How to Make a Pallet Headboard

How to make a pallet headboard

It only took about 5 hours of actual work, and 10 hours of stealth hunting, but it’s done. You might be thinking deer hunt, but I’m actually referring to Whitney’s master bedroom headboard pallet project. We’ve seen inspiration for pallet projects everywhere, like PB&J Stories, WebEcoist, and Ana White, and love the rustic worn look.

Whitney originally put this idea into our mood board for the master bedroom, so I knew the plan was in the works, I just wasn’t prepared with the process of actually getting pallets. Of course, now that we have what we need (thanks Electrical Wholesale Supply, Sherwin Williams, and some helpful neighbors), we see them everywhere.
PhotobucketHere’s what our driveway looked like at the beginning of this project. We first laid out the pallets since we wanted to lightly brush the wood with a white wash, helping to highlight the natural grain and knots embedded in the wood. We kept the boards in pallet form, making the painting and sanding a bit easier.
PhotobucketWe were prepared with all sorts of different formulas to give it the look we wanted, but settled on an old, mostly-used can of white latex paint that we watered down to a 1:1 ratio.
PhotobucketWe weren’t too concerned about an even coat of white wash, we really just wanted it to have a relaxed “shabby” look. We then took 60 grit sandpaper and lightly sanded the pallet boards

I’d heard reports of how difficult it can be to get the pallet boards off of the braces, and knew it’d take some brute force. Unfortunately, I found out that force really wasn’t the answer, since starting at the ends usually resulted in my incredible strength ripping the boards apart. I felt buff, but that didn’t really help us in completing the project.
PhotobucketThe key to neatly getting the pallet wood off the pallets themselves was using a sawsall to cut through nails on the ends first. I really like that this method leaves in some of the nails too – gives it an authentic look.
PhotobucketThen, once the sides were freed, I simply took a couple of hammers and pryed the center nails up. Whitney then pulled any nails that protruded and stacked the wood in order of board width.
PhotobucketAfter carrying the pallet boards upstairs, we taped up lines of where our head board would be, making sure to find the center of the wall. We wanted the headboard to only come out 2-3 inches on each side of the mattress, so we marked where the headboard would end.
PhotobucketThen, using a stud finder, we marked with tape where the studs were, so that we could use as few nails as possible to hold up the pallet boards. I actually taped up a couple of longer pieces of wood that I picked up out of the Home Depot Cull bin to help us easily see the ends of the headboard, and be able to measure and cut them accurately.
PhotobucketWhitney wanted a floor to ceiling effect to help give our room more height, and since she didn’t want to risk having any funny cuts at the top of the headboard, we decided to start at the top of the wall. Ideally, we tried to vary the pattern, so that all the pieces didn’t end in the same place on the wall. Then, using a pneumatic finishing nailer with 1.5” nails, we put two to four nails in each board to hold it up, using the wall studs as supports.
PhotobucketWe really tried to keep the same width size of the board consistent across each individual row, spacing out our really wide pieces throughout.
Photobucket We moved the blue tape down as we went, since gaps and holes are just part of the beast – and we didn’t wan’t the blue strips peaking out from between the boards.
PhotobucketObviously the master bedroom project will continue, and we’ll keep you updated throughout the week as we progress. We’re being a bit ambitious, but we’ve got plans to make a new duvet cover and start on some window treatments. You’ll be the first to find out how it all looks together, stay tuned.

Update: The master bedroom project is coming right along, check out our other pallet project as well as the curtains and duvet cover.

Sharing with various sites, see blog party tab.

Update: We revealed the master bedroom and chatted it up about all the costs involved here. Check it out.

pallet projects

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  1. giiirl, now you’re talking! It looks amazing!!

  2. (found ya on a link party)
    Wow you make that look so easy! Cant wait to see the finished room :)

  3. This is going to look aaaamaazing! I might try this for a smallish laundry room wall. Can’t wait to see the finished room.

  4. Wow that looks terrific! And I so admire your careful planning and thinking it through. Great job! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the room.

  5. Looks awesome! I want some pallet furniture now!

  6. Whoa, that is wild. I love it!!

  7. that looks gorgeous!!! Pinning to my Master bedroom board – we’re moving soon so this would be amazing!

  8. It looks GREAT! Thanks for the shout out too! My heart went pitter patter from the picture of your driveaway with all the pallets.

    Beautiful job!


  9. It is amazing and even more incredible in person. Now i cannot wait to see the whole room complete. You two arer seriously talented.

  10. This is beautiful!! I definitely have to show this to the hubs!! He just can’t see using pallets!! lol!! But was he takes a look at this he’ll be like “ooohh”!

    Great job, thank you for sharing!!

    new follower as well!

  11. *once

  12. LOVE the look of this!! Thanks for linking up to Handmade Tuesdays @ Ladybug Blessings.

  13. WOW! I love it. You did an amazing job! I can’t wait to see how the whole room turns out.

  14. I love that you varied the layers in a brick-work type pattern. So visually appealing. The tight detail contrasts really well with the rustic feel of the wood.

    Stopping by from Tute-in Tuesday. Thanks!
    Jaymie @

  15. How awesome! And I need to use the saw idea to get my pallets broken down! For something so simple, those babies are VERY well put together! Ripping the boards off of those things is like pulling teeth from a dinosaur!

  16. Can’t wait to see the rest of the room after such a great start!

  17. I absolutely love it and would love to see a whole room done in this way. Love your photos too. xo

    (new follower here via Not JUST a Housewife party)

  18. it looks stunning!

  19. This is seriously awesome!! I can’t wait to get my hands on same pallets! This is going to look awesome when it is all done!!

  20. This is going to look amazing! All that work with the pallets was worth it…they have a fabulous “worn” look that you can’t achieve any other way! Can’t wait to see the rest of the makeover.

  21. I love the headboard! I can’t wait to see the finished room.

  22. I am very impressed! This is such a great project. So simple, but what an impact! Looks great!

  23. I love this idea! I can NOT wait to see the final product! That looks like tons of work- but totally worth it! :)

  24. This is SO great.

  25. Gorgeous! It looks like a chimney going in too. This could easily be used in a living room. LOVE the idea!

    Thanks for linking to Wicked Awesome Wednesday!

  26. absolutely LOVE this!! It looks stunning.Truly!!

    What will happen if you have to move?? Think you could do the same thing but onto something other than the wall?? Antother piece of wood??

    • Good question, we actually discussed this as we were putting the wall up. If we’re lucky the new owners would ask us to keep it there, but if not, we’d just pry off the boards, fill the holes, and touch it up with a bit of paint. I almost did put another piece of wood behind it instead of attaching it right to the wall, but the finishing nails are so small that I don’t think it did much damage. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! Fingers crossed that we won’t move for a looooong time.

  27. Saw your post on Craftomaniac! Loved your mobile! I’m jealous of all your garage sale scores! I occasionally hit the crafty sale jackpot and can get tons of fabric, supplies and etc. for CHEAP. I haven’t been out in awhile, maybe I should this weekend! :)

  28. I love the look the whitewash gave the pallet wood. Such a great idea.

  29. It looks absolutely stunning! I like the whitewash effect on the wood. Can’t wait to see the finished look!

  30. Can’t wait to see it all finished! This looks great so far! C

  31. Love it! Please post this, and anything else you may have,in my link party at



  32. WOW! I’m in love. There was a home in our Parade of Homes that used hard wood floors along their wall behind the bed…. I like this idea so much more! The character of the wood is beautiful and my hubby has a TON of pallets lying around! I need to do this in my room :) Thanks for sharing :)

  33. This is AWESOME… I would love for you to share it on my link party. I am sharing it on my FB page right now 😉

  34. Freaking awesome!

  35. great work! this headboard will be GORGEOUS! it already is!

  36. this project, your documentation of it, and the photography are all so lovely!

    come visit anytime–and hope you will enter my shabby chic giveaway:



  37. That is awesome!!!! What a great idea.

  38. That is great! I found your blog from 504 main. I’m your newest follower…I’m hope you’ll stop by my new blog & follow along!
    Thanks, Sally

  39. Now that’s a great idea!!

  40. that looks so cool! I’m in search of pallets myself to try this in master…thanks for sharing!

  41. That turned out beautiful! You guys did an incredible job!

    I hope you’ll link this project up to Knick of Time Tuesday! The party is open all week until next Monday.


  42. Awesome. Thanks for the great tutorial, we’re hoping to do an entire wall in my sons room :)

  43. Totally Awesome! LOVE IT!

  44. Wow. I am in love with pallets right now. We just built a house and have many stored up for projects. So inspiring. Y’all are very talented! Glad I found you on the tt&j linky party :)

  45. Featuring you tomorrow Saturday during STICKER time… Thank you so much for visiting the pary! LOVE IT!

  46. all i can say is WOW!!!!!!

  47. LUUUUUVVVV this! It’s going to be totally amazing when you get it all done! :)

    xoxo laurie

  48. This turned out amazing. You did such an incredible job. Thanks for linking tothe Home Decor and Organizing Link Party. I featured this on my blog today. Come by and grab a featured button if you’d like.

  49. You are awesome1 I featured you today, come grab a button.

    Kim @ Too Much Time

  50. Wow, I am totally impressed! This is just awesome! Can’t wait to see what it looks like with the bed. I’ll be featuring it tomorrow at Creations by Kara. :)

  51. This is SO stunning! So stunning that I featured it on my blog tonight! :) Thanks so much for linking up to Your Whims Wednesday! Come check it out and grab a button :)

  52. Totally cool. It’s amazing what people can do with pallets! Found you via a link party this week, and looking forward to poking around at your other projects. So far I’m totally impressed with how your bedroom is coming along. Looking forward to seeing what the headboard looks like behind a bed!

    Featured you on my blog this week. Thanks for the inspiration!

  53. This is absolutely stunning. We are looking to buy a king size bed, but didn’t want to buy a whole new bedroom set. I can’t wait to show this idea to the hubby! Thanks for sharing. I’d love for you to stop by and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party at I’m your newest follower.

  54. This is such an awesome idea. I love the look of the old wood. I think that I might try and adapt it to do a fireplace. We will have to see if my fiance thinks that it would be as cool though. lol.

  55. I’m in love with what you created! It is gorgeous! I’m hosting a Fabulous Fall party over at Not So Simple Housewife and I’d love for you to link this up! We are celebrating Fall and giving me and everybody else some great inspiration. We are looking for crafts, decor, food, and more! I’d love for you to add this and any other fall posts you may have!

    Kaitlin-The Not So SImple Housewife

  56. Just found your site …What a treasure it is toooooo ;~} I luv this pallet idea I wanna do this in my shabby guest house gardening crafting cottage ..THANK YOU FOR SHARING & JUST BEING YOU GUYS …

  57. seriously??? i thought the pallet thing was getting a bit worn out BUT then i spied this on miss mustard seed. and with the mirror????? ahhhh-mazin’. really.


  58. GORGEOUS!!! I absolutely LOVE it and can’t wait to see the whole room! Found you over at Miss Mustard Seeds and just became your newest follower. Would love it if you followed back. Martina

  59. It looks great … way to go!
    Popped over from MMS ; )

  60. I can only say great, you are very skillful. Greetings from me and the Czech Republic.

  61. Wow! Awesome! I would love it if you would stop by and share at the link party going on right now at Lines Across My Face.
    I hope to see you soon,

  62. Just found you from Apartment Therapy. This is gorgeous, thanks for the instructions and pictures- it makes me think I could actually do this myself! I love the look of pallet wood, and I work at a thrift store for home improvement & architectural salvage, so I could certainly get my hands on as much as I need.

    One question though – isn’t the wood rough to lean up against? Doesn’t it snag the sheets and pillows? Or did you sand it a good deal and eliminate that problem?

    • Thanks! We did sand before putting it up and it doesn’t snag as much as we thought it would, we tried to avoid using rough pieces nearest the bed.

  63. This is incredible. You two have so much patience to have tackled this project!!!! Great job :)

  64. Stopping by after finding you via (hmmm, via where? I can’t remember!) anyway searching out all the talented people who made pallet headboards. Gearing up for making a couple in my sons room. Love your’s as well so adding it to my pile of inspiration!


  65. Are the pallets you used made of oak or pine? Also, how many did it take to finish your headboard. It is beautiful! Thanks for the wonderful idea. I am going to give it a try!

    • I’m pretty sure they are pine. I think we estimated it took about 10 pallets – but it’s hard to know for sure since some of them had more usable wood than others. You should try it, we love ours!

  66. This looks awesome! Very inspirational for a project we have coming up soon. Thanks for providing so many great pics too.

  67. It looks nice and rustic. My concern about doing this myself is in its practical use at night. I would be afraid that I would roll over, drag my hand or arm across the headboard, and end up with some nasty splinters embedded in my flesh. Unless it is sanded well, and a sealant is painted onto it, I would be concerned about headboard splinters, and about the wood damaging the sheets and pillowcases that rub against it.

  68. How many pallets did it take you to do this project?

  69. Willard says:

    Danger: I don’t want to throw any cold water BUT. That pic of someone hitting 1 hammer with another brought back an old memory. I did that same thing 48 years ago and still have a tiny piece of steel in my wrist as a reminder. I was lucky. It could have been my eye or someones eye standing close by. The face of the hammer heads are very hard and do beak like glass at time. I use a heavy rubber hammer any time I feel I need to do this sort of thing.

    I like your work. I only wish I had your imagination. Work safe and keep up the good work.


  1. […] and Dustin from The Rooster & the Hen show their resourcefulness with a whitewashed pallet headboard.  It looks so fabulous, it’ll […]

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