Mason Headboard in Cal King

PDF versionPDF version

Additional Photos

About This Project


This project was a blast to make. And, it really is doable and a lot less time
then you would think. And finishing it with milk-based paint is even more enjoyable. I used screws and a drill (pre-drill!) and it was wonderful.

Here's some advice for the plan:

- Mount the back of the headboard with a piece of wood and use a metal support as shown here.
Just make sure the board is wide enough to be level with your back
trim, or else the metal support won't be even when you screw it down.
And when you pre-drill this board, make sure you don't go all the way
through, or else you will have holes through the front! It stunk to have
to putty them all in, but thank heavens for putty.

- Although the instructions say to make your top 1 x 3" trim to fit in
line with the top of the headboard, I made mine one inch longer on both
sides, and then the 2 x 4" one inch longer to go on top of that 1 x 3"
on both sides. That was just the look I wanted. Although you can get
your wood pre-cut, I would recommend cutting it all yourself, especially
since you will need these cut afterward once the rest of your headboard
is put together.

- Ana's 'get started' tips are very helpful. Be sure to check them out first!

- Make sure, make sure, make sure you dry thoroughly between coats. Patience is a virtue.

Required Skill Level: 
Starter Project
Estimated Time Investment: 
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Finish Used: 
I distressed with milk-based paint... it always gives it such a unique look every time! Here's what I did:
 - Stain your wood with a foam brush that you can by essentially anywhere--craft stores, home improvement stores--going along the grain of the wood. Do this for all painting and staining. For a dark finish underneath, use a dark stain. I used Minwax in Dark walnut. Leave the stain on for at least 15 MINUTES before you wipe it with an old t-shirt or a lint-free rag, like the one you would use to polish your car.
 -Buff with a crinkled brown paper bag. You won't need to do this too intensely, but make sure you're thorough.
 - If you want some of those big, antiqued stain spots, take a candle and really rub certain spots, such as the knots and the edges of the wood. However, it can be easy to forget where you rubbed with the candle, so you might want to draw up a rough diagram of a headboard and mark an X where you rubbed the candle. Rubbing with the candle will make the spot of the paint come off much easier--you'll see how well it will come off when you sand. But I would hesitate from rubbing it too much, because it makes your paint 'peel off' eventually if you do it in excess.
 - Paint your headboard, giving it at least thee coats. My first coat was really thin so during my first coat I went right ahead and painted it again right then. Then I did a second and third coat. Let it dry completely between your second and third coat. I waited at least eight hours between coats.
 - Once it's dry, sand your headboard BY HAND with at least 100 grit sandpaper. If you want your piece to have a more distressed look all-around and not just in certain places, sand your piece after each coat of paint dries. Just rub with your hand smoothly in strokes, and you will see how easily the paint comes off, and how it will give you that distressed look like magic. I did this for my dresser and I loved the look. However, I did not use the candle-wax method because I sanded after each coat. If you wait until after the third coat to sand, you will have to work harder, but your paint will still come off and look distressed very nicely.
 - Stain the top of your paint (I used the same dark dark walnut color). Immediately rub off the stain with an old t-shirt or a lint-free rag. Rub it down to get the desired look of your stain. If you choose to have it a little less antiqued, you can skip this step.
 - Finish with a Polyacrylic topcoat. They are safe and it really gives a nice, finished (and less DIY) look.
 - Mount it with bolts on to your bed frame!
Estimated Cost: 


This is beautiful, it looks so cozy. I am going to build a build two beds soon
seeing what everyone is building is very encouraging. You did a great job. Thank you for the photos and the finish info.


This is one of the most gorgeous headboards I've ever seen! I used to be a lover of sleek, modern design..but now that I have 3 kids under the age of 6, I've given up! Too many dings and scratches and Ana's website have made me come over to the cozy, lived-in and loved-in look. I'm hooked! I love that Ana's furniture has clean, simple lines (a touch of modern), but it's SOLID, and TEXTURED...and best of all, the kids can't destroy it! Right now, we're almost finished the modular office desks. Then onto building some beds! Thank you Ana and Ashley!

Where do I find the building plans for a Mason Headboard. I printed out the Farmhouse Cali King, but really like the Mason Headboard better. Ive never seen the milk paint, but I love it. Hopefully I can talk my husband in using it on our bed.


The finish is beautiful, nice job Thank you for posting I will be making two beds this year.

I actually purchased my quilt from Pottery Barn. The comforter, skirt and sheets on ebay. The milk-based paint is General Finishes Antique White. I used the dark walnut stain after I distressed the paint, and then the poly-acrylic (3 coats) after I wiped the stain off. I've since moved from that home, so I don't know the wall paint color--sorry! Hope that helps!

You can buy it at a wood specialty store or on Amazon. Just search under "general finishes milk-based paint." But as a side note, I just finished this same headboard in a queen--same, color, distressed looked and everything--and used the cheapest off-white I could get at th Home Depot. It looked EXACTLY the same as my CalKing headbroard and the paint was half the cost. I simply painted three coats of the off-white, sanded it down in areas to give it the "distressed look, painted a dark walnut stain over it (then immediately rubbed the stain off), and then sealed it with a couple coats of polyacrylic. The whole thing took me a few days to do, primarily because I was waiting between coats to dry. Best of luck!