DIY Light Up Headboard

DIY Headboard by A Beautiful MessDIY HeadboardToday we are teaming up with Valspar and their Love Your Color Guarantee to share our latest addition to Elsie’s guest bedroom: a light up headboard! We wanted to create something unique and playful for this room in her home.

We were inspired by marquee signs and wanted to create that feeling but in our own homemade way. We’re not exactly master craftsmen, so we kept our design simple and enlisted a little help from our dad. Here’s what we did:

1 Build Headboard
First we built a headboard. We wanted a tall but simple headboard that could also hide electrical work behind it (for the lights).

We used six thin planks about the same length as the bed. We braced these together with two long 2×4 boards behind, and added a frame (using 1x4s) to the top and the two sides.

2 Project WordNext, we used a projector to trace the word onto the bed frame. It was so hard choosing a word! Before we landed on “Sleepover” we thought about doing “Good Night” or “Welcome” or “Sweet Dreams.”

Since the bed frame is in the guest bedroom, we wanted something cute and inviting. If you choose to create this project, have fun choosing your own words for your bed frame. We ended up using a font called Buttermilk.

3 Trace Font4 Plan Holes To DrillNext, we planned where to add all the holes for the lights to shine through. Keep in mind that you can easily adjust where the holes are as you drill, but try to evenly space them all along your design.

5 Drill HolesNow, drill your holes. Before we started we drilled a few practice holes in a scrap piece of wood so that we could choose the best size of drill bit to use. Once we settled on the size be sure to use care as you work. You do have to drill all the way through the board without drilling into a wall or other work surface.

6 Paint WordsOnce you have drilled all the holes, sand and clean off the surface of the headboard. Paint your design. We used Valspar Signature paint in Lincoln Cabin Black.

7 Tape In LightsOnce your paint is dry, it’s time to add the lights! We used over 300 Christmas lights in our design. Simply push the lights through each hole and tape in place using electrical tape. You may also need an extension cord at the end depending on how far away your outlet is from your bed frame.

DIY Light Up Headboard!DIY Headboard by A Beautiful MessWe just love how this headboard project turned out! We can’t wait to have holiday guests over tonight to show off our new guest bedroom décor. Happy crafting! xo. Elsie and Emma

SAFETY TIPS: We spoke with our local fire department to double check the safety of this project. Be sure to follow these guidelines if you plan to recreate this project:

-Before purchasing your lights check for a label of an independent testing laboratory (most commercially sold Christmas lights will have this). Some lights are specially made for indoor or outdoor use, be sure to use lights made for indoor use.

-Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose/broken lights. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of strands that can be safely connected.

-Your finished project should not have any exposed bundles of cords or wires, only the final cord or extension cord so it can safely reach an outlet.

-Just as you would with your house decorations or your Christmas tree, always turn off lights before leaving your home or going to bed.

  • Od green BDUS are pretty much standard Military doesn’t even use

  • I love this! It looks amazing…
    I’ll wait for my sleepover invite in the post 😉
    Mary x

  • This is a really cool idea! The contrast between the paint and the lights really makes it pop. The texture of the wood is cool too. This would also be a cool idea for creative wall art. I might even use a sheet of plywood, or even cardboard but I’m not sure if the latter would hold up for wall art.
    I really like the font you chose, it’s whimsical and cute this is an overall really great idea.

  • Lia- we borrowed a projector from a friend. Try to find a school, library or community center who would let you borrow one for a weekend! :))

  • I have been looking for a projector. Where do u get that or something like it that is not super expensive

  • LOve this!!! It opens so many possibilities! especially if you uses stencils instead of the projector. So cool. Thanks for sharing!

  • OMG its absolutely gorgeous, what a sweet idea! it looks so incredibly cute, and it seems easy enough to make, even for a klutz like me 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!


  • I’ve been looking for headboard ideas and this one takes the cake!

    xo Michelle

  • Whoa guys, you have the most creative ideas!
    i’m totally in love with this proyect, Stay awesome! c:

  • I just love getting the little ones to bed and grab a minute
    To check out what you guys are up too. Always inspired. Thanks very much.

  • Omg this is so stinkin’ cute! I also wanted to give you a little beds up: it looks like Pinterest doesn’t like your site right now. I saw this project and wanted to click through but Pinterest wouldn’t let me. It gave me a message about your site being spammy or redirecting to another site, but I was not fooled! I’ve been on your blog before, so I just googled this to get a closer look. Hopefully you can tell Pinterest to be nicer to you, because you have too many great projects to not have it working.

    Nikki Kelly @ the ambitious procrastinator

  • I really love this, I might use it instead of a painting on my wall! thank you so much for sharing 🙂


  • Wooow,this DIY just made me speechless 😮 😮
    This is just amazing!!


  • Where on earth do you get a projector for a project like this? I want to do it so bad but have no idea.

  • Woah! This looks incredible ladies!!
    Nice work – now I just need a guest room & not just a sofa bed to give it a go! 😉
    Cheray xxx

  • I featured this blog again! This time on this post… You seriously have the best posts & this is definitely my favorite blog! Here’s the link if you want to check it out!

  • This is incredible! I’d never would have thought of using a projector, which was a super clever tool for this project. Thanks for sharing, I loved this!

  • Great project! My studio apartment is currently sporting a mattress and boxspring on the floor so this would make a great addition! I might tackle it the next time my dad and his power tools come to visit 🙂

    I recently finished a similar project—a diy light brite for a friend’s housewarming present. I’m putting together a tutorial for my blog but I used a wood peg board and christmas lights. Hot glue worked great for holding the lights in place. Might also make a more permanent option in this case as well!

  • I like the creativity of this project but I’m not so much for doing it in a headboard. Guess I’m just imagining the parents-in-law walking in and seeing a lighted headboard.

  • Cute! I always wondered, with this project and with the ones that use cardboard letters, how safe it is to leave the lights on. The wood definitely seems more safe! This seems like a simple idea!

  • Well, in my opinion it’s safe if you use Led lights because it doesn’t warp up.
    Hope it’ll help you!


  • This is amazing! looks pretty inviting. What a lovely idea for a guest bedroom. Merry Xmas!

  • How unique! I love it!! This gives me a great idea for my own little headboard project.

  • Thank you so much for your comments!

    We DO appreciate comments about safety and will look into alternative lights to use. I have added a note to the end of this post.

    We value safety and will consult with a professional to make sure our project is safe. We will absolutely update the post if needed!!

    Thanks so much. Elsie

  • Very cool. I love it. 🙂 — However, I would not recommend using Christmas lights, and especially not wadding up the wires like that. There are a LOT of fires every year that are caused by Christmas lights because they’re not designed to be used very often or in any permanent way. There are lights you could use for this project that would be much safer.

  • This is one of the best D.IY. I’ve ever seen! 🙂


  • Once Christmas is over I am using all my lights for this project on a wall panel for my flat here in Paris! Thank you for another wonderful idea bravo!!! Fiona xxxx

  • so so super fun. i love it. and ‘sleepover’ is definitely the best choice! 🙂

  • EPIC! Beyond fabulous!!! I LOVE it – and you could also just make a wall art piece using the same basic idea 🙂

  • I always look to your blog for quality and originality when it comes to craft projects, but this is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Really unusual and well done!

  • I just can say on thing: Woooow, I’m totally amazed. This is by far one of my favorite home DIYs ever!!

  • Hi, I just found you because one of my blogging friends said you were one of her favorite blogs. I can see why. You all are really talented. This is a very cool headboard design.

  • I love this. It’s so cute and creative! On a sorta side note: that white pillow is super cute!

  • what a great idea. if i were to do something like this i think i would do two different patterns on each side of the bed and hook a different set of lights on each side. that way my hubby and i could use them as our “side/night light for reading. xD

  • Very cute… HOWEVER…
    Christmas lights are dangerous folks. I used to be married to a fireman, and the majority of fires in the winter were caused by …. christmas lights. No way in heck would I put these in the headboard of mine or my children’s bed.

    “Fires involving holiday lights or other decorative lighting with line voltage
    Holiday lights and other decorative lighting with line voltage were involved in an estimated average of 150 home structure fires per year in this same period. These fires caused an average of eight civilian deaths, 14 civilian injuries, and $8.5 million in direct property damage per year. Almost half (45%) occurred in December and 13% were in January. Seventeen percent of these fires began with Christmas trees. Electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in three-quarters (73%) of the fires involving holiday or decorative lights.”

    Please be safe people

  • That’s so pretty!! I would pick “sweet dreams” 🙂 this is such a great idea and inspirational, thanks for sharing!

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  • i love this! i currently don’t have a headboard and it is kind of dark in my room, so this might just be a perfect project for me to try in the spring!

  • That is great! I am so going to do that… On a headboard or just some wall decor…

  • Omg this is adorable! I am so doing this. I think it would be funny to have it say “Business Time” from the Flight of the Conchords song. Thanks so much or sharing!

  • Omg this is adorable! I am so doing this. I think it would be funny to have it say “Business Time” from the Flight of the Conchords song. Thanks so much or sharing!

  • One of the coolest DIY I’ve seen in a long time! I am a huge fan of the marquee signs and this take on it is perfect!

  • that is the coolest idea for a headboard I have ever seen
    did you cover the wood with any varnish at all?

  • This is just the coolest, most awesome thing ever!!

    Maria xx

  • This is my favourite DIY that you’ve done lately!! (and that’s saying a lot, because I love them all) 🙂 I think I’ll have to get out Ryan’s power tools!

  • Ok. That’s pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Seriously. Brilliant!


  • Of all the awesome projects posted on here, this is quite possibly my favorite one yet.

  • How cute! 🙂 I wonder if i could find some warm-colored LED lights on sale, after Christmas, what a cute project! 🙂

  • fantastic! i am loving this. have done wood and lights but never thought to headboad it up. Brilliant!

  • I’ve done this! But not with a headboard – to make “Broadway” marquees for a production of “Singin’ in the Rain.” It is such fun and I like how yours turned out.

    I am coming up with ideas for the guest room bedroom myself, and this is something I would consider doing. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • This is seriously the coolest idea ever! Now I just need to figure out what to write though!

  • this is totally the most awesome thing i’ve seen for the longest time…i think i might actually attempt this and feel confident that it might work!!! thank you!

  • The effect is so striking! Don’t think I’d be brave enough to take up a project like this, even though it looks quite do-able.

  • SO AWESOME! I would love to have a piece like this on our wall…. my boyfriend would love it!

  • Seriously adorable!!! Makes me want to have a sleepover.

  • Ooooh… that could be done with other designs too! A decorative floral, paisleys, a mandala or a sunburst… and with COLORs too! Oh, geeze, now I have to do that day-after-christmas shopping for lights!

  • This is probably the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen, haha! I HAVE to do something like that asap. It looks so cool and cozy.

  • This is the best DIY we have done yet! LOVE IT!!!

    Turquoise Flamingo

  • that is AMAZING! “sleepover” is so cute for a guest room. if i was going to put it in my room i would probably have it say “sweet dreams” or something like that. LOVE.

  • How cool is this?! You guys always have the most creative ideas.


  • Wow! looks awesome! where did you get your projector?

  • Another amazing tutorial, I’m definitely doing this too. This is just too cute! Love love love it ♥

  • love, love and LOVE! this is awesome! Dream will be better…
    chceck in my DIYblog

  • Oh. My. GOSH! This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Just completely perfect. You ladies have done it again and now I’m gonna try to copy it!!

  • this really looks amazing! i must sound boring but hey, when something is great, it just is 🙂

  • i’m going to make one this weekend with Jokerman font that reads “Jamaican Me Sleepy”

  • Um this is pretty amazing. Wish I was this good with power tools! Def pinning for later.

  • We used a font called Buttermilk that we found on MyFonts. Should’ve called that out in the post, so I just added it.


  • insanely cool you guys – this is truly an amazing DIY my mind is swimming with the possibilities!!

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