The first thing I did was pick out some 1x6s and 1x4s. I laid them on the floor of the hardware store and made sure I picked ones that would fit together just right. Then I numbered them so I could easily put them back in the same order once I got home. I then sanded each board really well. I applied one coat of stain. The next day I added a second coat. I wasn't worried about the stain being even. I wanted this to be a rustic style headboard so I wanted all the knots and imperfections to show. This is after one coat.