Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Door headboard tutorial

I'm still unpacking from my glorious trip to Savannah with my best friend. But that deserves an entire posting in itself. But in the mean time, here's a tutorial to keep you entertained while you wait.

I made a door headboard a while ago for a girl named Kaylee. It apparently is a blog favorite out there because I get e-mails asking how I did it all the time. It looked like this.

Well, here you go if you were one of those people.

First, get an old paneled door. If you're lucky you might be able to find one on craigslist. If not, I would look at any architectural salvage place. If you live in Phoenix, Stardust is a good one. Cut off the bottom of the door so it's the same length on both sides like so...

Here's my lover cutting wood in flip flops. (My shop teacher in high school would lapse into a coma if he saw us working in the garage. I swear I'm always one rusty nail away from lock jaw... Back to the tutorial.)

Cut your molding at 45 degrees the entire length of the door like so...

Don't worry about sanding now, you will do it all over before painting. Next you'll glue and finish nail the molding to the door.

Then glue and nail a 1x4  to the top. Cut the 1x4 a few inches longer than the molding at the top on either end.

Next, sand the whole thing to get off anything sticking up. It's not necessary to sand all the way to the original wood. We're just painting it after all. Then paint the whole thing a solid color. I made my friend Jen do this part because it's super boring. Plus the headboard is for her and I like to pawn off the dirty work.

Then distress.

Add a few worm holes with a hammer and an nail. You don't have to do this part. My weirdness just likes to imagine tiny worms living in my wood, eating food until they have a belly ache. Too many kids books I guess.

Now you're ready to stain. I always use minwax and I really like Dark Walnut. But provincial is a little lighter and still a really great color over any paint.

This part makes people nervous. But it's not rocket surgery. You just have to do it a couple times to get the hang of the consistency.

Wipe on.

Wipe off.

How many of you said that in Mr. Miyagi's voice? Start light and keep wiping on and off to make it darker. The longer you keep the stain on before wiping the darker it will be. So don't get distracted.

Then you're all finished! Let it dry and hang it!

See? Way darker than the original color.

A close up of the egg and dart molding. And those worm holes I love so much.

Here are some tips to remember.

1. Get a lighter color than the end result. The stain makes all paint waaaay darker.
2. In my opinion, you can never distress too much.
3. Use a door with horizontal panels. Vertical ones just look weird.
4. Don't forget to hydrate with an ice cold soft drink. I swear it makes work more enjoyable.

That's about it. I'm going to try and do another tutorial at the end of the week from a pinterest project so stick around.


  1. I had to share this on my blog. Sounds fancy, but I only have 3 followers right now, but all 3 Should see this!!!

    I'm fascinated with the creativity of turning a door into a headboard.

    Love the trim detail!
    Great Job

  2. This IS rather awesome. Thanks for the tutorial! But, let's talk about that adorable art ABOVE the cute headboard, shall we? Did you or your friend make those? 'Cause that is some serious cuteness, and I wanna know about that. K? Ok. thanks

  3. I love this!!! Thanks for sharing! What size bed did you make the headboard for?

  4. This may be a dumb question, but how did you mount the headboard to the wall?

  5. This may be a dumb question, but how did you mount the headboard to the wall? This is beautiful, btw.

  6. How did you get the molding to wrap around the corners like that? The only molding I could find has a flat, raw edge. Hmm.

  7. Help! Did you use an oil based paint or water? We've been working on this technique and are running into issues with water based paint and an oil based stain. It's not getting the same results.

    Any help would be appreciated!

  8. I love the project and am about to attempt it, but I think I love your writing style at least as much as your woodworking expertise. Sounds like your English teachers were as talented as your shop teacher. :)

  9. What is the name of the yellow paint u used

  10. Love this!! My son made a headboard and foot for their bed from old doors. Weighs a ton, so it may have to go with their house if they sell it,lol!

  11. love it, thank you so much for the help.

  12. what size bed does this fit?

  13. How did you mount the headboard?