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.
How to attach the armrest to the back of a headboard bench
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.
Across the back of the headboard (bottom) we attached a 1x the length of the bed. It is located below the 2x4
The board in the front is a 1x that we gave a little detail by cutting it with a jig saw. We had a curbed piece of cornice work that we used for a pattern.
Underside of headboard bench
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 2x4 "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 2x4 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.
Maple headboard bench
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 ¾ 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. 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 2x4 braces in the middle for extra support.
How to raise a seat on a headboard bench
In this picture you can see that we made a 2x4 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.
Corner bench tutorial made 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.
Easy Twin Bed Bench Tutorial
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 used flooring (tongue and groove) for the seat of this bench. I believe it was hardwood, not laminate.
Putty over our screw holes and screws
ALWAYS drill pilot holes
Using a nail gun for attaching the seats/slats is helpful. 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.
You can check out all of my headboard benches and more.
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.