Thursday, April 9, 2015

DIY Light Up Headboard

I have never had a real, grownup bed.  I went straight from my bunkbed (which was awesome) to a just a mattress on box springs.  No headboard.  No footboard.

I don't really know if a headboard and/or footboard is what makes a bed 'real' or 'grownup,' but it does seem like a big step on the path to adulthood.
So, this is my attempt at being 'all grown up.'  Notice, that this is still pretty young and unsophisticated.  But it's super fun!

Original DIY from A Beautiful Mess
Cut List:
3 - 6 foot 1x10" alder boards for front (the length will depend on the width of your bed - these measurements are for a standard king)
1 - 6 foot 1x4" alder boards for top (adjust length to width of your bed)
2 - 5 foot 1x4" alder boards for sides
2 - 29.25x1x6" alder boards for legs
6 - 1 foot 2x4" any type of wood
2" screws
polyurethane or stain
black paint
1 light switch/outlet and faceplate
3-5 strands white Christmas lights (this will vary depending on the length of your word(s) and the spacing of your lights)
1 extension cord
2 carriage bolts

1.  First start by making the front of the headboard.  Line up your 1x10" boards and brace the back with the 2x4's to hold them together.  We placed these braces along the edges and up the middle so we would have something to screw the sides into.  4 on the edges (leave a space in the middle for your outlet) and 2 in the center straddling the boards, but not covering the area where your words will be.
Make sure your screws are not too long and won't protrude through the front of your headboard.

2.  Screw the sides of the headboard onto the assembled front.
If you are going to be screwing into the faceplate, make sure you pre-drill your holes so the wood doesn't split when you insert the screws.

3.  Screw the 6 foot 1x4" board onto the top of the frame.
Again, pre-drill the holes before you screw directly into the faceplate.

4.  Attach the 29 1/4 inch 1x6" boards to the front of the legs.
These will cover any gaps between the side of your bed and outside of the legs.

5.  Stain the headboard or seal it with polyurethane.
6.  Using a projector, center and trace the word(s) you'd like on your headboard.
7.  Drill evenly spaced holes around the outside edges of your word
Use a test piece of wood to see what size drill bit will hold your Christmas lights snugly.

8.  Paint the word with black paint.

9.  Once the paint is dry, press the Christmas lights through each hole.  Tape down the cords if the lights are coming loose.
Read the package instructions to make sure you aren't plugging too many strands of lights together.

10.  Either use an extension cord to attach the headstand to the wall, or install a light switch.
We installed a light switch on each side of the headboard and also wired in an outlet so we could plug in our phone chargers.  Here's a tutorial on this part.

11.  Attach the headboard to the bed frame using carriage bolts.


  1. So unique!! Love it. Pinning! Found you via Craftgawker!

    1. Thank you, Ashley! I wish I could claim credit but it was originally a tutorial by A Beautiful sure to share your pictures if you make it though!

  2. This is so fabulous! Pinned and scheduled to share on FB!
    Bethany from

    1. Hi Bethany! Thank you so much for sharing! I'll be sure to follow you :)

  3. This is absolutely darling!

    1. Thank you! Please share pictures if you recreate it!

  4. Love it! Hugs. : )

    1. Thank Izabella! I'd love to see pictures of your finished product if you make one yourself!

  5. How long did this project take and was it costly? Was the headboard difficult to attach to the bedframe? I worry because my bed is on risers. Looks great, really eager to do this, any help you can give would be appreciated !

    1. I'm so glad you're interested in making it! It took us 2 days to make (purely because of waiting time while the stain and paint was drying). It's probably only about 6-8 hours of work and you very well may be faster than me!

      To be totally honest, we haven't actually attached it to the bed yet - it's still just standing behind the bed, but check out your frame first. There should be 2 holes in it where you can attach it with carriage bolts. Also, just do some measuring and adjust the height of your legs so that the headboard will hit right about where the bed lines up (account for pillows too to figure out where you want the words to start or you may even add an extra board to make the whole thing taller).

      Let me know if you have any other specific questions. I am more than happy to help! You can also email me at!


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