So I have always thought that it would be cool to take an old door and make a bed headboard from it. There was a door in my house that I was planning to take out one of these days, so I thought that I would use it. Since it was painted the plan was to french country it like I do almost everything else. But then my Brother-in-law gave me a beautiful unfinished (new) wooden door. SO cool, but since it had never been painted I could stain this one and make it look like a fine antique headboard instead.. So here we go.
The top board of this beautiful pine 5 panel door measured 4″ to match the cross boards between the panels.The door had about an 8″ kick plate area at the bottom. We have a king size bed, so it was simple enough to cut the door down to size. By cutting the bottom kick plate area down to the 4″ to match the other boards we had the measurement we needed and were ready to proceed. We started by turning it on its side.
Next I was able to acquire a beautiful piece of carved molding my neighbor lady had picked up at a recycle home building center. This was cut to the length needed. But we had forgotten to check the factory cut end for square before cutting to length. Usually these are cut square to start with, but ours was old and second hand and just a fraction off of square. This meant that the board as an 1/8 th of an inch shorter then we needed it to be once we squared it up. This would not have been a big deal if we were painting the bed because we could have filled in the gap and fudged it. But since we were planning on staining we needed it to be spot on perfect. So I made a trip to our Building supply store and bought a wooden block piece that was actually made for putting up miter-less corners of crown molding. The particular piece I purchased was for an outside corner and was kind of an” L” shaped piece. Using my chop saw I just cut the”L” piece off making it have a flat back. Placing it in the center, I then re-cut the carved molding piece in two and cut to the needed lengths. Using glue and a brad gun hooked to an air compressor I tacked the trim into place.Now this is going to be a big headboard and looking at it at this point I felt it needed something more. So I started looking for a unique carved wooden medallion for the center panel. I found the coolest Lions head,( that was pretty spendy), but after discussing it with my husband we agreed it would be the perfect accent to give the bed the antique feel we wanted. This is a lesson we learned years ago: that if you splurge a little on the accent touches it makes the entire project look richer. So we ordered the medallion. I was a little nervous as it was not a wood carved face,but a resin, but it was said to be stain-able. (which it turns out, it was)!Next we cut a 2″x4″ the length of the door. This was to serve as an extra support for the weight of the door. Next we ripped two trim board pieces to run on either side of the door to stabilize the base. Once the door was inserted into the middle it formed an upside down” T” shape.The next step was to prepare the leg posts. For these I purchased decorative stair rail posts. To mount the door to the posts I needed to use” L” brackets to help support the weight well. I didn’t want any of the metal to show so I took a wood chisel and carved out a notch the width of the “L” bracket.
Along with the” L” brackets, I wanted to add screws that would run through the posts and into the side of the door. This would help support the weight of the door and serve to draw the wood post and door nice and close together. Since the door is only 1 1/2″ wide we wanted to make sure our screws went in very straight.To do this pre-drill holes for the screws to go into. We will be using 3 1/2″ screws. Since our posts are 3 inches thick, we will need to drill the holes for the screws and then re-drill the same hole to a 1/2 inch width about 1 1/2 “deep. This allows us to counter sink the screws and allow us to hide the heads of the screws. I took our posts to a friends house and had him use his drill press to drill the holes getting them very straight.
Now that the holes are drilled we can assemble all the pieces. We used our kitchen floor as it is the biggest place we have available to work. Laying the door unit down between the posts we proceeded to glue and screw everything together nice and snug; connecting the” L” brackets at the top and bottom of the door. The top” L” brackets are put on upside down; this way we can hide all the metal under the shelf board on the top of the bed. The shelf board and lions head medallion are the last things to be added. Both should be glued and tacked in place again using the brad gun and air compressor. One final touch was to glue wood plugs in place over the screw head holes.
I applied a “stain-able” wood filler/putty into all the fine cracks for a professional finished look. Once dried to the specified time, I sanded everything down very well. First with a rougher sand paper to take out any slivers and rough spots. Then once again with a finer finishing sand paper to make it all very smooth to the touch.
Before starting the staining process I wiped the whole project down very well with a tack cloth. This makes sure all the fine dust is removed and the staining surface clean. The stain can be put on with a brush. Make sure to take your time doing this step to make sure all surfaces get an even coat and that you clean up any drips. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
The stain applied and dried well. I sanded any raised grain away with a very fine sand paper.Now after wiping with tack cloth again I was able to apply spray polyurethane. Make sure to keep a paint brush on hand to brush out any drips right away. Allow proper amount of time between coats. Lightly sanding when needed.
HEADS UP When using ” stain-able ” woodputty filler, it isn’t really all that stainable. It may not show so much with lighter stains but with the dark stain I used it left the wood lighter and blotchy anywhere it touched; even though I had sanded it very well. To fix this problem I touched up the lighter areas with a black paint to simulate darker stained areas of the wood. Then I lightly sanded it down to soften the edges and to make it blend better with the wood.
Once dry we attached it to the wooden base with 1/2′ x 5″ carriage bolts, with washer, lock washer & nut on the inside. So sweet. I have the coolest bed EVER!
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