How to Make a Bench From an Old Metal Bed

by Melanie
8 Materials
2 Days

I have always loved the look of benches made from head and foot boards , especially the ones made from metal. I found this one in the most unlikely places. It was leaning up against the side of a vault, ( a holding building for bodies to be buried in cemeteries. The caskets are kept here during winter months when the ground is frozen and graves can't be dug until spring.) It was buried half in the ground and deep in the trees. I was very excited with my find, my mother was looking at me with those eyes that quietly said my daughter has finally lost it but didn't actually say it.. I went back to my mom's house and called the church secretary and asked if I could remove the bed. Ironically she didn't even know one was there. She said if I could dig it out I could have it. After some choice words under my breath, tree branches in some not so nice places, and falling on my behind while trying to get it out of the ground my determination paid off.

The first thing I did was clean off the mud and cobwebs, and as you can see it had a few rust spots.

I had purchased these sanding blocks at my Dollarama for a previous project. They snap into a handle and have 3 different grits. Perfect for this project. So I sanded the head and footboards. Once done I wiped the excess off and then rinsed with my garden hose.

To cut the footboard, I used my reciprocating saw with a blade for cutting metal. I started by cutting in half, then once cut measured to determine for the arms of my bench, which required cutting another couple of inches off.

So now that everything is sanded and cut it is time for painting!

I wanted my bench to pop so I am using Tremclad rust paint in Fire Red gloss. I laid my headboard on a piece of plastic and began spraying. I ended up doing two coats on each side. Letting dry completely between coats. Repeated steps for the two cut pieces.

So while the paint was drying, it was time to make my bench. I purchased 6 boards from Home Depot that I will use to create my bench. I measured the length of my headboard to determine how big my bench would be. 53 inches. I cut my boards to desired length then began assembling my bench using wood screws. Once finished I stained with an outdoor semi transparent stain in a chestnut color.

Now that the bench is complete, it was time to assemble the frame. I laid my cut pieces on the ground. I will be using L brackets to attach the pieces together. Placing the bracket on the location of where I wanted my holes I marked with a pencil then using my drill , drilled the desired holes. Repeated steps on the bottom and on the other piece which will be used for the arms. I will use the machine screws and nuts shown to attach. I placed the bracket on the inside and attached screw. Then attached to the headboard which will be the back of the bench using the same steps, marking the holes , and drilling. Instead of using the nut for the machine screw I just used the machine screw to attach to the back. So here it is all assembled. Now it is time to attach the bench.

So the bench fit onto the slots that would actually hold the frame of the bed at the back, and I secured using metal screws. I ended up making legs out of 2x4s to put in the middle of my bench for more support and added them to the front and back. You can see them in the picture. I used a pipe bracket to attach the bench to the side of the arms of my bench. Repeated step on the other side.

So here is my bench finally complete. I absolutely love how this turned out. It was well worth the trouble I went through to dig it out.

I can't wait to add my fall decorations to this in a few weeks!!!

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • Cate Cate on Aug 27, 2021

    Did your Mom decide you weren't crazy after all, after she show how pretty your bench is ?

Join the conversation
4 of 77 comments
  • Nancy Robison Nancy Robison on Aug 26, 2021

    This is a wonderful makeover! You did a terrific job on it! Congrats on repurposing that great old metal bed frame! Very impressive!

  • Randy Randy on Mar 03, 2024

    going to keep an eye out for more old bed head and foot boards,I even used the bed rails to bolt the boards to.

    • Melanie Melanie on Mar 04, 2024

      Hi Randy, very nice bench. I managed to find two more last summer a double and a single at my local dump.