DIY Headboard from Butcher Block

To continue the theme of upcycling and creating, here is my tutorial (aka, my creation journal, for the granola crunchers out there) on how I made a headboard out of a piece of wood I bought for $9 at the ReStore.

First off, if you live under a rock and don’t know what the ReStore is, it’s the Habitat for Humanity store that sells stuff like furniture, random doors, chunks of wood, knobs, etc. Stuff you need to make a house or stock a house. And it’s awesome. The Winston Salem ReStore is pretty rad, and just moved to a new facility off University Parkway.

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Okay, moving on. Here is a picture of the piece of wood pre-evolutionary metamorphosis at the hands of yours truly. It was dirty, messy, had some water damage, etc. I bought four, 9-foot by 16 inch wide boards from the ReStore and sanded them down. I selected the nicest for this project, and eventually plan to make a footboard and side rails out of the rest of this wood.


Here is a picture after I cut it to 7 feet, sanded down the imperfections and sides, and stained it with a lovely, sultry dark stain. I used Miniwax because I like that they don’t have polyurethane in the stain. Makes it go on smooth and silky, like butter, and wipe off easily for second and third coats. This stain color is called ________. I put on two coats because I was really happy with how this stain was bringing out such beautiful grain and more seemed to enhance the awesomeness.


Next I waited a few dozen hours and applied my first coat of Miniwax interior polyurethane. Normally I’d be against this move but I recently refinished a table and this brand of poly isn’t as shiny and obnoxious and color-changing as others. No, Miniwax isn’t paying me to say this (though if any Miniwax executives are reading this– know that I wouldn’t turn down free cash! ha ha).

For some reason between coats of poly you are meant to sand it down with 220 sandpaper and then reapply. No idea why, but like many a non-chemist I just so what chemical bottles demand. So, I sanded it down lightly and reapplied….. about four times. The last application I used a foam brush to decrease the chances that there would be any texture from the brush bristles. Yes, it’s gotten this pedantic.

Finally, I got to what I consider the fun part! This is where I took some metal packing strips and then screwed them to the back of the headboard (see image below) and then nailed them down with some textured upholstery nails on the front. I’m going for an old world industrial look here. Call me a nerd, but I feel like looks that don’t really go well together actually go well together, like how opposites attract. So, we have metal and nails from the industrial, processed, warehouse style fused with a rugged, rough chunk of wood stained to Middle Earth proportions. Clearly, I don’t know any interior decorating verbiage. Work with me here.


Anyways, this last step was super time consuming and required math. This may be the first time since high school that I had to do real math. Guess my teacher was right, at some point you’d need it and be glad you knew it. Although when I was in school we didn’t have the internet so…. I guess he didn’t know you could always BS your way through anything using this handy tool. Below you’ll see how I spaced out the lines for the upholstery nails.


Here is a pictures of the final product (just the headboard design). I did this detail work on both sides, about 7 inches in from both sides. Looks bad ass.

20140506_190446If I do decide to go back and make a foot board you’ll be the first to know. I already bought adorable little legs to be the support structure for the foot board and found a 12 foot cedar board for the side rails, so we’ll see if they join my pile of legs, wheels and arms (all wooden, I assure you) growing in the wood shop or actually get adhered to this project. Time will tell.

To date, the total cost for this project is $32 for the wood. $14 for stain, and poly. $2 for upholstery nails= $48

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This headboard has been SOLD. See my other items on Etsy at Fernweh Originals or visit my Facebook Page, Fernweh Originals.

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