Wood Lath Headboard

Categories: Bed, DIY Projects, Furniture, HeadboardTags: , , , , , , , , , Author:

For a few months now, we’ve been wanting a headboard for one of the spare bedrooms, but we couldn’t find what we wanted.  Headboards are expensive, and we wanted something that was fun. 

So, what do you do when you can’t find what you want, for the price that you want?  Make it!  We headed to the Depot hoping to get some ideas…we looked at beadboard and paneling, but weren’t really into the way they would look. We also thought about using moldings, but when we priced it out, it was more than we wanted to spend. But then, we found a few bundles of wood lath for very cheap.  I could make a frame, and cover it with the lath for texture.  If you don’t know what lath is, don’t feel bad.  We didn’t either.  We just knew that we liked it.  Come to find out, it’s wood used for fencing, so it’s no surprise that the finished headboard has that quality about it.

One thing we didn’t want, however, was for our headboard to look too country because it wouldn’t go with the rest of the decor in the bedroom.  Alberto had the great idea to stain it almost black (slate) and varnish it with a high gloss polyurethane.  Now we finally had the pop that we wanted in that bedroom!

Here’s what we used to make the headboard:

  • One bundle of lath wood
  • Three 6-foot 1×3’s
  • One 8-foot 1×3
  • Three 2-foot x 4-foot pieces of plywood  (You can use one 4-foot x 8-foot sheet, but that wouldn’t fit into our car.)
  • Slate-color stain (we used outdoor stain)
  • One quart of high gloss polyurethane

This is what we used to put it together:

  • Circular saw
  • Cordless Drill/Screwdriver
  • Nail gun (Or you can use a hammer and finishing nails, but if you’ve got it. . .)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tape measure and pencil

Let’s make a headboard!

  • With two of the pieces of plywood, measure and cut 6-inches off of the right sides so that you end up with two pieces that are 1 1/2-feet wide by 4-feet tall.  (Our headboard will ultimately be 5-feet wide.)
  • Now make the frame for the headboard. Set the plywood side by side face down on the floor with the 2-foot piece in the middle.
  • Cut one of the 1×3’s 5-feet long and place it at the top of the three pieces of plywood lining up the edges and screw the 1×3 to the plywood.  Be sure that the edges of the plywood fit tightly together and that you line up the top and end edges with the side of the 1×3.
  • Next, cut four pieces of 1×3 2-feet 9 1/2-inches long and place them on the right side, left side and on each of the seams. Screw the 1×3’s in place using 2 screws every 8 inches.  (Be sure that the two screws straddle the seams!)
  • Cut three last pieces of 1×3: two pieces 14 1/2-inches long and one piece 21 3/8-inches long. Place the shorter 1×3’s on the left and right sides of the bottom, and the longer piece in the middle. Screw the pieces in place.  Make sure you line up the bottom edge of the three 1×3 pieces to the bottoms of the vertical 1×3’s.

Don’t fence me in!!!

  • Now, wrap the plywood frame beginning with the top of the headboard. Line up one piece of lath wood with the left edge of the headboard. Place a couple of nails in to hold it in place. Repeat this step until you have the top and sides covered with the lath pieces. Remember to leave about an 1/8-inch overhang at the top so that the lath nailed on the sides fit flushed to the top pieces.
  • On the front starting from the left, line up the first piece of lath with the outer edge leaving an 1/8-inch overhang at the top.  The lath on the front should overlap in front of the lath on the side.
  • Nail two nails at the top of the piece of wood, and continue attaching the wood to the plywood nailing every 8-inches or so. Take the next piece of wood, and nail it next to the first.  Be sure to squeeze the second piece against the first.  You don’t want any of the plywood to show through if at all possible. Continue this process all the way across the front of the plywood.  I cut more lath wood to 3-feet as I needed them.

Cocktail Break!

So before plunging into the staining and sealing, Alberto uncorks a great (and cheap) Pinot Noir we got over the weekend. We’re going to need something while we watch the stain and sealer dry…

Seal the Deal!

  • Lay the headboard flat on a sheet or clean surface and brush the stain onto the headboard being sure to get into the cracks between the boards.  I brushed it on like paint, but not too liberally.  Just enough to cover.
  • Let it dry.  I usually wait at least 30 minutes.
  • Brush the sealer onto the headboard and let it dry.  Be sure to coat the headboard really well, but watch out for drips!  High gloss varnish usually takes at least 12 hours to dry, so you’ll have to continue the next day.
  • Lightly sand the headboard and reapply the sealer.

  • After 12 hours, turn the headboard upside down. Screw on the three metal plates to the bottom of the headboard (not the bottom of the plywood).  As I said, we have a platform bed, but you can attach two 2×4’s on either side of the headboard and attach them to your frame.

Slide the headboard on the platform bed, make the bed, and your done!  You’ll have a very attractive and unique headboard that will impress your guests.  Now it’s time to sit back, have a glass of wine, and think about next week’s project!


4 Responses to Wood Lath Headboard

  1. Judy says:

    Love the headboard. Looks really good in your bedroom and looks like you. Looking forward to your next project.

  2. dana says:

    What a great idea! May have to go peruse a few home improvement stores…Do you recall what color the paint in that room is?? I just love it!

  3. Tammy Denice says:

    You two never cease to amaze me. I think you should have a show on HGTV. Blessings.


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