Malcolm’s Wood And Marble DIY Headboard Tutorial: How He Executed It To Feel Timely, Classic, And So Unique

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Malcolm's Wood And Marble DIY Headboard Tutorial: How He Executed It To Feel Timely, Classic, And So Unique


One of the main goals for my primary bedroom makeover was to make the space feel on-trend, but not trendy. While fluted casing and trim are extremely popular at the moment, I decided to elevate the trend by adding a marble shelf and brass ledge details, which I think really take it to a truly unique and tailored place.

A lot of you were very interested in seeing a DIY tutorial for this design element, and I’m here to deliver! I’ve outlined the steps for you here and detailed the specific materials and tools that I used to make my dream headboard come true (I actually did dream about this before building it). If you’re interested in following along, hunker down, grab a snack, and prepare to take some notes! 

This headboard has three main components to it—fluted wood, a marble ledge, and brass details—so I’ll structure this tutorial accordingly. Let’s jump right into it, shall we?! We shall.

The Fluted Wood

Here is what you’ll need for the fluted wood component:

1. Measure the space where you’d like to install the headboard.

This is an important first step, as it’ll determine how much wood (and other materials) you’ll need to procure. It was super helpful for me to draw a quick sketch of the space to keep track of measurements and materials. For me, the width of the wall was about 10.25 feet, and I knew that I wanted the height of the headboard to be 4 feet.

2. Take a trip to your local hardware store for the wood pieces.
After jotting down my measurements, I drove over to my vacation home (The Home Depot) to grab the wood that I needed. For me, that meant buying all of the fluted casing (this can be quite expensive—depending on the size of your headboard—so I actually built the headboard in stages to budget the expense of the wood). The lovely employees at The Home Depot will be able to cut your pieces to your desired length. You’ll also need to buy your 2x4s, but I had enough leftover from a previous project to facilitate the headboard.

3. Excitedly bring home your wood and start installing!
The installation of this project is best described with illustrations, so enjoy these little schematics that I’ve worked up!

Start by installing the 2x4s, which act as the underlying framework for the entire structure. Using a level, drill the 2x4s into studs behind the wall using your construction screws to keep the structure as sturdy as possible. If you can’t find any studs behind the wall, you can use wall anchors instead, but I’d HIGHLY recommend drilling these into studs for the most durability possible. Furring the structure out in this way will also allow us to add the marble shelf later!

After your foundational 2x4s are installed, you can start installing the fluted casing! Using a nail gun, attach the vertical pieces of fluting to the underlying 2x4s, one at a time. You could hammer in nails by hand, but the nail gun makes things SO MUCH EASIER AND FASTER. AND MORE FUN. An investment worth making, in my book.

I used an oscillating tool to notch out the baseboard and shoe molding so that my fluting would fit snug against the wall. This probably isn’t a necessary step, but it makes the whole structure feel more custom and intentional.

You’ll likely need to trim the last piece of fluting to fit into your space (unless your space is exactly the proper width to accommodate a full end piece). I used a circular saw to strip the last piece to fit. Take a moment to marvel at the beauty of what you’ve accomplished so far and send me a picture so that I can marvel at it with you.

To finish off the bottom edge of the headboard, install shoe moulding (using a nail gun) that matches the rest of your room so that it looks seamless and intentional. This will also cover up any accidental gaps that might be caused if the vertical fluting pieces weren’t all cut exactly to the same length. I also installed a decorative moulding to the top of the headboard, but I didn’t install that piece until after the marble shelf was installed… WHICH LEADS US TO THE NEXT EXCITING CHAPTER OF THIS JOURNEY:

The Marble Ledge

Here’s what you’ll need for the all-important marble ledge:

1. Consult your measurement sheet!

Above, you can see a quick side view of how the marble and wood fit together. You’ll need one marble piece for the ledge surface and a second marble piece for the “backsplash”, multiplied by the amount of pieces you’ll need to cover the width of the wall.

Using your previously obtained measurements, find out how much marble you’ll need. Marble thresholds come in a variety of lengths, depths, and colors, so the world is your oyster! For my purposes, I required eight pieces of white 2″x36″ thresholds.

2. Cut marble to the appropriate lengths, if necessary.

For me, this was an extremely intimidating step. I didn’t want to mess up the marble, but I really wanted it to fit perfectly into the space, which required some customization. As such, I needed to cut two pieces of marble down from 36 inches to 16 inches. Using a circular saw and diamond blade (and consulting this guide to help me), it was fairly easy to do! They didn’t cut perfectly, but since I caulked the edges as a final step, that was okay! Caulk fixes everything!

3. Hone the marble, if you’d like.

before and after honing

These marble thresholds come polished, which didn’t quite feel appropriate in this context. To hone the marble (which essentially means knocking off the polish for a matte finish), I let the pieces sit in a tub of vinegar for a few hours. Yes, my house smelled like vinegar for a few days. And yes, it was worth it! 

4. Glue the pieces down.

Using your construction adhesive, glue the back marble pieces to the wall, and the ledge marble pieces to the top of the fluted panels. You’ll want to apply pressure on the marble (grab some heavy books or tools) so that they’re well-adhered. Let it cure for a couple of days if you can.

That does it for the marble component of the project! You could leave it just like this if you wanted, but I wanted to raise the stakes a little bit by adding a functional brass bar detail to keep picture frames securely placed on the ledge.

The Brass Details

I think the brass elements of this piece really set it off in a subtle, but highly effective way. Here are the supplies you’ll need to make it happen:

1. Take out that trusty dusty measurement sheet–I told you it’d be important!

As a foundational reference, the illustration above shows how all of the brass pieces will fit together. Start by determining how many brass rods you’ll need. They tend to come in 36″ lengths, which serendipitously matches the lengths of our marble thresholds. For my purposes, I needed four brass rods.

2. Cut brass rods to the appropriate lengths, if necessary.

Because they matched the lengths of my marble thresholds, I had to cut one brass rod accordingly. Using my circular saw and diamond blade, I cut one of the 36″ rods to about 16″ inches. There is probably a better tool for this, but the circular saw and diamond blade worked out pretty well for me. Let me know if you’ve cut metal before, and how you did it!

3. Cut the brass telescoping tubing into small pieces.

Since the brass rod detail is so long, you’ll need small pieces of the hollow, telescoping tubes to keep it stable. The tubes will hold the rods together and elevate it from the brass ledge. Using a metal tube cutter makes this EXTREMELY easy (it’s my new favorite lil’ tool). You’ll want to cut six pieces to about one inch each. The pack of tubing will come with a variety of sizes, so test each size to see which one will best accommodate your rod.

4. Drill 1/4″ holes on both sides of the headboard.

I wanted the brass rods to seamlessly float into the walls, so I opted to stick the rods directly into the walls—similarly to how I installed my curtain rod. Consistency makes the world (or a room design) go round! Using a 1/4″ drill bit, I simply measured where I wanted the brass rods to be inserted, and drilled holes for the rods to fit into. 

5. Assemble all of the things!

Start by installing the right- or left-most rod into one of the pre-drilled holes in the wall. Once inserted into the wall, push one of your 1″ hollow tubes into the exposed end of the rod, and attach the next rod into the other end of the hollow tube. Continue these steps until you reach the other wall, and can push the last rod into the second hole-in-the-wall. Once all pieces are connected, place the remaining 1″ tubes vertically under each connection. Use your super glue to adhere the horizontal and vertical hollow tubes together, and the vertical hollow tubes to the brass ledge underneath. Let it cure for a couple days without disturbing it!

Finishing Details: To finish everything off nicely, make sure to caulk, caulk, caulk! I used white, paintable caulk where the wood and brass met the walls, and a clear caulk in the seam between the flat and vertical pieces of marble.

AND VOILA! You’ve made a tailored headboard that is timely, classic, and unique. There are so many different ways to customize this and I’m soooo interested to see how you make it your own! Let us know how you plan to customize this DIY for yourself or if you have any lingering questions for me!

*Design and DIY by Malcolm Simmons
**After Photos by Keyanna Bowen





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