How to Transform a Bed Headboard into a Stylish Bench
I’ve been wanting to create a tutorial on how to build a bench using an old headboard for the back and it wasn’t until I found this cute headboard at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore that I could finally do it! A lot of the benches I’ve seen using headboards seem to look horribly uncomfortable because the back sits straight up. I toyed with the idea of cutting the legs off of the headboard, cutting an angle in the top of the legs, then reattaching them but it really seemed like a lot of trouble. I decided I would make the seat a little longer front to back so that bolster or lumbar pillows could be added thus making the bench a lot more comfortable!
I started by cutting two legs for the front at 17-1/4″ tall (a seat height is generally 18″ high). I used 2×2 pine and tapered them using a tapering jig on the table saw. I used the legs I cut to make a mark on the headboard legs for the back apron position.
I then cut pieces of old shelving I
stole acquired from the Rebel house remodel for the aprons. The shelving board measured 5-3/4″ wide so I ripped it in half on the table saw, then cut them to length. I drilled pocket holes in each end then thoroughly sanded them. I attached the front and side aprons to the legs I cut.
I attached a board between the headboard legs to support the seat –
Then attached the entire assembly to the headboard.
After checking for square (and luckily, it was square!), I cut three supports to connect the front and back aprons. Not only do these pieces help support the seat but they also help keep everything square!
I have never been a huge fan of spray primer but I’m finding that there are some projects that require it and this was one of them! There are a lot of nooks, crannies, and angles in the headboard, and I really didn’t want to find thick spots or drips of primer there! I like to use Zinsser BIN primer on some furniture projects, especially when there is a previous finish. This particular primer, in my opinion, creates the perfect surface over the old one for paint!
I used Kilz 2 primer (my other favorite) on the frame but rolled it on with a sponge roller. The board I used is very old and smelled like pipe smoke when I sanded so I definitely want to block the stains and smell! (I forgot to photograph this step but I’m sure you know how to roll primer on furniture!)
In the meantime, I cut a piece of plywood (I used PureBond) for the seat 3″ shorter in length and depth than the finished measurement. This would allow me to add a 1×2 to each end so I could use the router to cut a decorative edge on the seat. I forgot to photograph this step as well but see my post on How to Salvage a Piece of Plywood Cut Too Short – it uses the same concept!
I secured the seat to the frame using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails, then gave the entire bench a coat of Valspar paint in Pantone Emerald.
Isn’t she gorgeous? The tutorial on how to build a bench using an old headboard is so easy that I want to make several! Of course, I plan on making cushions for the seat and back in coordinating fabric prints… What do you think?
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Originally posted 2013-07-18 08:57:57.