How To Build A Campaign Headboard for Under $150
This is no April Fool’s joke! I really made this fabulous stained wood headboard for under $150. All you need are some basic power tools, a little know-how, and this video (duh!) to make one yourself!
- miter saw
- circular saw
- utility knife
- tape measure
- speed square
- straight edge, like a 4 ft level
- painter’s tape
- wood glue
- wood stain
- spray paint
- 5/16″ drill bit
- 1/2″ wood screws
- 1″ wood screws
- (2) 4″ flat, L-shaped corner braces
- (4) 2″ flat, l-shaped corner braces
- 2″ heavy duty corner braces
- (4) 1/4″x1-1/2″ carriage bolts with nuts
- (3) 6’x1″x3″ select pine
- (1) 10’x1″x4″ common board
- (1) 4’x8’x1/2″ birch sanded plywood
OK, that list is a little long, but I’m willing to bet you already have a bunch of that in your arsenal!
I think most people know by now that most stores will cut your plywood roughly to size for you when you purchase it. But I wouldn’t recommend that for this project unless you need it in order to fit the plywood in your car. In which case I’d suggest having them cut it a few inches wider and longer than your final dimensions. This is because the plywood can easily splinter. And if you’re staining like I did, the splintering will show up. To be sure, it will show up if you paint it too unless you fill in the splintering with putty beforehand.
But if you have a circular saw, you can easily cut plywood to size at home!
After marking your cut line, all you have to do is clamp a straight edge, like a level or framing square, to your plywood. Then you push against it with your saw as you’re cutting to keep the blade right on the line.
Additionally if you’re cutting a piece of plywood for furniture like this headboard, a piece of painter’s tape can greatly minimize the splintering I mentioned above. Apply it along your cut line (on the side you’re going to keep) before cutting. Get it as close as possible without getting too much on the line so the adhesive doesn’t gum up the blade. Then slowly and lightly score the surface of your plywood on the cut line with a utility knife, to again, reduce splintering.
The overall dimensions for this Queen-Sized Headboard are 64″ wide by 53-1/2″ tall. Below are the dimensions of everything I cut for this project.
- 63″, mitered on each end
- (2) 53″, mitered on one end
- (3) ~40″
Watch the video above (around the 3 minute mark) for more details on the mitered cuts.
Determine which side of your plywood will be the ‘good side’ and which edge will be the top. Then place your plywood face down. Start by attaching the ‘heavy duty corner braces’ to the top corner on each side, making sure it’s flush with the plywood edges. Using 1″ wood screws, attach 1 of the 1x4s to each side of the plywood, with 21″ hanging off the bottom. These will become part of the legs for the headboard. Attach the last 1×4 to the top of the plywood, between the 2 corner braces.
Next, you’ll take the 1x3s with only 1 mitered end, hold it against the side edges of the plywood where it’s flush with the 1x4s on the bottom and the back. Use the smaller of the flat corner braces to attach the 1×3 to the 1×4. Then attach the corner brace already in the top corner of the plywood to the 1×3. Repeat on the other side.
Finally, attach the 1×3 with 2 mitered ends to the top edge of the plywood. Since it’ll have gravity in its favor, I just used a little wood glue between the 1×3 and 1×4 as well as attached the other side of the heavy duty corner braces to the 1×3. (Again, watch the video. The visual helps make sense out of this!) Here’s what the finished, assembled headboard looks like on the back.
As with any project with wood, you’ve got to sand it before you can finish it! Start with 220-grit and then graduate up to 400-grit if you want to really smooth it out before staining.
Then apply your stain or paint. I used Briarsmoke from Varathane for a grayish brown hue. While the stain is drying, switch over to spray painting the larger of the L-shaped flat corner braces. I sprayed mine gold since I’m currently obsessed with all things brass/gold. But you can also leave it the zinc finish!
After the stain on the headboard dried overnight, I applied a matte polyurethane. You can apply multiple coats of the poly for extra protection according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once you’re done with the polyurethane and it’s dry to the touch, attach the painted corner braces to the face of the 1x3s for that popular “campaign” style!
What do you think? Would you pay $350 for this in a nice retail shop?? I think it looks pretty legit! <3
Drop me a line in the comments with any questions! I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for Checking In! ~Chelsea