Easy Rustic Headboard Build

An important part of living a simple life is doing things yourself so you know it’s done right and the way you want it.  That was my approach while constructing our DIY rustic headboards for our queen size beds.  We love the look of stained wood and feel it really compliments the bedrooms where they reside.  Being this is a rustic look, don’t worry about the most expensive cuts of lumber. Pick wood that have some character. Constructing the headboard is quite easy and straightforward even for a beginner carpenter.  The same plan can be adjusted if you want to build this for other size bed frames. So, if you are ready, lets get started. 

DIY Headboard
Completed rustic stained and protected queen headboard

To build this headboard for your queen bed, you will need the following:

1 – 2 x 4 cut 65 inches long4 Carriage bolts, with nuts and washers (5/16”)
8 – 2 x 4’s cut 63 inches long1 drill bit for carriage bolts (3/8”)
2 – 2 x 6’s cut 53 inches longSandpaper (220 grit) or electric hand sander
1 – 1 x 3 cut 64 inches longDark Walnut MINWAX Stain or one of your choice
2 ½ inch wood screwsScrap cloth to apply and remove stain
1 drill bit slightly smaller than wood screwsMINWAX Fast drying Polyurethane Clear Satin
Cordless DrillCheap brush to apply Polyurethane
Carpenter Square, Speed or combo


To start off, cut all the wood needed for this project.  I personally use a Kobalt compound miter saw but any kind of saw would work. 

DIY Headboard

  • Use the sandpaper or an electric hand sander to clean up the cut edges from any splinters.
  • To assemble, lay face down your 2 x 6’s.  Place one of you 2 x 4’s cut at 63” across the top of the 2 x 6’s as shown:
  • Use your carpenter’s square to ensure 2 x 4 is squared up with 2 x 6’s.  Use wood screws to install 2 x 4 to 2 x 6’s.  Install the remaining 6 x 2 x 4’s. 
DIY Headboard
  • Now you are ready to install the top pieces.  Take you 1 x 3 board cut at 64 inches and place it so that it extends on the sides by ½ inch and even with the front of the 2 x 6.
  • Next, screw down the 2 x 4 cut at 65 inches long, lined up ½ inch over the sides of the 1 x 3, and 1 inch forward of the 1 x 3. Make sure you keep the screws back so you stay within the wood. If you locate the screw too much forward, it will go through the top 2 x 4, then the 1 x 3, but miss the 2 x 4 below it allowing the bottom of the screw to be seen from the front. Yes, I screwed this up on my first headboard, so go ahead and laugh.
DIY Headboard Sand Wood Filler
  • Next, apply wood filler to the holes where you screwed down the top. Once the wood filler dries, use 220 grit sandpaper to smooth off the wood filler to the wood surface. You won’t even notice it once you stain and polyurethane it.
DIY Headboard Sand Wood Filler

  • Before you apply the stain, brush on some “pre-stain” which allows the stain to be more consistent and helps bring out the character of the wood.
  • Our next step is to apply the stain.  Use a scrap rag like a cotton t-shirt.  Dip the cloth in stain and apply over the surface of the wood.  Don’t over apply but put adequate stain to cover all the wood.  You may need to work it in a bit more in areas of the wood like knots and in between boards. I typically work in sections covering the sides, top, then front.  You do not have to apply too much at a time.  Just make sure you get stain everywhere.  Apply it in sections and use a clean scrap rag to wipe off excess stain before it dries.  Let it dry 4 to 6 hours in between coats.
  • Apply another coat of stain and remove excess.  Apply as many coats of the stain until you get the desired color or stain your are trying to achieve.
DIY Headboard Stain
  • Next, use a cheap brush to apply the polyurethane.  Just make sure you are looking for any bristles that may come off and remove. Let dry for 4 – 6 hours.
DIY Headboard Polyurethane
  • Use 220 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the polyurethane to remove bubbles and ensure smooth application of the polyurethane.
DIY Headboard Polyurethane
  • Apply a second coat.  I usually stop here at 2 coats.
DIY Headboard Polyurethane
  • Next, take you headboard and stand next to the bedframe and measure out where to drill bolt holes in the 2 x 6 legs.  You can do this with a tape measure. The 2 x 6’s are 63″ from outside of one to the outside of the other. You would measure center of the bolt hole slots on the bed frame which in my case was 59″. So 63″ minus 59″ is 4″. Therefore, the holes would need to be drilled 2 inches from the outside of both 2 x 6’s. The slots were also 4 3/8″ and 7 3/8″ up so I mark the board there and drill. If not comfortable with using the measuring tape, place the headboard where it will go and mark on the wood where to drill the legs.
DIY Headboard Installation
Measuring the length to drill bolt holes
DIY Headboard Installation
Measuring the height for the bolt holes
  • Drill the holes
DIY Headboard Installation
Drilling the bolt holes
  • Insert carriage bolt into the drilled holes from the back of the headboard through the metal slots in the bed frame.  Put washer and nut on end of bolt and tighten.  An alternative method would be to use screws and sheetrock anchors to install the headboard directly to the wall.
DIY Headboard Installation
Bolting the headboard to the bed frame
DIY Headboard Complete
Headboard and bed moved into position

Now, tonight, you can lay down and go to sleep well knowing that you have built a quality headboard made with your own two hands and saved a couple hundred dollars.  Enjoy the simple life! Please let us know how you like this post or have suggestions on future posts.

Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

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Explore Downtown Baton Rouge

A couple of weekends back, we took the opportunity to go downtown and visit a few of the attractions. It turned out to be a beautiful, but hot, morning. We got to get some walking in while spending time together taking some snapshots and videos of the sights. If you’ve never seen the Mississippi River or downtown Baton Rouge, then you are in far a treat.

Explore Baton Rouge

Our first stop was the old State Capitol which is across the road from the Mississippi River levee. The city of Baton Rouge donated the plot of land to the state for the new capitol building back in 1847. Work was initiated in July 1847 and the official groundbreaking was held in October. The Louisiana Legislature met for the first time in January 1850 under Gov. Isaac Johnson. This building was used as the State Capitol until the new State Capitol was opened in 1932. The architecture is unique and the staircase leading up to the stained-glass cathedral dome is beautiful.

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol – Grand Staircase
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol – Stained-glass cathedral dome

Our next visit was up on the Mississippi River Levee where we had a great view of the boat traffic, casinos, the old and new Mississippi River bridges, USS Kidd destroyer, Port of Greater Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge/Port Allen (other side of the river).

The Mississippi River is a major pathway to port and industry throughout Louisiana and beyond.  A 45-foot shipping channel to the mouth of the Mississippi River is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ships and tug boat traffic is a way of life on the great Mississippi river. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge ranks among the U.S. top ports in total tonnage.

Port of Greater Baton Rouge
Barge traffic on the mighty Mississippi River

The USS KIDD (DD-661) is a Fletcher-class destroyer. It was named after Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr. who was killed aboard his flagship, USS ARIZONA (BB-39) during the surprise attack by the Japanese on the American fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941

Today, USS KIDD is moored in the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is the centerpiece of the USS Kidd Veterans Museum. She rests in a docking system designed for the near forty foot rise and fall of the river each season. Half of the year, she rides the currents of the Mississippi; the other half, she sits dry-docked in a cradle where visitors can see her full dimensions. Restored to her August, 1945 configuration, the USS KIDD is one of the most authentic and accurate restorations in the Historic Fleet.

USS KIDD (DD-661) in Baton Rouge, LA
USS KIDD (DD-661) in Baton Rouge, LA

The old and new Mississippi River bridges span the East and West sides of the Mississippi river in central and North Baton Rouge. The new Mississippi River bridge, actually named the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, is a cantilever bridge carrying Interstate 10 in Louisiana across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge in East Baton Rouge Parish to Port Allen in West Baton Rouge Parish. It was opened on April 10, 1968 and has a total length of 4,550 feet.

A couple of points of interest on the new Bridge: First, you can actually feel the bridge shake as you drive across it. Secondly, you get a great view of the LSU Football stadium, affectionally called “Death Valley”, especially all lit up at night. Finally, a majority of traffic coming eastbound into Baton Rouge from Port Allen/West Baton Rouge on I-10 necks down to one lane which can be a real traffic problem at certain times of the day.

View of LSU Football and Basketball stadiums looking Southeast while going Eastbound on bridge

The Mississippi River originates at Lake Itasca in Minnesota with numerous other rivers and tributaries feeding it as it runs through or along 10 different states. As mentioned above, the Mississippi River sees close to a 40 foot swing in depth throughout the year. A tremendous amount of silt and debris float down the river as it runs through Baton Rouge and New Orleans and eventually feeds out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Entrance/Exit to the pier out over the Mississippi River and partial view of Raising Cane’s River Center
Walking pier on Mississippi Review (debris give an idea of how the river often gets)
Trees stuck on pier supports showing a previous higher water level
Silt deposit creating a small island

We got a special treat while on the levee when a train come from the direction of the old Mississippi River Bridge where Exxon’s Baton Rouge Refinery and other plants are located.

Train right beside the levee
Train right beside the levee

The new State Capital was built after 14 months and was opened back in 1932. The Governor of Louisiana at that time, Governor Huey P. Long, was instrumental is getting this project off the ground. It is the tallest capitol in the United States, standing 450 feet high and has 34 floor, along with an observation deck on the 27th floor. It stands taller than any other building in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately for Governor Huey P. Long, he was assassinated in 1935 in the building and is buried on the grounds and his statue faces the Capitol.

New Louisiana State Capitol

Of course, we decided to drive closer to the LSU campus to get a few more pictures of the LSU Football Stadium. We included a few below.

LSU Football Stadium
LSU Football Stadium
LSU Stadium from the inside versus Florida (Pre-game)

All in all, it was a great day. It’s always fun heading out of the house and doing stuff with the family after being somewhat cooped up in our house due to COVID-19. Come check out the sights yourself with your family and/or friends, make memories, and enjoy the simple life together.

Enjoy! Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

Please LIKE this post. If you have any COMMENTS or QUESTIONS, please post below. Please SUBSCRIBE to our BLOG for additional great content.