DIY Wood Headboard

Create a unique headboard using an unexpected material: wood shims. This step-by-step shows you how.

What You'll Need

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  • Tape measure
  • Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or plywood (our piece is 56x49 inches for a full-size bed)
  • Two 49-inch pieces of 1x1 trim with mitered corners
  • Two 56-inch pieces of 1x1 trim with mitered corners
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Shims (we used 216)*
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks

* A note about shims: Shims are somewhat irregular in size. Buy a few extra packs so you can avoid using damaged or short shims.

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Step 1

Gather materials, and cut the MDF and the trim (or have it cut when you buy it).

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Step 2

Secure the trim to the outside of the MDF, using the hammer and finishing nails to create a frame.

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Step 3

Lay out the design of the shims, starting in one corner and working down one side at a time. Use six shims per block to create the design shown here. For each block, try to use shims from the same package so they are similar in wood tone and length. (Shims can vary by 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length from one package to another.)

Step 4

Continue laying out the entire design. Make sure you like the pattern and that you account for any irregularities in the shims. Add an extra layer of shims along the bottom if you need to fill in.

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Step 5

Glue each shim to the MDF using the hot-glue gun. Take your time so you can adjust for any gaps or irregularities. Continue gluing until you complete the headboard.

Step 6

Paint or stain the headboard, if desired, or leave natural. Lean it against the wall behind your bed, or screw it to the wall (attach to studs), reinforcing with anchors and screws in each corner.

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