2 Hour Door Headboard by Vintage Headboards

Vintage Headboards
by Vintage Headboards
9 Materials
2 Hours
You've seen a number of our headboards online here and on other social media as well on our website. I am going to walk you through how to do this. I want to inspire and direct all of the DIY folks out there to take our designs and come up with their own versions to have a one of a kind headboard they can be proud of. This is a great Mother daughter or Father son project. Let's get started!

The day begins with a trip to my favorite retail store Home Depot - no I am not getting paid for the endorsement.
My home away from home! My happy place!
First - determine the bed size you want to make the headboard fit. In this case it's a king size bed. For me I like to make the headboard look symmetrical. I cut the the outer vertical piece of the door the same as on the opposing side. The bottom of the door, (in this case has black on it) will have a wider section so that gets trimmed off. Measure the width of the vertical piece on the other side and transfer that over to the other side. Strike a line and carefully cut it with a circular saw.
Now that your door is cut it's time to add the returns on each side. I have always used 3/4" cabinet grade plywood. To secure them I use my Kreg Jig. If you don't have one they are the best investment if you ever need to build furniture, cabinets, etc. I first cut the width of the return to be three inches wide. This is down in my table saw. The length is determined by the width of the door. I typically cut it longer so I have enough material to attach the crown molding.

The space between each pocket hole I drill is about 6".
Now it's time to secure the returns. I use clamps to hold it in place and use the pan head screws to lock it into place.
Repeat steps on the other side.
Now we need to make the legs. I have tried several different things in the past but nothing works better than this. I start with one 8' 2" x 4" and cut it in half so now I have two 48" pieces. Next based on the height of the mattress, (measure the distance from the floor to the top of the mattress) I then cut two more 2" x 4" pieces in this case 29". This is what the door headboard will rest on. I secure the pieces together using 2-1/2" deck screws.
Repeat that to make the other leg.
Now flip it over and using the same deck screws anchor it to the back of the door making sure it is touching the inside part of the return and the bottom of the door. I use three decks screws to attach it to the back of the door. You will also notice that with making the legs like this there is an off-set from the back of the leg to the back of the return. I have designed my headboards like this so that the headboard can rest perfectly flat up against the wall as I have accounted for the thickness of the baseboards.
Repeat the same for the other side.
The standard width of a king size bed is 76" and as these old doors all vary in height , (which when you turn them on the side and make them into a headboard will affect the width) you may need to add material to the outside of the legs so a standard metal bed frame can be easily attached. In this case I had to add 4" x 4" blocks to each side. I pre-drilled through three quarters of the block first then clamped them flush to the legs then used the deck screws to secure them in place. Fill the holes when done with regular wood filler.
Repeat steps for the other side.
Now it's time to anchor the crown molding. These doors are rarely square so I measure from the panel up to about 3/4" of an an inch from the edge of the door and repeat on the other end. I then clamp a straight edge to the door to make it easier to nail the crown molding in place.
First piece of crown molding secured. Nailing with a nail gun is much faster.
For the ends I like to clamp a speed square to use as guide to make sure the small piece of crown is secured perpendicular to the main piece and doesn't move when I nail it.
The top shelf is 7" wide and I normally have a 3/4" reveal, (section hanging over) on each end. The top is then nailed to the crown molding. 2" x 4" blocks are screwed to the back side as supports making the shelf very strong.
The front and side edges of the shelf are trimmed out with a 3/4" decorative molding
This Customer asked for a specific color as the base and asked that I match the same faux distressing as existing pieces in their bedroom already had. They were very happy with the results. Headboard was delivered and you know you did it right if they ask where they can give a great review online without asking for it. DOING IT RIGHT MEANS DOING IT ONCE!
Suggested materials:
  • Old 5 panel vintage door   (Architectural Supply Company)
  • 3/4" cabinet grade plywood   (Home Depot)
  • Two 2" x 4" x 8'   (Home Depot)
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 1 comment
  • Jonna Duvall Griffin Jonna Duvall Griffin on Nov 06, 2019

    Thank you for the step by step instructions. We are starting our project today from a door from the house I grew up in.