How to Build a Rustic Headboard By Thomas Baker of This Old House magazine

SKILL: MODERATE

While the mattress is the key to a bed’s comfort, the headboard is what defines its style. Case in point: this handsome planked headboard, which evokes the warmth and historical character of a stable in an old barn.

This is an easy, straightforward project to build. Working together, TOH general contractor Tom Silva and TOH host Kevin O’Connor managed to complete it in just a few hours, using materials readily available at many home centers. The base is a sheet of ½-inch birch plywood backed by 2x4s, and the rough-sawn boards covering the plywood are stained, kiln-dried poplar from Weaber Lumber. Conveniently packed in boxes, these weathered wallboards are free of the bugs, fungi, and peeling paint that you might find in boards actually salvaged from abandoned barns. Because the poplar pieces don’t line up perfectly edge to edge, Tom painted the plywood black to make any gaps look like shadows.

STEP ONE // How to Build a Rustic Headboard

Overview

rough sawn headboard overview illustration
ILLUSTRATION BY DOUG ADAMS

Tom and Kevin take you step-by-step through the entire building process. If you like what you see, consider giving it a shot. You may soon find yourself dozing off beneath your own handmade headboard.

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