Make a pine headboard

Making a headboard is not difficult and adds that something extra to any bed. Follow these step-by-step instructions to make an easy pine headboard that finishes off any style of bed.

Headboard 1

The project will take about a week from start to finish and cost between R350 to R450 for the finished headboard. Not bad when you think how much it would cost to buy a new headboard !

2 of 144 x 22 x 2.4m PAR pine
2 of 44 x 44 x 1.8m PAR pine
2 of 44 x 22 x 1.8m PAR pine
6 x 30mm dowels
Wood glue
Paint finish of your choice
Drill / Driver plus assorted bits
Countersink bit
Steel rule
Jigsaw or circular saw
Orbital sander plus 120- and 240-grit sanding pads
Tape measure and pencil


headboard 1b



1. The bed for which this was made is exactly 1 470mm wide. So the main beams need to be 1 470 – 88 (each leg is 44x44) = 1 382mm. To create a curve for the top beam, position two blocks as shown: one 30mm down from the edge and 150mm in from the end; the other 65mm down from the top corner.

headboard 2
2. Then use a 600mm steel rule to create the curve and mark with a pencil.

headboard 3
3. Carefully cut the curve using a jigsaw, but do not discard the offcuts! You can use the jigsaw to help refine the curvature and, when you are clamping the pieces together, an offcut presents a flat surface to the clamp heads and spreads the load without making an impression on the curve.

headboard 4
4. Having cut the profile, use a router to round off the edge for a decorative finish.

headboard 5
5. Bevel the top of each leg so that the beams meet the leg, as shown.

headboard 6
6. Now comes the challenging part … because there is not one screw or nail in this entire project – only dowels! Cut all your 205mm spacers to length and dry position them as shown, spacing them for best effect and marking the position of each.

headboard 7
7. Now use a gauge to mark the centre line in each and drill two 16mm-deep holes in each end for the dowels. (Each dowel is 30mm, so the total depth of both holes combined – 32mm – allows the dowels to be seated properly, and roughly equally, into both pieces of timber making up the joint.)

headboard 8
8. Drill all the holes in one spacer, insert points (brass inserts that are used to precisely mark the position of each dowel hole), position the spacer and press it against the join. The points will now have small indentations showing where the holes need to be drilled.

headboard 9
9. Mark each join as you go: 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 etc; this ensures that you match up every pair of corresponding timbers each time. As your drilling will normally vary slightly each time, this ensures that all the holes are properly aligned.

headboard 10
10. Use the first pair of dowels to position the holes for the second set, and so on.

headboard 11
11. All drilled and ready to go … apply glue to each dowel and, using clamps and a little light tapping (use a cushioning block of scrap), complete the joins.


You can never have too many clamps!

headboard 12
12. While the glue cures, glue two spacers to the back of the headboard and an additional one to each leg, four in all, to keep the headboard clear of the wall and the skirting board.

headboard 13
13. Attach the legs using the same procedure as when assembling the main frame.

headboard 14

14. The finished headboard in position and ready for a head or two. The spacers added to the rear surface ensure that the headboard is held absolutely vertically against the wall.


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