Hello beautiful friends!! I am so happy to be back to creating!! For today’s Furniture Fixer Upper makeover, I’m using this spindle headboard and footboard from my current haul to show how to turn a spindle bed into a bench:
Be sure to look for my friends’ Furniture Fixer Uppers at the bottom!
This bed was only $19.95 at one of my favorite thrift stores. I found it along with the gorgeous serpentine dresser that is also in this haul.
I’ve created many headboard benches over the years, so I’m sure it’s no surprise that this set is becoming one as well!
I just love the charm of them, especially when they have all these spindles!
However, creating one from a spindle bed is a bit trickier than with with a bed that has all straight lines, so I’m going to break it down step by step!
I’ve included a few affiliate links so you can find the products I love.
How to Turn a Spindle Bed into a Bench
The first step is to cut the footboard in half. Those pieces will become the sides of your new bench.
I did that with my miter saw:
The tricky part about spindle beds
Now here’s the tricky part about spindle beds. Often, the footboard is too tall to hit the headboard in the right place where they will be joined together:
To remedy that, you can remove some of the height from the bottom as I did here with my miter saw:
This will usually fix the issue, and you can proceed like normal. However, this one was being extra sassy and was still too tall.
So, I decided to add the piece I had removed from the footboard, to the feet of the headboard!
To do that, I first smoothed out the bottom of the headboard feet by barely trimming it, so the two pieces would attach nice and flush:
Next, I added a ring of wood glue to the bottom and then attached them together…
I secured them further with screws once the glue was dry. There was hole up the middle of these legs since they were once part of a bunk board set that stacked above one another, so I added two screws, aiming them both towards the outside of the hole:
Okay now that the height issue has been resolved, it’s time to build this bench!
Attach the new bench arms to the headboard
Now you can line up the headboard and new arm pieces made from the footboard and do a dry fit to make sure everything lines up properly. Also make sure everything is level at this point.
Next, wood glue the new arms to the headboard at the top and bottom and use clamps to hold everything in place:
Once the glue is dry, attach the arms more permanently with screws.
To do that, use your drill to drill a pilot hole with a bit just a tad smaller than the screw:
Here I drilled it as deep as it would go.
Then, use a drill bit just a bit larger than the screw head and drill deep enough so that the screw will go all the way into the new arm pieces about an inch when screwed in place.
I added a piece of tape to my bit as a guide for how deep to drill:
Screw the screws in place.
I added one on the top where the spindle was…
I usually use my Kreg Jig Jr to attach the bottom part since it has a right angle where it connects to the headboard, but I went ahead and used the same method on the bottom this time.
I added two screws on the bottom part. The screw will be countersunk, or below the surface, and you can fill the hole with filler to hide it.
I added one TBSP of White Lightning to my tub with a half gallon of warm water…
I gave everything good cleaning using a terrycloth applicator pad. Then, I swapped out the water for clean water and wiped everything down once more.
Fill the Holes
Once my bench was dry, I used Dixie Mud to fill the holes as well as the parts where the bed rails attach:
Those areas may take a bit longer to dry since they go deep. Once mine had dried, it had sunk a bit, so I went over it with a second application.
Once the Mud is completely dry, sand to smooth:
This cordless Ryobi Cat sander is great for smaller projects like this!
I just use a soft cloth to wipe away any dust from sanding.
Attach the new front support
I tried really hard to pull enough scraps from my stash to complete this build, but I just couldn’t gather enough.
So, I stopped by the Home Depot and picked up three of these primed 1X4s for $10.88 each:
I used them to make the support piece across the front and the seat slats.
I did use my Kreg Jig Jr to attach this front support piece. The kit has easy to follow instructions, and you can use it with your drill to create pocket holes that allow you to easily connect pieces at right angles.
Screws go right into those pockets…
The new front support needs to be level with the back support to hold the seat slats in place. I cut those out of the primed pieces next.
Once I had them cut, I sanded the edges smooth with my Ryobi Cat sander:
Time to Paint!
I chose to paint and seal before attaching the new seat slats to make it easier.
I wasn’t planning to paint this piece white, but I wanted some white to show through when I sanded. To get a quick coat of white on, I gave this bench a coat of Rustoleum’s white spray primer:
I bought a new large spray tent since my old one had become super crusty, but it’s just been sitting in my garage for at least a year. I needed it for this project since it was threatening rain. It’s pretty big and does a fantastic job at containing the spray!
I love Vintage Duck Egg Blue, but I love it even more lightened up! (In the second photo, I was painting at night, so it looks a bit different.)
And lookie who was hanging out with his mama while she worked!
For those of you that are new here, this is my youngest, Brennan. He’s been showing up in posts since he was two, but he has grown quite a bit since he last made an appearance!
I sanded all over with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around an old sanding sponge to smooth and distress a bit:
I hoped I would see more white come though, but you can still see it a little.
The satin dries to a lovely subtle sheen.
How many coats do you need of Clear Coat??
Technically, Dixie Belle chalk mineral paint does not require a topcoat. Once it has cured (about 21 days), it is good to go and super durable, but it is very flat and not as nice a finish as it is when sealed. So, keeping that in mind, if you just want to change the sheen and add a little additional protection with the Clear Coat, one coat is fine.
However, on more flat surfaces, two coats covers the surface best and yields nicer results. So on the spindle parts, I did one coat, and on the flat parts, I did two!
I attached the seat slats using my nail gun and this transformation was complete!
There’s just something so charming about those spindles!
And this color? LOVE!
Here you can see both the front and back feet that I had to alter to make this bench work…
Look who else showed up! Lyla jumped up on here the minute I started setting it up, but then the doorbell rang.
She’s like a dog that way…always has to run to the door when people show up, but instead of barking, she meows until you answer the door!
Don’t forget to check out what my friends are sharing today!
If you’ve got a more traditional bed set like this one:
They are a bit easier to convert to a bench.
See how I transformed this one HERE.
And I get to cross another project off the list!
You can revisit the pieces I’ve redone already at these links if you missed them:
I hope y’all enjoyed today’s project! For Tuesday, I’m working on this round of smalls from my haul:
UPDATE: See all the afters of this bunch HERE now!
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