Buying a headboard can cost hundreds of dollars -- all the more reason to gather that old wood and see what you can make for yourself.
Of course, you could use any variety of leftover wood to make a headboard, but there are some especially creative and easy ways to build your own. If you're interested in a country feel, you may want to make your headboard out of a picket fence. Or if you want something more stately, you could use an old fireplace mantel.
To start, you'll want to measure your bed, adding a couple extra inches on both sides to account for the thickness of your bedding. If the headboard is too narrow, it will look odd; if it's too wide, it will look unwieldy.
When working with an old fence, use your measurements to cut sections in the size you need or separate the pieces so you can make your own design. Be sure to clean the wood before starting and sand any rough spots or jagged edges.
If you're using a precut section, prime the wood and then cover it with two coats of paint. Once it's dried, you can lean it against the wall and push the bed against it until the bed is holding it in place.
To make your own design, cut the pickets at graduated length, arranging the tallest slats in the middle. Use spacers and backer boards to space the pickets no more than 4 inches (10 centimeters) apart so something, like a child's appendage, can't get stuck in them [source: DIY Network]. Then attach a cross brace with finishing nails and glue. You can mount it to the bed frame or just lean it against the wall.
If you're using an old mantel, touch it up with paint, then cut out a piece of plywood the size of the fireplace hole and cover it with batting. Attach the batting to the back using a staple gun and then attach the plywood to the mantel [source: Martha Stewart]. Secure the mantel to the bed with four mending brackets screwed into the back of the plywood. Attach it to the wall with "L" brackets. Sweet dreams!
If you like applying one set of measurements to every piece of wood involved in a project, you're going to like the next one on this list.