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  • Writer's pictureTara

DIY Wood Slat Headboard

Cost: $180

Difficulty: Easy weekend project

This dreamy headboard is featured in the primary bedroom at the Toronto Condo design project.

The wood slats add warmth and texture into this modern, loft style space. The unique & custom headboard highlights the ceiling height and becomes a design feature that sets this small bedroom apart. It's an easy project that you can tackle start to finish, in a few days.


- 4x8’ sheet of 3/4” sanded plywood, cut into 2.5” strips ($87)

- Iron on veneer ($30)

- Sanding block ($12)

- Stain of your choice & staining rag ($15)

- Construction adhesive x2 or 3 ($30)

- 1” 18G nails ($6)


Here's the end result as seen on Instagram. Swipe to remember how this room looked before...

Now let's go over the process, step by step...


1. Cut your wood slats

Cut a full sheet of 3/4” sanded plywood into 8ft long strips, 2.5” wide. You may need more slats if you're doing a larger space (ex. behind a king sized bed) I used my table saw, but you can use a circular saw.

TIP- if you go to Home Depot at a off-peak time and find a really nice associate, they will likely do the cuts for you!

Next cut to each slat to the fit the height of your wall- between the baseboards & ceiling. The slats should begin about your baseboards and end tight with the ceiling.

2. Sand any rough edges

I used a 120 grit sanding block to get rid of any slivery, rough edges.

3. Iron-on Veneer for a solid wood look

Use an iron to attach the veneer to each side of each slat. This is an extra step and an extra cost, but it will make your plywood look like a solid piece of wood.

When I asked my mom to do this part, she rolled her eyes like “seriously? Is this really necessary? “. But by the end of the project she agreed, it’s totally worth it.

So don’t skip this step!

Photo featuring one of my favourite assistants- mom!

4. Apply wood stain

I prefer gel or oil based stain, but when working in the condo, ventilation was limited, so to avoid overwhelming stain fumes, I used a water-based product.

To apply, I use old socks who have lost their mate or old T-shirts that I cut into small rags.

5. Attach slats to the wall

If you plan to paint the room, make sure the wall behind the headboard is painted and dry! You won’t be able to paint between the slats, once they’re installed.

I would recommend starting in the middle...

  • apply adhesive to the black of the slat

  • use a level to make sure it’s straight

  • secure with 1” 18 gauge nails & a brad nail gun

  • use a spacer to line up the next slat... and repeat!

I use 1” nails so that the nail only goes into the drywall. Because you won’t have studs behind every slat, you want to make sure you don’t hit any mechanicals.


I hope this helps you! Remember, the slat feature is great for so many spaces, not limited to headboards! And as always, if you need help planning your next project, shoot me a message, I’d love to help.


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