I think I just made an instant heirloom that I’m never going to want to let go of. But this project was anything but a fairytale.
I bought this antique oak headboard and footboard before I quit DIY. At the time I was looking for a bed option to upgrade Jax from a crib/toddler bed to a real big boy bed. I was so smitten with the curved footboard at the thrift store that I completely looked past the fact the bed had no bed rails. I figured how hard could that be? Other people are building beds from scratch. Some rails and slats can’t be that hard.
That’s when it happened…the first stage of DIY procrastination set in hard.
Three Stages of DIY Procrastination
- Decision paralysis – putting off decisions and finding excuses not to move forward.
- Lament and self-loathing – considering giving up before you even start while wondering at the same time, “will I ever get this done?”
- Failing Forward – pushing ahead while cursing under your breath the whole way.
I know some of you probably love DIY and building your own furniture. I love the idea of it. This bed became a painful reminder of why I gave up DIY. I am super happy with the end result, but not proud of how I got there or how long it took.
So, this cool bed with the curved footboard has been hiding away in the basement for over a year. Last year I got gung-ho for like a day. I sanded and primed the bed to get ready for paint. But I stalled on painting it, because I wanted to build the bedrails first, which would also need to be painted.
Indecision set in about how to best make the bedrails. After a few weeks of staring at the bed and making no progress, I opted for the “out of sight out of mind” approach. The bed went back into storage. Thank goodness at this point my son (who was four years old) was still short enough to sleep on his crib/toddler bed. I didn’t feel too bad, because he loved his toddler bed and as a super wiggly sleeper he still needed the toddler rail.
Then his fifth birthday crept up on me. I wondered, how bad of a mother am I if he is still sleeping in a crib at age five? His birthday became the motivator to drag the bed out of storage, pull up my big girl panties, and make some bed rails.
One little problem…in all this time I didn’t even order a mattress. Ugh. One of the best ways to procrastinate some more is indecision. Should I get him a foam mattress or spring? Order online or go somewhere local? Decisions, decisions.
Motivated to give him a bed for his birthday, I stopped procrastinating and decided I didn’t need to make a decision. There’s this thing called the internet that can help make decisions easier, in particular a site called Amazon. Within 15 minutes, I ordered a well-reviewed twin mattress* on Amazon and had it shipped for free since we’re prime members. Now I really had to get cracking on those bed rails…
With mattress dimensions in hand, I measured, cut, screwed, and finally I had passable bed rails. For anyone hoping I would share details on the bedrails, I am sorry to disappoint you. I am not an expert and won’t pretend I made the best solution. I would check out the bed plans on Ana White’s site if you need to make a bed or bed rails.
Finally I had all the pieces together and slapped on two coats of my favorite paint color Enamelware (from the late great Martha Stewart paints from Home Depot). I honestly wasn’t that precious about my paint job. I figure this bed is going to get a little banged up, so I just made sure I had leftover touch up paint.
The curved footboard is so cool, but I thought the bed needed a little extra something. Obviously, I like to overcomplicate everything (one of the reasons DIY is not a great hobby for me). Instead of procrastinating some more, I took a trip to the craft store to look for wood embellishments. I didn’t find much, but brought home a few options to try.
Nothing “off the shelf” was clicking and I couldn’t decide, so I turned to the community inside Décorography for advice. Several members got Jax’s room mixed up with my older son’s room which has the shield gallery wall. It was a happy mix up, because the result was several inspired ideas to add a shield plaque to the bed. I loved it.
Of course, I couldn’t find a wood shield I liked anywhere. The ones I used for the shield gallery were almost an inch thick and seemed to stick out too far on the footboard. Then one day my kids left a foam play shield laying near the bed. I loved the shape and it was pretty close to the right size. I traced the shield onto scrap 1/4” plywood and cut it out with my jigsaw. Then I made a second smaller shield to layer on top. Finally I added the wooden letter H from the craft store.
A lot of wood glue and a few more coats of paint later and I had turned this scratched, abandoned, bedrail-less antique bed into a modern heirloom. I couldn’t think of a better bed for my little prince. (Note to self: Next time I would prefer a bed that comes with the bedrails, so I can skip the DIY part and just do the painting.)
Well, Jax didn’t exactly have a bed for his birthday. He got a mattress on the floor. Which he rolled off of a few times, so I’m pretending the few weeks his mattress was on the floor were intentional practice nights to get him ready for a big boy bed. Before he turned five years and one month old, he had a big boy bed.
The change was bittersweet for all of us. I don’t think any of us were entirely prepared to let the crib go. Jax is my baby and the last one for us. When we moved into this house he was only one-month old and his nursery was the first room we pulled together. We loved it so much it hasn’t changed much since and other than the new bed and blackout curtains, pretty much everything else will stay the same. Here’s quick trip down memory lane…
Back to the present…After what seems like forever (I mean it took over a fifth of my little guy’s life to get this bed together), I got to do the fun stuff, like pick out new bedding. We don’t have any other twin-size beds in the house so this was a fun excuse to buy new sheets and a blanket. Neither of my boys like comforters or duvets, preferring instead to sleep under lightweight blankets. No complaints here, since a blanket is far cheaper, easier to clean, and I found one with a fun pattern.
I always envisioned this light turquoise bed against his dark teal walls with lots of graphic pattern. I opted for sheets with a turquoise circular pattern, an extra pillowcase in a tiny yellow stripe and a soft blanket in a funky gray herringbone pattern (all from Target). I love how the graphic patterns complement the vintage curves of the bed and keep it from looking too girl-y.
Jax sneaks off to play in his room more now :) I am glad I survived the three stages of DIY procrastination to see him enjoying his “new” old bed.
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