It has bugged me for ages that our double divan bed doesn’t have a headboard (I know, first world problems, right?). I had never really seen one that I loved, was of good quality and could afford, and I really love one-off pieces, so I decided to see if I could upcycle one as an experiment…
Step 1 – Find a headboard! If, like me, you’re fairly new to upcycling, you don’t want to spend much (or any) money on your headboard. Unless you plan on wrestling one away from your sleeping granny, try Freecycle or Freegle. Failing that, Ebay or your local charity/thrift furniture stores. I got mine on the Newcastle Freecycle website. As a special lucky bonus, the couple who were giving it away had a pick-up truck, some free time and a lot of kindness, and delivered it to my house for free. It’s a 1950’s wood and velvetine French regency style headboard in peach and white, which, on first appearance, Chandler from Friends would probably describe as “a Reject from the Liberace House of Crap”. However, closer inspection reveals that it’s in great condition with high quality materials and workmanship. Perfect for my upcycling experiment.
Step 2 – Clean
Good old elbow grease and some gentle anti-bacterial cleaning products, then allow to dry thoroughly. Sand as much as you can be bothered to. I’m sure that’s not what the professionals would advise but hey, works for me.
Step 3 – Materials
Fabric paint – I had never used fabric paint before and I was pretty unsure as to whether it would work. After a bit of research I settled on Simply Spray Upholstery Spray Paint in midnight black (£13.79 on ebay), which is non-toxic, non-flammable and odourless. The product description states no peeling or cracking; dry to touch in 30 minutes (72 hours before use); and that one can will cover around 1.5 square meters (17 square feet) evenly. I found most of these claims to be fairly accurate, other than coverage – it does state to test the fabric to see how absorbent the material is as different fabrics could use more or less of the paint, and I actually needed 3 cans in total to get good, even coverage. Also, as you can see from the results below, whilst it looks beautiful, it is not midnight black, but more of a very dark chocolate brown – so just be aware that the colour might be different from what you’re expecting.
Paint – I’m not going to try and suggest which paint you should use as there are such a huge range of prices, colours and finishes out there – let your imagination run wild! Given that I’m such a huge Abigail Ahern fan, I decided to splash out a bit as the headboard was free, and settled on Hudson Black in eggshell (£40 for 2.5l). By chance, the dark browny black was an amazing match for the definitely-not-midnight black spray paint. I still have almost the full can of paint left as a little really goes a long way.
Step 5 – Put down LOTS of newspaper and keep some old dampened cloths handy for slip-ups. Then go ahead – Spray! Paint! Try not to accidently spray the washing machine (oops!).
The whole thing took me a couple of weeks as a) it needed a few coats, b) it’s blumming cold in my utility room and c) I thought it would be a good idea to do this project left-handed on 23 painkillers a day following major shoulder surgery (I was bored). I am not left-handed. I’m pretty happy with the results, bar the odd tiny paint drip. It definitely has the modern eclectic look I was going for – vintage, dark, dramatic and quirky. I would love to know what you think!