Build A Stressed Copper Headboard

The ideas for building a unique headboard are limited only by your own creative imagination. Building a headboard that is as unique as you are takes careful thought and planning, but the actual execution is really nothing more than following a few simple steps. One excellent idea for a unique headboard is one built from stressed copper.

Copper in its original state is as shiny as a new penny. Finding copper that has been weathered by water and exposure to oxidization may be difficult. The unique patterns of antiqued copper make an ideal headboard. Here, we will discuss how to build a one-of-a-kind antiqued copper headboard.

The Copper Headboard

Copper comes in many forms. The copper needed here is in a sheet large enough to build the headboard. Companies that sell copper sheeting have it in a variety of thicknesses. The ideal thickness for an antique copper headboard
is at least 1/16", but you can get copper foil that is even thinner. Copper that is 1/16" is easy to cut, and avoids the risk of tearing or wrinkling.

Materials Needed

* Copper sheet in the size required. Many millworks
will custom-cut it, which saves you a step.
* Liver of sulphur
* Bar top rail
* Miter saw
* Sheet of 1/4" plywood
* Jig saw
* Nail gun
* Tin snips
* Wood glue
* Finishing nails

Stressing The Copper

The best way to stress copper is to use liver of sulphur. It is both the easiest method and safest to work with. However, like any chemical, it is a good idea to have a metalsmith or jewelry maker do this for you. If you insist on doing it yourself, follow the instructions on treating copper with liver of sulphur. Very detailed instructions can be found online.

Building The Headboard

The process involves attaching the copper to the plywood, installing bar top rail, and mounting the headboard.

Let's do this step by step.

1. Design your headboard shape. A straight design gives character and fits well with the angles of a room.If you are looking for a curved top, building the headboard will be much more difficult. The decision, however, is yours.

2. Using a jig saw, cut the plywood backing to size. Sand all edges smooth.

3. Lay the copper face down on a clean, level workspace. Lay the plywood backing on top of the copper. Mark the edges of the plywood backing, then carefully cut the copper to fit the plywood. Copper is very sharp, so be sure to wear protective gloves during this operation.

4. Using the staple gun, attach the copper to the plywood sheet. Be careful that you don't have staples showing when attaching the bar top rails.

5. Measuring carefully, cut the bar top rails to size using the miter saw. Cut at a 45 degree angle. See Illustration 1 for the ideal way to get the pieces cut to the proper length.

6. Attach the bar top rails to the plywood, covering the staples. Use wood glue and finishing nails to attach, or better yet use a nail gun if one is available. Use the smaller nails to do this. If the corner angles are not quite matched up, use the nail gun to pull the corners in, being very careful to not split the bar rail, and making full contact with the wood.

7. Let the headboard rest until the glue is fully cured. Twenty-four hours is best.

Attaching the Headboard

Because the headboard will be lightweight, you can attach it to the wall in a variety of ways. The simplest is to use picture hanging materials, and string a wire across the back to hang it. You can also mount the headboard
directly to the wall using wall fasteners. These fasteners come as two pieces; one attaches to the wall, the other to the headboard frame. Simply slide the headboard onto the mating fastener attached to the wall. A headboard made of antiqued copper is both unique and fits the décor of most any bedroom. You can stain or paint the bar top rails to the color desired. Build an antiqued copper headboard, and show it off to all your friends. Need information on bedroom design? Visit our design section.

Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to He writes on a variety of
subjects, and excels in research.