Thursday, August 11, 2011

On Headboard Benches, Past and Present

It’s been years since I’ve made a headboard bench.  Really. Years!

My first attempt was in 2007;  I had just discovered the message boards at HGTV and was intrigued by all the great projects those talented folks were talking about.

When I found a headboard at the side of the road, I knew just what I wanted to do with it.

Of course this is before blogging, and taking pictures of everything I did just wasn’t high on my list of priorities….

But I did take these pictures of it in my yard the following year.


Sandy 024

You really can’t tell in the photos, but the headboard was a queen size, and I used 2X4’s for the framing.  You have no idea how incredibly heavy this monster was!

And to top that off, I made the seat proportions to fit a giant with legs a mile long. 

Sitting on that bench reminded me of the Lily Tomlin “Edith Ann” character.  You know, the little girl sitting in the giant rocker? 

She always ended her spiel by saying “and that’s the truth” with a razz-berry for emphasis?
It was a fixture in my front yard for 2 years before I sold it in a garage sale for $10.

A year after making that first bench, I decided to make a whole bunch of benches at once, call it a bench marathon if you will.

That cured me of my headboard bench addiction big time!

The following photos show all the different headboard benches I made that weekend.

Are you ready?

First up,  I made this bench specifically for my sister Kathy to use by her pool.  This time I used a full size bed instead of a queen, much lighter!

This one had both a headboard and footboard.


Let’s just say it did not go together easily, ok?  See those spindles on the footboard?

Lots of pulled out hair trying to figure out how to make it all work!.

Note:  I’m not going to do a tutorial here, that’s already been done by Gail @ My Repurposed Life.  Gail has put together the best directions ever so if you want to know how to build one of these, go check out her tutes here, here and here, ok?  One thing I can tell you, no two benches I’ve ever made are ever exactly alike. 

Be prepared to go with the flow on each individual project!


After it was all together I used reclaimed porch floor boards for the seat.


I’m going to digress a little bit here.  That was the summer I  brought home almost an entire front porch I found at the curb one day.

From posts, to floorboards, to clapboards, to the bead board ceiling,  I got every piece I could salvage.  It took me several trips and I ended up storing a bunch of it at my Mom’s house since she lived pretty close to where I found it.

Ahhhh,… that was a great find…so many of the parts have been used on various projects already. 


(anybody recognize  those clapboards from a recent project?)


Ok, so now back to benches.

Here’s a picture of Kathy’s finished bench at poolside. 

I left the seat blue to mirror the color of the pool water.


This next one was made from a twin 4 poster bed that I was just in love with.  A thrift store treasure purchased for $10, I was so excited to find it.

bench marathon day 003

This one went together a lot easier than Kathy’s. 

I know the posts are way too tall, but they were my favorite part of this bed and I didn’t want to cut them down.

bench marathon day 007

I used L brackets to attach the side rails.

bench marathon day 010

Again I used some reclaimed porch floorboards for the seat.


Here it is painted back. 


I was bemoaning the fact that the back looked too plain to Gail, and she sent me a “Tatouage” rub on decal to dress it up. 

Isn’t she the best? :)



I had to paint over the original blue on the seat to make it match the decal better.

That bench was gifted to another of my sisters for her birthday that year.

This next bench is actually a crib bench. (I’m including it because it’s still technically a bed, right?)

I pictured something for a mud room. to sit and put your shoes on.

The seat is from an old bench, cut down to size.

The bottom shelf is from the crib railing.



I had it for sale at a booth during an outdoor show that year.

It didn’t sell.

I ended up donating it for a silent auction at a cancer benefit for a friend.

It brought in $100!


Ok, so this one coming up is my least favorite of all of them.  I almost didn’t include it in this post, but for the sake of keeping it real it’s good to know not every project comes out pretty.

bench marathon day 009

My youngest sister had requested a simple bench to put out in her yard for her cats to sun themselves on.

She wanted plain and utilitarian.  No frills.

I picked a twin size headboard to start with.  It was a curbside find and covered with stickers when I found it.

I went with a basic box seat and outside mounted legs.


Yuck.  I hated it!

So I changed the front legs out for some chair legs I had leftover from another project.


It was a little better, but still felt clunky to me.

This photo shows the bench painted and in the process of sealing with clear spray finish.


The next bench I made that day involved a footboard and some chair backs.

Technically I would call it a chair bench.  You can read more about it here.



This one sold quickly at my sale that year.


That bench marathon was back on the weekend of July 26 and 27th of 2008. (the basic’s were done on that weekend, it took a few more weekends to do the finishing)

I haven’t even been tempted to make another headboard bench since then.

That is, until Jason bribed me with all those goodies from his basement.

So here I am, back at it, making yet another headboard bench.

This time though, I got smarter…I listened to my pal Gail and went out and bought a Kreg Jr pocket hole jig.


It was so incredibly easy to put the pieces together, I couldn’t believe it!  It is well worth the $40 to buy it.


The basic bench took me less than an hour to cut and piece together.



It’s a start!

What I’m getting hung up on now is the stripping and re-staining.

Let’s just say it’s not going well. :(


blog signature

I’m linking this up to Gail’s Catch as Catch can party.  Check out all the great links over there!



  1. Good post. I have an old twin bed I've been wanting to make a bench out of. You gave me some inspiration and a few things to think about. I liked the crib bench.

  2. Oh wow! I would love one of these headboard benches. I always think they have such character! I love the one's you made and this one is coming along nicely. I know you will hate the stripping and re-staining part.

  3. They say if you use chalk paint you don't have to strip it . I love your benches ! And I am intrigued with tha pocket hole jig thingy. I can't wait to see this one done .

  4. I love these benches, thank you so much for sharing, and that tool is pretty awesome as well! I am going to order one for my own repairs!

  5. It's going to be great! Do they want a natural wood finish? I'd say paint that bench!

    I LOVE the chair and headboard bench! Gorgeous!

  6. Wow that was one busy weekend... love all your benches.

    Don't you just love that jig... best invention, ever.

    Your newest bench is coming along nicely. I don't envy you having to strip and stain though, I don't like that part either. That would have been the deal breaker for me.

    Good luck and hopefully you can get it done without too much mess.

    Hugs, Deb

  7. Very nice benches and I would have bought the smaller one!!! I have a smaller home!
    Deb :)

  8. Love them all! I'll be watching for the finished bench to show my mother what my dad could do with that old bed.

    And, yes, I do remember Lilly Tomlin from Laugh-In.

  9. I'm SUPER impressed.....I'm not handy with a saw or hammer, but just LOVE that you are. I can't decide which one I like the best. Maybe the one with the chairs. Happy Summer Ya'll!

  10. I know which I like best! The black one (with the tall posts) and the Chair bench. Oh, and I also like the mud room (crib) bench. They are all really great!
    Thanks for linking to me! You rock!
    I'm sorry that the fella doesn't feel the love of "paint". staining is such a pain!

  11. I love all these benches and am so impressed. I have to say though I like the first one the best. Yes, the seat is kind of large but I could see putting a mattress or big cushion and a bunch of pillows on it and have a really comfy place to curl up. Good luck with the finish on this last one.

  12. I love headboard benches. I can't decide which of yours I like best but I think it's the one made from teh baby bed. It would be such a great addition to any mud room.

    I'm drooling over Jason's bench. I see one of the wooden buttons is missing on the bench. Do you have it to reattach or will you have to remove the one that is remaining? That will be gorgeous.

  13. I remember those floor boards! That was a great find.

    The new bench turned out great. I love the curviness of the sides. Good luck with the striping. I know what a pain that is. Is he wanting it darker? Do you have to strip it? There is some antique refinisher that might work. Much easier.

  14. Enjoyed this post. Someday i will attempt something like this. In the meantime it was fun to see what you have done. I like them all.

  15. Wow! Wow! Wow! Love them all! Now I wanna make one!

  16. AMAZING transformations going on here...I just had to "pin" one of your benches on Pinterest, hope that was okay! Beautiful work...this is on my to-do list and you have just inspired me further!

  17. Rose, this is just fabulous, your creations. So adore all of your benches.

    Would you be so kind to (& tell your friends) comment on my BLOG ONLY (emails don’t count), for the Miracle Makeover fund drive. Charlie, 8 yr. old, & his story are fabulous. Every comment brings us a $1 for the next person that will be sponsored.

    Have a beautiful weekend.
    TTFN ~

  18. Oh how cute.....ALL of them. :)

  19. Rose, I LOVE this post. I'm currently working on my first bed to bench project. In fact the bed I picked up is EXACTLY like the one you did for your sister Kathy. I had to get a hold of Gail and ask her her opinion on the footboard being higher once up against the headboard. It's GREAT to see just how you put it all together. I can move forward now thanks to you and Gail : )

  20. These are phenomenal!! I love each and every one of them!

  21. What a great post! I don't envy you on the stripping and staining. I generally say no to that...if I can. Love the black bench with the really tall posts and the chair bench! Great job!


  22. hi i made a cedar chest bench out of a twin bed


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