Who doesn’t love these little upcycled benches made out of old vintage beds? They are perfect as a porch bench, or as an entryway bench. This one, in particular, was made into the perfect red porch bench. Here is How to Make a Bench from a Headboard and Footboard.
Get more furniture makeover ideas here!
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!
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Supplies for the Upcycled Headboard Bench
- Old Twin Headboard and Footboard
- Chop Saw and Jig Saw
- Hanger Bolts and Wood Glue
- Power Sander
- Kreg Jig and Screws
- Brad Nail Gun
- Red Chalk Paint
- Dark Walnut Wood Stain
- Exterior 450 Topcoat
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.
We used glue and hanger bolts to attach part of the finials with the legs. Then we attached the new legs onto the footboard with more hanger bolts and wood glue.
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.)
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.
We cut out new arm rests, drilled holes to connect with the spindles, and then attached the arms to the headboard and footboard with the nail gun.
Build 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 pocket holes and screws.
And then we used more 1″x boards to make the bench seat. We attached the boards to the supports with more brad nails.
Filling in the Holes
There were large holes and slots from when the headboard and footboard were hooked to bed rails. I filled the holes with my go-to Bondo Filler. Bondo dries hard and is easy to paint, so it was a no-brainer to use!
Click here to learn more about Best Wood Filler for Furniture.
Painting the Red Porch Bench
Our client asked for this bench to be painted for outdoor use. So we painted it in red chalk paint and then sealed the chalk paint with an exterior-rated topcoat. The seat was stained in dark walnut.
Read all about the best Topcoat for Painting Furniture here!
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 the finish on for a brush-free finish.
Learn more about how to paint furniture here!
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.
*Do not use this topcoat over light colors as yellowing may occur. Learn more about General Finishes 450 here.
I absolutely love that we were able to bring this old bed back to life and give it a new purpose!
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