Here’s a step-by-step process to make the newest addition to your master bedroom: a DIY pallet headboard.

How to Make a Pallet Headboard

Everybody loves a fun DIY weekend project, and what better resource to use than free, accessible wood pallets? Whether you’re looking to save money on some new furniture or trying to take a more environmentally friendly approach to your home improvement, wood pallets are the perfect versatile and cost-effective solution.

Here’s a step-by-step process to make the newest addition to your master bedroom: a DIY pallet headboard.

Things you’ll need:

  • Pallets (I used a total of four)
  • Five 2×4 boards and one 2×6 board
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Hand sander and sandpaper (Preferably 60 grain)
  • Paint or stain of your choice (I chose white, low-gloss)
  • Miter saw
  • Wood screws
  • Trim nailer gun
  • Measuring tape

Step 1: Gather Your Pallets

diy pallet headboard: gather pallets

For this specific project, I used four total pallets. Depending on the size you’d like to make your headboard, you may want to pick up a few more (or few less). A tip of advice: I purposely selected pallets of several shades – some light and some dark – so that the headboard would have a few different tones showing throughout.

Next, you have to remove the wooden boards from the pallets. A reciprocating saw simply cuts through the nails that hold the pallet boards to the frame. To make things a little easier, you may want to remove the nails from the pallet boards with a hammer and nail punch.

Once you accomplish this, you have your individual wooden pallet boards and you’re ready to begin!

Step 2: Sand Down the Boards

Since this DIY pallet headboard will be close to your bed (and your skin), you want to make sure the edges are rounded and the wood isn’t too coarse.  Remember: with sandpaper, the lower the number, or grain, the rougher it is. I went with 60-grain, which was the perfect smoothness.

Attach the sandpaper to the sander and sand down the boards until they’re at a desired smoothness. Make sure you also sand the edges so that the corners aren’t too sharp.

Step 3: Paint the Pallet Boards Your Desired Color

diy pallet headboard: paint pallets

Once your pallets are at a desired smoothness, it’s time to paint them the color of your choice. Since my master bedroom walls are gray, I went with a whitewash theme. Whitewashing gives the overall look of white but also has a rustic, vintage feel since the natural wood grain still shows through.

To achieve the whitewash look, you need one part paint to two parts water. The more water you add, the more natural the look will be.

Mix the paint and water together and run the whitewash mix over the pallets with a paintbrush. Let this dry overnight.

Step 4: Make the Frame

Making the frame is a key step because this will be the entire foundation to your DIY pallet headboard. Eventually, your pallet boards will attach to the frame. For this step you’ll need five 2×4 pieces of lumber (eight feet long), a miter saw, a drill and exterior screws.

  • First, measure the height and width of your bed to decide on a frame size.or perspective, we went with a frame that was 60 inches tall and 68 inches wide.
  • Using the miter saw, you’ll need to cut two 2×4  boards to the height of the headboard and two to fit within this width to form a basic frame.
  • Form an outer frame with three pieces, and place the bottom piece where you’d like your headboard to end (somewhere around the middle of the frame).
  • Attach the frame together using a drill and exterior screws. Then, you need to measure the rest of your boards to fit within your frame.
  • Measure from the top of the frame to the bottom and cut three 2×4 boards to fit those measurements.
  • Using screws again, drill the final three interior frame boards so that they are spaced evenly within the frame.

Step 5: Attach the Pallet Boards to the Frame

diy pallet headboard: trim nailer gun

Once you have your frame completed, it’s time to attach your painted pallet boards. First, you have to decide on a pattern and how many boards you’d like to see in each row. I decided to stick with the pattern of two per row. Next, you have to measure your pallets so they fit within the width of the headboard.

Note: You have to measure the pallet boards so that each one will fit within your frame. They must be nailed to the first, second, third or fourth post of your frame. If not, the pallet boards will be nailed to thin air, rather than being attached to a sturdy frame.

Using the miter saw, cut the pallet boards to your chosen length. Use a trim nail gun to secure the pallet boards to the headboard frame (in all three places). Feel free to be generous with the nails. They are so tiny you can barely see them.

Tip of advice:  While I created my pattern on the headboard, I had tons of smaller pieces left over, but I nearly ran out of long pallet boards to use. It would be a great idea to have a few extra painted boards on hand during this step, in case you need longer ones to cut down.

Step 6: Add Finishing Touches to Your DIY Pallet Headboard

diy pallet headboard: add shelf

You can choose to add any finishing touches that you’d like – from paint, to a glossy finish, to patterns. I chose to add a shelf on the top of my headboard to complete the look.

Using a 2×6 board, center the board over your existing frame so that it hangs off two inches on both sides. Mount the shelf and drill the board to the top of the frame.

Next, using the same white paint as before (or whichever paint you wish), paint the shelf and exterior frame. This helps the shelf to stand out from the rest of the headboard.

Once your pallet headboard is dry, you’re all set to carry it in your bedroom (with some helping hands of course), to add finishing touches like books, vases and photo frames.

Making your own pallet headboard may take a few hours of work, but it’s certainly a fun, cost-effective way to add some natural decor to your master bedroom.

About the Author

Molli Spear

Molli is an expert in all things related to moving, storage, and home organization. She graduated from Niagara University with a Bachelor's degree and spent several years of her career in the self storage industry. As a mother of three and a stay-at-home mom, Molli knows how difficult it can be to stay organized at home when things are feeling a little cramped. That's why she contributes to the Life Storage Blog.

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