How To Make A Playful Headboard Garden Bench | The Interior Frugalista: How To Make A Playful Headboard Garden Bench

How To Make A Playful Headboard Garden Bench

Every yard could use at least one bench, right? Around a firepit, under a tree, on a front porch or backyard deck, but they can be pricey. Here's a budget-friendly idea for making your own one-of-a-kind bench and you probably have what you need in the basement or garage. In this tutorial I'll show you how to make a playful headboard garden bench that will have your friends and neighbors asking where you got it.

How To Make A Headboard Garden Bench


How To Make A Playful Headboard Garden Bench


If you're new here, for the last few weeks I've been sharing our budget-friendly deck makeover series. Our goal was to create a warm and inviting conversation area, one DIY project at a time. You can catch projects 1-5 at the bottom of this post. You'll notice there's a bird theme going on 😉

Playful Headboard Garden Bench

Deck Makeover - Project Six

Refreshing our outdoor living space on a beer budget!

In the planning stages of this major undertaking was incorporating a small bench into this space. Not having room in the budget too cheap to pay the price to buy one, we went into our stash of old headboard sets and found a twin that would make the perfect sized bench.

I love turning old headboards into benches and so when I visit the Habitat ReStore, thrift stores, garage and estate sales, I'm always on the lookout for interesting sets. The most I've ever paid is $20 and that was for a rather ornate set with old casters.

I digress, back to the headboard at hand. I've added the pretty photos toward the bottom of the post along with a materials list.

Repair loose joints on the headboard

This is what the set looked like before...

Headboard Garden Bench Before Glued

When we took the twin headboard out of our stash it practically fell apart in our hands and needed to be reglued and clamped. Oh, and if you're wondering what up with the masking tape near the top of the one post, a slice of wood came off with the upper rail when we took it apart.

Headboard Garden Bench Loose Splats

Slice the footboard in half

There are multiple ways to do this; a sliding miter saw, table saw, circular saw with a guide, or jigsaw with a guide (how we did it). Whichever method you use, be sure to put safety first and wear the appropriate ear and eye protection and follow the saw's manufacturer's directions. 


Pocket hole those joints

To join the footboard (bench sides) to the headboard we used our handy Kreg Pocket Hole Jig and Premium Face Clamp. Set the jig to accommodate the thickness of the wood and clamp in place.

Set the drill bit that comes with the jig to the same depth setting and drill your pocket holes as pictured below. We used two on the wider top rails and one on the narrower bottom rail.

Headboard Garden Bench Kreg Pocket Holes

Assemble the headboard bench

This is where adjustable clamps and a level will be your best friend. First, make sure you are working on a level floor when building the bench. This post is photo heavy so instead of sharing individual pictures of each step, I've included a pictorial followed by detailed written instructions.

Headboard Garden Bench Assembly Steps

Step 1 - Attach the first side

Set one sliced footboard in place against the headboard and secure with an adjustable clamp. Place a level vertically against the side and adjust until it's perfectly straight. Use the 1 1/2-inch screws that came with the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig and screw in place.

Step 2 - Attach the second side

Repeat the step above on the opposite side.

Step 3 - Attach the front support

The height of the bench seat WITH wood slats (to be attached later) is 17-inches. The depth of the seat is 18-inches. So the front 1" x 4" support was attached with a 2 1/2-inch angle bracket at a height of 16 1/2-inches from the floor and 17-inches from the headboard (to accommodate 1-inch overhang on the seat slats). Double check that the front support is perfectly straight with a level first before screwing in place.

Step 4 - Attach the back support

Clamp the back support with spring clamps onto the bottom rail of the headboard. Place a level from the front support to the back support to ensure it's the same height and level. Screw the back support onto the headboard with 1 1/2-inch wood screws.

Step 5 - Fill holes with wood filler

Fill any holes and the bed frame slits on the headboard with wood filler and sand smooth with a mouse sander once dry.

Staining the headboard bench with a paint sprayer

Like the Adirondack chairs, the headboard bench was stained with Behr Solid Exterior Wood Stain in Sea Foam Green with the Husky Pneumatic HVLP (high volume low pressure) spray gun that came with our 20-gallon air compressor. I share tips on how to stain with a paint sprayer in Project Five of this series. 

After the first coat...

Headboard Garden Bench Spray Stained

Headboard Garden Bench First Coat Stain

Wood Seat Slats

The 1" x 6" seat slats were cut at 18-inch lengths on the miter saw. A 1-inch notch was cut on both ends to fit around the posts (pictured below). They were stained with two coats of Behr Solid Exterior Wood Stain in Navajo White with a brush.

Headboard Garden Bench Stained Seat Slats

The seat slats were attached to the seat supports on the headboard bench with a pneumatic nail gun and 1 1/2-inch brad nails. Two nails per board both front and back.

Notice in the photo below that I stained the detail on the base of the post finials and top of the feet with Navajo White stain too? While I was at it, I touched up the ends of each seat slat (not pictured below). But the headboard bench still felt like it was missing something.

Headboard Garden Bench Assembled With Seat

A playful handpainted graphic

One to never leave things alone, I decided to add some playfulness to the bench with a fun graphic.

Headboard Garden Bench Transferred Graphic

To see how to transfer graphics onto furniture read my Image Transfer Tutorial. I created the graphic in PicMonkey and I've included an unwatermarked downloadable link for you. Just click on the graphic below to get your free copy.
I handpainted the details with a script liner and fan art brush in warm white and red acrylic craft paint. For a steady hand, it's much easier to lay the bench on it's back.

Whew, that was a long-winded tutorial and if you're still with me 😘. Now for some beauty shots.

This is the garden bench on the deck BEFORE adding cute graphics...

Headboard Garden Bench Before Handpainted Graphic

And here it is after. Much cuter, wouldn't you agree?

Playful Headboard Garden Bench With Graphic

I've definitely got a bird theme going on in our new deck space. See the cute vintage camper plant pot? My daughter took me to a ceramic studio for Mother's Day and I painted it!

Playful Headdboard Bench Graphic Close Up

Headboard Garden Bench With White Wood Slats

Headboard Garden Bench Posts

I hope I've inspired you to create a one-of-a-kind garden bench for your outdoor living space. If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them either in the comment section below or email me by pressing the Contact Me button at the top of the blog.

How To Make A Playful Headboard Garden Bench

As promised I've included a Materials List below. It contains affiliate links for your convenience so you can see what products I used or recommend to make this project. What that means is that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you, which supports the costs of running this site. See my full disclosure policy.

Materials List

  • Twin Headboard Set (salvaged)
  • (1) 8' x 1" x 4" Lumber (for supports)
  • (2) 8' x 1" x 6" Lumber (for seat slats)
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
  • Kreg Premium Face Clamp
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Screws and Wood Plugs
  • Level
  • Wood Glue
  • (2) 2 1/2-inch Angle Brackets
  • 1 1/2-inch Brad Nails
  • Sea Foam Green (SC-132) Behr Exterior Wood Solid Stain
  • Najavo White (SC-157) Behr Exterior Wood Solid Stain
  • Drop Cloth/Tarp
  • Power Drill
  • Mouse Sander
  • Husky 20-Gallon Air Compressor (alternatives)
  • Pneumatic Nail Gun
  • Pneumatic Husky HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun (alternatives)
  • Graphite Paper
  • Delicate Surface Painters Frog Tape (for freshly painted surfaces)
  • Red Ball Point Pen
  • Script Liner Art Brush
  • Warm White Craft Paint
  • Red Craft Paint
  • Exterior Clear Coat (over graphic)
Products without links can be found in The Interior Frugalista Influencer Shop on Amazon HERE


Deck Makeover Series Recap

Project Five - A Quick And Easy Way To Re-Stain Adirondack Chairs
Project Six - How To Make A Unique Headboard Garden Bench

Coming next Tuesday - How To Add Charm To Boring Outdoor Chair Cushions


I share my projects at these fabulous link parties.



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