A few months ago I picked up this old headboard and footboard from someone on Craigslist for $10. Full-sized, solid wood. Even though I almost turned around while driving through a seedy part of town to get it, I ended up getting it from a cop’s house (lucky, right?!).
My original thought was to build a bench from both pieces, cutting the footboard and reattaching the curved pieces + posts to the sides of the headboard to make arm rests. But, back when I re-did the laundry room, I found myself needing some tall decorative legs for the front of the table spanning over the washer/dryer (and not wanting to pay $$ for them). So, I nixed my initial bench plans and had to reimagine it a bit.
This, by no means, is an original idea – if you search Pinterest (aka. my favorite place to waste time), you’ll find plenty of gorgeous benches made from old headboards. But, I have to admit that I have a tendency to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to building projects…while I looked to others for inspiration, I ended up making up measurements and finagling things as I went along.
The first step was building out a frame for the bench. I used my handy-dandy Kreg Jig (affiliate link) to attach 2x4s to the headboard. Kreg Jigs are a MUST HAVE for novice builders (or basically anyone who’s not an expert or doesn’t want to make traditional dowel or biscuit joints). If you’re just starting out, check out the Kreg Jig Jr (affiliate link), which is the least expensive option. I used my Jr to build several pieces of furniture (including large dining tables) with no problem – it just takes quite a bit more time. One day, I’d love to have the mack daddy of all Kreg Jigs – the Foreman, but now isn’t exactly a great time to drop $400 on a pocket hole machine 🙂 .
I had to get creative since I kind of loathed the thought of having to make the front legs out of 2×4’s, especially when there were those beautiful posts in the back. Luckily for me, there just happened to be an old side table wasting space on our front patio…so, I went out there with a drill and a hammer and took the legs right off and added them to the front of my bench.
The next step was building the seat. I was able to use bunch of leftover 1x’s from my stash for this part, but I did end up having to supplement with a 1×4 and 1×6. Here’s the seat being dry-fitted before staining.
And here it is all stained up with Rustoleum Dark Walnut! The boards are attached to each other horizontally using pocket holes and screws.
The bench got a coat of Kilz Primer, and 2 cans of Valspar Paint & Primer Spray Paint in white.
That’s when things got a little hairy. The paint was spotted in some areas with a more cream color; I’ve seen this happen sometimes in white spray paints when the tint isn’t quite mixed in completely. To remedy this, I figured I’d go over the whole thing with some dark wax to give it a more shabby look, and blend it all together.
So, I distressed the edges just a bit, mixed a bit of antiquing glaze into my furniture wax and got buffing.
If I was being completely honest…I really disliked the look. I can’t even begin to tell you guys how disappointed I was when the wax went on, and it was too late to turn back.
Some of the details do have that trendy “shabby” look, but if I could go back in time, I would have sanded the white paint down a bit in the splotchy areas and left it be.
Of course, Stella’s got to check out the goods and be involved in absolutely all the projects in the house.
If you’re wondering what we had in that space before, it was a bench I picked up from – you guessed it -Craigslist! I reupholstered it, we used it for a year, and I ended up selling it recently.
The good news is that I was planning on selling the headboard bench anyways, because we figured out early on that it was going to be a tad too long for the space. After all the work and the finishing fiasco, it was posted it for sale on Craigslist and gone in less than 24hrs – still worth it!
I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to build in it’s place, but most likely it will have to be somewhere that I can hide my ‘everyday shoes’ in. Until next time!