Archive for Sunday, June 30, 2002

Red, white and blue headboard is a patriot’s dream

June 30, 2002


With Independence Day just around the corner, Shari Hiller my true-blue friend and I thought it would be a good time to do a red-white-and-blue headboard.

One of our favorite holidays is the Fourth of July, not only because it's the birthday of our nation, but it's also a special day to spend with friends and family. This little headboard would be great for a guest bedroom. It can be installed just for the Fourth or left up all year long.

A patriotic flag headboard can be brought out to celebrate the
Fourth of July or be used throughout the year.

A patriotic flag headboard can be brought out to celebrate the Fourth of July or be used throughout the year.

Follow these simple steps and you'll be displaying your work in no time.

Materials needed:

15 pine boards measuring 1 inch by 4 inches by 6 feet

Miter saw

Wood and drywall screws

Drill and drill bits

Latex satin interior paint in red, white and blue

Step 1: Creating broad stripes

Start by measuring the width of the bed and cutting the wood to that length (save your scraps; you'll need them later). Just a note: A twin bed measures 39 inches wide, so make the length of the boards 42 inches long. The extra length will allow for blankets.

Using a power miter saw, cut the ends of the board into points, just like a picket fence. To do so, find the center of the board, not the length, but the width, and make a pencil mark. Measure down the length from the end 2 inches and make another pencil mark that's the angle for the picket cut. Make the cut with the miter saw along that angle.

Step 2: Showing the colors

Using latex satin interior paint red, white and blue wash the boards with the paint. Use an old T-shirt or sock to apply the paint; you want the wood grain to show through the paint. Since you're creating an American flag, do every other one, red then white. Now, remember those scrap pieces of lumber I said to hang on to? Those are the field of blue. Cut those to a length of 16 inches. Once they are cut, paint the boards blue.

Step 3: Playing Betsy Ross

Well, you're not going to sew the flag together, but close enough. Lay the boards on the floor, paint side down (do this on a drop cloth to protect the wood and the floor). The top board should be a red board, then white, and well, you get the idea. Cut two pieces of 1-by-4 to the width of the headboard minus 2 inches so they will be hidden behind the flag. These will be the back support. Attach to the back using 1 1/4-inch wood screws, making sure each board gets attached to the supports. For extra strength, cut a board that will be placed at an angle between the two support boards.

Step 4: Bring on the blue

With the stripes facing you, place a board that has been washed blue in the upper-left-hand corner. You may want a partner to help hold this board into place because you will be screwing in from the back. Attach the board and work your way across until you run out of boards.

Step 5: Raising the flag

Now attach the headboard to the bed frame, drill pilot holes through the back support boards and attach to the frame using lag bolts. If you want, the headboard can be attached to the wall. Just pre-drill pilot holes through the headboard. Place into position on the wall. Push an awl or nail through the pilot holes to mark the location. Remove the headboard and drive self-anchoring Mollys into the wall at the location of the marks. Hold the headboard back in place and attach to the wall using drywall screws. Touch up the screw heads with paint. Stand back and salute a job well done.

There are many variations of headboards you can build. Experiment and you can come up with new and interesting ways to dress up a standard bed frame. One word of caution: The hardest part is making sure the headboard is attached safely to the bed. That's why I strongly suggest mounting the headboard directly to the wall. Easy to do, and a lot safer.

Matt Fox writes this column with Shari Hiller. They also co-host the Home & Garden Television show "Room by Room." For more information, visit

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