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How to Make a Barn Door Headboard

Monday June 25th, 2018
Barn doors make a fantastic addition to the room décor of your farmhouse style home and learning how to make a barn door headboard can be exciting. While installing a sliding barn door in your home can pose a challenge, using reclaimed barn door wood for a DIY headboard can be a delightful alternative.

How to Make a Barn Door Headboard

1. Find an aesthetically pleasing barn door
2. Consider the height and trim of the barn door
3. Use a circular saw to cut the barn door
4. Make repairs and apply patchwork
5. Strip, sand, and seal the barn door
6. Apply crown molding to your barn door headboard
7. Add lighting to your headboard
8. Mount the barn door headboard to the wall

Every barn door headboard is unique to the stylistic approach you use and the creative vision you have for the final product. While there are many aesthetic additions you can make to your headboard, these woodworking plans give you the steps that you can follow to install your very own headboard in your bedroom from an authentic barn door.

Step 1: Find an Aesthetically Pleasing Barn Door

Every vintage barn door has a distinct uniqueness to it, and each person will have a specific vision for how they want their final product to look. So, finding a barn door that is pleasing to your eye an essential first step. You will look at this headboard every single day, so it’s important to spend plenty of time to find the right door for you. Consider envisioning what your final headboard will look like next to the furniture in your room.

You may find an entire modern barn door with all of the hardware included, or you can use a slab door, which is a stripped-down barn door that doesn’t include any handles, headers, hardware or decoration. Base your decision on whether you want to include additional sliding door hardware or features of the door or use the barn door with all the hardware removed. You may decide to use your own hardware kit or add extra features.

Make sure the barn door looks symmetrical and contains evenly spaced panels. You will be turning the door on its side to use as your DIY headboard, and crooked horizontal panels will appear even more crooked when viewed vertically.
Search for a variety of barn doors and take pictures of each. Compare your choices and make your final decision.

Step 2: Consider the Height and Trim of the Barn Door

Matching the length of your bed to your future barn door headboard can be a challenge, but you can implement some extra trimming to decrease the size. Because you can’t make the barn door larger, it’s vital to measure your bed from left to right to ensure the barn door is long enough to be made into a full, queen or king size headboard.

Many barn doors can measure anywhere from 36” wide by 96” tall, with the standard door size being 36” X 80”. Remember that the width of the barn door will become the height of the headboard once you turn it on its side. If you want a headboard that is taller than three feet, you may need to do some additional searching to find a barn door that is wider than average. Alternatively, you can create a raised headboard that bolts into your wall and sits right above your box spring to add some height.

Step 3: Use a Circular Saw to Cut the Barn Door

Compare the measurements from the width of your bed to the height of the barn door. Subtract your bed width from the door height to find the additional length you will need to cut for a perfect fit. To keep the barn door symmetrical cut the top and bottom, instead of the entire amount from one side. To do this, divide your cutting length by two to find out how much you must trim from top and bottom.

After measuring the trim size for each side, you might decide to leave your barn door headboard a bit wider than your bed, depending on where the trim line falls. If you do decide to trim your barn door to fit better behind your bedding, it’s time to get out your circular saw.

Trimming happens quickly, and its permanent, so spend time making exact measurements. Use your trim measurements to mark points every few inches along the sides of your headboard. Use a pencil to make a straight line going through all your measured points.

Put on your safety glasses and something to cover your mouth and nose to avoid fumes and sawdust. Rest the barn door on stable supports like cinder blocks, bricks or benches. Use your circular saw to cut slowly and precisely along the line until the edge of your barn door falls to the ground.

Step 4: Make Repairs and Apply Patchwork

Depending on how old your door is and the number of holes there are, you may need to patch them.

Start by mixing glue and leftover sawdust from your cuts to create a unique putty that helps the surface of your reclaimed wood look uniform.

Use a spackle knife to place this putty in all the holes, and make sure you create a solid surface with no hollow air pockets. Glide the spackle knife against the door and over the gaps in straight uniform sliding movements to create a flat surface. Let the putty dry overnight.

Step 5: Strip, Sand, and Seal the Barn Door

Barn doors are typically unfinished and might be quite rustic, depending on how old or used the door is. This will require you to strip and sand the barn door.

If your rustic barn door had old paint on it, make sure you use a liquid stripper. Dry stripping old paint can release airborne toxic lead dust, which is harmful to your health and potentially deadly.

Use an orbital sander or basic sandpaper to sand and smooth the entire surface of your DIY barn door headboard. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper such as 24 or 40 grit and make your final pass with fine 1,000-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface.
After the surface is smooth to the touch, let your recycled barn door headboard shine with a natural finish seal to highlight the grain pattern in all its beauty.

An optional or alternative step is adding stain or paint to your headboard. This will depend on whether you want a rustic barn door look or a more finished headboard.

Step 6: Apply Crown Molding to Your Barn Door Headboard

Your headboard can technically be complete if you want it to be. However, you may consider getting out your nail gun and applying crown molding to the top of your headboard for a polished and professional look. If you’re feeling confident, you may also use planks of lumber to make your own crown molding.

Mark the length of the headboard on a solid strip of crown molding and cut your piece to size. Use wood glue to fix the back of the crown to the top of the door. Use clamps to hold the crown molding in place overnight to dry completely. You can reinforce the wood glue with small crown molding nails using a nail gun every six to eight inches across.

Step 7: Add Lighting to Your Headboard

Another optional step you can take is adding lighting to your headboard. Start by choosing lighting that matches the aesthetics of the barn door headboard and the other elements of your room.

Measure the placement of the lights equally from the top and sides of the headboard. Mark your placement with a pencil mark.

Screw the mounting hardware into the headboard and use a drill to make a hole through the headboard for wiring.

Place the base of the light fixture on the headboard over the mounting bolts while leading the wires through the hole you just made. Attach the fixture by tightening the bolts according to the fixture instructions to mount your lights.

Join the wires in the back of the headboard and cap them off. Install light bulbs if required and plug in the fixtures to make sure they turn on.

Step 8: Mount the Barn Door Headboard to the Wall

All that is left is to bolt your DIY barn door headboard to the wall. Because of the heavier weight of the solid wood, mounting your new headboard to the wall is highly recommended.

You can mount the headboard to the wall in a variety of ways. The most common way is to hang the headboard in the location of your choice.

Start by placing the headboard behind your bed to position it exactly where you want it. You can choose to have the headboard close to the floor or raised to be just above the box spring. Measure and draw on the wall to define your positioning height with a pencil.

Use a stud finder to find the studs in your wall. Three studs will make your headboard sturdier, but two studs work just fine as well. Mark the studs using pencil marks on your wall.
We suggest using mounting hardware that will allow you to slide your headboard over the mount to hang firmly on the wall. Start by making marks on the wall that are horizontally straight to ensure your headboard hangs symmetrically. Using a drill, screw the mounting hardware to the wall.

Do the same on the back of your headboard, marking a horizontally straight line and matching up the distance of the mounting hardware on the wall to the headboard. Screw the mounting hardware to your headboard.

You can now lift your headboard over the top of the mounting hardware and slide it firmly in place. Push your mattress and bedding against the wall and your new headboard to ensure everything looks correct.
Congratulations! You have just installed your very own DIY barn door headboard.

DIY Barn Door Headboard

Doing it yourself is easier than you think. Your reclaimed barn door headboard will be an eye-catching centerpiece of your bedroom and pull your entire decor together. You may just find friends and family asking you to create one for their homes!
Take some time to think about the aesthetic approach you want to take with this project and the barn door style you wish to use. Some might want to install sliding door handles, a barn door track, sliding barn door hardware, hinges, and lighting, while others may prefer to keep it simple. Some might want to keep their headboard plain and utilize a rustic barn door on its own, while others may choose to stain the rustic wood to match the tone with other elements of their master bedroom.

DIY projects can be exciting, and this stylish addition to your bedroom provides a vintage and antique look that utilizes reclaimed barn wood. Use your creativity to make a truly custom headboard and supply your farmhouse style with authentic rustic charm.

How far you take DIY projects like this is up to you, and we’re sure the barn door ideas and steps we outlined will help. Use the supplied woodworking plans, take your measurements, find the perfect barn door, and get started. There’s nothing more rewarding than planning a woodworking project like this, doing it yourself, and taking a long, satisfying gaze at the final result.
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