


Marking Shabby Chic  headboard three inchesFigure 1


Putting Shabby Chic headboard backing together pencil center markFigure 2


Step 2: Put in the “sides” and secure with screws

With the back still facing up, put the 1”x8”x4.5’ foot boards on each side, 90° from the main boards. Secure with screws, making sure everything stays (mostly) square.

Our bed is pretty high off the ground, so I used a 4” board at the bottom.


Putting together sides of the Shabby Chic headboard backing



Step 3: Stain pieces

This thing should start looking headboard-ish. I put a drop cloth on my back balcony and stained the main headboard frame with Dark Walnut Minwax.*


Wife Staining homemade Shabby Chic headboard with miniwax


Staining at this point makes the process easier when you put on the three pieces of trim, which should be stained separately. You could start working within a couple hours, but it will feel waxy and sticky unless left to dry for 24 hours.


*Staining indoors is fine as long as you have a good tarp or cloth down and ample ventilation.


Step 4: Attach the trim

This takes the headboard from good to great. These elegantly simple strips of wood will cover the end-grain of the boards and add depth to the project.


Simply imagine a line going vertically down the middle of the strip. Pre-set three screws (one at the bottom, then middle, then top) to one side of that imaginary line. Screw the middle first, so you can adjust the top and bottom to line it up.


Finally, follow the same steps to put in the top piece, leaving about an inch on each side.


Shabby Chic Headboard top trimming screwed down


Step 5: Enjoy that headboard

There you have it! One headboard ready to transform your shabby chic bedroom. Once you buy the materials, this project can take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, and you can easily split up the tasks and have your new shabby chic furniture by the end of the week.


Shabby Chic Bedroom Headboard Project


Enjoy your new headboard and keep tackling projects like a do it yourself superstar.

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Topics Do It Yourself Projects