Light-up Headboard

Light-up Headboard

  • Difficulty

We were inspired by all of the back-lit headboards we've seen our users create so we thought we'd try one of our own! Our measurements are for creating a twin bed headboard with a 24" design.

You need
  • Dremel 150 1/8" Drill Bit
  • 6 ft. clear rope light
  • Drill Driver and Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • 36” long 8” wide plant or tongue and groove car siding (3/4” thickness) 4 pieces needed
  • 42” 4x4 pine post for the legs (2 needed)
  • 30” long 2x2 pine material (2 needed)
  • 1x4x48” pine board
  • 24x24 panel of ½” sanded plywood
  • 1x1x48 pine material
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Step By Step Instructions

Step 1 13

Step 1

cutting carside pieces
cut wood with SM500 saw-max


Begin by cutting the carsiding pieces to 33" lengths. The carsiding will serve as your headboard. Making a clean, smooth cut in this material is easy with your Saw-Max tool equipped with the SM500 wheel. Mark your line of cut & with your material clamped into place, follow the marked line of cut through the front end of your Saw-Max tool. Once you've cut all 4 carsiding pieces, join the tongue and groove. If you need to cut your 2x2 pine material to length, you'll want to do it at this stage of the process as well, using the same technique. We created a headboard for a twin bed. If you are creating your headboard for an alternate sized bed, you will need to measure the dimensions of your bed & adjust your measurements accordingly.

Step 2 13

Step 2

Use dremel FortiFlex tool
blueprint of pilot holes


Next, attach a supporting cleat, joining each carsiding plank to your 4x4" posts. We recommend pre-drilling the 2x2 pine before drilling into the posts. To pre-drill through the sides of our 2x2 material we used our NEW Dremel FortiFlex tool. We marked our pilot holes every few inches through the top and side of the 2x2" pine to secure every plank to the post.

Step 3 13

Step 3

secure screws into pilot hole


Next, line the carsiding headboard up 1" below the top edge of the leg and set it back 3/4" from the front edge. Using your favorite drill driver, secure screws through each pilot hole you created in the pine cleat, connecting the leg post to the carsiding.

Step 4 13

Step 4

add a top plate
saw-max tool in use


Next, we added some finishing touches you may want to try: Top Plate: create a top plate to run across your headboard from your 1x4 pine board material. We used our Saw-Max tool, still equipped with the SM500 blade, to cut our top plate to 33" length. Bedpost Caps: using leftover 1x4 pine board, cut two 4" x 4" squares to used as caps for the top of each bedpost leg.

Step 5 13

Step 5

hammer in nails to secure plates


Using wood glue, attach the top plate along the top of your headboard, between the bedpost legs. For an extra-secure fit, hammer finishing nails along the top plate as well. Use wood glue (and finishing nails if desired) to attach your bedpost caps to each leg.

Step 6 13

Step 6

trace a creative pattern with pencil


Now that the headboard is assembled, measure the area you'd like your print to read on the headboard. Print out your stencil in the font of your choice to your desired size & tape the stencil to the headboard. Trace the pattern with your pencil, pressing firmly to create an indent on the wood surface.

Step 7 13

Step 7

paint over traced pattern
sanding over paint


Give a coat of paint to your headboard and allow to dry completely. If you like the distressed look we used on our headboard, we recommend using a Dremel Multi-Max equipped with 70P sanding paper to lightly remove some paint. We set our tool to a medium speed for this application and applied very light pressure. Once you're satisfied with the finish of your headboard, follow your stencil outline and paint on your pattern or word. Test your weathering technique on a painted scrap piece of wood first before you sand your headboard.

Step 8 13

Step 8

Drill holes around pattern with dremel FortiFlex tool


Once your pattern has dried completely, mark drill points, evenly spaced along your design. Using your FortiFlex tool equipped with a 150 1/8" Drill bit (or thinner if desired), plunge into each marked point, creating a perforated outline.

Step 9 13

Step 9

wood for shadowbox
trace to prep for cutting


We used low-voltage rope lighting to illuminate our headboard. To create maximum illumination, we built and secured a shadow box to the back of our headboard for our rope lighting to be held into place. To create the shadow box, you'll need to complete the following cuts in your 1/2" sanded plywood material: • (1) Box Backing - 24" wide x 8" high • (2) Box sides - 8" wide x 2" high • (2) Box top and bottom - 24" wide x 2" high Depending on the size of your lettering or design, you may want to create a larger or smaller shadow box. Our word was 24" wide, therefore we created a 24" wide box.

Step 10 13

Step 10

blueprint of borders and back panel of lightbox


Glue & secure each the 2" strips along the border of the back panel plywood piece to create your lightbox.

Step 11 13

Step 11

cut cleats with dremel saw-max
Dremel FortiFlex too in use


At this step, we cut and secured 24" long 1x1" cleats along the top and bottom of our box. Cut your 1x1" material into two lengths of 24" using your Dremel Saw-Max equipped with your SM500 blade. If desired, pre-drill your cleats using your FortiFlex tool and finally, secure your cleats into place using your drill driver.

Step 12 13

Step 12

place lights into headboard box
sand to smoothen edges


Before attaching your light box to the back of your headboard, notch a small groove in the bottom edge of your box to allow the light cord to fit through. To create this groove, we swapped out our Drill Bit Accessory in our FortiFlex and replaced it with a 117 high-speed cutter. Using a series of light passes, we created a groove at the depth of our cord. Our rope light came with clips which we secured inside the box in a U-shaped pattern for even light distribution.

Step 13 13

Step 13

secure lightbox to back of headboard


Finally, through our cleats, we secured the light box to the back of the headboard behind our lettering!


To reduce the risk of injury user must read instruction manuals for all tools used in this project. Wear eye and respiratory protection. Use clamps to support work piece whenever practical.