Make Your Own Headboard From A Door And Mantel Shelf In 7 Easy Steps

Posted on: 20 February 2015

If you are tired of your headboard, then make your own. It's an easy project that anyone can do, and you will have a beautiful piece of custom piece of furniture in your bedroom when finished. Here is what you need and how you can do it:

Materials and tools needed

  • Door – hollow core doors are inexpensive, and they can be easily cut to the appropriate length. Choose one that has a width of at least 30 inches.

  • Unfinished mantel shelf – these are similar to a fireplace mantel, but they serve as decorative shelves. Mantel shelves can be purchased in a variety of shapes and sizes.

  • One-by-two inch hardwood board – maple, oak, cherry, hickory or other hardwoods are ideal.

  • Measuring tape

  • Circular saw – use a fine tooth saw blade to avoid chipping the edge of the door.

  • Straight edge

  • Pencil

  • Wood glue

  • Long clamps

  • Paint of your choice

Assembling the headboard

An overview – before you start, it is helpful to get an idea of what the project will look like when finished. The door is going to be cut to match your mattress width and then flipped on its long edge. Thin boards will be glued to each end of the door to cover up the open spaces exposed during cutting. Next the mantel shelf will be glued to the long edge of the door at the top in order to simulate crown molding. Finally, the headboard will be painted and mounted.

1. Measure door length – looking at your door, determine where you would like the center to be on your headboard. Make a perpendicular mark across the door with a pencil at your chosen center point. Subtract the width of your mattress from the total length of the door, and divide the result in two; this is how much you will need to cut from each end of the door with the circular saw.

For example, if your door is 80 inches long, and the width of your mattress is 60 inches, the standard width of a queen-size bed, subtract 60 from 80, which is equal to 20. Next, divide 20 by two, and the answer of 10 inches tells you that 10 inches should be removed from both ends of the door as measured from the center line. Measure 10 inches from each end and mark straight lines with a straight edge across the door at that location.

2. Cut the door – Once the door is marked, use a circular saw to cut the ends of the door. In general, the more teeth on the blade, the finer the cut will be, and you will experience less splintering as you saw. Pay careful to stay on the line and make your cuts as straight as possible.

3. Cut your trim pieces – using the circular saw, cut the one-by-two boards into lengths equal to the door's width. For example, with a 30 inch wide door, cut the boards into 30 inch lengths.

4. Attach the trim pieces – glue one trim piece to each end of the door that you cut. Align the pieces so they are flush with the front of the door, and use long clamps to hold the pieces in place until the glue is dry.

5. Measure and cut the mantel shelf – if the mantel shelf is longer than the width of your mattress, you will also need to remove excess material. However, you need to be careful that you take into account the overhanging ends of the shelf, and don't include those into the measurement. Instead, be sure your your measurements are based on the back of the shelf where it attaches to the wall. This will allow it line up evenly with the door.

Similar to step 2, subtract the mattress width from the mantel shelf length, and divide the answer by two. Find the exact center of your mantel shelf, and mark it lightly with pencil. Measure back from the center on each side of the line the distance calculated above, and cut across the shelf in both locations. This will form three pieces of shelving, but you can discard the middle piece. When you put the two remaining pieces together, they should form a section of shelf equal to the door's new length.

6. Attach the mantel shelving to the door – glue the mantel shelf pieces to the side of the door where the hinges are mounted. Line the pieces up so they are flush with the back of the door and so the joint between the two pieces is as narrow as possible. Again, clamp the pieces in position until the glue dries.

7. Paint and mount the headboard – your new headboard can be painted in any color you wish, and distressing the paint will provide a faux-antique appearance. Once you have finished the headboard, it can be mounted directly to the wall behind your bed from a company like Design Center Furniture using wood screws driven into the wall studs.


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