this home thing

this rustic cottage headboard: DIY tutorial

When we moved out from our tiny one-bedroom rental into our current home last year, there were a few new things that I felt I absolutely, simply, just must have. An actual headboard was one of them. We were moving into a place that was actually ours, in the best neighbourhood in the country (not even exaggerating), with twice as much space and light. It was probably a good time to upgrade from the mattress on the floor set-up we had going on.

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I had planned to bring along my 20-year old dresser to put in the new bedroom, and I wanted to make our headboard the same gray-blue colour.

I also wanted to try for that “rustic” look Pinterest keeps talking about. I also wanted to attempt that whitewash-antiquing technique. I also didn’t want to get extra side tables. I also wanted bedside storage. I also wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible.

And that was the headboard I got!

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I started by getting all the lumber and screwing them together. I used 6 pine boards that and two posts that binds everything together. The shelves / side tables were cut from the wall shelves we had at the previous place.


I laid the pine boards across the two 2×4 posts, and screwed them in at the red dots. I did this slowly, and constantly made sure that the boards were still lined up and were as close together as they could be, so that there aren’t any gaps in the finished headboard.

Because I wanted the wood grains to show through after it’s been coloured, I couldn’t use a regular furniture paint. But because I wanted it blue, I couldn’t use a regular wood stain either (they were only available in natural wood colours). Then I happened upon something so pinteresting – using diluted paint as a stain! It’s very simple, and costs so much less than an actual stain. Basically it is just as it sounds, adding some water to your paint to give it some translucency. I coloured my whole headboard with half a can of 217ml sampler size paint. So, like 4 bucks. I used roughly 2 parts water with 1 part paint, but you can adjust this to your liking; the more water you add, the less colour you get. Martha Stewart has a nice guide. I really loved this method because the clean up was so easy, and you could make it pretty much any colour you want!

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After you’ve mixed up the paint and water, it’s time to get painting! I used a regular paintbrush and painted the diluted paint on with horizontal strokes. Be sure to cover your floors and walls, as this paint is super drippy (just like water!). I painted on at least 2 layers, and more in some areas just to give the boards some slight colour variations. I didn’t wait for the layers to dry though, because I was in a “just, whatever” mood. It turned out okay anyway.

After the blue, I did some whitewashing with diluted white paint. I had slightly less water in my whitewash mixture, about 1:1. You could go with even less water if you want the white strokes to be more obvious. I did this step to give the boards some more colour variation, and to make the wood grains stand out more by highlighting them.

When you’re whitewashing, there are three really important things to remember:

  1. Don’t make your brush too wet, or it will be be all one big white blob. I dipped my brush in the paint, then gave it a light squeeze with a cloth, and then painted it on.
  2. Paint horizontally, in the same direction as the wood grain. Otherwise it’ll look weird and unnatural.
  3. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want the whole thing to be whitewashed; it won’t have highlighting effects if the whole thing is highlighted.

When you’re all done with your painting, let it all dry and attach the side shelves. I attached mine using L-shaped brackets underneath the shelves. And finally, that’s it! All done!

Feel free to check out my headboard on my Facebook page!

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Rustic Headboard



6x    3/4″ x 7″ x 8′ boards

2x    2″ x  4″ posts

Boards for side table




How to:

  1. Screw the wood boards into the posts, being careful to arrange the boards as tightly together as possible.
  2. Using a diluted paint mixture, paint the headboard.
  3. Using a diluted white paint mixture, whitewash parts of the headboard.
  4. Attach side tables using L-shaped brackets.




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  • Reply
    March 15, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    It looks amazing! Great job ?

  • Reply
    March 16, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Looks great! Maybe I could have one of these one day!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    This is awesome! Hiring you to make one for us when we move 🙂

  • Reply
    April 9, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Quels mots… super, l’idГ©e remarquable

  • Reply
    this rustic photo display – also there's this
    April 21, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    […] I finished the photo display with some diluted acrylic paint and whitewashing. Do you know about whitewashing? Let me tell you about it over here.  […]

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