Hey all, hubbyhere…
For years, I’ve been the literal “Mr. Fix-It” in our nest. Laura will often show up with a beautiful antique piece of furniture and proudly show it to me, ending her description with “okay now, mister…fix it.” As we say around the shop, she’s the one who makes it pretty, I’m the one who makes it work. It’s a give and take relationship: she gives me work to do and I take it into the garage.
Anyhow, about a year ago, I stumbled into a side venture. I built a sliding barn door for our new brick and mortar store from leftover flooring strips because we didn’t want a door that encumbered the inventory room or the workshop space. We had room for a sliding barn door and Laura has always wanted one. She really loved it, and I soon discovered, so did many other folks! Over the last 6 months, I have built countless custom barn doors, tables and other pieces for customers. As a Christmas gift, I had the opportunity to surprise my sister with a custom headboard. And, of course, when you have a #blogwife, no good project goes undocumented.
So, building off of a template I sourced from the Shanty Sisters at Shanty2Chic (who, B-T-dubs deserve applause as they began filming a pilot for HGTV this week), this is my walk-through for a DIY Barn Door Headboard.
At the end of the post, you’ll find the What You Need List and What You Should Have List, along with my Tips & Pearls.
I was building a standard QUEEN sized headboard, so I cut 17 – 1×4’s to 30 1/4 inches. 16 will form the interior of the headboard, while the 17th will be the center of the facing on the board.
Next, I cut 2 – 2×4’s to 56 inches. The 56-inch width is the full width of the 16 1×4’s laid side-by-side. Note: Your width may vary, based on how wide you’re making your bed. Be sure you measure, and then measure again…always measure twice, cut once.
Third, I cut 2 – 2×6’s to a height of 53 inches. These 2×6’s will form the upright posts for the headboard.
*It’s important to note that we’re using 2-inch (commonly called 2x or “two-by”) thick lumber as our frame lumber, and 1-inch (1x or “one-by”) thick lumber as the interior of the headboard. Why? Because when you stack two pieces of 1x wood, it will be flush with the thicker 2x framing.
Set the 2x lumber aside, and inspect the 1x pieces you’ve cut. Pick the best side of each to be the front, allowing you to hide any imperfections, unwanted knots or other unsightly marks in the back. Mark which side is the back of each and set the pieces out. It’s time to drill, baby!
Hopefully you have a Kreg Jig pocket screw hold drill guide. I highly recommend every woodworker, from amateur to professional, have one in their toolkit. If you’ve never used one before, I’ve got some tips later in this post to help.
Set your guide to 3/4-inch thick, your drill depth stop to the same, and drill three holes along one side of every piece of 1x…one near the top, one in the center, one near the bottom. Also drill one hole at the top and at the bottom to attach to the frame. Finally, your last piece will need those five holes, PLUS three more facing the other direction.
Lay out your two cut pieces of 2×4 in your workspace. Lay out some scrap pieces of 1×4 parallel to them. The scrap lumber keeps the back of the pieces all flush together. Using 1 1/2-inch pocket screws and working one piece at a time, screw one end into one of the 2x4s, then attach it to the 1×4 beside it. Work your way across until all the 1×4 is in place. Attach the other 2×4 to the other side. Congrats, you’re over halfway done!
Flipping the whole thing over, we’re now ready to attach the facing. Remember the 17th piece of 1×4 I had cut? I centered it on the boards and screwed it on from the back using 1 1/4-inch wood screws. By this point, I had lost feeling in my fingers (always a god thing when you’re working with power tools), so I was ready to skip some math. I took the two pieces that would make up the diagonals and set them over the headboard where I wanted them to be, lining up the edges and tracing a line from above. I measured the angle (36.5°) and set my chop saw to the same angle. Two pieces and one cut later, I was ready for the other side. I set the cut edges back into place and drew a line on the other end. These were cut and screwed in to ensure fit (again, from behind with 1 1/4-inch wood screws).
To attach the posts, set your pocket drill guide to 1 1/2 inches and drill two holes on the back on each end of your 2x4s. Use 2 1/2-inch pocket screws to attach hold everything together. Of course, if you’re planning on transporting the headboard somewhere, I advise you to leave the posts unattached for the time being.
Measure the total width of your headboard (this one is 67 inches) and cut the 1×3 to a length 2 inches longer (this one is 71″). Cut the last 2×4 to a length 4 inches wider than your headboard, or 2 inches wider than your 1×3 (this one is 73″).
Attach the 1×3 onto the 2×4 using wood screws or wood glue and nails, leaving a one-inch overlap on each side. Then attach this to your frame, using the same depth on your pocket drill guide, but a longer pocket screw (I used 3-inch screws) on the back of the top 2×4 of the frame.
Congratulations. It’s time for a celebratory drink, depending on how you celebrate, because you’re done with the construction work! Normally, this is where I would sign off on the project and hand it back over to the #blogwife, but I’ve recently fallen in love with General Finishes Gel Stains, so I wanted to complete this project by myself.
Back in the warmth of our shop, I pulled out the General Finishes Gel Stain in Java and set to work. (I won’t extol the wonders of GF’s Gel Stains in this post mainly because, like a Meatloaf song, my praises would go on and on and on. Suffice to say, I swear by the stuff.) One coat, some minor distressing and a few minutes later, I was done.
I then protected all of my work with a General Finishes High-Performance Poly topcoat in Flat.
We brought the Barn Door Replica Headboard to my sister’s house and installed it as a surprise Christmas gift. Laura also gifted two lamps to accent her nightstands.
Lumber You’ll Need (for a Queen Sized Bed)
(8) 8′ x 1×4
(1) 8′ x 1×3
(1) 10′ x 2×6
(1) 10′ x 2×4
(1) 8′ x 2×4
What You Should Have
Compound Miter Saw
Power Drill (I use Ryobi)
Kreg Jig Pocket Screw Hole Guide
Pocket Screws (1 1/2-inch, 2 1/2-inch, 3-inch)
Wood Screws (1 1/4-inch,
Tips & Pearls:
1. Definitely avoid picking the coldest day possible to work outside. How do you know if it is too cold? If your car window has ice crystals like this, it’s a safe bet that it is too cold.
2. When using a phone with a rear and front facing camera, a phone that also happens to have voice commands for taking pictures, ensure the rear facing camera is selected. No #UnexpectedSelfies.
3. Try not to spill your box of pocket screws.
Tips for using a Pocket Hole Drill Guide
1. Don’t be afraid. They’re not that difficult.
2. Match your measurements to your wood. The depth stop on the drill and the stops on the guide should both be the same, and equal to the width of your wood.
4. When in doubt, test. You want your screw to exit in the center of the wood.
5. If precise hole placement isn’t necessary, don’t be afraid to move quickly. Just be safe.
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