September 15, 2011

#108- Building a Modern Headboard

I've kinda been a tease lately... that or just a total liar.  I keep promising you big and amazing things up in our Master Bedroom like a headboard, nightstands, lamps, art, paint techniques, etc... and after all those shallow and meaningless promises all I have to show for it is this:

Don't get me wrong, we've come a long way baby.  Not only have we checked off an amazing 75 items off The List in just under 5 months, but we've already painted this room, painted the trim, hung a ceiling fan, refinished the bed frame and then lowered and adjusted the bed frame.  But you don't want to hear the labor pains, you want to see the baby, so here my friends, is part one of our headboard build.
Once again the amazing Ana White took one of my favorite, clean lined pieces from West Elm and shared how to build it at one tenth the cost.  She is amazing. 

This modern cut out headboard is exactly what I was looking for to give the bed a low, modern feel, while still connecting to the dark wood trim that Bath Crashers installed in our new Master Bathroom.  As in my "I Built a Couch" post, I'm not going to take you through ever detail of this process since Ana already has an amazing step by step tutorial here, I'll just give you the cliff's notes.

I started by cutting all my wood to her cut list, which was relatively easy considering I only had to purchase (4) 1x4x8's, and was able to use a leftover piece of plywood I had from a previous project.   Then I lined up my frame on a piece of cardboard out in the garage to get ready to assemble.   When you build furniture it is important to glue every joint, since glue is the primary bond that holds the wood together, and the nails or screws are really just for added security.  Since this piece will be purely decorative and not expected to hold any weight, I didn't bother using my Kreg Jig or wood screws for stability, and instead went for the easy to hide nails on my finishing nailer, although you could definitely use screws and finishing nails if you were to do this at home.

First, I put together the inside of the frame with my nail gun and wood glue.

Then I added the sides and top piece.

It was actually incredibly easy, so I moved on to the tricky part, cutting my plywood face.  The most important thing about modern furniture is straight lines and a seamless fit.  Let's just say I did the best I could.  I started by cutting my plywood to size with my table saw.

Then I measured for the rectangular cut out in the board.  I must have measured like a thousand times, taking the whole measure twice cut once to new heights.  Ana's next instruction was to use a jig saw to cut the hole, and for me, that just wasn't cutting it. (Pun intended.)   I don't know what kind of jig saw Ana White has, or what kind of yoga-mind-warrior-sense-of-peace that she possess, but there was no way I was going to be able to cut this large rectangle straight and even freehand.  So I rigged up a little system, using a spare 1x2 clamped to my plywood as a guide so that my jigsaw could follow it smoothly down the line for a straight, even cut.

The 1x2 on the left is clamped down exactly 1 1/4" from my line, which is the exact distance from the edge of the saw to the blade.

As you can see I started by drilling a larger hole with my drill in the center of the cut out, and then took care to smoothly line my saw up with my guide. 
I won't lie to you, it's not perfect, but I think we've all learned from dozens of Disney Channel preteen princesses that nothing is.  Once my hole was cut out all I had to do was apply glue to the frame and tack it in with small finishing nails.

Not bad huh?  Since this is real life, and this stuff doesn't magically happen in 1 day, I'll be back tomorrow to share with you how I finished it, and if we're lucky get it installed up in the room.  Has anyone else taking on an Ana-White project lately?  Have one in the hopper that you've been dreaming about and just haven't pulled the trigger?  Let me just say, that the woman makes it a cake walk, so don't be afraid- DO IT!


  1. I have about 5 Ana White projects in mind!

    1. Headboard for our master
    2. TV Stand for our basement
    3. Wall shelf/desk for our living room wall
    4. Garbage can cabinet for our kitchen
    5. Leaning wall shelves for my office

    And I'm sure there are many more projects!

  2. I like wood. The information good for me. I like décor my home by wood. I have problem with cutting board 45 and 90 degree. Do you sharing tips? I want to décor crib for my daughter next week

  3. Thank for your sharing. I read information very late, your article is closed but congrats to our winner. I bought Dewalt miter saw. It very good, I think I create anything that join contest