Build a King-Sized Pallet Headboard

Build a King-Sized Pallet Headboard

Step-by-step project guide on how to build a king-sized pallet headboard from scratch. This style headboard can be made for any size bed. Read more to see what I did with this pile of wood.

This project goes with the king-sized platform bed frame build I completed in April. Check it out here:

Earlier in the week I talked about my inspiration board (previously on Rachel’s Pinterest…but now I have my own!). By now you should know at least this much about me: I dig beat-up, recycled, rough looking furniture. A quick search for “headboards” on Pinterest and I found just the kind of headboard I was looking for. Now it’s time to build it!

First things first: I didn’t re-use a pallet. While it may have been easier that way (in that I wouldn’t have had to create my own wear and tear on the wood), I’ve read multiple articles regarding the hazards of re-using chemically treated pallets. There’s some debate on the topic, and I’m no expert, but I’d rather not sleep on it (get it?).  See for yourself.

I picked up (5) 1×6′s and used scrap 1×4′s and 1×2′s.

The platform bedframe I built is 80″ wide and so…this will be too! I cut the two “legs” at 50″ in height and used them to line-up the inside 1×6′s. I made random cuts, making sure to stagger the joints in each row. There is no way to mess this up, as long as the planks add up to 80″ in length.

Here’s the rough layout. See how I threw in a couple 1×4′s and 1×2′s?

I drilled each plank with a 13/64 bit to simulate a disassembled pallet look. I also roughed up the wood with my sander, hammer and random hardware.

Here’s a closer look…

Late last night I stained the planks with rustoleum dark walnut. If you saturate the wood with water prior to brushing on the stain, the wood won’t absorb as much stain, thus giving it a lighter tone.

Looks cool!


I flipped everything over and started screwing the slats into the supports and legs. I will be putting supports every 20″, 3 supports total. The smaller pieces that dont make it over a support will be bracketed.

Just when things were starting to roll, the weather started getting crazy. I had to rush out back and bring in the grill as we were getting 60mph wind gusts!


3 minutes later…!

I packed it up once I heard the BANG! from the grill falling over and lighting striking too close for comfort.

I finished assembling the headboard yesterday. Here’s how it looks:

As I stated earlier, I have (3) supports 20″ apart along with brackets wherever they were needed. This makes the headboard EXTREMELY sturdy and fairly heavy.

I attached the top piece of moulding by counter sinking 4 screws into the top legs and slats. I covered them up with wood putty and will go over the putty with stain before I clearcoat.

Here’s how it looks uncoated! Stay tuned for the final update with pictures in the bedroom later this week (I’m going to give the clearcoat a few days to dry out).

After putting on one coat of polyeurethane, I lightly sanded the headboard with 220-grit paper. I put on a generous final coat and called it done!

Because we have a platform bed and it sits very low, I’m opting to attach the headboard to the wall and not the bed frame.

I had a bunch of scrap 2×6′s lying around, so I cut them down to 4″ and made a 45 degree cut with my miter saw. The idea is to have the bottom piece mounted to the wall (with a 3-1/2″ screw in a stud) and the top piece mounted to the back of the headboard.

I have 4 sets of these to secure the headboard to the wall. One for each stud.

Speaking of studs! It’s my sleepy assistant!

Alright so I’ve got them all mounted and LEVELED. Very important.

mount pallet headboard
I have the headboard supports mounted with 2″ wood screws. I pre-drill before screwing to eliminate wood crackin’.

Here’s a closer look.

I lift the headboard up with my he-man strength (this sucker is heavy), and tuck the top supports into the corresponding wall supports.

pallet headboard
This is when I took a deep breath of relief. IT STANDS!

Not going to lie…I had a dumb smile on my face when it was secure and all my measurements lined up.

Lookin’ good with those ikea hemnes nightstands I refinished.

Check this out…

This was back in early April.

pallet headboard
And this is now!

pallet headboard
I had a lot of fun with this one. If you have any questions on process, products used or just want to say meh, it looks OK…leave a comment below!


  1. Laurie
    Aug 05, 2012 @ 09:53:02

    Looks good Rick. Can’t wait to see it attached to the bed!


  2. Patrick Astley
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 15:53:23

    BRRRRRRRRRRRO! This is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I


    • Rick
      Oct 16, 2012 @ 22:01:24

      Thanks brrrrrrrrrro! Glad you like it!


  3. DJ
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:40:15

    This is phenomenally amazing! What type of wood did you use?


    • Rick
      Feb 25, 2013 @ 23:29:21

      Thanks DJ! It was a fun build. It’s the cheapest type of pine I could find at home depot or menards. It was already distressed and cracked prior to my hitting it with hard objects!


  4. Amy Harris Brand
    Mar 03, 2013 @ 18:54:39

    Love this! In the process of dismantling pallets (well, ok, my husband is)…was thinking I’d put the boards vertical but love the way yours looks…may reconsider…this is for our vacation home so hopefully the chemicals from the pallets won’t kill us…not right away, at least! :)


    • Rick
      Mar 03, 2013 @ 19:09:23

      thanks! so glad you like it! but seriously, be careful with those pallets. I heard the heat treated ones are alright, but unless they’re marked it’s hard to tell. at least wear gloves and face masks/respirators while you work with them and…SLEEP! haha! let me know if you have any questions, I’ll be right here!


  5. Matt
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 23:33:24

    Looks great! When staining, did you randomly Pre-soak the boards with water or was it more systematic to get the light/dark pattern you had? Thanks for the inspiration! Can’t wait to build this.


    • Rick
      Jul 23, 2013 @ 09:49:24

      Hey Matt- It was fairly random. I tried to get 3-4 tones and place the darkest pieces next to the lightest in a few spots for maximum contrast. The more water-logged you get a piece the less stain it will take, so I kind of experimented with that. Awesome to have inspired you, let me know how it goes!


  6. Mark
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 00:20:30

    I absolutely love this! I’m really new to staining though (as in I have never stained before). I was wondering if you could share a little more on your technique?

    When you say you soaked the boards before you stained them, did you physically dunk them in water like just letting them soak in the bath tub or something or did you just use a spray bottle of water and hose them down letting the water absorb into the wood? Do you remember what intervals you soaked them? ie the dark ones for 5 min, the light ones for 30 min, etc, etc…

    After you soaked them did you wait for them to dry before staining or did you just wipe the water off of them and stain them right away while they were still a little moist?

    And then when you stained, did you leave the stain on for the same amount of time for all of them or did you stagger that as well? If you staggered, do you remember the time amount you staggered them?

    Sorry to ask so many questions, just really impressed with your project and really scared about staining.

    Thanks in advance for any help and advice you can give!


    • Rick
      Jul 28, 2013 @ 00:58:30

      Mark- Don’t be scared! I’ll try to break it down the best I can. I filled up an old Tupperware container about half way with water and physically brushed the water onto the wood. Since wood is porous, it will absorb the water first, then the stain second. By putting more water on (i.e. completely saturating the wood), the less stain will be able to be absorbed.

      SO! The lightest pieces were completely saturated with water (by brushing it on), then immediately stained (with a separate brush). This is messy, so make sure you work on an old tarp or something. The darkest pieces only took stain, no water. To achieve the middle tones I experimented a bit by brushing only some water on the pieces, being careful not to overly saturate the wood.

      To sum it up: Darkest: Stain with a brush, immediately wipe off excess stain with rag. Medium: Brush some water, then brush stain and wipe accordingly. Lightest: Saturate with water, brush on stain and wipe.

      Hope this helps you out a bit, glad you like it!


  7. Mark
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 21:25:07

    Thanks Rick for your advice! I’m going to give it a try this hopefully next weekend. Curious, did you sand the boards first, or did you just use them as is from the hardware store? Also I assume the sealer you used was just a regular polyurethane satin clear coat?


    • Rick
      Aug 01, 2013 @ 21:32:19

      Yep, all of the boards were sanded first. And yes, you are correct! I used a satin poly clear coat.


  8. Tori
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 04:52:09

    What type of board did you use? I am new to this and see all these different boards.


    • Rick
      Nov 10, 2013 @ 16:35:24

      Tori- The boards are as follows: (5) 1×6′s with scrap 1×4′s and 1×2′s. All of the boards are cheap pine.


  9. Lisa
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 14:57:54

    This is gorgeous. The room is peaceful and serene and the headboard is lovely. Going onto my Honey-Do list today!!


    • Rick
      Nov 17, 2013 @ 11:36:12

      Lisa- Thank you very much! We really enjoy the space. Good luck with your honey-do list!


  10. Theresa L.
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 13:02:28

    Did you make the side tables as well? My husband and I are going on 11 years of marriage and have never had a bedroom set. So, we’re just going to build it.
    I LOVED what you did and hope we can replicate …. or at least come close! :)


    • Rick
      Feb 07, 2014 @ 14:12:22

      Theresa – 11 years! My gosh I’d say it’s time for a bedroom set! The side tables are from Ikea, but I refinished them. Check that out here. Good luck! I think you’ll find your bedroom oasis much more satisfying after doing it yourself!


  11. Sarah
    Mar 01, 2014 @ 16:32:04

    LOVE!! I’d like to make me one. Just curious, do you remember about how much you spent, total?
    Single mom gotta budget. :)


    • Rick
      Mar 02, 2014 @ 09:09:24

      Hey there! You can absolutely do this project on the cheap! I’d say $75 total. Though I’m sure you can do it for less though if you’ve got some extra supplies and materials or if you get creative. Here’s a couple ideas…

      - Purchase lower quality pine or whitewood. If some of the pieces are cracked at the store, perhaps they’ll give you a discount? You’ll never know if you never ask! We are going for a rough look, you know! This is what I did with my headboard.

      - Scrap wood lying around? Use it!

      - Use leftover stain from a previous project -or- make some homemade stain (mix white vinegar/steel wool. You can even add tbsp of coffee grounds to get a richer color)

      That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. If I think of anything else I’ll let you know!


  12. Sara George
    May 18, 2014 @ 01:26:04

    awesome !!!!


    • Rick
      May 22, 2014 @ 17:23:12

      Thanks Sara!


  13. Amanda
    Jun 19, 2014 @ 11:16:52

    This looks amazing!! We’ve recently relocated and I am working hard to make our house a home this time around by adding more personal touches. Did you make the bed frame as well? Is there a tutorial for it??


    • Rick
      Jun 19, 2014 @ 12:24:54

      Thanks Amanda! Sounds like you’re in the same boat as I am, we just relocated again too! Yep, I built the bed frame a few years ago…check this out. Good luck with your new place!


  14. Belinda
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 01:29:25

    I like this very much…gonna try it out, always wanted to do this but my hubby thinks i cant makes me wanna do it even more.thanks for sharing this and your bedroom looks col…….love it…..well done.


  15. Tammy
    Jul 20, 2014 @ 19:45:41

    Looks AMAZING!


    • Rick
      Jul 22, 2014 @ 17:29:19

      Thank you Tammy!


  16. David
    Aug 11, 2014 @ 10:42:21

    Do you have a link when you built the platform? Thanks looks awesome!


  17. Alex
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 04:19:21

    Looks great Rick good job! Think I will give it a go!

    BUT, I rent so cant go drilling supports into the wall for the headboard. Do you have any ideas on how you could fix this to the bed? Would bolting the two side supports to the back of the base work do you think?
    Or would you suggest building the supports into the base when making that?


What do you think?