I’m so happy to see you! If you’re looking for more projects,

check out 250+ repurposed furniture ideas.

Jenny Lind Bed Bench

Do you know why it’s a Jenny Lind bed?

From Apartment Therapy-Jenny Lind-Cottage-style spindled furniture bore her name after she reportedly slept in a bed with turned spindle posts. The name stuck and so has this style of furniture.

This is a VERY long and picture heavy post.  If you don’t need the tutorial, skip reading the long tutorial, and just look at the pictures.

It’s funny how you remember exactly where you got certain things. In the Spring of 2010 I went to a yard sale and bought several items.

100_7909I picked up these antique armoire doors that I made into a headboard.


100_7915I also got this foot board.  I paid $5.00 for it.  I put it in the shed, and there it waited patiently.  After I designated part of the basement as my workshop in the fall, I gathered several items on a warm day and carried them to the basement.  If we had cold weather and/or snow I wanted to make sure there was sufficient inventory in the basement to work on.


100_7423These crib parts have also been waiting around since the Spring of 2010.

Because this bench will be made from a foot board and not a headboard, it needs a little re-design. If I left it as it was, it would only sit high enough for a child’s bench.

IMG_1307To make it taller, I needed to cut the legs off.

Hint: when cutting something large or cumbersome move your compound miter saw to the floor.

IMG_1309I decide that if I’m going to piece it together, I need to shave a little more off.


IMG_1311I take it all the way down to the “square” post of the bed.


IMG_1313I found this random part of a bed in the garage. Its post is the same size as the post on the original bed. Because it is/was a bed post, the ball is rounded.


IMG_1314I cut just enough off the bottom so that it will sit flat on the floor.


IMG_1317At one time or another I cut the headboard or foot board from these posts with my sawzall.


IMG_1318To remove the bits that are extending beyond the post you can use a rasp.


IMG_1321However, I pulled out the “big guns”.  To get a great flush cut use your Dremel Multi-Max.


IMG_1324The Dremel Multi-Max shaved those pieces right off!


headboard bench (2)I test the “new” legs to see if they will be the right height.


headboard bench (4)I used the Kreg Jig® R3  to make some pocket holes in the “new” legs.


headboard bench (5)I set my jig for 1 inch.


headboard bench (3)I make pocket holes on the back side and front side of the “new” legs.  I used Gorilla Wood Glue for extra strong hold.


headboard bench (6)Now I need some front legs. I hunted for something that had the same diameter post.   I’m trying to figure out where I want to make my cuts.

headboard bench (7)I want the “squared” post to be in the right place for the front “skirt”.  I don’t want to attach the skirt to the rounded part of the post.  I marked and made my cuts (not shown).


headboard bench (8)I used a 1×6 for the front and sides.  I set my jig back to 3/4 inch for the thickness of the 1×6.


headboard bench (9)To attach the front to the “middle” of the legs, I laid the 1×6 down on some scrap pieces of lumber.  They held the 1×6 off the floor and allowed me to screw into the pocket holes and attach the front skirt into the middle of the post.


headboard bench (12)I drilled pocket holes to line up with the front and back posts.  (note the left side-the holes are higher because there is a huge slat near the bottom that would allow me a place to put my screws)


headboard bench (11)I clamp the sides so that I can line them up and make them level.


headboard bench (14)I love using my combination square to make sure everything is equidistant.  The front matches  .   .   .

headboard bench (16)

.  .   .   the back.

headboard bench (17)I check to make sure the side board is plumb.


headboard bench (19)I insert all the screws.  Then I clumsily step on my ancient (small) level and break it!  Yep, on my next trip to the Home Depot I had to pick up a new one.  I bought one that is steel and magnetic.  I have two large unbreakable levels, but this was my only small one.


headboard bench (20)Here you can see all the different bed parts!  But, it’s starting to really come together. I love the look that I get with the front and side by using the Kreg Jig pocket holes.  So much better than the old days when I would have to set the legs on the inside of a “box” that became the seat.

Are you still with me?  Or have you just skimmed this post to look at the pictures?  Smile

headboard bench (21)Because I plan to run the seat lengthwise, I need to add some supports for the 1×6’s. I rummaged in the garage and found a scrap piece of something I curbed.  I used the Kreg Jig
again to do the pocket holes. I get absolutely nothing to spread the word about this jig. If you have an extra $40-50 I highly recommend you buy one for yourself.  You really get a tight connections with the pocket holes/screws.


headboard bench (22)

headboard bench (24)I notched out the board with the Dremel Mult-max with the 3” Wood and Drywall Saw Blade


headboard bench (25)

headboard bench (32)I used my brad nail gun to attach the seat.


headboard bench (35)This bench came together in just a couple of hours. I was amazed how easy it was.


headboard bench (37)I’ve been dreading it and putting it off because I knew I had to raise the foot board.


headboard bench (38)It’s amazing how sturdy it is after using the pocket holes in the front AND the back of the back leg.


headboard bench (41)I seriously love how nice that front board looks using the pocket holes to attach it to the front legs.




Check out Jenny Lind Bench pt 2 for details on how I added more charm to this bench. There is an update on this bench.





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
A teacher at heart, Gail relishes the chance not to show off her projects, but to help others find their inner handywoman, step-by-step. Her blog, MyRepurposedLife.com, chronicles her scrap-saving adventures and has been featured on countless DIY magazines and websites, including Women’s Day, Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. She is a longtime influencer for both Krylon spray paint and Gorrilla Glue. With a tribe of more than 400,000 followers, Gail is inspiring a new generation of DIYers to pick up some tools and get to work.
About gail@myrepurposedlife.com


    Speak Your Mind


  1. lisa Johns says:

    I Have A Learning Disability And This Is The Best Tutorial For My ADD I Have Ever Seen! TVM

  2. Fabulous job. I love to see women who will pick up a tool and go for it. I am going to buy one of those jigs. I have all the other stuff. I mean my husband and I have all the tools. He has taught me how to run all of them:) and I do!!!!

  3. Gail, thank you for sharing this project, step by step…I have my mom’s 1940’s Jenny Lind head//foot board. This is EXACTLY what I want to do with it, as I could NEVER get rid of it, too sentimental to me! :)

    • gail@myrepurposedlife.net says:

      awww Julie! That’s so special that you have your mom’s bed. :) Good luck, have fun!


  4. SUPER JOB! I just purchased a full size Jenny Lind headboard for $10! I am so excited. I think I might use it for a headboard, but this might be a great idea if that doesn’t work out.

  5. We are working on a jenny lind project too where we also need to lengthen the legs. Any tricks for how you joined the extension on the leg? Just the screws and some glue? Do you feel it is still very secure – not wobbly at all when someone sits on it? Thank you for your feedback. We are trying to decide the best way to go about our project.

    • Laura,

      If you look at the pictures “headboard bench 4” “headboard bench 5” and “headboard bench 6” you’ll see that I used a Kreg Jig (pocketholes) to join the two pieces together.
      In “headboard bench 12” you can see that the new back leg is firmly attached to the side apron with more pocket hole screws. This gave the bench a very sturdy base.
      The Kreg Jig I use most runs about $40. It will join two pieces together very securely. Most times I don’t even use wood glue. But in this case I did. If I can be of further help, let me know.

  6. I am just amazed at you! Thanks for sharing. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  7. I’m catching up on all my usual reads… this post wowed me!
    I’m off to read the finish–
    …I STILL have not used my jig.
    But looking at your photos- you make it looks so easy.
    I’ve got projects waiting!

    take care- Pat

  8. Awesome! Im going to show this to my hubby, I’m no good with tools but this is so great!

  9. Holy cow, that’s just amazing. You sure have a way with tools – tools that scare the heck out of me!

  10. AMAZING!! thanks for sharing the step by step, i now need to invest in a few more tools before i go ahead and attemp this, i actually picked up a few headboards with this in mind, getting my idea from you, alas still need those extra tools. I love lurking around your blog, you have some amazing ideas

  11. You have the BEST projects and the best information. I’ve been following you via email for some time.

    I’m part of the Linky Blog Hop, so I’ve Linkyed to you, too. :-)

    I’m grabbing your button for my blog. Please visit me. I have a giveaway going on!

    Thank you!
    robin :-)


  12. I have a headboard that I have been wanting to turn into a bench, this is a really wonderful and detailed tutorial. Thanks for sharing, just pinned it!

  13. Your work just gets better and better! I’m excited to see this one painted.

  14. Stunning! I am in love :)

  15. This is great! DL (my handy helper and handsome husband) and I have an old headboard that we ant to make into a bench, and this tutorial is great! You are a really good teacher!

  16. oh how I love benches… especially repurposed ones… I do work at Anthro afterall 😉 and this one is especially lovely.

    I still swear Kreg Jigs are one of the best investments.

  17. Wow! Gail

    This is an awesome tutorial. Thank you for showing how to put it all together. I have a head board and thinking to make a toy box bench with is. I already have the Kreg Jig so it just need to get the rest of the wood and give it a go.


  18. I can’t believe how you pieced this all together! It looks terrific already.

  19. Yikes! What a job! Great work, I am going to have to fly you out here so you can teach me how to use the dual bevel sliding compound mitre saw I just bought… Sounded like a good idea at the time, but now it’s freaking me out!


  20. BEAUTIFUL! As always! I read every word!
    You have a darn good chance in my giveaway!

  21. you are amazing to work all that out! Can’t wait to see it painted!

  22. Great idea Holly about the bucket.

    Thank you Terri! It was so much easier than I thought it would be. :)

    Sylvia-hahaha Yep, not a fan of copiers. It’s all about the math!

    Julie-I do follow certain guidelines for height and depth. This bench seat is 18.5 tall and 16.5 deep. These are general measurements. It could be a little shorter, or deeper, but not much taller or less deep.
    I actually just used a chair I had nearby to determine this bench. :) I’m glad the photos tell the story, because it was a little confusing.

  23. Great post, Gail, the photos are so good. I STILL have a Jenny Lind crib that I will someday make a bench out of, so this helps give me more ideas. Mine is also too short for a bench so I wasn’t sure how to lengthen it, so do you always make the seat of your benches to a certain height? (and what would that be?)

  24. Can’t wait to see the finished bench. And just think, all this from someone who in intimidated by a photo copier. Amazing.

  25. This is freaking amazing…just when I think you can’t outdo yourself…you do! I cannot wait to see this completely finished…love it so far!

  26. Great job as always. Too bad your stepped on your small level. I always have a small bucket next to me that I drop everything in as I’m working so I don’t lose it as I’m working. It also allows me to stop in the middle and not have too much of a mess, especially since I share the shop with my Dad who is Mr. neat freak. Great tutorial!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! I read and appreciate every word!