How to Make a Barn Quilt Headboard

5 Materials
20 Hours

I was asked by my daughter if I could make her a couple of wooden headboards. She has just bought a new house and wanted all the rooms to look nice as we all do. He budget did not allow for her to buy beds for all 4 bedrooms so I volunteered to make her some. I had seen the barn quilts on pinterest and loved them, but I wanted to try and make my own design. Being my first time, making one this big in hindsight was a bit ambitious and not without its faults. I made a headboard using old kitchen cupboard doors which turned out stunning and it was so easy to do. I though this one would be the same.

I started by measuring out a big piece of plywood for the base. Mine was 1900 mm x 900 mm, using a pencil mark out your size. It is important to make sure your measurements are accurate or your design will not fit.

I used scraps of 12 mm plywood for my pieces. I used an orbital sander and sanded them smooth first before cutting. Cut the plywood into strips of 50 mm wide, then start cutting the strips at a 45 degree angle.

If you have a drop saw, it is a good idea to use a stop block so all your pieces are cut the same size. I did have some issues with not setting my drop saw laser properly which caused my angles to be slightly out. You can read about this on my website if you want more details. It did cause big problems in my design later on in the process.

I cut lots of wood the same size at first, as long as the angles are all the same, different lengths will all slot in place. This was only a small amount of the blocks I cut. This step took me about 2 hours to do using the drop saw.

I divided my headboard into 8 blocks, then using a pencil I made a line from corner to corner and down the middle each way. This will help you keep the design straight.

I used only basic shapes for this project like squares, triangles and parallelograms of different lengths. I spent the next few hours moving the design around to make it unique to me. I still changed it a few times after this picture was taken. The idea is to design one block only the duplicate it into the other blocks. This would have worked well for me had I not had the issue with the laser angle being out.

Once you are happy with the layout, it is a good idea to take a photo so you know how it all fits together. Most barn quits start with the same basic design from what I have seen. Which is making an arrow by putting 2 shapes together as above. Using the lines as a guide glue the pieces down using a hot glue gun.

This is the basic design that goes along the length of the headboard. I glued it in place then painted it with a paint roller which did not work so well. The paint filled in the gaps which did spoilt the look a bit. I went back with a marker pen and added fake lines, which is the image above this one.

You can see the gaps mentioned above in this image. But I was in too deep to start again. Once I was happy with the complete panel it was as easy as duplicating the pattern using the pieces from the first one as a guide.

Painting the pieces can be very time consuming doing them one by one, so I came up with this little hack to help. I glued the first 2 shapes in place in the "V" shape. Then slotted all the same pieces underneath them. You can add as many as you have place for. Then glue the last 2 shapes in place which will hold them all down. Next, using a paint roller paint them all at the same time. This saved me hours of painting. Once dry release the glued pieces with a chisel to release them all.

Once I completed the 4 centre blocks I realised the issue with the different angles was too hard to fix. So I changed the 4 outer blocks to another design with less small pieces. I still liked the look.

Once all the pieces were glue in place it was time to cut away all the excess wood. It is a good idea to tape the edges to prevent the wood from splintering. Make a fence with a straight piece of wood clamped down to the headboard.

Using a jigsaw or circular saw cut away the excess wood. The fence will keep your saw straight while cutting for a nice clean edge.

Cut some wood lengths to frame the headboard with a 10 mm hang over at the back. For a better cosmetic look you can use a router to round the edges.

The frame was glued onto the headboard and secured using a nail gun. I cut 2 lengths of wood the height of the headboard plus an extra 900 mm which was the height of the bed base and mattress. I added a strip of solid wood across the back of the headboard to stop it from bending. Because I used plywood when I lifted the headboard the weight made the base bow slightly. So maybe use a thicker plywood or add the support like I did.

This was my headboard complete. This project did take me approximately 20 hours to make. But the delay was caused mainly buy the angles issue with the drop saw. I honestly believe I could have made this over a weekend doing a few hours each day.

She was so in love with the colour the bedside tables have since been painted to match and the bedding has been replaced with a lighter grey. The cost to me for this project was very low because I used all recycled materials you cost will depend on what materials you have at home.

If you are into the BOHO style of home decor, check out this trending idea of Skulls as wall hangings. I gave this If you zoom in on the skull and have a look at the detail I am sure you will agree it is stunning and very unique.

Resources for this project:

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Unique Creations By Anita
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  2 questions
  • Veronica Veronica on Nov 16, 2019

    Did you make that interesting scull as well?

  • Leslie Leslie on Oct 21, 2021

    Anita, this is beautiful and well done. I was wondering if you painted the framing wood to match. Thank you for sharing and for sharing the link for that gorgeous metal skull.

    I tried to use the link for the skull and my MacBook would not let me go there. It gave me a warning. Do you have an actual link you can post ? Thank you for taking the time to answer.


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