Hex-Headboard Happiness

April 16, 2012   //  Posted in: Bedrooms, Decor, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  14 responses

I’ve been scheming a bedroom update for awhile, a concept to expand upon the shiplap wall and add a more defined headboard accent. (UPDATE: You can jump to the finished, stained result here!)

The addition of the shiplap paneling and curtains late last summer were phase 1 in overhauling this room. More like phases 1, 2, and 3… the change made for an incredible design transition. Pulling the bed into the center of the room and positioning it beneath the window helped to balance out the space and really open it up and make it feel bigger than it is. I’m happy about it every day. But even with the addition of the CB2 side tables and Pixies/Mr. Black posters as shown in this picture from last September, the bed still feels a little bit like it’s floating there.

Master bedroom progress, circa September 2011.

It’s a small bedroom, that’s for certain, only about 15’x15′. It’s so small that the only wall in the entire room that has enough open space to accomodate a real queen-sized headboard is on the wall opposite the current window/curtain headboard; it’s a blank wall that has no windows and is inconveniently home to the only outlet in the entire room. To have my bed against that wall forces it to face due east, and forces me to wake up earlier than the birds with the morning sun. I happen to know this because that’s how the furniture was setup for the first week I lived in the house; all in all, too bright with a poor TV setup, a bad situation. And that’s why my bed has been wedged into a corner, or positioned beneath the window facing away from the morning light in more recent years.

Enter my muse for bedroom headboard expansion. This geometric Morocco Headboard from West Elm spurred great inspiration:

The West Elm Moroccan Headboard: A geometric, laser-cut beauty.

Even though I’ve been eyeing this headboard (and it’s even on sale right now, ahh!) it wouldn’t work in the current bedroom. With the bed positioned beneath the window, a traditional headboard with any height to it is out of the question (and side note, I do like that headboard-over-window layered look in front of big, big windows, but that’s not the architectural situation over here).

The solution that I decided to toy with involved making a two-piece headboard which could be assembled and installed to resemble a hexagonal honeycomb pattern that flows behind both side tables, maybe hopefully performing some eye trickery and making any unaware person think that it flowed fluidly behind the width of the bed and beneath the window. Not exactly the same design as what you see in the Morocco Headboard, but I think it has potential. To draw you a super rough picture that proves I’m no artist and can’t even draw a RIBBA frame to be level, this is what I’m thinking:

Etchy-sketchy: Future bedroom headboard panels.

I began by gathering materials. Because I already had the tools to make this happen at home (miter saw, sand paper, wood glue), all I needed to get started were eight 1×2-8′ pine boards (like furring strips, but a better quality. And at $2.98 each, they weren’t breaking the bank).

In planning for design and assembly, I performed a little mathematical equation to determine what angles would need to be cut to form a honeycomb hexagonal pattern. Follow this: If a hexagon consists of 6-angles, and the inside of an enclosed circle equals 360-degrees, then 360-degrees divided by 6 equals 60-degrees. Because each angle would be shared by two pieces of pine wood coming together, I considered the 60-degree angle as being composed of two 30-degree angles, so that’s what I tested out. If you want a visual of that, here you go:

How to determine the angles of a hexagon.

To achieve a series of 30-degree cuts on 64 ft. of the 1×2 lumber I had brought home, I set up shop in the basement at the miter saw. Locked at 30-degrees, I relied on a heavily anchored piece of scrap wood to serve as a cutting guide. By resting the wood being chopped to length against that guide, it was easier to guarantee pieces of equal length. *Note, this anchor may shift a little with the natural humming of the saw, which makes maintaining accuracy for larger projects like this a real bleeping pain in the you know what. A shifting guide rule this is not a wood craftsman’s friend, but I got by OK… fortunately, I didn’t end up needing every last piece I cut, as the last few were different lengths.

Setting up shop to begin cutting lots and lots of hexagon components.

I started cutting each 8′ board by chopping the end into a 30-degree angle, cutting off as little as possible. This entire operation was a minimum-waste effort to get as many cuts as possible out of each board.

Slicing the end of the board to create the first 30-degree angle.

With the first angle cut completed, I flipped the board over and rested the pointy tip along the cutting guide and sliced again; by doing this, I didn’t have to change the angle of the saw to miter in the other direction. With a 3″ piece cut, I then flipped it and repositioned so that the pointy angle was once again at the guide. And again. And again, until I chopped through 64′ of lumber.

Slicing the second 30-degree angle, relying on the cutting guide to keep each piece the same length.

There was heavy reliance on that cutting guide to keep each piece equal lengths. As I chopped along, it became easier, and within a half-hour, I had a big pile of hexagon components. This is just a good handful of them, nowhere near the full selection.

Hexagon edges piling up.

I did a rough assembly on the basement floor as I went to make sure things were coming together easily.

Hexagon construction taking shape.

Because the pine pieces were being cut with the miter saw, it was hard to avoid having some rough edges. After all of the pieces were cut, I used a multi-tool with a sanding attachment to lightly smooth down any rough and splintered edges.

Sanding rough edges down.

Another hour into the project, I was ready to start assembling the hexagons; while originally I considered using the nail gun and securing the pieces together, I started with simple wood glue to see how well it would hold. Good experiment, because I had forgotten how incredibly binding wood glue could be. Each hexagon was very strong within a single hour of having been glued and left to sit in the warm sunroom sun.

Gluing together the hexagons.

I continued gluing until all of the hexagons were independently assembled, and then began gluing them to one another creating a true honeycomb-esque pattern sized to fit behind each CB2 table in the bedroom.

Left to cure in the sunroom, I was left with two very pretty panels, each held strongly by the wood glue and ready for staining and installation, which if all goes as planned, will happen sometime this week.

Honeycomb panels pre-stain and installation.

Best of all, if I decide not to use them behind the headboard, they’d each serve well as freestanding wall decor. Very multi-purposeful.

Honeycomb panels pre-stain and installation. Might be suitable wall decor if this headboard thing doesn't work out.

To see how they look installed, check out PART TWO.

Thanks to everyone who entered to win my latest giveaway for Black & Decker tools; the random winner has been notified. Was it you? Check your inboxes!

  • John@ Our Home from Scratch
    6 years ago - Reply

    Very cool design, although I bet you nearly lost your mind with all those cuts! Nice work!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      I nearly lost my mind when some of the cuts were starting to get longer and longer! All worked out in the end, phew.

  • kate @ twenty-six to life
    6 years ago - Reply

    Wow! That is going to look so cool when you’re done!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thanks Kate! I hope!

  • Whitney
    6 years ago - Reply

    Looove this – totally want to do it someday!

    Though, the comment that a 15’x15′ room is “small” is pretty out of touch. Short of a master bedroom in Texas, i’ve actually never seen a room that big – we cried with happiness over the fact that our new bungalow has 11’x14′ bedrooms so we could finally have a king sized bed….10’x11′ was the norm where we moved from!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Very tiny! Those sizes you mention are more along the lines of the other two bedrooms in the house, but compared to the newer construction models I’ve been through recently, my rooms feel very tight with not enough closet space.

    • Kelly C
      6 years ago -

      I had the same exact thought & had to go measure my bedroom. I also live in Texas and my bedroom is 16 X 15. To me, it feels huge. I was surprised when I read 15 X 15 as small. Interesting!

      That is going to make one awesome headboard!

  • Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl
    6 years ago - Reply

    Girl you are a “bleepin'” genius! I love your ideas and love the hexagons. It would have taken me a while to figure out the angles, I never was too focused in geometry. Too busy eyeing the cute guy in my glass who I eventually married ;-).

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Cute :) Thanks Brittany!

  • Erin B. Inspired
    6 years ago - Reply

    Wow! This is really, really cool. We’re going to borrow your shiplap wall for our own bedroom soon. I love this DIY art. It would be a fun piece for any wall!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thanks Erin! I’m definitely approaching it more like subtle art in the bedroom. Low ridin’ art. And then if we move or whatever, it can still come with us but be used anywhere it’s fitting. I love the wooden texture AND the design of it.

  • Craig
    6 years ago - Reply

    Very unique idea! And a clever method of flipping the wood to avoid waste.

    And you almost got the math right! In the end, it turned out correct because 30° and 60° are complimentary (add up to 90°). You set your saw blade to 30°, which made a 60° cut relative to the long edge of the wood. Your outside corner angles on the hexagon are actually 120°. So, 120°/2 = 60° rather than 60°/2 = 30°. Sorry for the math lesson, but since you posted a diagram…

  • Crystal @ 29 Rue House
    6 years ago - Reply

    i’ve fell in love with the west elm headboard too and googled how tos for it and found your blog! i love the honeycomb design – great idea!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thanks Crystal! Maybe someday I’ll splurge on the original, but for this space, my little design works perfectly! Glad you like.

Leave a Comment