DIY Textured Headboard/Footboard

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I’m so glad you clicked your way to Hazel+Gold Designs, thanks for stopping by! Today I am sharing the process I used to create my most recent project, a new textured headboard and footboard for our king size bed.

This is something that I’ve had in mind for many months, and this month I finally had the time to do it! Actually, I MADE the time, because no matter what, there really isn’t any spare time in December, is there? At times I questioned my sanity about taking on another huge project this month because there was a lot of stress with Christmas alone, but it all worked out in the end.

Prep Work:

Alright, so onto my process. Months ago I saw this post Cassidy King Size Bed on Ana White’s website. When I saw it I wanted to make it right away, but I knew I wanted to change a few things about it. I’ll share those as I talk about my process of building this project.

First, I measured my current bed. We did not have a headboard previously, but I wanted to make sure the measurements of the plans would match up with our mattress and luckily it did. Next step was to go get all of the wood. All of the informational tips for what to buy and how to cut it are in the plan on Ana’s site and are incredibly helpful.

Building the headboard:

Next, I began building the headboard. It’s essentially a piece of 3/4″ plywood with 1×4 boards at the top and bottom, and wood shims glued and nailed to the front. While building it I did have a few minor issues, so I’m going to walk through that process here with photos, just in case you want to build your own and I can save you a bit of time and frustration. I’m here for ya, friend!!!

Here is a shot of the plywood and 1×4’s. They measure the same length, and you want to sand them smooth, glue and clamp them together with all edges flush, attach the 1×4’s from the back of the plywood using finish nails. You then add pocket holes to the back before moving onto the shims. Those details are in original plan. It’s extremely important at this point to stain the entire thing! I used Minwax Penetrating Stain, quart, Dark Walnut (aff link) You might think, why would I do that since i’ll just be covering it up? Well, the reason is that the shims are not exact, in fact many are very rough and they will not go together perfectly, so there will be spots where the back plywood will show through. If that isn’t the color of the stain that you are finishing it with, then it will be very visible.


Okay, now for the awesome shims!

APplying wood shims:

Here are my tips:  First, open up at least three packs. Wood grain will vary so mix them up as you place them. I chose to do a random pattern, but you could always lay them out in a brick pattern or however you want. The process for placing the shims is tedious, so if you have another person to help it will go MUCH faster. My husband was kind enough to help me with the large headboard, and I think he even had fun doing so. I would run a line of glue down the board, place the shims where I wanted them, then he’d follow behind with the nail gun to secure them. It went rather quickly all things considered and we found a rhythm and got ‘er done. We used my brad nailer for this and 3/4″ nails. Looking back I would actually probably use 1/2″ nails if I could. We nailed each shim twice. The small ends of the shim were actually curling up a little from the moisture of the glue, so two were necessary. If you’re in the market for a brad nailer, check out this set that I purchased. I’ve been using it for many months and absolutely love it. PORTER-CABLE 3-Tool Combo Kit (aff link)

wood shim headboard - stained back adding shims

wood shim headboard unstained shims

Trim off the excess on each end. You can do these before placing the edge pieces, or afteward like we did.


Alright, so here’s my plug for what I think is an awesome product and something that would be very helpful in your shop. This can be helpful for every woodworker, but if you’re not a furniture builder, or woodworker, but rather a DIYer, you still need to check out the Milescraft TriGrips.  (aff link) I do a lot of sanding, staining, and painting and am always struggling with holding my pieces still while I do so. I often have to get a few clamps out, but then I’m always clamping and unclamping as I need to move things and it gets annoying. I also have a small shop so I often have temporary work surfaces set up in the middle of the room and sometimes my projects get bumped and knocked off. Well, the Milescraft TriGrips solve ALL of these problems and I plan on buying more of them for when I’m working on multiple pieces at once. They come in a pack of 4. They can be purchased here: Milescraft 1600 Tri Grips Non-Slip Work Supports (aff link)

All you have to do is place them underneath the piece that you’re working on. Here, I have them placed underneath the plywood for the footboard. The grippy surface on both the bottom and top of the TriGrips prevents the workpiece from slipping. It held it in place while I sanded, stained and nailed the shims to the footboard. I was completely impressed. It’s one of those shop accessories that you never knew you needed until you used one! Here’s the link again for more info: shim headboard milescraft trigrips

Don’t forget the footboard:

My husband/assistant took this shot of me while I was beginning the work on the footboard. (Don’t worry I tied my hair back before operating any power tools. Ha. Safety first!) Anyway, you can see how long the boards are and that my work surface is not nearly as long. I didn’t have to worry too much about someone (mainly me) bumping into the side of it and knocking it to the ground because I had the TriGrips underneath. They really do help a ton! One other note, as I was finishing up sanding these boards, I noticed that the TriGrips were getting a little less grippy because of all the sawdust. I quickly ran them under some cold water, and wiped them clean and dry, and the grippy-ness (gription, grip-action, whatever you want to call it) returned. Again, I was impressed and happy to learn this. I will be using them a lot!wood shim headboard workshop photo of sheri

Alright, so shims completed on headboard and footboard. Phew! Lots of tedious work, but so worth it, right? I mean, look at those!wood shim headboard closeup

Stain wood shim headboard and footboard:

Now, stain the rest of it! Again, I used the Minwax Penetrating Stain, quart, Dark Walnut This is also a bit tedious because you have to be sure to get in between all of the shims, on all of the edges at the thick end of the shim, but also on both long ends. Then you have to double check, because like me, I promise you missed one or two. Maybe even turn off most of the lights and see if anything reflects back when you shine a small light on it. This is how I found most of my missed spots. Once you’re done, step back and enjoy the beauty of all the grain and texture. I can’t get enough!wood shim headboard stained

Okay, look at the main plans again and attach the legs. Here is where I deviated from the plan slightly. It calls for a board on top of the headboard and footboard both, but I opted not to add that. To me it just looked like some corners to hit your leg on when walking by…I’m really good at that. So, I left them off and it looks fine because all of my edges are perfectly flush.

Here’s the full shot of both after completion:

wood shim headboard footboard

And one more up close, because TEXTURE and GRAIN! I love.

wood shim headboard footboard

Alright, so I hope this helped you to walk through the process. I know you can do it! Really, the work isn’t tough, you just need some space and tools and a whole lot of motivation to get those shims done, and you can make one too! It’s worth it, I promise!

We’ve got a lot of work to do in our master bedroom reno, so an updated photo will be posted when we get the entire room done and these in place.

UPDATE: Final photos of the bed setup are HERE ! It took us awhile to realize that we wouldn’t be getting our room finished anytime soon, but once we decided to hold off on the entire renovation, we got our bed set up. And let me tell you, it’s awesome! I just love it every time I turn the corner and see it. Check it out!!!

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you build one! (And check out those TriGrips!)


Check out my other woodworking furniture:  Hairpin Leg DeskBalustrade Console Table,  Console Table Challenge buildMy first build

Pin this image if you want to share! I’d truly appreciate it!

wood shim textured headboard footboard pinnable imagewood shim textured headboard footboard pinnable image

40 Comments Add yours

  1. Jennifer says:

    I adore this bed! Any idea how many packages of shims you used? Also, did you use long or short shims?

    1. Jennifer, thanks so much for looking and commenting. I need to go back and add this info, but for now, I used 21 packs of shims, many more than the plan had called for. I don’t know why the difference was so big. We bought 15 originally and had to go back for 6 more. The shims measure about 7″ long, so I’m not sure if those are considered long or short. Hope that helps!

  2. Michelle James says:

    This is simply stunning!! What a beautiful project!

    1. Thank you so much Michelle!

  3. Wow this is simply such an amazing proses and project! It is so interesting to look at! cant wait for more of your future posts, following your blog immediately! xx

    1. Awesome, thanks so much! I have some other great projects in the works! Hope you follow so you can see them! Thanks again!!!

  4. Wow what an awesome bed!! Can’t wait to see it set up and in the room

    1. Thanks Jessica! Me too! First, carpet and paint and other builds…projects never end! 😉 Thanks for commenting!

  5. All I can say is WHOA! This is such a cool design for a headboard. I’ve got mad woodworking skills!

  6. Absolutely eye catching and stunning!!! Who knew shims could hold their own when put on display? Love this project!

  7. Gunny says:

    Sheri; Thanks for the idea. I am going to modify it even more. I have a wall in an alcove between two of my bed rooms. I was planning on just painting the wall black, then putting stained boards up making it one dimensional. I love your idea better. it will make a plan wall jump out I think and not look so useless. I will try to remember to post some pics when I get it done. I have a few other projects to complete first, but this one just jumped way up the list. God Bless, have a great day.

    1. That will look awesome! Be sure to let me know and share pics when you’re finished. Good luck with all of your projects!

  8. Brian Blied says:

    WOW…. such an impressive piece of furniture. Makes such an impact with something so simple…. beautiful results. I’m contemplating applying this to a wall in a small room, ie bathroom – vertically! My question to you…. did you sand your shims prior to applying them? Also, do you think using a water seal would be beneficial if used in a elevated humidity level room?

    1. Thank you, Brian! As to your questions: I did not sand them at all. Some packs had smoother shims than others and when applying I mixed a few packs together for variety. I was actually pretty impressed with their quality. I bought them at Home Depot. My one worry about a bathroom would be that the shims are quite thin and prone to warping due to moisture. Just the wood glue moisture alone caused the thin ends to curl up very quickly, so I had to add an extra nail on that end that I hadn’t anticipated. I definitely think a water seal of some sort would be a good idea. And lastly, I think this would make an amazing wall! Vertical is a seriously cool idea. I hope it works out for you! Please share pictures if you do it! 😊

      1. Justin says:

        Could you protect your product from moisture if you wanted to display it in a bathroom with some sort of spray on lacquer such as Deft?

  9. Jose says:

    Fantastic , is there any chance you have photos on how the bed was assembled ? Meaning the support that holds up the box spring and mattress? Thanks

    1. I haven’t put it Together yet since we’re still remodeling our master, and it might be awhile, but if you click on the link for the plan (on Ana White’s website) you can see how it is done!

  10. Dave B says:

    For future builders of this or if you ever it again just flip the assembly over so the smooth part of the plywood is facing up. Set a rip fence for your circular saw and cut. If you expose a lot of the blade the teeth be coming up and should minimize tearout.

  11. Jim sloan says:

    Love this just curious I was looking and couldn’t see how you attached the legs to this? Did you attach it to a medal frame or wood ? But wow what a awesome job on this

    1. Jim, thanks for looking at your kind words! I haven’t built the bed frame yet since we’re still working on our bedroom Renovation, but essentially it’s built with a 2×4 frame and has 1x12s covering the sides to make it look pretty. If you click on the original plan link which will take you to Ana White’s website, it’ll give you the exact measurements and building plans for the frame! Hope that helps! I’ll update this post when I finish our room, but that may take awhile. 😉 Thanks again!!’

  12. Ethan says:

    Hey! Great work! My wife and I love what you did here, and I may be starting this soon! What did you use for your top and bottom runners? Are they 2×4’s or 4×4’s? Also, what are your posts? Are they 2×6 or 4×6?


    1. Ethan, at the beginning of the post there is a link to the Ana White plans. Check those out for all the measurements. The boards are actually 1×3’s that are glued and nailed to the plywood back, and the leg posts are 4×4.

  13. Ethan says:

    Thank you!

  14. Jah Page says:

    Would you be able to leave measurements for a queen size bed and do you attach the headboard and footboard to your metal bedframe

    1. I don’t have queen measurements, you’d have to measure and adjust the plan that is linked in the post. I think you could probably find a way to attach the metal frame, again you’d need to just look at what you have and make necessary adjustments. Sorry I’m not more helpful to you.

  15. 10 says:

    ta muito massa.

  16. Methadras says:

    What a fantastic concept and I love the texture and pattern that you’ve created. As I was reading this. I realized that i could easily adapt this to the Ikea bed from that I have. Since it’s already a flat paneled head and foot board, it wouldn’t be that hard to use those flat surfaces to attach this framework and shims to if I used very thin veneer stock to the front, top, and sides. Then start framing and attaching as you did here.

    I’m even of thinking of taking it further and using clear multicolor stains like reds, oranges, browns, purples, and greens (because I love fall/autumn colors) and precoloring a series of shim pieces in those respective colors and applying to the head/foot boards. Thank you for the inspiration. Love it.

    1. sheri says:

      Do it! Sounds beautiful! And I loved to see photos when you’re finished!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, truly appreciate it!

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