In my garage for the past few years I’ve stored a vintage twin headboard. While working on my backyard, it came to me- it would look so cute as a bench outside! This is a relatively easy project that most people could do. Vintage headboards are affordable at thrift shops or on Facebook Marketplace. Here’s a step by step tutorial for how to make a headboard bench.
Here’s the before of the headboard. It’s super cute- I love the lines and traditional details.
For this project, I decided to make it a goal to not buy any supplies. We had a few pallets on hand so that’s mainly what we used for the wood! Cleaning up my yard and making a bench?! Yes please!
diy headboard bench
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. I’d be over the moon happy if you subscribed to my YouTube channel! Videos are actually released on YouTube first (usually the night before they’re published on the blog). Thank you!
- 2x4x8 quantity 2
- 1x4x8 quantity 3
- Fence Picket quantity 1
- Vintage Headboard (mine is twin size)
- Furniture Leg quantity 2
- Top Plate quantity 2
- Wood Filler
- Paint Colors- 1. Beloved Pink, 2. Shy Smile, 3. Coral Fountain, 4. Charismatic, 5. Corn Stalk, 6. Frittata 7. Sparkling Brook, 7. Green Aqua, 8. Mirador, 9. Tinted Ice 10. Early September, 11. Ultra Pure White
- Gator Hide
I had all the supplies on hand, so this ended up being a free project!
step 1- Cut the wood
Start by cutting the wood. We used pallet wood, but linked wood above that you can buy directly from the hardware store.
Cut 2×4’s into the following lengths.
- 41″ (base)- cut 2
- 38″ (base)- cut 1
- 15″ (base)- cut 2
- 8″ (leg)- cut 2
- 4 5/8″ (leg)- cut 2
Cut 1×4’s into the following lengths-
- 18″ (slats)- – cut 11
Cut a fence post into the following lengths-
- 41″- cut 1
step 2- build the base
Next, use the 5 pieces cut for the base and begin putting it together. Our headboard is a twin so we went with a 41″ x 18″ deep base. A twin headboard is 41″ wide and 18″ deep works perfectly for a seat.
Attach the 2×4 base pieces together with screws.
Once the base is complete, add the slats to the top. We used 11 slats. Attach the slats to the base with screws.
step 3- build the legs
And now add the front legs to the headboard bench. To build the legs, screw the 8″ pieces of 2×4 into the front of the bench on each end.
Next, attach the 4 5/8″ pieces of 2×4 into the 8″ piece of wood. This creates a 4×4″ piece of wood on each end of the bench for the beginning of the leg.
Then, screw the metal top plate into the end of the leg.
Use a drill with a large bit to make room for the leg to be screwed on. Then attach the leg.
step 4- finish work on the bench
After the base is built, fill all holes with wood filler. Let dry and apply a second layer of wood filler. Once that is dry, sand the base until all the wood is smooth.
We decided to add a piece of fence picket to the front of the bench to act as an apron that’ll cover all the construction. The edges were rounded off with a jig saw. Then it was attached with screws, wood filled, and sanded smooth.
Attach the headboard to the bench base with screws along the back. Now the construction on the bench is complete!
Finally, it’s painting time! I began by priming the bench on all surfaces to make sure the wood doesn’t bleed through the paint.
Next, I painted the whole thing with Ultra Pure White in exterior paint.
To make the bench extra cute, I decided to paint the seat slats in rainbow colors! To prep for that, I taped off the edges, and then sealed the paint by painting it with the white paint.
Once that was dry, I painted each slat a different color. They are all listed above. I like to use sample paint sizes- they last for many projects! While I was painting, I was careful to not get the paint on the sides of the slats- it’d be too hard to paint them since the space is so thin so they stayed white.
I removed the painter’s tape and did any needed touch-ups.
Lastly, I put a clear coat of polyacrylic over the whole bench to protect it against the elements outside. The rainbow paint isn’t exterior grade, so this will help it hold up nicely.
Here is how the headboard bench turned out! I love this project because I made it from items I own.
Plus, it is a fun way to re-use a vintage item. It’s comfy and the rainbow are so cute!
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