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Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench with Embossed Leather Hide Seat

When the good folks at the Leather Hide Store contacted me about making something using one of their leather hides, the plan was to build a leather ottoman. When Mr. Frugalista (a.k.a. my furniture buyer) came home with a Vintage Art Deco Waterfall Twin Headboard and Footboard set that he purchased from a local collectibles dealer, I knew it would make a perfect Headboard Bench With Embossed Leather Hide Seat.

Headboard Bench with embossed leather seat

This is what the Vintage Waterfall headboard and footboard used to look like.  I just love the details on these pieces.

Vintage Art Deco Waterfall Bed Before

Vintage Art Deco Waterfall Headboard Bench With Embossed Leather Hide Seat



Part of this post was sponsored by the Leather Hide Store by providing the embossed upholstery leather hide for this project.  All opinions, project inspiration, and words are 100% that of my own.  I only share items that I think will bring value to my readers. See my disclosure policy. I've included a detailed Materials List towards the bottom of this post.

Step 1 - Slicing the footboard in half

The first order of business is to slice the footboard in half with a table saw. Except ours is in the shed and the path to the shed is knee deep in snow so we improvised by using a jigsaw. I marked the center with tape, which also helps the wood from chipping from the jigsaw blade. Can you tell by the grin on my face that I'm having fun?

Cutting foot board for sides of Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench

Step 2 - Building the seat frame

Using 2" x 4" lumber, we built a frame for the seat. You can see the measurement of ours based on the twin headboard in the picture below.

Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench Seat Frame

The height of the seat before adding the cushion is 16-inches so we drew a line across the headboard to mark where the frame will be attached, using a level to ensure the mark is straight and perfectly level.

Step 3 - Prepping the headboard to accommodate the footboard sides

In order for the footboard pieces to fit flush onto the headboard, we had to build up the bottom section of the frame with pieces of plywood. We also added 2" x 3" blocks of wood for added support where the sides would be attached (see picture below). To make these cuts we ended up dragging the table saw out of the shed after all.

How to build Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench

Step 4 - Attaching the seat frame and footboard sides to the headboard

Using the 16-inch high line we drew onto the headboard from Step 2, we attached the seat frame onto headboard using 2-inch wood screws.

Next, we lined each footboard flush with the frame of the headboard and the sides of the seat frame and clamped them in place, checking to make sure it was level and square. Again using 2-inch wood screws the sides were attached from the inside of the seat frame (as pictured below).

Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench assembled

Step 5 - Filling the gaps

Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench assembly with wood filler

We filled any gaps, screw holes, and scratches with wood filler.

Step 6 - Attaching trim to the front of the seat

To hide the 2" x 4" board on the front of the seat frame, MDF trim was attached using a brad nailer. I had a photo but accidentally deleted it but you can see it in the very first photo at the top of this post.

Step 7 - Painting the bench

Now my favorite part, adding the pretty. Like chairs, painting benches with a brush is a heck of a lot of work. To speed up the process I used my HomeRight Finish Max Pro paint sprayer and applied four thin coats of diluted chalk paint in the color Arles.

Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench Chalk Painted in Arles

I used 180-grit sandpaper to lightly distress the bench. To add depth to the color and inject some rustic charm, I waxed the bench with both clear and dark wax. Normally I would apply the clear wax first followed by the dark wax but instead, I blended the two waxes together on a paper plate using an Artist Pallet Knife. Working in sections, I applied the wax using a wax brush and wiped away the excess with a lint-free rag.

Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench Dark Waxed

I love how the dark wax rests in all the crevices and joints of the bench.

Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench Aged Trim

Step 8 - Upholstering the Seat With Embossed Leather Hide


We cut a piece of 3/4-inch plywood to fit the top of the seat frame. Using an old electric serrated knife we cut 2-inch high-density foam the same size as the plywood. The foam was attached to the plywood using spray adhesive.

Vintage Headboard Bench Embossed Leather Hide Seat Assembly

This is where that gorgeous piece of Embossed Leather Hide came in. Just love the Western Tool embossed pattern on the leather and the color of the hide. The Leather Hide Store offers a very helpful Furniture Reupholstery Guide that outlines how much fabric you need for specific styles and types of furniture.

Embossed Leather Hide for Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench

We laid the seat onto the leather hide and cut it to size so it would wrap around the foam and onto the back of the wood. Using white chalk, I drew the four corners and cut a small dart where the two ends should meet when sewing the corners (see picture below).

Using a #18 Denim Needle and Quilters Gütermann thread, I sewed each corner together and cut off the excess for a snug fit over the foam.

Vintage Waterfall Headboard Bench leather hide seat corners

The hide slipped over the foam like a glove. After pulling it taut, we stapled it to the back of the plywood.

The upholstered seat was attached to the bench from underneath with 3-inch wood screws.

Vintage Headboard Bench Embossed Leather Hide Seat

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I think the Arles paint color pairs well with the color of the hide.

DIY Vintage Headboard Bench With Embossed Leather Seat Left

DIY Vintage Headboard Bench With Embossed Leather Seat Right

As promised, here is a detailed list of the supplies and tools used to make this project.

Materials List

Twin Headboard and Footboard
2" x 3" lumber
3/4-inch plywood
3/4" x 4" MDF trim
2-inch high-density foam
Embossed upholstery leather hide
#18 Denim sewing needle
Quilters Gütermann thread
Chalk paint in the color Arles
Clear and Dark wax
3-inch 2-inch wood screws
Countersink drill bit
1/8-inch drill bit
#8 Robertson Drill Bit
1 1/4" brad nails

Power Tools

Drill
Jigsaw
Table Saw
Miter Saw
Brad Nail Gun
Staple Gun
Sewing Machine


I had some fun with some of the leftover pieces of leather hide making this banner.

DIY Banner With Leftover Embossed Leather Hide

I want to thank the good folks at the Leather Hide Store for supplying the beautiful Western Tool Embossed Leather Hide for this piece.

If you enjoyed this headboard bench tutorial, please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.
Vintage Headboard Bench With Embossed Leather Hide Seat
How would you use a leather hide? Have you ever turned an old bed set into a headboard bench?

This wasn't the first headboard bench I've built and it won't be the last. For more headboard bench inspiration you can find my others like this Vintage Headboard Entry Bench With Shoe Storage, Outdoor Garden Bench For Two, Upholstered Headboard Dining Bench, and Twin Captain's Headboard Bench.

This project is being shared at these fabulous LINK PARTIES.

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Vintage Cubby Cabinet Refreshed for Valentine's Day

I was thrilled when Mr. Frugalista came home with a vintage cubby cabinet that he found on Kijiji (Canadian buy & sell site) that was being sold by a junk dealer who was cleaning out a very old garage. The price was right if you dared dig through the piles on the soggy mud floor. Wood vintage cubbies are hard to come by, especially for dirt (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) cheap.

They make great organizers for a home office or craft room but they are especially fun to decorate for holidays and special occasions. The original plan for mine was to use it above a beverage station to hold a cream and sugar bowl, mini marshmellows, sprinkles, and the like. For a hot minute I thought about using it for a tea cup collection, until I went to the dollar store.

The shelves are filled with Valentine's stuff and the next thing you know, my shopping cart was overflowing with hearts. So now my Vintage Cubby Cabinet is decorated for Valentine's Day using dollar store finds and I heart how it looks.

Vintage Wooden Cubby Cabinet

Vintage Cubby Cabinet Refreshed For Valentine's Day


I was sure I took a before picture of it all dirty with the original wood finish but for the life of me, I can't find it. You can see the light wood color peeking through the areas that I distressed. All I did was give it a wash of white chalk paint and distressed it with 180-grit sandpaper.

Wooden Cubby Organizer After Makeover

Using wallpaper adhesive, I papered the plywood back with scrapbook paper. I may eventually add real barn wood.

Cubby Cabinet Barn wood papered back

I couldn't find metal label holders narrow enough to put under each cubby so I improvised. Using a plastic geometry template as a stencil and black chalkboard paint, I painted faux back plates. With a silver paint pen, I painted the numbers freehand (should have used a stencil to make them look more authentic - live and learn).

Cubby Cabinet Stenciled Faux Metal Tags

Cubby Cabinet with faux barn wood back

Cubby Organizer with faux painted metal tags

Then came the fun part, filling it with my dollar store Valentine's finds.

Cubby Organizer decorated for Valentine's Day

The garland I made with baker's twine that I had in my stash, some cute mini clothespins and pretty fabric hearts found in the craft aisle.

Cubby Organizer with fabric heart garland

The adorable 4-pack mini mason jars came with the gingham ribbon and I filled three of them with assorted heart candies, which of course were taunting and calling my name. I caved a few nights after taking these photos and went on a candy binge.

Cubby Organizer decorated with I Heart U Cookie Cutters

The cookie cutters were too cute and I simply hung a felt heart with baker's twine for a pop of red inside the heart shape cookie cutter.

Cubby Organizer with heart shaped cookie cutter

Cubby Organizer with letter U cookie cutter

The shot glasses I found in the back of my china cabinet and used them as mini vases for red roses.

Cubby Organizer with shot glass and fabric rose

Ya, they're fake.

Cubby Organizer with mini shot glass vase with red rose

I couldn't resist this adorable little bear holding a heart.

Cubby Organizer with mini Valentine's Bear

Or this Valentine's votive candleholder.

Cubby Organizer with glass heart votive candle

...and Valentine's Day wouldn't be complete without a BIG Kiss.

Cubby Organizer with a Big Kiss for Valentine's Day


12 Slot Wooden Cubby Organizer Makeover
So what would you use this Vintage Cubby for? 

When I did some research online I was shocked at how much these vintage cubbies sell for. Then I did the happy dance when I realized the sweet deal we got on ours.

You will find this project linked to these fabulous LINK PARTIES.

Featured at Huffington Post


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The Armchair Makeover From Hell

I'm so excited about today's post because it's the first edition of Themed Furniture Makeover Day for 2016 and this month's theme is Shades of White. A very fitting theme considering the project I'm sharing, a.k.a. The Armchair Makeover From Hell had me in shades of white.

...Red

...and black and blue.

Doesn't it look so sweet and innocent sitting in front of the ethereal light coming from our living room window? Perhaps I jinxed it when I told Mr. Frugalista how it was going to be such a quick and easy makeover.

Armchair Makeover After

Pictured below is how it used to look. We've had this chair for a few years and I remember the day I bought it like it was yesterday. A colleague and I were shopping for a client's home that we were staging to put on the real estate market and we both fell in love with the chair, wanting it for our own homes. I was thrilled when it landed in the back of my vehicle.

The armchair worked well in our living room with our former earth tones but now that we've whitened and brightened this space, so too needed the chair.

Armchair Makeover Before

The Armchair Makeover From Hell


My vision was to paint the wood white and reupholster the chair in a neutral fabric so you can imagine my delight when I saw that this month's theme was Shades of White.

Armchair Makeover from hell

And so the makeover from hell began, starting with removing thousands of staples. The staples ran continuously one after another with no spaces in between. That's where the shade of red came in - thank goodness for band-aids.

After removing all the staples I noticed one of the legs was wobbly and I soon learned the poor quality of this chair. The adage, you get what you paid for stands true.

Once glued and screwed back together and clamped to dry overnight, all was solid again.

...or so I thought.

Every strap of webbing on the seat had so much slack that I'm surprised people's butts didn't touch the floor when they sat down.

Armchair reupholstered back

After tightening the webbing it was time for the fun part, painting the frame. This is where the shades of white came in, literally and figuratively.

First I lightly sanded the wood, as I always do, and no surprise that the tannin's in the wood bled through the first coat of paint. Nothing that a coat of shellac won't solve.

While applying the second coat of white the paint started bubbling and coming off in patches. This has never happened before in the three years that I've been refinishing furniture. The second coat of shellac and two days later, the chair was finally painted.

Then silly me decided I wanted a distressed look. BIG mistake, the paint was coming off in chunks.

What finally worked, after fixing the paint mishap was applying a coat of clear wax and letting it cure first before distressing.

Armchair chalk painted white

Onto the upholstery part of this makeover, starting with the fabric on the back. We used a pretty sage green that I already had in my fabric stash.

Moss Green upholstered armchair back

The fabric for the rest of the chair was intended for our Ottoman Makeover but we ended up using a different fabric for that project. I was happy to find a new purpose for the fabric because it wasn't cheap.

Thankfully, we had the chair upholstered within a couple of hours and it looked great.

Armchair reupholstered

The following day I got to work sewing the piping.

Sewing piping for Armchair Makeover

I should start off by telling you that the fabric was a heavier upholstery fabric and it frayed a lot.

Piping for Armchair Makeover

Hot glue gun in hand I got to the task of attaching the piping to the chair. I've done piping before and it's not a difficult process. Spoke too soon.

Despite trimming the seam allowance close to the seam the piping would not sit flat on the chair and kept fraying as I worked.

Here is where the shades of black come in...

It looked awful and as I sat back with a glass of wine, the more I looked at the piping the more I didn't like how it looked.

Using a heat gun on the lowest setting, we proceeded to remove my handy work. Frustrated as all heck, we got it done and that's when Mr. Frugalista noticed something.

Burn on Armchair Makeover from hell

The heat gun burned the upholstery!

At this point, I was DONE. Feeling completely defeated and ready to throw the chair out the window, I called it a day. That was on Monday night OF THIS WEEK.

After a lot of colorful words were exchanged and we decompressed with another glass of wine, it was decided we had to replace the fabric. In our fit of frustration, or that second glass of wine, we cut the new fabric and it was TOO SHORT.

We had one piece of fabric left. Exhausted by this point and having shed a few tears (mine) we had just enough fabric to reupholster the seat.  By this point, we couldn't get the corners (that we had no problem doing on Sunday) to lay nice and flat so we decided to call it a day.  It was 11:30 pm and did I mention that I started working on the chair at 3 o'clock.

Upholstering Armchair Makeover from hell

As we were cleaning the mess Mr. Frugalista noticed one of the arms on the chair had come apart. I think the entire neighborhood could hear the expletives coming from our basement.

Now 11:45 pm, we re-glued the dowel and bid that damn chair good night.

Repairing loose arm on Armchair Makeover from hell

On Tuesday night, after a good night's sleep and with clearer heads, we finished the seat and moved onto Plan B.

Instead of piping (we had no more fabric), I hot glued gimp upholstery trim around the chair.

Gimp Upholstery Trim on Armchair Makeover

...and declared the chair DONE.

Armchair Makeover From Hell

We both jumped for joy.

Danced like nobody was watching.

And both of us were too scared to sit in the chair.


Armchair Makeover in Shades of White

For fear of scratching the paint.

Or staining the upholstery.

Or having a Goldilocks moment.

So instead, we'll admire the armchair from afar and applaud our determination and hard work.

And perhaps I'll make a pillow with the small scraps of leftover fabric and I'll embroider the words, "For Looks Only".

If you or someone you know has thought about attempting an armchair makeover and want to learn from our mistakes, share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

Armchair Makeover Before and After

Now that you've read my saga of The Armchair Makeover From Hell, let's head over and see what the other DIY Furniture Girls in the Themed Furniture Makeover Day Challenge created for their Shades Of White piece.

Furniture Girls Themed Furniture Makeover Day

Press the links below to see their makeovers but please pin directly from their blog rather than the links.



I'm sharing this project at these fabulous LINK PARTIES.

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