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Make a Pallet Headboard for Less Than $15

DIY Pallet Headboard and Glass Art Provide Unique Décor Combination

DIY Pallet Headboard

Homemade DIY projects made with old, discarded pallets are all the rage these days. Not only are pallets inexpensive (usually free!), but they can be made into a variety of items to reflect your own unique character and charm. Plus breathing new life into something old or unused can be so much fun!

That’s why we’re excited to share with you a project our friend Lana made that really knocked our socks off. She made this trendy DIY pallet headboard for less than $15, and we’ve got the instructions so now you can too! And don’t worry…no carpentry skills are needed!

The idea took form when Lana was looking for a piece of artwork to hang above the bed in the guest bedroom…something large enough to double as a headboard. She decided to tackle a DIY pallet headboard. When she asked her husband to pick up a couple of old pallets so she could make a pallet headboard, he thought she was crazy for wanting to bring old wood into their new, soft modern style home! She “gently” encouraged him by letting him pick whether she should use the pallets, or go buy a new headboard…he quickly chose the pallets! 

Stained glass lamp with geometric pattern accents pallet headboard

Here are the materials Lana used and her expenses. Most of these were free because she already had them around the house! Hopefully you will too, or you can at least pick them up for free. Even though Lana only had $8 worth of expenses, we estimated this project at $15 to allow for items you might have to purchase, such as nails and paint. But you might be able to do this entire project for free if you have the right colors of paint on hand and can acquire everything else for free!

  • 2-3 old pallets = free (had on hand)
  • Old 2x4s or 2x6s = free (had on hand)
  • A few screws and nails = free (had on hand)
  • Cardboard for pattern = free (had on hand)
  • Small can of orange paint = $8
  • Small can of white paint = free (had on hand)
  • Paintbrushes = free (had on hand)

How to make the DIY pallet headboard

Now the fun begins…get ready to assemble!

  1. Find two or three pallets. Usually you can pick old pallets up for free at grocery stores, hardware or feed stores, etc. Most of the time they just throw them away, so they are happy to have you take them off their hands. The more pallets you have, the better the selection of wood to choose from.
  2. Disassemble the pallets. Take the top boards off the pallets and group your wood together. If you have a couple of boards that look newer than the others, soak steel wool in vinegar overnight and then wipe it over the boards to give them a weathered, vintage look. 
  3. Determine orientation. You need to decide if you want the wood on the headboard to run horizontally or vertically. Lana chose to run hers vertically.
  4. Measure the bed to determine the desired width and height of the headboard. To make it look more like a headboard, you’ll want it to run the entire length of the bed. To make the headboard look more like artwork, make it smaller than the full width of the bed (this is what Lana did).
  5. Gather four pieces of scrap wood to use as the base. Remember, the more weathered, the better, so you do not need new wood! Lana used two 2x4s to use as the taller “legs” of the base (running vertically). The legs were necessary because the pallet was too heavy to hang on the wall. Using screws, she attached two 2x6s horizontally across the 2x4s to establish a base. 
  6. Nail the pallet boards to the 2x6s, leaving just a small gap in between each board. It doesn’t have to be perfect!
  7. Let your creative juices flow. Lana sketched out a few designs on graph paper first and finally settled on this random herringbone pattern for her modern-style home. To transfer the design to the pallet headboard, she traced the pattern onto the side of a cardboard box and cut it out. Using her cardboard template, she placed it on the pallet boards and used a pencil to trace around the cardboard.
  8. Prepare to paint. Lana picked up a small can of orange paint from her local hardware store for about $8, and she had some leftover white trim paint on hand from their house.
  9. Paint between the lines. Using a small paintbrush from her daughter’s art supplies, she painted the outside lines; then using an old paintbrush she had from previous projects, she filled in the rest of the color, leaving random areas unpainted for added interest.
  10. Lean your pallet against the wall in front of the bed. If you’re concerned about stability, secure the headboard to the bed frame and/or wall. Since this is for a guest room with limited use, Lana didn’t secure it.

Of course, as with any successful DIY project, you need the proper accent pieces to complete the look. Lana's thriftiness with the homemade pallet headboard allowed her to focus her budget on other decor for the room that would tie everything together. 

Stained glass lamps and glass photo frames made by J. Devlin Glass Art were added as accent décor. The geometric pattern in the stained glass lamps and matching glass photo frames compliment the pallet design, and the ruffle/ripple pattern on the gray bedspread ties in nicely with the clear glass textures found in the lamps and picture frames. A few accent throw pillows pull out the vibrant orange in her new pallet headboard. Bronze drawer pulls on the white nightstands match the finish of the lamps and frames. The finished room has a modern vibe with a sophisticated ambience.

Pallet headboard project complete with glass art accents

If you like the stained glass lamp (Lam 657) or glass photo frames (Pic 310 series) featured with Lana’s pallet headboard, you can purchase them from our online gift store for 10% off using coupon code PALLET10 at checkout. (Not good with any other offer.)