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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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Lori S H
3 years ago

This is beautiful and so inspiring! I love this entire transformation!

3 years ago

It’s DIYs like this that makes me wish I wasn’t a renter! So good MALCOLM!!

3 years ago

Such a cool project!

3 years ago

SO lovely!!!
(Just FYI the 36-inch solid brass rods links to silicon instead)

3 years ago
Reply to  Shannon

Woops! We’ll have that fixed. Here is the actual link:

this is SO super genius! it looks amazing. thanks for explaining, the steps were so easy to follow. love love love. i just have two questions.
First question, in the step “Step 5: Assemble all the things”, i’m confused on this one part: “adhere the horizontal and vertical hollow tubes together, and the vertical hollow tubes to the brass ledge underneath”. i get that first part, but adhere the vertical hollow tubes to the brass ledge underneath? did you mean to the marble ledge underneath? I don’t see where there is a brass ledge underneath.
Second question, the optional decorative moulding on top, i see that already attached in the picture for step 4, but when did you do that? and did you attach to the marble itself? or the casing? did you use glue? or nails?

thank you!

3 years ago

Hey! Thanks for catching these!

To answer your first question: I did indeed mean the marble ledge underneath–I mistyped “brass” there! We’ll have that fixed.

And your second question: I attached the decorative moulding after the marble shelf was installed (glued and dried). I used a handful of nails with my nail gun to attach it to the fluted wood panels.

Reply to  Malcolm

Perfect, thank you!

3 years ago


3 years ago

Lol—your vacation home (Home Depot). 🙂

Emily B
3 years ago

Appreciate the tutorial. Detailed steps of each small part of the process make it seem possible in one’s own home. THANK YOU!

3 years ago

I love how you’ve reimagined these fairly common materials into something so bespoke. I doubt I will ever have an opportunity to do something like this myself, but it’s lovely to look at.

3 years ago

It is so beautiful, I can’t believe I didn’t notice the marble ledge before, I bet in person that must feel so luxe!!

Nancy D.
3 years ago

Love this and have followed the transformation all along. Thank you for the specific and clear instructions. I am determined to make this happen in my bedroom! Quick question though: if I have a baseboard that has a tapered or angled top, do you have any suggestions for how to handle the bottom?

3 years ago

This is seriously one of the most impressive DIYs – I would never have pictured using casing in this way!

Rachel C
3 years ago

Umm HOLY MOLY this is amazing. What a fantastic and unique piece.

3 years ago

Is the outlet on the wall covered up now?

3 years ago
Reply to  Alice

It isn’t! I forgot to mention that I cut a hole for the outlet with my oscillating tool.

3 years ago

I am just awed by the level of creativity and design wisdom in this. WOW. There is no universe in which my brain would have arrived at this gorgeous thing… Absolute respect.

3 years ago

SO good!! Bravo! Thank you for sharing the DIY step by step. It actually feels like a project that’s do-able.

3 years ago

Woah! This is way beyond my DIY skills! I read the whole thing, even though I have no i tention of e er making this, ever! LOL
THAT is how well writren and clearly set out your tutorial is! Kudos!

3 years ago

I’ll likely never use this tutorial but I just love this idea. It’s a beautiful thing, you’ve made here.

3 years ago

Thank you for documenting all of this in so much detail! What a unique project that has a huge impact!

3 years ago

Beautiful! I love the idea of using items from Home Depot in an alternative way from their original purpose. I’m going to think outside the box more. This will definitely go in my back pocket as a diy headboard for the future. Thanks for the tutorial.

3 years ago

Malcom, you are a true talent! I love the transformation of this room so much – you included so many unexpected details that elevate this space. Thanks for walking us through your process!

3 years ago

I love the way you’ve explained this. It’s thorough and exact–you assume no prior knowledge on the reader’s part, but you never come across as patronizing. This seems kind of achievable, if I can only work through the rising panic in my chest when I read the words “circular saw and diamond blade.”

3 years ago
Reply to  Eliot


3 years ago

Malcolm, this is gorgeous! The step-by-step was really well done and inspiring, too. Thank you!

3 years ago

Thank you for sharing this! This is really lovely

3 years ago

So beautiful and such a great tutorial! Thanks!

3 years ago

Love this! Using the threshold as a ledge is GENIUS. It makes me want to go roam the hardware store and see what other hidden gems could be repurposed in creative ways.

3 years ago
Reply to  Lashley

Agree. Absolutely brilliant use of materials. Never in a million years would have had this vision. Your room is so, SO beautiful and yet feels achievable now that you’ve shared your secrets!

3 years ago

I love this so much! I keep thinking about doing some kind of treatment like this in my bedroom, but I have a basically a half niche… One side butts up to a wall and another side is just open. (Not sure if this makes sense as I’m describing it) Do you have any thoughts on how to finish off the side that doesn’t butt up against another wall? The wall ends and there is another wall perpendicular to it, creating a little hallway…

3 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Could you just turn the corner and return it all the way to the wall? Might make it more expensive and time consuming than it needs to be but might look really neat! Assuming I’m thinking of what it looks like correctly…

3 years ago
Reply to  Sonya

That’s an interesting suggestion! And yes! You are picturing it correctly! Thanks for your idea!

3 years ago

It would be cool to use this brass rod idea on a built-in wall (drywall) niche, shelves or even bookcases that need some oomph. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.

Brilliantly and beautifully decorated space..
the wooden finish is just awsome, Truly inspiring..

3 years ago

I loveeeee this! Thank you for the careful step-by-step explanation. We are planning an eventual primary suite renovation and I am bookmarking this for future reference, as we have a king-size bed with an adjustable frame – it’s hard to find something stylish that works with that setup and doesn’t take up too much floor space.

More from Malcolm, always and forever!

Roberta Davis
3 years ago

Thanks for sharing! I think this is really cool- and no one has this exact thing.

Jessica Cushman
3 years ago

This is BEYOND! Just LOVE!
But I’m confused how the vertical piece of brass tubing connects to the horizontal tube. Wouldn’t it need to be cupped to hug the curve of the pipe?
Must know!
Your design is gorgeous. Thank you!

3 years ago

Stunning result! loved this post! Enjoy this beautiful room 🙂

3 years ago

This is beautiful. The whole room is amazing. Funny that you should mention dreaming Probably because I’ve never had side tables, since the original post, I’ve been dreaming of it – but with secret storage – 6-10 inches from the wall with magnetic catches to access the space, yet still have a seamless look. Deeper shelf for plants and what-nots etc…

3 years ago

Fantastic job, I love the DIY and the whole bedroom.