Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sleigh bed headboard bench

I've had this headboard and footboard to a sleigh bed in my shed for some time. It's MDF, so it won't be water friendly and I knew I wouldn't be able to fully sand it down to paint it, but I decided to go ahead and turn it into a bench for my front porch.

I cut 16" off each side of the footboard to make the sides, but they didn't match up very well because of the slope of the frames. I decided to cut an angle at the top of the footboard pieces to fit the slope of the headboard better and then I could cut the bottom of the side pieces accordingly.
I ended up taping a ruler to the bottom leg...
Then I was able to trace the angle on a piece of paper...

Then I could draw the angle at the top of the side pieces to cut out with my jig saw...
Once they were cut, I could see where the bottom piece needed to be cut to fit the headboard. This made my bench even narrower than the anticipated 16", but there wasn't much I could do at that point.
Here it is with the pieces matched up, but not screwed in yet.

 I drilled three holes on the foot board pieces with my Kreg Jig. I attached the bottom of the foot board to the headboard, but left the top ones unscrewed, so I could fiddle with them after the frame was inside.

Next, I needed to build a frame. I probably should have just measured it a million times and created the frame before attaching it, but I was worried about getting the measurements wrong, so I just marked and cut the exact lengths as I went. I started with a 2x4 along the back of the headboard.

Then I cut and attached the side pieces (and two middle ones) leaving room for a 2x4 to go across the front.

I used a level and a stack of scrap wood to hold the front 2z4 piece while I drilled it in place.

Then I was able to move the top of the side pieces to a place where I could drill them into the headboard.

 And drill the side of the frame into the side of the bench
 I wanted to paint the bench black and have the seat be a stained color, so I dragged this outside and lightly sanded and wiped it down with a wet rag.
 I used my HVLP sprayer to paint it. I started with a coat of gray primer.
 Then I sanded it and did another coat of primer.
I ended with 2 coats of black semi gloss (sanding in between--sanding really does make a huge difference). I bought 3-1x4x10s to cut for the seat and used a scrap 1/4" piece of plywood to help space them. I was literally one slat short and luckily found a scrap piece that would work at the end so I didn't have to go out and buy another board.

 Once I had all the slats cut, I took them off to stain them. I like to put my hand in a ziploc bag and then put an old sock over it to rub the stain on the wood.
 I let them dry on an old vinyl tablecloth. Once they were dry, I flipped them over and stained the other side. The nice things about the bag is I can just roll the bag and sock off my hand so they are inside out and then the sock doesn't dry out right away before you use it again.

Tip: If you get stain on your hands or even on your clothes, you can use cooking oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower, etc.) to get it off. Since it's oil based, water doesn't do much to help you clean up.

I put the pieces back on and used my finishing nail gun to attach the pieces in the front and back.

I like the finished piece, but it looks a little squatty on my front porch. If I make another headboard/footboard bench, I think I'll make the sides at least 18" long.

Once the 4th weekend is over, I plan on coating it with a few coats of outdoor varnish.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Wow! What a great result. I couldn't have envisioned a bench from the head and foot board. Great work fitting it together and finishing it. Thanks for posting it.

  2. That is amazing transformation! I would never have guessed it was DIY. I have a couple of cribs. I wonder if the would work.