How To Turn An Old Door Into A Headboard | The Interior Frugalista: How To Turn An Old Door Into A Headboard
How To Turn An Old Door Into A Headboard | The Interior Frugalista

May 23, 2013

How To Turn An Old Door Into A Headboard

It all started with a visit to a local building salvage yard one afternoon with a friend. Way at the back of the store and behind a pile of interior doors, we came across a few very old and heavy five-panel doors. Arriving in only a compact car we were determined to figure out a way to get two of those doors home.

We were on a mission and there was no such thing as "it can't be done". With the help of a very patient staff member who shook his head when he saw what we were driving, we managed to get those babies through the trunk, over the seats, with a good portion of the doors sticking out the back end and ourselves with the seats pulled forward as far as we could get them.

During the terribly uncomfortable drive home on the freeway back to our little hamlet, we laughed and talked about how we were going to transform those Old Doors Into A Headboard.

How To Turn An Old Door Into A Headboard

The door sat in my basement for a couple of months before the snow finally melted so we could take it outdoors and get to work.

Prepping An Old Door To Turn Into A Headboard

Not having saw horses and being the industrial person that I am, the two drawers leftover from my Twin Headboard Bench project came in very handy.

How To Turn An Old Door Into A Headboard


Cut the door to fit queen size mattress

Cut Old Door Into Queen Size Headboard

To accommodate a queen size mattress the door was cut to 68-inches long, trimming it evenly from both the top and bottom ends.

Building a frame and French Cleat

Add French Cleat on old door turned into a headboard

Attach 2 x 4 lumber on either side and the top of the door to beef it up to accommodate a mantel ledge on the top (see photo above).

The strongest way to mount the heavy headboard onto a wall is with a French Cleat. To make a French Cleat, rip two 2 x 4's at a 45°degree angle down the middle of the lumber using a table saw.

Attach one cleat onto the back of the headboard so the angle is facing towards the bottom and towards the headboard (as pictured above). The other cleat will be mounted on the wall and we'll talk more about that installation further down in this post.

Building a mantel ledge

Adding Trim To Mantel Ledge On Old Door Turned Into A Headboard

First we installed large crown molding along what will be the top of the headboard (see picture below).

Next we cut a piece plywood to measure 1/2-inch larger than the top of the crown molding on the front and sides. Using a nail gun we attached decorative trim along the front and sides, cutting the corners at 45° angles (see photo above).

Again using a nail gun we attached the trim piece to the top of the crown molding (as pictured below).

Building a mantel ledge on old door turned into a headboard

First coat of paint on the headboard

Painting Old Door Turned Into A Headboard

The entire headboard was painted with Behr Latex Eggshell Paint and it's hard to tell in the photo above that the color is Wedgewood Gray (the same color as the walls in our bedroom).The paint finish is looking rather glossy because the picture was taken while the paint was wet.

Second coat of paint on the headboard

Whitewashed Milk Paint On Old Door Turned Headboard

Once the latex paint was dry I applied a wash of Sturbridge White milk paint over the Wedgewood Gray.

Giving a time-worn look to the headboard

Distressed Paint Finish On Old Door Turned Headboard

With fine sandpaper, I removed some of the paint to reveal the Wedgewood Gray underneath. To protect the paint finish I used clear wax and buffed it with a lint-free rag to a matte finish.

To age the painted finish I applied dark wax into the crevices and along the edges, removing the excess with a lint-free rag.

Installing French Cleat on wall

French Cleat Used To Hang Old Door Turned Into Headboard

Now it's time to mount the other side of the French Cleat onto the wall. First, decide where on the wall the headboard will be mounted and mark the height of the top of the mattress onto the wall with painter's tape. You want the bottom of the headboard to be just below the mattress.

Once you've determined the placement of the headboard, measure from the bottom of the headboard to the cut point of the cleat installed on the headboard. From the top of the tape you placed on the wall in the previous step, mark this measurement on the wall. Using a level, mark this measurement across the wall.

Find the studs in the wall using a stud finder and mark with a pencil.

NOTE: You will need a second set of hands for this part.
With the 45° angle of the cleat facing upwards and towards you, line up the back of the cut with your mark on the wall. With a 4-inch screw, attach the French cleat to the wall on each stud.

Essentially the two cleats fit into one another to form a strong and sturdy hanger, ensuring that heavy headboard will not come crashing on your head in the night.

Old Door Turned Into A Headboard Mounted On Wall

In case you're wondering whether that is wallpaper or a stenciled wall behind the headboard, it's a Large Chelsea Allover Stencil. For tips on how to stencil a wall visit my Tips On How To Stencil A Wall .

If you found my tutorial on How To Turn An Old Door Into A Headboard helpful, please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

How To Turn An Old Door Into A Headboard

If you would like more ideas on how to repurpose old doors, I repurposed a smaller old 5-panel door into a Le Jardin Flower Planter. I also turned Old Louvered Doors into a back yard privacy screen.


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