Take Your Bed to the Next Level With This Farmhouse Pallet Headboard

Heather Cammack
by Heather Cammack
2 Materials
3 Hours

Take some old pallets you have lying around and turn them into a stunning DIY headboard! It’s quick, easy, and only requires a few tools to get it done. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create your own herringbone or chevron pallet headboard. Most people have a few pallets just waiting for that perfect project in their backyard, and if you don’t they aren’t difficult to find. So grab a few and follow this tutorial to create a stunning farmhouse wooden headboard sure to impress!

DIY Farmhouse Pallet Headboard

Tools and Materials:

  • 1”x4” pine boards
  • ¼” plywood
  • Two or three pallets
  • Wood glue
  • Hand saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Angle ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Nail gun
  • Nails
Mark the Plywood
Cut the Plywood

The first thing I needed to do was create a backing for the headboard. Plywood is a great choice because it’s cheap and easy to come by. I cut the plywood into a 62”x30” rectangle. If you need a different sized headboard, adjust accordingly. In order to create a straight line I measured 32” from the top of the board with a tape measure, and then marked a line 62” long using an angle ruler. 

Cut the Plywood

Then I cut along the line using a hand saw. It didn’t have to be super precise because I was going to be covering all of the board with pine boards and pallet wood later on.

Break Down the Pallet
Break Down the Pallet

Now I needed to break down the pallets to salvage as much wood as possible. I had a hard time finding the right way to do it. First I tried cutting off the ends of the pallet and pulling the planks up.

Cut Along the Center

Once I realized that this wasn’t going to work, I decided to cut down the middle, around the nails holding the center of the plank to the pallet. Then I could simply pull the other side off as well. 

Remove the Boards

This proved to be successful and provided me with a stack of nicely sized pieces of wood. Be careful of the nails, as there are a ton of them on pallets. 

Pallet Boards

Find the Center of the Plywood
Find and Mark the Center of the Plywood

Using a tape measure, I found the center of the plywood and marked it. It’s important to find the exact center because even if it’s a little off, the pattern will be lopsided. 

Mark the Center of the Plywood

Then I used a level to draw a line down the center of the board. This step is very important as this line will be used to properly line up the boards while we’re making our patterns later. 

The Chevron Pattern
The Chevron Pattern

Cut at a 45 Degree Angle

I cut my first piece of wood at a 45 degree angle on each end, facing the same direction. Now that I had the first piece cut, I could use it as a guide for the rest of my pieces, cutting down on time and effort. 


Line Up Two Pieces

Then I lined up two pieces, meeting at the center line I had drawn on the board, with the bottom tips touching the bottom of the plywood.

Add More Pieces

Next I lined up two more pieces below that and marked where I would need to cut them to be flush with the bottom edge of the plywood. They don’t need to be super exact because I’m going to go back later and straighten everything up. I also really liked the look of different colored woods next to each other, so I alternated as I went.

Use a Straight Edge

If you’re more comfortable using a straight edge to mark your cuts you can go ahead and do that.  

Add Triangles

By the end of this row, I was left with a bunch of triangles, which was perfect to fill in the bottom of the chevron. 

Fill in the Bottom


Once I had one section laid out to my liking, it was time to glue. I applied a good amount of glue to the piece of wood and then glued it in place. I did this until all of the pieces I had already placed were glued down properly.

Do the Next Section

Then I continued with the pattern. On either side of the pattern I had glued in the center, I placed two pieces of wood touching the top of the plywood board. This staggered the pattern a bit and I love how it turned out.

The Herringbone Pattern
The Herringbone Pattern

For the herringbone pattern you don’t need to cut the wood at 45 degree angles. I used straight pieces and lined them up at 45 degree angles to create the pattern. First I made sure that all of my pieces were cut to the same size.

Lay at an Angle

Then I lay them out at a 45 degree angle with the bottom edge touching the bottom of the center line on the plywood. As in the chevron pattern, try to vary the colors to create visual interest. 

Lay Perpendicular

Next I lay a piece perpendicular to the first piece, with the ends lying flush to each other.

Continue the Pattern

I continued laying more pieces of wood in the same pattern until I had a good chunk done. Then I went back and glued them down before moving on to the next section.

Cut off Excess Wood

Tip: If you are using different sized pieces of wood, you may need to trim a piece or two. Just mark the part you need to remove and cut it with a hand saw. This is why I chose to lay it out in sections and then glue, rather than gluing each one as I go.

Trim the Headboard
Trim the Headboard

Once the glue had dried, I flipped over the headboard and trimmed along the plywood. This removed any pieces of pallet wood that overlapped the edges. This is easily done with a hand saw.


Then I took my electric sander and sanded the entire headboard. Pallet wood can be particularly rough, so don’t be shy here. Make sure that there is nothing that can snag your duvet or rip a hole in your pillow.

Create the Frame
Create the Frame

I cut two of the 1”x4” pine boards to the length of my headboard and then attached them with a nail gun. Pay attention to how I do it in the video as you wanted it to almost be like a shelf. 

Attach the Short Ends

Then I cut and attached the other two 1”x4” pine boards to match the width of my headboard. If you choose to cut these ahead of time, make sure to take into account the added width of the two boards you just attached. 

Sand Again
Sand Again

Now I gave the pine boards a good sanding. Once you’re done sanding them you can finish however you desire. Paint them, stain them, or just seal them to retain the original color of the wood, it’s really up to you!

Upcycled Pallet Headboard

DIY Upcycled Pallet Headboards

Which one of these two patterns is your favorite, the chevron or the herringbone? Let me know in the comments below!

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Heather Cammack
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Libby Hardy Libby Hardy on May 15, 2020

    how did you get the different colors of wood? Is because they came from different pallets?

  • Peg Hoffman Peg Hoffman on May 26, 2020

    I live in Fl and am looking for some kind of “unique” headboard for guest room that doesn’t take a lot of space. It’s a queen bed. Furniture is what. Any suggestions anyone?

  • Terry Terry on Oct 19, 2020

    Hi Heather! What length are the pallet boards and how many in total is needed for the herringbone pattern? Thank you! ;)

Join the conversation
2 of 25 comments
  • Carol Chawner Carol Chawner on Jun 15, 2020

    No, it's a little too hard for me. I like the Herringbone the best, but would have someone else make it. It's beautiful though! Thanks for sharing

  • Jamie Haas Jamie Haas on Jul 09, 2020

    Herringbone is more visually interesting and easier than cutting all those 45 degree angles. Nice work on both!