Make A Rustic Headboard Bench

Reader Contribution by Barb Camp
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Reposted with permission from Second Chance to Dream

We have nine garden beds in our yard. One of our goals this summer was to put a structural piece in each garden. 

Two of the gardens already had pieces that we got last year. You can view these garden ideas on my website by visiting the simple DIY bench tutorial that we did for our new garden, and the pergola swing I got for my birthday/Mother’s Day. 

Our large, oak garden became our focus this summer. I thought it would be fun to try a headboard bench, and I really like the results. We now enjoy a simple, rustic bench that literally took 60 minutes to cut, build and paint.  

You can make this garden bench, too. To build it, you’ll need a twin-size headboard — I bought mine from Salvation Army for half off the original price of $11.25. Your materials list also includes two 2-by-4s and two 1-by-6 boards. We had all the wood on hand so we didn’t have to buy anything. You can use scrap pieces if you plan to paint your rustic headboard bench as we did.

To make the seat for your DIY bench, measure the length of the headboard you’re using, and make a simple 2-by-4 box. We cut two 34-1/2-inch pieces and three 16-inch pieces to make our box. Assemble the frame of your box with 2-inch deck screws, using the photo at left as a guideline. 

Then, cut three 1-by-6 pieces measuring 34-1/2 inches long for the seat of your headboard bench. We cut one of these 1-by-6 pieces down to 4 inches wide so the seat wouldn’t be too deep. Next, screw the 1-by-6 and 1-by-4 boards onto the top of the box you made in the previous step. 

Recycling a headboard meant that our DIY bench would already have back legs, so we only needed to cut two legs for the front. We ripped a 2-by-4 in half to make the front legs of our bench, and trimmed the two pieces to be 19 inches in length. We then screwed the legs to corners on the underside of the box.

Next, you need to attach the headboard to your box. Add liquid nails to the headboard along the inside of the bottom rail, and carefully screw the headboard to the back of your box at this location. Be careful, because the liquid nails can slip when you’re assembling the pieces. 

The unpainted bench isn’t so pretty. To improve its appearance, we first primed it with a coat of Kilz. After allowing it to dry, we spray-painted our headboard bench white. 

It’s nothing fancy, but this garden bench definitely meets our needs, and — for a cost of less than $10.00 — it works great!