diy: i sort of live in a barn

This is the one I’m really excited about (right now, anyway). I have a new headboard. It’s made of barn wood. I can hardly describe the sense of peace that washes over me when I look at my bed … my heart actually sighs.

It all started innocently one day while pinning. I spotted a pin about how to build your own headboard. In the related post, I found a link to this couple’sΒ site. My dream was born. I told my dad and I could see the gears turning … ‘we live in the sticks, there is wood everywhere!’Β A short bit later, my dad mentioned to a couple friends at church that I had some crazy idea to build a headboard … from recycled barn wood. They just so happened to have some. We went to look and unfortunately, the wood we wanted was at the bottom of a larger stack of wood. Our laziness prevented us from digging it out but thankfully, Mr. Boverhof had a friend not far away with more. It wasn’t long before my dad had wood stacked at his house. We could begin.

First, we had to cut the boards to a size that wouldn’t take over my room. We opted to go just wider than the bed frame and use two of the thinner boards to affix to the back of the boards and ultimately, the frame itself. Connor helped him make the cuts and we laid them out. I struggled with the size. I felt like it was big enough but I didn’t want to assume I knew what I wanted just yet so my dad brought the cut boards over to my place plus one extra.

I really struggled with the steps to get the wood just right for my room. I absolutely loved the look of it already, and frankly, the wood is fairly fragile so I wanted to be cautious not to overdo it.

these boards have major character.

I started by getting some materials at Home Depot after reading the post (for the sixtieth time). My first step was to use a rather coarse brush to scrub down the boards. We did let them sit in the rain at my dad’s to wash the major ickies off but it still needed some cleaning help. I’m just the person for that job, thankfully.

i scrubbed the boards vertically but taking a pic proved difficult.

When I was done scrubbing, I used the super human air compressor my dad let me borrow. When I told him I was going to use it, he insisted I get safety goggles. I’m a safety girl.

i do not enjoy self-portraits. i do enjoy keeping old stuff out of my eyes.

I sprayed those boards at least four times; after the first scrub, the second, a sanding and after the final sealing. As I’d mentioned, I didn’t want to do a ton of work to change the texture of the boards so I kept the scrubbing and sanding to a minimum. It still did require two rounds of gentle scrubbing.

just a girl with a whole lotta hot air.

Because we had to cut the boards, I was nervous that the ends would somehow stand out so I bought some Minwax stain to try and gray them up a bit to match the wood. I applied a couple coats but the wood was so thirsty that it sucked up that gray stain like Connor drinks a Capri-Sun. I quit after two applications. ‘Good enough’, I thought.

a new minwax color. this ol’ wood laughed in my face.

After another round of spraying out the ickies, I sealed it with a spray-on wood sealer. It was Memorial Day weekend and I’d told my dad at the beginning of the week that by Monday, I wanted to be putting the new headboard in place. Connor and I had friends to visit Saturday so my parents came and affixed the finished boards to the two thinner boards on the back. When I came home that afternoon, I was so excited. We were close!

I started the sealing work on Saturday night after CJ was in bed. I sprayed it twice then as it’s pretty quick drying and twice on Sunday morning. I sprayed it again Sunday evening for good measure. Then, I used the air compressor again. I think it was just because I like it. I found out Connor does, too. He didn’t even fight me on wearing the goggles.

Monday was the big day.

My parents came over and we did some measurements. From top to bottom, the headboard measured 89 1/4″. Whoa. We went into my bedroom and measured 89 1/4″ up from the floor. Whoa, whoa, whoa. My dad and I agreed to cut the back boards 10″ and 9″, respectively, to bring the headboard down to a more reasonable size. And why would we cut them different lengths? I’ll be brief and say that barn wood comes in all shapes and sizes.

this is live, people!

It was time to move inside. My mom carried one end and my dad the other. I was … supervising … yeah, that’s what I was doing. We got it into the bedroom and as if the angels started singing, we agreed. It was the perfect height.

My dad drilled the holes for the bolts in the two boards and we attached the bed frame to them.

putting the pieces together. look at that cute table in the background, too!

As soon as was possible, we started shifting the bed into place. The process to position the bed just so was more funny than almost any experience I’ve had in the house thus far. We’re talking 1/8’s of inches I was asking them to shift the bed back and forth. Again, I was supervising and I loved it.

I hurried to get my bedding back in place. so I could see the results of our labor. Honestly, none of this seemed that hard. Was it because I was supervising? I don’t know. But, really, it was pretty painless and I sent a picture immediately to our church friends who so kindly found us the wood. I wanted them to see it first. And, I gave my dad a big squeeze. He took time out of his extremely busy schedule to help craft something new out of something extremely old.

It’s everything I’d hoped for and although I didn’t use the chalk like my original inspiration had, I still feel it when I look at it … ‘Awake my soul.’

a place to lay my head

Note: No iPhones were hurt in the making of this headboard, by air, dirt or otherwise. But, it was nice to have one around to capture the progress.

12 thoughts on “diy: i sort of live in a barn

  1. Oh, so beautiful! My great grandfather was literally born in a barn that finally toppled several years ago. We found a plank of wood very similar to your headboard with his name and birth date carved into it. It’s proudly displayed in my grandparents home on a wall with old black and white photos. There really is something beautiful about materials that withstood the test of time, rain storms, wind, and all the elements for all those years — and yet look at it now πŸ™‚ Lovely!

  2. Seriously…I’m living vicariously through you right. now. When Jesse and I either build or buy a house some day in Michigan, I don’t know how I will decorate. I love the chic, vintage look, but I also love modern, simple and elegant. Of course, being a pinterest girl, myself, it’s a constant battle. I have always loved the white, soft, clean and crisp linen with a “rustic” headboard…so, needless to say, I LOVE how your project turned out! πŸ™‚ Great job to all who made it happen!

  3. Pingback: the door to nowhere | a brand new ending

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