I’ve never owned a headboard in my adult life. I knew I needed to remedy that before we moved into our new house. I did some shopping and found that headboards are really, really expensive. And the ones that looked beat up and worn were even more money. So I thought, hmmmm why don’t I paint my own and distress it?
To find a headboard suitable for my project, I put out a call to my Freecyle.org network. Because there is not better price than free.
Let me say something about Freecycle. I love Freecycle, but you need to be picky, ask a lot of questions and do not travel more than 3 miles to pick up your treasure. The headboard I planned to claim was 10 miles away and when I got there it was resting on the garage door covered with an inch of dust and giant white clusters of insect eggs and it didn’t even fit in my car. Wasted trip, but a lesson learned.
So to the thrift store I went. I ended up at the A-hole thrift store, you know the one, the store that prices their junk way over value? But this time they got it right. My headboard was $20 with an extra 25 percent off. It was a steal, practically. This headboard didn’t fit into my car either. I drive a Hyundai Elantra. My husband wouldn’t let me get a minivan. He was trying to curb my garbage picking tendencies. Even though I have told him over and over, there is not such thing as garbage picking in the United States. Americans don’t throw out garbage, they throw out like-new items to make room to buy more really new stuff.
Luckily, the thrift store is only a few blocks from my house, so I sherpa’d it home. And walking down the street carrying a headboard on my back didn’t look weird at all.
I picked this particular headboard because the design was kind of groovy and it had nice curves, kind of like me ;).
First step, sand the bitch. I used Pops’ sander. No one knows why he has an electric sander, the man can’t even make coffee. But one day he saw it on sale and had to have it. I know the feeling. I am grateful for his sudden sanding urge, because this tool has been quite handy in my ding ding pursuits.
The headboard had a finish to it, so I sanded enough to get past it. But, there is no right or wrong way to distress. So, sand to taste, wipe it down and then start painting.
Oh! and make all repairs to your project before you start. The headboard had a crack in the leg that I glued after the first coat of paint. I should have done it first.
I skipped primer and applied three coats of paint. Wait until each coat dries before applying the next. You don’t want your paint to be gummy when you start distressing. Then take whatever kind of tool you like and start beating the bitch up. I used my sander and hit the grooves and edges first. You can also bang on it with a hammer or gouge it with a screwdriver or let your cats use it as a scratching post. Seeeeeeee, no right or wrong way, it is up to you.
Once your level of wear is achieved, apply a few coats of poly to preserve your work. Give it a nice, gentle sanding after each coat. Attach to your bed and enjoy.