Making a Headboard from an Old Door

Door Headboard made from old door

We have made several bed headboards from old and new doors. In this post, we will explain how to make a headboard from an old or new door.

This was the original door we purchased at a salvage store.

This old door had six panels, but we only needed five panels for a queen-sized bed headboard. That works great because we prefer an odd number of panels. (Later in this post, we will show two more headboards we made for kingsize doors.)

Sanding:

We lightly sanded both sides to remove the loose paint.

We decided to use the more rustic side for the headboard.

Filling the Holes:

In preparation for making a headboard from this old door, we filled the obvious holes, including the doorknob hole with Bondo wood filler.  Follow the instructions on the can. After it dried, we sanded the areas smooth.

Painting the Door and Trim:

We purchased one 1 x 3″ flat piece of wood (for the top of the headboard) and a 1.25″ piece of picture moulding (which will go under the 1 x 3 at the top of the headboard).

The 1 x 3″ flat piece needs to be at least 4″ longer than the length of the top of the headboard (the original height of the door). This will allow for a 2″ overhang on each side.

The 1.25″ piece of picture moulding needs to be at least 8″ longer than the length of the top of the headboard because you will cut a 45-degree angle on both ends. More details regarding this later in this post. We suggest purchasing a piece a foot longer just in case you cut the wrong angle and need to recut. Sadly, we know this from experience.

Note Regarding picture moulding and crown moulding:

There is a difference between picture moulding and crown moulding; picture moulding, door/window casing and chair rail moulding are solid on the back and rest flat on the door. If you want a more dramatic look, you could add a larger piece or a more decorative piece of picture molding.

We were attempting to make the trim that we were adding to the door match the color of the door. We wanted it to look original and blend with the door.

Using latex paint, we painted the 1 x 3 flat piece of wood (for the top of the door) and the piece of 1.25″ picture molding brown (under color).  After the brown dried, we painted each piece blue. (We had Home Depot match the blue of the original door.)  Once the blue dried, we painted this with the off-white.

Painting the Actual Door:

We used the same off-white latex paint to lightly paint the original door. After it dried, we lightly sanded it to reveal the original colors (brown and blue) beneath.

Cutting and Installing the Trim:

First, cut and nail the 1 x 3:

Using finishing nails, we nailed the 1 x 3 flat piece to the top of the headboard. The back of the 1 x 3 is flush with the back of the headboard.

Next, cut and nail the 1.25 picture moulding:

Measure the length of the top of the headboard and use a miter saw to cut a 45-degree angle on each end of the picture moulding.  Using finishing nails, nail this under the 1 x 3 flat board. Measure and cut two smaller pieces at 45 degrees and nail them at each end of the picture moulding to give it a finished look.

WARNING: Be very careful as you measure and cut angles. We have made many mistakes on this part.  It is like making a puzzle and you need to pay attention if your measurement is from the short or long (pointed end) once you cut. The only good thing about making a mistake is that you learn what to do (or not do) next time. Think through this part!

We caulked the joints. When it dried we lightly painted the caulked jointed with the off-white paint. We wiped off some of the paint on the joints to make it blend.

Here is another look on the other end . . .

Attaching the Door to 2 x 4s:

We purchased a standard 2 x 4 and cut it in half.

Note: You don’t see the 2 x 4 boards. However, I painted the boards off-white just to blend and give a more finished look.

We screwed the 2 x 4s  in the back of the headboard using screws. The screws were long enough to go through the 2 x 4 and catch the wood headboard. However, they were NOT too long that they would come through the front side of the headboard.

Next, we installed the 2 x 4s so that the bottom edge of the headboard would be about 1″ below the top of the mattress.

I added the felt to keep the 2 x 4’s from scratching the wall.

Attaching to Bed Frame:

We attached each 2 x 4 board to the bed frame with long screws and nuts.

Ignore the unused holes in the picture below. We have used this headboard on several bed frames. Hence, it has multiple holes depending on the bedframe we were using.

The final headboard:

Without decorative pillows:

Door Headboard

And with pillows …

Door Headboard

More Door Headboards We Have Made

Below is a kingsize headboard we made for my daughter and son-in-law.  It, too, was made from an old door. We did not mount this kingsize headboard on 2x4s. Instead, we hung this headboard directly on the wall using TWO of these tracking systems from Home Depot.

Below is another door kingsize headboard we made from a new door.

Don’t forget to pin this for later reference.

headboard pinterest

Thanks for reading our blog!

Let us know what you think of how we made a headboard from an old door by posting below. 

45 Comments

  1. Karen on 02/10/2019 at 9:29 PM

    Beautiful!

    • Marife on 03/23/2020 at 6:25 AM

      Love this, I have about 10 old doors that I am wanting to redo. How did you attach the 2x4s to the door?

      • David on 08/18/2021 at 2:06 PM

        Im not sure how they did it since theres no drawing here. If it were me i would screw through through the 2×4 into the door to not show screw heads with appropriate length screws. Recommend pre drilling holes

        • Suzanne on 08/18/2021 at 6:53 PM

          We screwed the 2x4s into the door using screws that were long enough to go through the 2×4 and catch the wood of the door but NOT too long that they would come through and be visible on the front side of the door. I hope this helps!

  2. Marsha K. on 02/11/2019 at 8:04 AM

    I always appreciate all the detail you share. The bed looks so pretty!

  3. Jackie Joiner on 02/11/2019 at 9:08 PM

    LOVE IT!! I so enjoy reading your blog. Keep them coming.

  4. Sabrina on 02/12/2019 at 2:45 AM

    I like the color.

  5. Charmaine on 02/13/2019 at 11:35 AM

    Could you install this directly on the wall?

    • Suzanne on 02/21/2019 at 1:32 PM

      Hey Charmaine,
      YES, you could install this directly on the wall. We actually made a king size headboard from a new door for my in-laws and hung it directly on the wall. It worked great!
      Thanks for reading our blog!
      Suzanne

  6. Janet on 03/05/2019 at 12:19 PM

    Great looking. I like how you added the trim across the top. You do good work.

  7. Shawanna Almond on 04/29/2019 at 6:54 AM

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  8. kiara satchell on 08/12/2019 at 11:21 AM

    I love this!!

    • Suzanne on 08/12/2019 at 1:34 PM

      Thanks, Kiara! We LOVE making things!
      Suzanne

  9. Jennifer on 08/27/2019 at 2:44 PM

    Thank you for sharing this, it helped me greatly when building our own headboard from an old door. Thank you!

    • Suzanne on 08/27/2019 at 4:40 PM

      Jennifer,

      Thank you for taking the time to share this. I am delighted our post helped you make a headboard! Knowing that makes my day!

      Thanks again!

      Suzanne

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  11. Martha on 11/25/2019 at 6:51 PM

    Please detail how you attached the 2x4s to the bed frame. Does the bed frame/bed still roll on the floor?

    • Suzanne on 11/25/2019 at 10:21 PM

      Hey Martha,

      We used screws with nuts to attach the 2×4’s to the bed frame. The 2x4s actually touch the floor, but the bed frame (with headboard attached) was fairly easy to move as needed. I hope this helps!

      Thanks for reading our blog.

      Suzanne

  12. Sarah Alexandra on 12/06/2019 at 3:48 AM

    Really helpful information about making a headboard with old doors. I really enjoyed. Thank you for sharing.

    • Suzanne on 12/10/2019 at 3:55 PM

      Sarah,

      Thank you so much for your affirming words. We are delighted our blog post was helpful to you.

      Thanks for reading our blog!

      Suzanne

  13. Latasha Perkinson on 02/20/2020 at 6:14 PM

    This blog Making a Headboard from an Old Door helps me a lot with my woodworking projects.

  14. Heidi Kriz on 02/22/2020 at 12:56 PM

    I love the look of this headboard! Thank you for sharing it. Can you please tell me where you found the picture molding?

    • Suzanne on 02/22/2020 at 6:10 PM

      Thanks for your question on our blog about our door headboard.

      We purchased the picture molding (also known as shingle molding) at Home Depot. I searched to see if they still have this molding and could not find it online. It is similar to this molding. They have several other options.

      I hope this is helpful. Thanks for reading our blog.

      Suzanne

    • Suzanne on 10/03/2020 at 9:22 PM

      Hey Heidi,
      You can use door/window casing such as this or a chair rail moulding such as this or this at Home Depot, which is basically the same as picture moulding. Just don’t use crown moulding because it does not lay flat against the door. I hope this helps.
      Suzanne

  15. April Crumbley on 04/12/2020 at 9:34 PM

    Do you have pictures of the Kingsize headboards you made out of old doors. I am really thinking about doing one for my bed.

    • Suzanne on 04/13/2020 at 7:36 PM

      Hey April,
      Yes, I added a picture to the blog post of one we made for my daughter and son-in-law. It obviously is longer (wider). Instead of mounting on 2x4s, we hung this directly on the wall using a track system. This is the second kingsized door headboard we made.

      Thanks for reading our blog!
      Suzanne

  16. Carol on 05/01/2020 at 3:34 AM

    Hi absolutely love this idea. I have a new queen ensemble and don’t want to attach the door to the wall. How would I stabilise the bedhead. Have you any ideas? Thanks again

    • Suzanne on 05/01/2020 at 8:42 AM

      Hey Carol,
      I am glad you like our door headboard. We love it too and plan on making more at some point. It is a really fun project.
      If you don’t want to attach it to the wall, then use 2 2x4s and attach each of the boards to the bed frame. Go back and check the post, we show you how to do this. Also, put felt on the bottom of each 2×4 and it makes it easier to move the bed as needed (and protects your floor). We also put felt on the back of each 2×4 so it would not scratch the wall. I hope this helps!
      Thanks for reading our blog!
      Suzanne

  17. Robert Brantzeg on 05/31/2020 at 12:56 PM

    Not too bad. Please take a look at some of the headboards I’ve made from old doors. I’ve been making them for over ten years now and love how they turn out.

    http://www.vintageheaboards.net

    Keep up the good work!

    • Suzanne on 05/31/2020 at 8:19 PM

      Roberts,
      These headboard looks great! Thanks for sharing.
      Suzanne

  18. Ashley on 07/15/2020 at 7:51 AM

    Where should I look to find an old door? Any suggestions. Thanks

    • Suzanne on 07/15/2020 at 8:53 PM

      Hey Ashley,

      Try looking at antique stores, junk stores, thrift stores, Habitat ReStore, any architectural store that sells old stuff. You could also try Facebook Marketplace.

      Happy Shopping!

      Suzanne

      • Jenn on 07/24/2020 at 6:40 PM

        Just bought mine on FB marketplace for $20! Looking forward to this project! Thanks for the details on how you did yours, very helpful and changed my design before I even started to be more in line with how you designed it.

        • Suzanne on 07/27/2020 at 4:36 AM

          Jenn,
          Good for you! Let me know how it turns out!
          Suzanne

  19. Crystal on 08/09/2020 at 1:09 AM

    Turned out beautiful! So for the queen did you cut one panel off? If so can you give a few directions and what you used to do so please?

    • Suzanne on 08/09/2020 at 7:47 AM

      Hey Crystal,
      Yes, we did. We clamped a long level to the end of the door to give us a straight line and then used a circular saw to cut one of the panels off the door. If you have a large table saw, that would work too.
      I hope this helps.
      Suzanne

  20. Jody on 09/07/2020 at 9:05 PM

    Your headboard is beautiful! You have inspired me to get a door and get to work.

  21. Missy on 09/24/2020 at 1:46 PM

    Do you happen to know the dimensions of the door before cutting and what you cut it down to? It’s beautiful! I’m looking to make one for a queen bed but want to make sure the door isn’t too short ?

    • Suzanne on 09/24/2020 at 7:53 PM

      Hey Missy,

      Great question. We made this for a queen size bed too. The last picture in the post is a queen bed (for my daughter and her husband).

      For the Queen Size Bed:
      I can’t remember the original length of the door before we cut it; we cut one panel off the door. However, after cutting the door, the length is 65 inches.

      The original width of the door was 34 inches. We did not cut anything off the width. However, after adding the trim at the top, the total width (including the trim at the top) is 35.5 inches.

      After adding the 2 2×4 posts to attach it to the bed frame, the height from the floor to the top of the hardboard (including the trim) is 62.75 inches.

      I hope this is helpful. Please let me know how it goes.

      Suzanne

  22. Jennifer Morris on 10/03/2020 at 2:01 PM

    Where did you find the picture molding? I cannot find it at our local Home Depot and Lowe’s

    • Suzanne on 10/03/2020 at 9:20 PM

      Hey Jennifer,
      Great question! You can use door/window casing or a chair rail moulding, which is basically the same as picture moulding. Just don’t use crown moulding because it does not lay flat against the door. I hope this helps.
      Suzanne

  23. Lynn on 11/22/2020 at 5:22 AM

    Hi,
    How did you attach the 2x4s to the headboard, so that you have a clean look at the front and don’t have any bolts showing? Maybe you glued it??
    Thanks!

    • Suzanne on 11/22/2020 at 11:39 AM

      Hey Lynn,

      That is a great question! We screwed the 2x4s into the door using screws that were long enough to go through the 2×4 and catch the wood of the door but NOT too long that they would come through and be visible on the front side of the door.

      Thanks to your question, I have revised the post and added a picture.

      Suzanne

  24. Vanessa on 03/20/2021 at 8:11 PM

    Great job! In the process of making a headboard myself. How long did you make the 2×4’s ? How high should the bottom of the headboard be off the floor? Thanks

    • Suzanne on 03/21/2021 at 3:27 PM

      Hey Venessa,

      Thanks for the compliment! We are pleased with how this turned out. Great questions! Each 2 x 4 is 57 inches. We wanted the bottom of the headboard to be about an inch below the top of the mattress. So for us, the bottom of the headboard is 27.25″ from the floor.

      Thanks for reading our blog!

      Suzannne

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