DIY Door Headboard

This post, my friends, is a long time coming. Like even before the birth of my site this post was waiting to be written. It only took me 2 years, but you know what they say, patience pays off.

And boy did it pay off for me.

Three moves ago, so about a year and half for us, we ditched my husband’s childhood headboard. We didn’t throw it in the dumpster, calm down, it was donated along with a chair, a dining table, some bikes, microwave, and loads of other stuff. What can I say, I’m a minimalist.

We have been headboard-less since, and it made our bedroom look bare and sad. About the time we got married, I started my hunt. I was on the lookout for an old (husband would say stinky), solid wood door. One full of life, if it could talk it would have decades of stories to share. You know, that kind of door.

I looked in every antique store and flea market within a 40 mile radius of us in Virginia, and again in Missouri. I did find one in MO, but we didn’t have a way at the time to get it back to our house. It was heavy and red and she was asking $30. It was a steal!! It hurt to pass that door up.

We have lived in California for over a year now, and the story continues. I have searched every antique mall, flea market, and thrift shop for an antique door. Turns out I needed to extend my radius.

I found the most beautiful, stinky door about 2 hours from my home, at the Long Beach Flea Market. (If you’ve watch Flea Market Flip you may have seen it!) If not, imagine a football stadium parking lot. Now, imagine that lot covered with pop-up tents, moving trucks, and stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Now, that’s my kinda place.

A friend and I decided to tackle that place (haha, it’s a football stadium!) head on. We discovered on the drive up there we were both looking for the same piece, for the same project. Did I mention we were friends?! Anyway, 2 minutes into what turned out to be about a 4 hour day, we saw them. Yes, them. There were two identical solid wood white doors waiting for us. The old man had a stutter (I wanted to squeeze him he was so cute!) and he sold us those doors for $25 each. Unbelievable. I paid the man right there, knowing I wouldn’t come across a better deal. (Sure enough, we didn’t see another door until the very end and this guy was selling his for $70-130!)

Unfortunately, I cannot give you a step-by-step picture tutorial (I’m much too lazy to take photos while I’m working). But I can give you an idea of what we did and the supplies needed.

Supplies
metal scraper
sander
Citristrip paint/varnish remover
standard tool set
molding
1×2 board for the top
finishing nails
Teak oil

2×4
screws
4- nuts and bolts

This was the first project that I used the Citristrip on, I had always used a different kind, one that burned your skin if even the tiniest drop got on you. Not fun for someone as sloppy as myself. This kind works wonders, doesn’t burn, and I believe took more paint off than any other I’d tried. You do have to let it sit longer than most others, but in the end I think it saved more time and money. This door had 3 layers of paint, so the while the metal scraper did most of the work, a sander is nice to have on hand for those stubborn spots. Teak oil is not a varnish. It doesn’t protect furniture in the way that polyurethane does, it will bring out the richness of the wood, and leave it looking only semi-shiny. If your piece won’t suffer much wear and tear I would recommend Teak oil over any kind of protectant any day. The wood looks rich and full of life.

The 2×4’s, screws, and nuts and bolts were used to stand the headboard upright. We cut the 2×4 long enough to reach the holes in our bedframe. Then attached the boards to the headboard using screws. Drill holes in the board to match up with your bedframe, and using the nuts and bolts, secure the boards to the bedframe.

Method
Wash the door well with hot water and wood soap (or dish soap). Allow to dry. Most doors have a longer space below the bottom panel than they do above the top panel. That is probably confusing, but if you actually buy a door and look at the ends you’ll see what I mean. We cut about 4 inches of the bottom of the door to make the ends even with one another. Remove any hardware you wish, we kept the handle hardware for character, but removed the hinges. Once dry (so wait at least a day), apply paint remover and let it do most of the work. Scrap. Continue to spray, wait, and scrap until all paint is removed (or as much as you want to take off). Nail molding (which my husband cut so nicely) to front of door. Nail 1×2 board on top of door. This gives our door a nice finished look. Fortunately, it still looks like a door which was the intent, but by adding some additional pieces to the top, it doesn’t just look like a door, it looks like a door headboard!

If you have any questions about how we did what did or about the products we used, let me know. I need to get better about taking and sharing “picture tutorials”. The whole process took about 3 days, but we loved every minute of it.

Do you repurpose any furniture? Are you patient enough to go without something until you find “just the right piece”? We are going on 7 weeks without a dining room table now for that reason. 

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