Who doesn’t love these little upcycled benches made out of old vintage beds? Here is how to make a bench from a headboard and footboard.
Get more furniture makeover ideas here!
They are perfect as a porch bench, or as an entryway bench. This one, in particular, was made into the perfect red porch bench.
I had been looking for the perfect twin headboard and footboard to upcycle into an adorable bench and we finally found the perfect set!
I spotted them at a fun little vintage market for only $10! They were missing the side rails, so I didn’t feel one bit guilty about my plans to transform them into a DIY headboard bench.
How to Make a Bench from a Headboard and Footboard
I’ve made a few headboard benches, and every single time they are a little bit different. But the overall build is very similar with all of them.
- First, you need to make sure that the headboard and footboard have a place to attach a seat to. The seat needs to be about 18″ from the ground.
- Then the footboard needs to be cut in half to become the armrests and front legs. The footboards then need to be connected to the headboard.
- Finally, the support for the seat of the bench needs to be made, and the top of the seat put together.
It was quite the labor of love, but the finished product was totally worth it!
Supplies Used to Make a Bench from a Headboard and Footboard
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- Old Twin Headboard and Footboard
- Chop Saw
- Jig Saw
- Hanger Bolts
- Wood Glue
- Power Sander
- Kreg Jig and Screws
- Brad Nail Gun
- Red Chalk Paint
- Dark Walnut Wood Stain
- Exterior 450 Topcoat
Grab my list of the 10 best painting furniture supplies here!
Adding Height to the Footboard
First, we cut the finials from the headboard (with a chop saw) to add to the legs of the footboard. We needed to add height to the footboard so the seat wouldn’t be right in the middle of the side spindles.
We cut the legs off the bottom of the footboard too, and cut the finials from the headboard in half.
The leftovers of the finals were put back onto the headboard to be finials again. (We sanded them down to round them out a bit too.) Learn what the best sander for furniture is here.
Attaching the Footboard to the Headboard
We cut the footboard in half with the chop saw and then removed the top part of the footboard from the spindles. We attached the sides of the bench (the footboards) with pocket screws and glue.
Building the Bench Seat
We built the support for the bench seat out of 1″x3″ boards and 1″x2″ boards. We attached them together and to the frame of the bench with Kreg Jig pocket holes and screws.
And then we used more 1″ boards to make the bench seat. We attached the boards to the supports with more brad nails.
Filling in Headboard and Footboard Holes
There were large holes and slots from when the headboard and footboard were hooked to bed rails. I filled the holes with Bondo filler.
Check out my Bondo Wood Filler review here to learn more.
Painting the Porch Bench Red
Our client asked for this bench to be painted for outdoor use. So we painted it in red chalk paint that she picked out and then sealed the chalk paint with an exterior-rated topcoat.
How to Chalk Paint Outdoor Furniture
You can use chalk paint outdoors! The secret is to topcoat it with an exterior-rated top coat instead of the regular interior-rated top coat.
We used a custom paint color from the local hardware store and mixed it into chalk paint with this homemade chalk paint recipe.
Then I sprayed multiple coats of General Finishes Exterior 450 topcoat in Satin.
It is a water-based topcoat that is rated for exterior use, and General Finishes creates high-quality products that I trust. Learn more about the General Finishes Exterior 450 here.
*Do not use this topcoat over light colors as yellowing may occur.
I absolutely love that we were able to bring this old bed back to life and give it a new purpose!
Check out more red painted furniture ideas here.
More Before And After Makeovers
Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.
- Add height to the footboard by cutting the finials from the headboard with a chop saw. This is so the seat wouldn’t be right in the middle of the side spindles. Cut the legs off the bottom of the footboard too, and cut the finials from the headboard in half. Attach part of the finials with the legs then attach the new legs onto the footboard with hanger bolts and wood glue.
- Cut the footboard in half to make the sides of the bench then remove the top part of the footboard from the spindles. Attach the sides of the bench (the footboards) with pocket screws and glue.
- Cut out new armrests, drill holes to connect with the spindles, and then attach the arms to the headboard and footboard with the nail gun.
- Build the support for the bench seat out of 1″x3″ boards and 1″x2″ wood boards. Then attach them together and to the frame of the bench with Kreg Jig pocket holes and screws.
- For holes and slots from when the headboard and footboard were hooked to bed rails, fill them with Bondo filler.
- Paint the bench with chalk paint then seal with an exterior-rated topcoat for outdoor use. Stain with the dark walnut wood stain.
More Repurposing Furniture Ideas
- How to Upcycle a Desk into a Pair of Nightstands
- Repurpose a Desk into Nightstands
- Repurpose Sewing Machine Tables
- How to Repurpose Desks
- How to Paint a Wooden Bench
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