DIY: Headboard turned Coat Rack

August 24, 2009

One month ago, I bought a spindly old fashioned twin headboard at the local thrift store with every intention of turning it into a bench.  I’d seen the idea traveling around on some blogs, and loved it.  The headboard cost me a total of $12 dollars.

After some thought, I decided I had less use for a bench, and greater use for a coat rack in my guest space.  I had a bare wall, so why not fashion the headboard into a rack for scarves, sweaters, jackets, robes, or hats for my guests ?   You may recall, I’ve done this before, turning a footboard into a message center with some white and chalkboard paint.   

So I decided to do it again, but this time with a headboard.  I also used a different paint technique to give my coat rack an antiqued look.  Now, the twin headboard has been transformed into an architecturally decorative piece, providing both form and function. 

Follow along and I’ll show how I turned this:

headboard side before

into this: 

headboard from side after

First, take a look at the headboard that I brought home from the thrift store.  You’ve seen these before.  They were popular many decades ago.  Not so much anymore. 

headboard before

The wood was in pretty poor shape.  It would be fine to refurbish the headboard by simply staining or painting it, but it just came across as too old fashioned for my taste, so I repurposed it for a better cause.  

Step One:  I cut the bottom legs off with my compound miter saw.  I’ve recently learned to operate this bad boy, and Mr. CG is cool with that fact that I have a big time crush on him. 

cut with compound miter

Step Two:  I sanded the piece with a coarse sanding pad to remove any debris or trace of remaining varnish.  This piece was pretty dried out, so not much was there. 

sand headboard

Step Three:  I removed the spindles with a saw from the center for a more modern look, and filled the holes with wood filler. 

Step Four:  I primed my piece with durable primer so my paint job would last. 

spray primer

For my new coat rack, I wanted to “antique” the appearance of this older piece to pay homage to the fact that my wood had been around for several decades.  I wanted that vintage French distressed paint treatment with creamy white paint and exposed wood edges underneath.  I’ve used this paint trick before to “antique” these candlesticks

If you desire the same look, but your wood is in poor condition, or is a paler tone wood like maple or natural oak, then what can happen is when you sand away your creamy white paint, you expose that poor wood condition or pale wood tone underneath.  In such circumstances, I prefer to cheat.  I like to guarantee a rich espresso tone underneath my cream paint.  So I fake it.  Here’s how.

Step Five: Paint just the edges of your piece where you want the “wood” to show through with espresso brown paint.  Allow to dry. 

rustoleum espresso spray paint

Step Six: Paint your piece with your color of choice.  I chose to spray with a favorite: Rustoleum’s ‘Heirloom White’.  I allowed the paint to settle for 30 seconds, then I used my fingernail underneath a slightly moistened paper towel to scrape away the white paint and expose the “wood” (brown paint) underneath. 

swipe with finger

Note: I have used sandpaper in the past to expose wood edges underneath my paint job.  Sandpaper works just as well, but this is another alternative.  I like this moist wipe away technique because it guarantees the result I want.  And if I scrape too much white paint, I just spray over the smear, and start over. 

Here’s a glance at my finished paint job:

french paint job

Step Seven:  When my paint was dry, I attached ‘D’ ring hangers to the back of my headboard.  I also attached three brown hooks to the front that I found at my favorite salvage warehouse

attach d ring

attach brown hooks

I’m really crazy about these deep brown iron hooks against the crisp white paint. 

dark colored hooks 

Before and After:

before and after 

I am loving the “new” architecture of this coat rack.

headboard on wall

We’re expecting a lot of guests this autumn during the harvest season, so now they have an extra place for their fall scarves, hats, and mittens. 

coat rack with scarves  

The total cost for this rescued and revamped coat rack, including paint and supplies ?  $25 dollars.  Consider making one for your own home for a lot less than retail, and it will be much more original. 

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