Once the snow melted, about mid May for us, I decided I needed to finish this crazy DIY project that was hanging over my head, literally. I inherited this great solid wood door when my parents replaced the door to their shed. I knew I wanted to turn it into a headboard, but it was in rough shape. We started by scraping off all the loose paint, if you do this at home be sure to wear a mask in case of lead paint.
Step two was cutting off the bottom of the door. It was about 4 inches longer than the rest of the frame, and once cut would be the perfect size for a king-sized bed. For a headboard you want about 2-4 inches larger than your actual mattress, a lot of it comes down to personal preference- but once your bedding is on you don't want the headboard to look small. I ended up making mine 2" larger than the mattress.
Once the door was cut down to the proper size John left me alone to do the rest by myself. Apparently no one thought I could use the circular saw, but I was okay with letting them think that! I went to town filling the cracks and dents with wood filler. When it was dry I sanded it down with an electric circular sander. Way too much work for a plain sanding block. And then I refilled any holes that persisted, and repeated sanding.
Because I was dealing with raw wood I went ahead and used KILZ latex primer. I painted it on with a foam brush. For efficiency's sake I sprayed on the second coat of primer, which, saved me about an hour of work time and an hour of drying time. I painted it with Benjamin Moore's Misted Green, it took two coats to cover the head board and the legs.
Once everything had cured I screwed on the legs with metal plates. (On the back I put 2 screws in the leg and 2 screws on the headboard) On the front I put one screw into the headboard, and 3 in the leg.
I made mine with 3 legs so the middle was well supported, and I made them 3" higher than the top of my mattress. I have 12' ceilings, so I had to make up for that with a tall headboard- but You can only tell when the pillows and bedding are removed.
Have you tried to make your own headboards? I'd love to see.