Bed Lights

My wife had a solution to a problem that arose when we upgraded my son from a crib to a twin-sized bed. The issue was that the headboard we had bought sat too low and leaned up against the wall. It was possible to mount the headboard onto the wall, but we wanted to have the ability to move the furniture in the future. She suggested rising the headboard up, adding some shelves along the side, and adding a light strip to use as a nightlight.

Design

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The design started with a frame made up of 2x4 beams. Plywood would be used for the top, the sides, and the shelves. The length was based on the shelves being inset from the headboard so they would be seen only from the sides of the bed. The height of the top shelf was set a few inches from the top of the headboard so toys and books could be placed up there without worrying about them falling over.

Routing for Shelving

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The tops and sides were pretty easy to cut down on the table saw. I cut the sides in an L” shape as part of the support that holds up the headboard.

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I haven’t added shelves to a piece before so I watched a few YouTube videos for suggestions and decided to route out a groove for each of the lower shelves. To avoid tear-out from the plywood I clamped both sides together and used sacrificial pieces” on the edges.

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I used a scrap piece of wood to figure out the width of the shelves
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A longer piece of scrap was set up as a guide for the router
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Guiding the router

Having the extra pieces also helped in letting me test the thickness of the route before making an actual cut. I could adjust the guides if the cut was too tight or too wide.

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Building the Frame

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Because the frame didn’t need to be created first, I was able to decide the length of it after seeing how the top and the sides fit together. I used a couple of scrap 2x6s to add to the support that holds up the headboard.

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The Shelves

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The shelves were cut to be flush with the top shelf so now that the frame was in place, I could measure and cut the shelf pieces down. For a little bit of detail, I routed out the bottom edges of the shelves.

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The grooves I cut for the shelves fit perfectly, so I dropped in some glue and clamped the shelves into place. I made sure they were squared off as I adjusted the clamps.

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When the glue dried I tested the placement on the headboard and everything was starting to look good.

Light It Up!

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While I had the shelves sitting on top of the headboard, I marked where the light strip would go. I wound up using a Philips Hue LightStrip because I already had other Hue products in the house. This allows me to turn the lights on and off automatically around bedtime.

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I routed out the back of the headboard to the length of the light strip. The light strip has its own adhesive on the back, so I cleaned out the groove and slowly glued the light strip into place.

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To help make sure the light strip stays into place, I lightly clamped a board on top of the light strip and let it sit for a few hours.

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Paint Job

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I used the same glossy white paint that I used on my stool project, so I followed the same process as I did before.

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I used a basic primer/​paint combination as the foundation for the paint job. I did a couple of light coats to make sure I had a smooth surface before the final coat.

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Putting the final coat shined and looked exactly like I hoped it would. This paint takes a little longer to dry but it did a good job at smoothing itself out.

Assembly

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While watching the paint dry, I prepared for the final assembly. This included one large lug at the top, four more around the corners, and a eye bolt anchor used to help keep the headboard from falling over in case the bed gets moved.

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I moved everything up into my son’s room to put it all together there. I found that the headboard wasn’t quite flat so I found there were some small gaps between the shelves and the headboard. This could have been mitigated through some sanding of the shelves earlier on.

I didn’t grab a photo but I also screwed some supports into the headboard just below each of the lower shelves to help hold them up in case they get leaned on. The bond provided by the glue is very strong, but this will help hold the shelves up just in case.

Fin

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