DIY Book Headboard

The new apartment was still feeling a little empty and un-lived in so Simon and I set about on this fun little project! It took as about 4 days to put it all together but most of that time was spent sourcing the materials so if you were smart about it (and knew where to get things – unlike us) then you could do it in a day easily.

1. To start this project, I needed a lot of books – I tried yard sales first but found all my books at thrift stores. Some stores charge way more than others for the books, so I set myself a budget of £1 per book.

2. Choosing the books can be difficult! You want as many hardcover books of the same size as possible, as this will make laying out the books much easier. I ended up using 27 of the 42 books I bought.

3. Measure up the size you would like your headboard, but make sure it is about 1cm from where the mattress ends on either side. This helps give the illusion that the books are simply there and not attached to anything. If you can’t transport one large piece of wood home like me, you can get two pieces, which will then be secured together.

4. Put the wood on the finished headboard to mark the mattress height. Marking this so you know where the books should start on the boards.

5. Now move the boards to somewhere they can be laid flat, and you have room to move around them. Choosing the layout for the books is like finishing a jigsaw puzzle. You need to place the books in lines of the same height books and make sure the books extend over the edges of the board at least a little on both sides. I found the books on the top and the bottom row can be of different heights, but the books in the middle rows must be the same height.

6. Once you have an order you are happy with, make sure you number the books so that if they get mixed up, you know exactly where they go back.

7. When securing the books, I used small nails. I left 2-4 pages free above the ones I nailed down. I started with the second row from the top, which would give me a nice straight line. Next, I nailed down the top row and moved down from there. If you use two boards of wood rather than one, make sure you use sturdy books where the join is and add some extra nails.

8. Once all the books are secured, you can move the headboard into place – you will need two people for this! Now, those loose pages need to be secured. Using the double-sided table, stick down the top pages. If there are pages that lay fairly flat, you may want to leave a few loose. To create the illusion of how a book would look if it were just sitting open on a table, stick the pages so a bump is created. Be creative with how you secure the pages. You don’t want every book to look the same. However, the bottom row of books should have the pages secured as flat as possible so they do not get caught on pillows or sheets.

9. Now it’s time to enjoy your creation!