Awesome DIY Headboard – Barnboard {Faux or Real}

Hunting for some early morning inspiration to go with my steaming coffee and my Red Hot Chili Peppers background track, I went on the prowl for some cool barnboard walls pictures.

I was nonplussed, until I saw this:

Custom DIY Headboard

While most of the pictures I found were wall-to-wall barnboard, which was just way too much of a good thing, this headboard idea pretty much nailed it! So to speak.

I love the contrast of a decent amount of rustic wood used in the headboard and bed frame, which is a cool platform deal, up against the clean white walls and trim.

The more I look at it, the more I dig the way this bed is pushed-up in a little niche by itself. Seems like a really great use of space in bedroom design.

I count about 14 or 15 boards, so this isn’t something you’ll do with just a few planks of cool old wood. You’ll need a decent stash.

Distressing New Wood To Create Old Barnboard

Ok, so you can’t actually create “old barnboard” unless you build a barn and pull-up a chair.

But if you want to get the look and you can’t find any wood, there are ways to get the look. The most important factor, IMHO, is a weather-beaten look to the wood, which usually means you want to wear down some of the grain, but not all of it evenly.

Option 1: Sandblaster

You may not have a sandblaster laying around. You can probably rent one, or you can buy a cheap one at Amazon – Sandblasters on Amazon

Sandblasters are fun for all sorts of things and they’re easy to operate, so don’t dismiss this too quickly.

ImageAll you need is some medium density wood with a decently visible grain. Southern Yellow Pine is great for this, but any wood that’s not hard as oak but shows some grain.

The two colors in the wood grain are of different hardness, so when you sandblast it, one wears down faster than the other.

The bottom line is just start hitting it with the sandblaster, adjust your pressure (or how close to it you hold the gun) and you’ll have awesome barnboard in about five minutes!

Option 2: Pressure Washer

You might get a similar result with a pressure washer, but it often won’t work as well on new wood. If you have some old wood that just doesn’t have that look yet, you can try a pressure washer to see if you can get some variation in the height of the grain.


It’s fun finishing something like this. All you really have to do is take some paint in your choice of color and wipe it on with a rag, let it sit a minute, then wipe it back off.

The varying density of the grain, which is exactly what made the sandblasting work, will cause the paint to soak-in/adhere more along some grain lines than others.

Voila – Barnboard.

A word of caution… This won’t work as well on all woods that look like the picture above. It’s really important that there be a discernable difference in hardness between the two colors of the grain. You can use a pen or nail or something to press into the grain to gauge this. If it’s all hard, the sandblaster won’t have the same effect, though it will still create a cool look.

I found this picture at the cool blog Loft & Cottage


  1. Franki Parde says

    That is the “perfect” weathered gray look that is SO popular! I’ve wanted to try this on an antique round oak table that I want to “grey.” Possibilities…. franki

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