DIY Rustic Headboard (and it’s cheap!)

I almost don’t even want to share this secret because it was so easy, and really fun to do. I can safely assume my father will never browse the internet for design blogs so I have the satisfaction that he will continue admiring my handiwork blindly.

rustic headboard for man DIY

Modern meets rustic man

Here is a detailed breakdown of the materials I used, all available at a local hardware store:

1x6x8 unfinished framing lumber, approx. $2.00 x 7

3 or 4 wood stains of various colours, ea. approx $14.00 (I bought one and used existing)

1x3x8 framing lumber for bracing, approx $1.60 x 2


I was inspired by a photo of a headboard on Houzz that was constructed out of reclaimed wood, where each panel was made up of smaller pieces in a brick-like pattern. Each wood segment appeared to be a different species with unique markings and colour differentiation. I also like the modern look of a headboard that sits low and extends wide enough to reach the night tables.

To achieve the staggered pattern I made random pencil marks on each 8 ft panel so it could be sawn into segments. These were laid out in their original form but each stained a different shade- keep in mind you need several coats and drying time between each.

diy headboard bracing

Staining segments; back panel bracing

Once final staining is dry it is time to flip the pieces over and fit them back together. Your 1x3x8 bracing panels must be cut to size to match the constructed height of your 7 boards. You should hammer two nails per board through the brace panel. I chose to nail through the back of the headboard so that nail heads would not be visible, but nails appearing neatly on the front can add to the rustic appeal.

You should have about 4 brace panels secured evenly across the back of the headboard. If it still feels weak, add more.

rustic headboard DIY stain

The next step is to line the headboard up to the bed frame in order to mark where to drill. You’ll need help to hold it in place- this sucker is heavy. Tip- place a piece of cardboard under each side of the headboard so it is not sitting directly on the ground. This will prevent it from scraping across the floor when the bed is moved.

how to attach headboard to bed frame

Align the headboard to the bed frame

Drill the appropriate size for a bolt to fit the frame to the board and secure with a nut and washer.

That’s it.

DIY wood headboard for a guy