This might be my favorite DIY project of all time. And I’ve done a lot of DIYing over the years. Pallet headboards might be a trend but it’s a trend I am completely on board with. I love how the reclaimed wood and modern design work perfectly together to create this DIY pallet headboard.
We hung onto these two pallets from our DIY Pallet Wall because I knew I wanted to turn them into something new. Plus using pallets makes this project pretty cheap!
My home decor style has changed over the last 5 years but that’s typical. You get so excited when you move in that you just go for it. As you get settled in you try to create a little more cohesion. It’s natural so don’t worry too much if you feel like you need a change!
Let’s take a look at what we started out with. The pallets had the potential, it just took me a while to get a feel for what it was!
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How to Make a Custom Pallet Headboard
First, let’s talk what tools I used and what tools you can use if you don’t have these.
- Table Saw OR Jig Saw
- Miter Saw OR Jig Saw
- Power Drill (No replacement tool, you really should get a power drill)
- Kreg Jig and Kreg Jig Screws (You can use regular screws but I would recommend using the Kreg Jig System)
- Brad Nailer OR Nails and a Hammer
- Random Orbital Sander OR Sanding by hand
You can get this done with the smaller saws and tools. Just have a steady hand and a little more time.
- Wood glue
Can I just say this was such a fun project to do with the hubs? The weather was nice and the kids loved running around in the backyard. We set up our table saw and miter saw on the back patio then started measuring. The pallets together were too wide for our king size bed. We chose to leave some extra length on the headboard so decide your length. Subtract that length from the total length and divide by two. Dividing by two gives you the length you will cut off of each side with the table saw.
Note: We did not deconstruct our pallets so we had to run them through our table saw one way then flip them over to cut the other side.
Now that you have your pallets cut you can lay them down side by side. I kept getting attacked by the wind pushing over the pallets so laying them down made it much easier.
We started trimming our lumber to the size of the pallets. Be sure to measure each section, not just one side and duplicate). Pallets will not be exactly the same and you want your boards to fit. On our pallet headboard, we chose 1×2’s on each side and a 1×3 in the middle. We also cut 1×6’s for each side. Measure the width of your pallets because you might have a different width.
For the top shelf, we liked having overhang but it’s completely up to you. When taking the measurement for the top shelf you want to account for the addition of a 1×6 board on each side plus any overhang you might want. Don’t worry there are tons of uses for scrap wood!
Your next step is to paint and stain. This thing is massive so you might want to consider assembling indoors like we did. I used left over outdoor paint in satin for the pallet and weathered oak stain by Minwax for the frame and shelf.
Assembly was fun since we didn’t have instructions. We just made it up on the fly but I don’t think this thing is coming apart any time soon!
Brace the center. We created a pilot hole so the screw would fit into the board. We used Kreg Jig screws since we had them but you can also use a square head screw and bit. Trust me, square is best.
Secure the trim. First, we glued the trim to the pallet and clamped for 30 minutes. Next, secure with a brad nailer. Since we cut open the side we were able to nail from the back but we didn’t see the small brad nails very much so if you have to nail from the front it’s not a huge upset. We nailed the center board from the front.
Putting the last boards on the pallet headboard…
The 1×6 side boards took the longest to figure out. We used our mini Kreg Jig to drill pilot holes in the back of each side of the pallet. We put way more than we needed or could even get to once the sideboard was attached. The back of the pallet has openings so that’s really where you will add screws. On the top and bottom, we had to put our pilot hole in at an angle.
The top shelf was the easiest to attach. Add pilot holes on the top boards of the front and back of the pallet. You will drive the crews up into the shelf but because you are using Kreg Jig screws it will tighten the gap between the boards.
Are you ready for the total cost? The day I bought the supplies for this headboard I spent $55 but had tons extra for other projects. I made wooden signs, a wooden ladder, and painted a french door. Not bad!