Get off the Bench! Headboard Projects

This is such a great headboard project.  I have seen these benches around and wish I had either an old headboard, a place for one in my house or a great patio space, or someone that wanted to make one for me and give me a gift… then for sure I could make room for one!  Right?  I think we all could.  Gail of My Repurposed Life, has some serious skills, and I am loving the way she has created these.
Some people have written me asking about how to make these headboard benches. When we (Cathy and me) made these benches, I had NO idea that I would EVER be BLOGGING! Therefore I didn’t take a lot of “in process” pictures. However, someone expressed interest in buying this bench and asked for closeup pictures, so I will try to explain what we did and why.

With this particular bed we had a matching full sized headboard and foot board. We initially cut the foot board in half on the table saw. But, in my opinion when you only cut it in half, it makes the seat too deep. We ended up taking off enough on each end of the foot board to make it about 18-19 inches deep.

The next step after cutting the foot board is to line the foot board up with the cut end butted up against the headboard. At this point, because we were working with curved edges instead of blunt edges, we needed to “round” the cut part of the foot board to get a good fit up against the headboard.

To accomplish this we used Cathy’s drill press with a sanding disc attached to it. That gave us a nice little inward curve to fit great against the front of the headboard.

This is the view from the back. If you look closely you can see that we placed a screw right into the middle of the spool, screwing it from back to front. We always use wood glue whenever we join two pieces of wood together.
If you look closely at the left side, you can see that the foot board’s original construction included a board across the bottom. The leg in the back is the original leg to the headboard, the leg in the font is from the foot board.
DSCF0084  This was our first bench, and it was very challenging to say the least. It is hard for me to remember exactly what we did. In this picture you can tell more about the construction and how we added our lumber as opposed to what is the original bed.

Across the back of the headboard (bottom) we attached a 1x the length of the bed. It is located below the 2×4

The board in the front is a 1x that we gave a little detail by cutting it with a jigsaw. We had a curbed piece of cornice work that we used for a pattern.


In this picture you can see that we attached the 1x to the sides (foot board cut in half) You can also see that we used L brackets for extra support. After making the initial construction, we decided the bench sat too low. We constructed a basic box and stacked it onto the 1x and the original foot board (sides) You can see the stacked construction in the picture below.

We used 1x’s for the slatted seat. Here you can see we had to notch the last one to make it fit. Having to do it all over again, I would probably choose to rip each board so that the last board would not be so narrow.
Now, I’ll show you this picture again. Maybe you’ll understand a little better how we worked through this challenging bench. Try to imagine a 2×4 “box” stacked right on top of this construction. That box helped with support and raised the height of the seat.

In the picture below, you can see that a 2×4 is stacked on top of the curved 1x


You can see how pretty a piece can be with the end result. Only you know the challenges or oops you have during a particular project. That is… unless you blog about it to the world, showing closeup pictures, so others may not make the mistakes you make.

Now on to another bench:
We picked this up from the curb. It was the entire bed, rails, slats, everything. I wondered if it were possibly a divorced or newly married (previously divorced) couple. You know… I’m NOT sleeping in her bed sort of thing.

Again, we cut the foot board in half on the table saw, then cut each half again to make the seat about 18-19 inches deep.


After cutting the foot board, the next step is to line them up to make the sides of the bench.

This is where Cathy wants to do it one way and Gail wants to do it another way. I have seen benches that the sides were brought out and attached against the side of the headboard. In that scenario you would be putting the screws through a board approximately 3/4 inch thick into the headboard post which is about 2.5 inches thick. Cathy doesn’t think they look as nice, and hindsight, I suppose I agree. (she doesn’t read my blog, so shhhh if you don’t tell her, she will never know!)

So, we do it her way. It’s not easy to do the drilling of the pilot holes. I will attempt to explain how we went about it.

We bought an extra long drill bit, 5 inches! Which is over kill for sure. But you will need a bit that will drill through a bed post.

Place the side (cut foot board) against the headboard and mark the thickness of wood. Drill several holes (from front to back)

Line the side (cut foot board) back up (clamping if necessary) and drill from the back to the front only slightly into the side (cut foot board)

Take the side (cut foot board) off and make sure that you are pretty much in the center of the board. Then while unattached, drill a pilot hole into the side board using the holes you just slightly drilled as guides.

Apply glue and using your marks line the two pieces up and clamp and screw.
We used 2×4 braces in the middle for extra support.

maple bench

In this picture you can see that we made a 2×4 box to stack onto the original construction. We puttied the slat holes. As you can see we laid our slats from side to side on this bench as opposed to the previous bench where we laid them front to back.

As I said in the original post of this bench, it is the heaviest thing we have ever built! Cathy and I could carry it from point a to point b, however it was nearly impossible for us to lift it onto the truck.

Next I will try to describe how we made this cute little corner bench from a foot board.


We picked up this footboard at a local peddler’s mall for $6.00. This was before we realized there were better places to find old, orphaned beds….curb shopping is much cheaper.

We cut it nearly in half on the table saw. We measured the width, and subtracted the thickness of the headboard. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but because we “butted” the right side up against the left side, we couldn’t cut it exactly in half.
If you click on the picture you will be able to look inside the back corner and see that we added a third leg (from another project).
We glued and screwed this all the way down the back left side. We added a 1x across the front, cutting the ends on an angle so they would fit nicely. The seat was made out of a piece of scrap plywood.

We adorned it with a handle in the front to give it a faux drawer look. These corner benches are fairly easy to make, and much easier to move from one place to another.

Now I’ll show you the easier way to attach the sides (foot board cut in half)


This was a twin bed. We cut the foot board in half on the table saw. You can see that we laid the foot board up against the side of the headboard. (gail’s way) We glued and screwed through the foot board into the headboard.

We then attached a 2×4 across the front and and a ripped 2×4 across the back. Click on the picture to enlarge it, and you will get a clear idea of exactly what we did.
We used flooring (tongue and groove) for the seat of this bench. I believe it was hardwood, not laminate.
Some afterthoughts:
We use drywall screws (size depends on what 2 pieces of wood we are joining together)

We sink all of our screws that will be visible
We putty over our screw holes and screws
We ALWAYS drill pilot holes
We use my nail gun for attaching the seats/slats. If we don’t use tongue and groove flooring, we use paint sticks or yard sticks to get equal separation of the slats.

Sometimes we use the right side of the flooring unpainted, other times we sand the shine off the flooring and paint the flooring to match the bench.

Almost all of our headboards and/or foot boards have been curb finds. If curb shopping isn’t illegal in your area, I suggest you check out your .gov site and find out when the large trash pickup day is. Our metro area has them about 3-4 times a year, rotating the neighborhoods. That means that curb shopping is available most months.

Gail, all your info is just great!  
And your benches turned out lovely!
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. >Your benches are absolutely the cutest ever. And I know they were not easy to make. They look great!!! Thanks for sharing and giving inspiration to us all. Love & blessings from NC!

  2. >These are great! My youngest daughter is now out of her crib. I had the idea of turning her crib into a bench, since all three kids used it. I'm glad I stumbled upon this project.

  3. >I stumbled across this page while looking for ideas to make a headboard. I LOVE these benches. I do not have the talent that y'all have but I think this idea is awesome.
    Great, great, great job.

    SE MO