Today’s DIY herringbone headboard project ranks as one of my very favorite projects ever. It was definitely fun to learn how to make a herringbone headboard, and I’m so excited to share the finished project with you today!
Note: This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated on 3/30/2020. While I still love this DIY herringbone headboard even six years after making it, it was time for some decor changes around it, and these photos reflect the current decor!
This was how it looked when I first published this post.
It was definitely time for some updates, and I had had my eyes on these midcentury modern nightstands from Wayfair (affiliate link) after seeing them on my friend Delia’s IG feed. I learned the hard way that the acorn color I wanted sells out quickly, but you can sign up for an email notification of when it’s back in stock so you don’t miss out (which I did the first time, but made sure to grab them right away when they came in again the next month!).
I love that this headboard will probably always be in style, and can always stay modern with a few updates around it.
I made the fun DIY Tic Tac Toe pillow with my Cricut Maker, iron-on, and leather, and love the subtle pop of pink and texture it adds. If you’re looking for more fun DIY pillow projects to sew, check out this post.
If you’re looking for another fun DIY wood project, try our wood crate bookshelf tutorial. And also be sure to check out how I used vinyl tile stickers to makeover our fireplace!
I really love it all together. A lot. It’s still exactly what I would make if we were to make a new DIY headboard.
Joel drew up the plans for the herringbone pattern, making sure it would all be symmetrical, and we worked together to put the headboard together. I even did the nail-gunning, which is out of my normal comfort zone. I usually leave the power tools (other than the sander) to Joel, but with him cutting boards while I nailed them in place, it went together pretty quickly. As you can see, we attached the pattern to a plywood backing that Joel attached the legs onto.
Joel trimmed the edges flat and added a border around the headboard, and then we brought it inside for a few months. The boards were damp when we bought them, and we wanted to make sure the cedar was really dry before it was stained and painted.
Once I could convince Joel to haul it back out to the garage for me, I stained the headboard dark walnut so that when it was distressed the dark would show through.
Next I covered the stain with white paint. I kind of liked the look after one coat, but decided to keep going. It took about 6 coats in all with our paint gun, I think, to get the coverage I wanted.
To give it an aged look, we distressed it by hand with sandpaper, bringing the dark stain back through the white.
The headboard was finished off with several coats of satin Polyacrylic to protect it.
I couldn’t have been happier when we finally got the headboard back into our bedroom, and even happier that we got it done before Hattie came along. (Update: it’s crazy to read that sentence now that I’m updating this post and Hattie turned SIX a few days ago!).
My husband drew up the plans for the headboard in SketchUp, and here’s a screenshot that shows measurements for placing the herringbone pattern correctly. This is for a king sized bed. If you make a DIY herringbone headboard of your own, I’d love to see how it turns out!