DIY Wood Headboard (With Curves!)


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March 15, 2024
Zoe Hunt

This DIY headboard was part of a bedroom refresh we completed for under $500. Out of a single piece of maple plywood, we built a nightstand and this beautiful headboard with curves.

That said, the headboard that we created was for a full bed, so you might not be able to squeeze a nightstand out of the same piece of plywood if you need to make a larger headboard. 

diy curved wood headboard stained in dark wood

Standard Headboard Sizes 

This plan will work great for a bed of any size, but you’ll want to make sure you’re making it the correct size for your space. Below are the standard headboard widths for each bed size. 

Bed SizeHeadboard Width
California King74

Since this DIY headboard is made from plywood and also has 2x2s flanking either side, you’ll want to cut your plywood to be 3” shorter than the measurements specified above.

How to Build a Wood Headboard with Curves

Recommended Tools:

Shopping List: 

Our Finish: 

To finish our headboard, we first applied Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner and then applied 2 coats of Minwax Dark Walnut stain. We applied the stain with a foam brush, applying extra to get in the grooves, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then wiped off the excess with a rag. We let the stain dry overnight before applying the second coat. 

To protect our finish and add some sheen, we applied 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic in a satin sheen. 

DIY wood headboard finished with Minwax Dark Walnut stain

Rather than applying edge banding to the curves (which is possible as seen in our DIY entryway bench), we applied a coat of spackle to fill any texture from the plywood edge and then used Rub N Buff to get a gold finish. 


First cut your plywood to be the desired width depending on your bed size. We cut ours down to 53”. Then cut a strip that is 5.5” wide spans the entire length. This will be the bottom stretcher that will be used to secure the headboard to the metal bed frame. 

Next cut the piece for your headboard to be approximately 35” tall. 

Now it’s time to make the curve. First, mark the center of your plywood at the top. Rather than trying to draw our curves symmetrically on each side, we will cut off one side and then use that as the guide to trace where to cut the second side. 

Draw your curves so that the middle of the top curve intersects with the top middle of the plywood. We freehanded this design and didn’t use any special guide or measurements to help draw the curves. 

drawing curve on back of plywood

Once you’re happy with your curve design, cut with a jigsaw. Make sure you are using a clean cutting jigsaw blade designed for wood. If you are using a normal jigsaw blade, you will need to cut with the good side of the plywood facing down to reduce tearout on the visible side of the headboard. If you are using a reverse cutting blade, place the plywood so that the good side is facing up. 

cutting plywood with a jigsaw

Cut the first half of your headboard design, making sure the headboard is clamped down as you cut. Then take the piece you just cut and line it up with the top corner of the headboard and trace the curves. Cut the second side of your headboard. 

tracing curve on other side of plywood


For the grooves, adjust the depth of your circular saw so that it only cuts through one layer of the plywood (~ ⅛”). Mark where you want your grooves to be. We wanted ours to be spaced 5.5” apart, so we marked 2” from the bottom and then 5.5” from each previous mark. 

We used our Kreg Accu-Cut guide to keep our lines nice and straight and splinter free. 

using Kreg accu cut to cut grooves in plywood headboard


Cut your 2x2s to 50” tall. This is the same regardless of bed size, but you are always welcome to make yours taller or shorter as well. That’s the beauty of DIY – endless opportunities to customize something for your space! 

If you would like to get the taper look that we did, we set our saw to 5-degrees and then used our homemade taper leg jig to taper all 4 sides of each of the 2×2 posts. The taper goes down about 5”.

You would also just taper one or two sides if you didn’t want the taper to be as pointy. 

close up of tapered sides of DIY headboard


Using the ¾” settings, add 3 pocket holes to the sides of the headboard and 2 pocket holes to the short sides of the bottom stretcher. 


This step is strictly a design choice. You can also leave the layered plywood edge exposed if you prefer that look. 

If you are staining your entire headboard, you can apply edge banding along the curved edge. 

If you do not want to use edge banding, you can apply some spackle to the curved edge of the headboard. Once dry, sand off the excess and either spray paint it or apply some Rub N Buff. We used a gold Rub N Buff to cover our plywood edge. 

Want to DIY buy don\'t know where to start? Click here to grab your free guide!


We placed the bottom of the headboard 19 ⅜” from the bottom of the posts. Rather than the headboard sitting flush with the front of the posts, we wanted it to be indented slightly. We placed the headboard on scrap pieces of ¼” wood so that the headboard would be indented ¼” from the front of the posts. 

Secure the headboard to the posts with 1.25” Kreg screws. 

securing plywood headboard to posts using pocket holes

For the bottom stretcher, we did want that to be flush with the front of the post so that the bed can properly attach to the bed frame. Double-check the height needed for your particular bed frame, but for us, we installed our stretcher 4.5” from the bottom of the posts. Install with 1.25” Kreg screws. 


To install this bed frame, we’ll be using the same method we used on this DIY cane headboard, but since the legs of the headboard aren’t so thick, we will be using a shorter screw. 

Bring your headboard to your bed frame and double-check that the bottom stretcher aligns with your bed frame. 

Center your headboard on the bed frame and mark on the headboard where you’ll secure it. Pre-drill all the way through the headboard using a ¼” drill bit, making sure to avoid any pocket holes screws.

Place a washer on a ¼”-20 x 1.5” hex bolt and slide it through the back of the headboard. 

securing headboard to metal bedframe

Make sure the bed frame is flush with the front of the headboard and “lock” in the headboard with a ¼” lock nut. Repeat for a total of 4 bolts through the headboard. 

securing headboard to metal bedframe with lock nut

There you have it! Now you know how to build your own wooden headboard with a curve. Be sure to check out this post for more headboard inspiration

make this headboard text overlay pointing to picture of wood headboard with curves

If you are eyeing something from the bedroom that this headboard is placed in or want links to our tools and supplies, all of the links are in one easy spot on this page. 

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