While walking to the library recently, I noticed a discarded headboard and footboard from a child’s bed. The footboard was straight across and the headboard seemed to be intact. I liked the idea that the wood was turned with elaborate and pretty designs. A man who was passing by stopped and sat on the footboard; it seemed to function as a seat. I hit on an idea.
When I returned from the library, both were gone. I hope they found new life as a bed again. My idea will work with old beds made from wood or metal. Metal fencing can work as well.
You will need
- · A headboard and footboard
- · 2-by-4 lumber
- · 1-by-4 lumber (optional)
- · General woodworking tools
- · Three inch long wood screws, #10
- · Metal or woodworking refinishing materials
- · Stain and sealer or primer and paint for metal or wood
Evaluate your headboard and footboard. If the footboard has a curved top, reshape it to be straight. The footboard will become the front of the bench; your legs will hang over it. Measure your favorite chair that allows you to sit with your feet flat on the floor. The height of the seat will become the height of your bench. Most chairs and benches have an average height of 18″. We’ll use that measurement.
If the paint or finish on the headboard and footboard is in good shape, you can leave it alone. If not, strip the paint and finish using your favorite method. There are books and websites that explain the process in detail. There are several eco-friendly and non-toxic paint strippers on the market today. It is always advisable to wear the proper safety gear when stripping and/or refinishing wood or metal.
Measure the length of the headboard and footboard; this is the length of your bench. Cut two 2-by-4’s to length but do not attach them yet. Place your tape measure at the front side of the headboard post 18″ from the ground and measure out 18″. This is the depth of the seat. Measure the width of the footboard at the widest point and subtract it from the 18″. Measure the width of both the 2-by-4 boards and subtract that from the result. This will be the length of the cross pieces you will cut from the 2-by-4 lumber. Let’s say for example that the footboard width is four inches. Your equation will look something like this: 18 – 4= 14. 14 – 3 = 11. (The stock width of a 2-by-4 is 1.5 inches.) Your cross pieces will be 11″ long.
Cut four pieces, each 11″ long. One will be attached to the long pieces on the inside, creating a rectangle. The other two will be spaced evenly to create a seat.
Attach the frame to the headboard and footboard 18″ from the floor, making sure you drill from the inside of the seat frame. Insert the screws about a quarter-inch into the wood, ensure the seat is level and drive them all the way home. Drilling pilot holes will help.
You can also use a metal frame for your bench; ensure the pieces are attached to each other and the headboard/footboard securely.
There are different ways of creating a seat. The first is to cover the seat with MDF or plywood and to cover it with a cushion.
The second is to use furniture springs. You can use wavy or spiral springs; there are books and websites to explain the easy process. Cover with canvas or other cloth; place seats on top.
The third is to use webbing straps. Cut lengths of webbing to wrap around the seat frame and attach the ends to the insides of the boards. The cushions will sit on top.
The fourth is to use 1-by-4 wood attached side by side. Place your cushions on top.
You can also use the springs and wire frame from the bed frame. Cut the wire with bolt cutters, attach D-rings to the wood and attach the springs and wire frame to the inside.
Create your seat using your desired method.
Finish your bench in your favorite color(s) and position it in place. Sit down and enjoy.
If the bench is to be used outside, ensure that products are used to protect it from the elements and the sun’s UV rays.
You will be recycling usable items that would otherwise wind up in a landfill. It could also become a gift for friends, family or relatives.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse subjects and skills such as DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.