It All Started With a Can of Paint!
Like most of my projects, it all started with an impulsive thought and a can of paint…..I had only wanted to add some drama to my master bedroom by painting a wall or two a moody black color…..I had no idea I would end up creating a DIY rustic headboard because of it!
When you can’t find it you make it!
I kicked off the project painting a wall with Valspar’s Lincoln Cottage Black and it was perfect! I was super happy with myself, until I put my bed back in my room. My white, metal bedframe wasn’t giving me the rustic / glam / eclectic / cool vibe I was searching for so I threw that thing on the local Facebook for sale page. That is my way of justifying most of my purchases, sell something old to get something new. It’s a great way to shop without any guilt and sometimes I even end up with a little extra cash!
O.K. fast forward to me running store to store with my Facebook selling loot burning a whole in my pocket. I headed into each place with a smile on my face in hopes of finding the headboard of my dreams and walked out feeling completely frustrated. I set myself up for failure every time I try to shop for a particular item. I immediately get a vision in my head and then stupidly try to find exactly what I imagined. Sooooo just like every other failed shopping trip I decided to make my own.
I knew I wanted something with texture, wood grain, a unique look and it had to be CHEAP! I looked for wood slabs but that was way outta my budget. I saw quite a few ideas on Pinterest that were made with a simple sheet of plywood….almost there but not quite. That’s when it hit me! If I couldn’t afford a giant slab of raw cut wood why not use a million tiny wood slabs?!? There have been plenty of people who have used a similar look for fireplace inserts so I took that idea and twisted it to work for me.
For those of you thinking “Get on with it already Shannon!”
Here’s what you’ll need:
Supplies Needed To Make Your Rustic Headdboard:
- Birch tree slices. How many really depends on the size of your headboard and the number of layers you want it to have.
- A sheet of plywood to glue the slices onto. Measure the width of your bed and have it cut to size at Home Depot or Lowes for free!
- Paint to match the wall you are going to hang the head board on.
- Liquid Nails
- Radial saw or any other saw that will cut the wood slices.
- This is optional… I sealed the finished product with a water-based polyacrylic by General Finishes to protect myself from any future wood pieces falling off into my bed. Nobody wants that!
First, I began to search roadside for small fallen trees. Living in Idaho you would think that would be easy….not so much. I was also a little worried about “who or what is living in these trees?” and decided I didn’t want to wake up one morning covered in bugs so I headed to the closest Michael’s Store. Bingo! They have small birch tree logs in a bundle over in the floral dept. and coupons galore! I also found pre-cut slices in the wood craft section that had been marked to clearance. My son laughed at me saying it was crazy I was buying birch tree wood when our previous house in Alaska was surrounded by it. Again, it wouldn’t have mattered because, you know, bugs.
I headed to Home Depot with the measurements for my King size bed. The sheet of plywood was around $12 and the first two cuts they make are free. I grabbed some liquid nails and headed home. I’m finally leaving stores with a smile on my face!
The first thing you want to do is paint the plywood backing the color of your wall. Both my friend and my son suggested this to me. It will give the illusion the birch slices are attached directly to the wall and be more visually appealing. I would like to think I would have come up with this idea myself but sometimes it takes a village, right?
Now you just start cutting! I had a radial saw, so that’s what I used. Obviously it caused a little bit of waste on each birch log for me. I could only get my fingers so close after all. *PLEASE remember to be safe when doing this! Wear goggles and only use tools you are familiar with. I am sharing how I made my headboard BUT you do what is best for you when it comes to power tools!*
At this point you need to grab a coffee and turn on your favorite music because you’re gonna be working on this next step for awhile. Time to start attaching the wood slices to your dry plywood backing. This part felt more like baking than furniture making honestly. You sit and spread the glue frosting on each little wood cookie and stick them on the painted side of the plywood.
The first layer is just row after row, side by side, as close as you can get them to fit. I had sorted the wood slices by size before gluing so the larger slices would be on this first layer. By the time you get to the end the glue is already dry where you started so now it is on to layer two. This time I used the medium sized slices to cover the open areas I could still see the painted plywood. Cover the whole area again and then onto the third layer. This is when I used the smallest slices and just staggered them wherever I liked to give the head board a 3D effect.
If you look closely at the photos you can see how I staggered them in the different layers.
There is no right or wrong when you do this. Just glue and stick until the board is covered. * I found the smell of the liquid nails to be a bit strong so be sure to wear a mask and work in a ventilated area. You may want to leave the finished product in your garage until the smell completely wears off. I left mine to sit for two full days before bringing it inside.
Once everything was dry I used a 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the top layer of wood slices. Remember you will be sleeping under this so it has to be safe.
I used a shop vac to remove any sawdust and then applied a top coat by General Finishes. You can find that here Just take a foam brush and simply wipe a thin layer on each piece of wood. *Follow the instructions on the product for proper dry times.
Now it’s time to hang that beauty in your room! Because of the materials used it is surprising lightweight. I simply drilled screws into a few spaces between wood slices and through the plywood straight into the wall. Easy Peasy!
I call it my Rustic Glam makeover and love it! The whole project, including painting the wall, cost $110.00…. BUT remember, I sold the original bedframe for $100.00 so I actually spent just 10 dollars! That’s how I roll! I try to spend as little as possible to make my house a home!
The most exciting part of it all was after sharing this DIY rustic headboard on instagram it won a paid trip to the 2016 Michael’s Makers Summit for myself and was also featured in the July / August issue of Country Living Magazine! Read more about that here. Sometimes our tight budgets and crazy ideas are rewarded in surprisingly big ways so you should always go for it!
I hope this post inspired you to create something of your own! I would love to hear your thoughts about this project so please leave me a comment below!