Build a Picket Fence Headboard

If you are considering redecorating a little girl's room and want a fresh, garden-themed effect, consider building a picket fence headboard. You could even carry the theme further by using picket fence as wainscoting. Add fence posts in the corner, and the headboard theme can extend throughout the room. Building a picket fence headboard is easy. This article discusses how to build, tools needed and finishing effects.

Materials You Will Need

When finished, this headboard will look like a garden gate. To begin the process, gather together these tools:

* Tape measure
* Jig saw
* Fence pickets, available at most lumber yards
* Spacer boards
* Finishing nails
* Wood screws
* Screwdriver or electric drill
* Wood glue
* Medium grit sandpaper
* Paint - color dependent on personal preference

Making The Headboard

Determine the width of the bed by measuring with a tape measure. If you like, extend them out further to add background to matching nightstands.

Now, follow these easy steps:

1. Determine the high point of the headboard.
2. Determine the center point of the headboard, as this
will be the longest picket.
3. Cut each picket to length, using the jig saw. You
will want each picket to be shorter than the
proceeding one, both ways from the center picket. See
Illustration 1.
4. Sand all rough edges with medium grit sandpaper
5. cut spacers from the same material as the pickets,
ensuring for safety's sake that the pickets are no
more than 4" apart.
6. Place spacers between pickets - see illustration 2.
7. Lay out braces in a "Z" pattern, measuring carefully
to get things centered. See illustration 3 to begin. The
third brace will be placed across the top and bottom
to complete the pattern. See illustration 4. Mark this
pattern with a pencil to insure proper placement.
8. If the design looks good to you and your measurements
are correct, proceed to gluing the braces on the gate.
9. Using wood glue, such as Liquid nails, glue the
cross board in place. Be sure that each picket gets glued. Take care not to
accidentally glue the spacers to the cross
10. Using finishing nails, nail the braces in place. This will hold the shape while the
glue dries.

Putting It All Together

We now have the basic pattern. Remove the spacers as soon as you are sure the glue is dry -- give it at least 24 hours to cure. Next, use a hand coping saw to cut the cross brace that connects the top and bottom brace flush with the edges of the two outside picket.

Installing The Fenceposts

It is time to install the fence posts, which will act as the border of the headboard and give a finished look. If attaching to the wall, notch the fencepost appropriately to clear the baseboard. If attaching directly to the bed frame, this step is not needed. Let's put it all together:

1. Measure the hieght needed to show above the bed and clear pillows.
2. Place gate on top of fenceposts.
A good idea is to have this headboard fairly high for
visual effect.
3. Drill mounting holes in the fence at top and bottom.
4. Attach the gate to the fence post, once again checking
your measurements for proper placement. Use wood
screws to attach. Be sure the gate does not protrude
past the edges of the fenceposts.

Installing the Headboard

Now paint the headboard to match your color scheme. Do this in a well ventilated space. When the headboard is completely dry, place behind bed and fasten it in your manner chosen. If attaching to the bed frame, drill holes in the fence posts and use lag bolts of the proper length plus a washer to install.

This project can be accomplished in a single weekend and installed as soon as paint is dry. It is possible to simply stand the headboard against the wall and use the bed to stabilize it. In a child's room, though, it would be advisable to either attach to the wall or to the iron bed frame itself. Enjoy!

For more unique headboard ideas, visit our Headboard Articles.

Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to He writes on a variety of subjects, and excels in research.