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How to Make a Headboard Out of an Old Barn Door

Monday June 25th, 2018

Give Your Bedroom a Fresh, Rustic Look with a Little Repurposing

They say one man’s trash is another’s treasure — and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to recycled barn doors. 

Stylish. Classic. Proven. Old barn doors aren’t items to just be simply replaced and thrown away. We’re talking about quality wood that’s withstood the test of time. (Some pieces of wood are 100 years old — or even older.) And, like a fine wine, they just get better with age.

Even if the hinges are stripped or the handle is broken, there’s still plenty of stylish use you can get from a repurposed door — like reclaiming and reusing one to make a new, one-of-a-kind rustic barn door headboard for your bed. 

Here is a step-by-step guide for turning your old paneled barn door into the main attraction of your bedroom decor. It’s barn door headboard DIY at its finest!

Step 1: Barn door panel configuration

When you’re shopping for a barn door or considering using one of your old doors, be sure that you have evenly-spaced and evenly-sized square/rectangle panels. After all, you want the design of your reclaimed barn door headboard to look symmetrical when it’s turned on its side. Five-panel doors work well if you can find one.

Step 2: Consider door height & trim

Matching the length of your bed to your soon-to-be converted barn door bed headboard isn’t always an exact science. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a match that fits perfectly with your 76-inch king size bed. However, you’ll more than likely have to do some trimming to make it work. 

Most doors are between 70 and 90 inches tall, so if you have to trim, do so equally from the top and bottom to maintain symmetry. You can use a combination square to easily trace the cut lines for your barn door style headboard.

Once you’ve got what you need measured out, watch your fingers as you grab a circular saw to cut the door to your proportioned size.

Step 3: Patchwork

Needless to say, your door – no matter how old it is – will have holes that need patching from the hinges, locks and handles. For your surface holes, try mixing a putty made out of glue and leftover sawdust from your cuts. This recycled sawdust mixture will help the surface look more uniform while making a headboard out of a door.

Step 4: Strip it. Sand it. Smooth it

When you’re dreaming of making your barn door headboard plans a reality, the last thing you want near your head while you sleep is a hunk of wood that’s prone to splintering. To fix that, grab a sander and smooth out the surface by removing splinters and rounding rough edges. If your old door is painted, use a liquid stripper because dry stripping can release airborne toxic lead dust. Your lungs and health will thank you later. 

Step 5: Crown (optional) and seal

If you want your bed to have a truly polished, professional look, consider a crown molding to top off your newly-built barn door headboard. To make crown molding for your barn door headboard, start by marking the length of the door’s face on a strip of solid crown molding. Cut your piece to size and glue the back of the crown to the door. Finally, clamp it to dry. Reinforce the bond with some nails set at 6 to 8-inch intervals across. 

Lastly, let your recycled barn door headboard shine with a natural finish that highlights its beautiful grain pattern. Try to match your existing bedroom furniture for a uniform look. 

Step 6: Get a good night’s sleep

Get ready to lay your head down every night just beneath your truly unique (and fully-recycled) old barn door headboard. It’ll make counting sheep better than ever.

Check out any and all of our other repurposed barn door ideas right here. Happy DIY-ing!

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