DIY: barn wood headboard {part two: sealing}

October 13, 2011

{See PART ONE of our DIY head­board here}

PART TWO: Finishing/Sealing

Ok, so here was the BIG dilemma: We really REALLY loved the gray weath­ered look of the barn wood. Prob­lem is, as soon as you start any sig­nif­i­cant sand­ing, you loose the gray. Also, it seemed like every fin­ish we tried dark­ened the gray. We love the vari­a­tions in the orig­i­nal of dark and light gray and wanted to keep that as much as pos­si­ble. So after much hem­ming and hawwing…here is how we did it:

First, we sanded it LIGHTLY with a fine grit sand­ing sponge– just dirt and get­ting any major splin­ters:
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

Next, we used a clean­ing brush over the entire thing.…no water, just dry:
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

I could pretty much scrub as hard as I wanted with out mess­ing it up. So I scrubbed. Because I don’t want a dirty head­board. Dang it.

DIY: Barnwood Headboard

Next, we used the air com­pres­sor to blow away all the fine dust and dirt. We did this a lot too.
DIY: Barnwood Headboard

After this step, the boards were pretty smooth and it elim­i­nated all of the dirt. Like I said, we tried MANY a fin­ish and finally used Vas­par FLAT Clear Fin­ish Spray {2 cans– $8 total at Lowes). It dark­ened it a lit­tle bit, but not too bad. We did sev­eral coats until I felt like I could cozy up against it (maybe 3–4 coats). I am a freak about such things.

DIY: Barnwood Headboard

When it was dry, it was lighter than that last pic.

And before we did the sealer, I painted a cou­ple words on it. I for­got to take pics– but you will see it on PART THREE.
Next, Nathan will attach it to the bed frame — I will show you how we secure it and take the final shots.


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  • Antoni­ette Galante

    I’m mak­ing a barn­wood head­board but I know there are lit­tle bugs liv­ing in some of the boards. Of course some (spi­ders!) came out when I had them in the car. How do you get rid of them?

    • fiveoeight

      Well, there are sev­eral things you can do: First, make sure the barn wood is totally dried out. Leave it out in the sun! You might even use a pres­sure washer to get any dirt, dust, bugs out first.
      You can also use bleach if you are wor­ried about any more bugs, mildew…ect…scrub with that and again, let the boards totally dry out.

      I am sure there are other ways too, but these are pretty easy and a good place to start to get the boards how you want them! Hope this helps!

      • Antoni­ette Galante

         I’m almost fin­ished with the head­board. Just got back from vaca­tion so all I need to do now is seal it. I’d love to send you a pic­ture of the fin­ished prod­uct if you’d like! Thanks for the advance on the sealer by the way.

        • fiveoeight

           I described how I sealed it in this part towards the end– using Vas­par FLAT Clear Fin­ish Spray {2 cans– $8 total at Lowes). The rea­son I chose the spray is because our boards were fairly clean and
          free of bugs…I just needed some­thing that would seal it but not
          really change the color.

          How­ever, if you would like a thicker coat, you can use a polyurethane (flat or satin) or I am sure poly­crylic would work ok too. Those will pro­duce a dif­fer­ent final prod­uct ( I am guess­ing it will darken the wood from that light gray look).

          Hope this helps! Send pics when you finish…would love to see how it turned out for you!

      • Patti Hert­zog

        We were afraid of ter­mites, so we put the boards in a large plas­tic bag, sprayed like crazy with ter­mite killer, sealed the bag, and left them to sit for two days. So far, so good.

  • –Ryan

    My wife and I just built a barn board head board. We are hav­ing issues with it stain­ing our white sheets. Did the light sand­ing and 3–4 coats of seal solve this prob­lem with you?

  • Krit

    Love your head­board! I am in the process of fin­ish­ing barn boards to sur­round my fire­place. I was hav­ing dif­fi­culty as well find­ing a clear sealer that wouldn’t take away the woods char­ac­ter. Thanks for the sug­ges­tions! I was curi­ous– did you ever have issues with the barn boards hav­ing an odor? The back­side of my barn boards seem to have a hay smell to them…I cleaned the boards with Borax after using a scrub brush. I’m hop­ing the sealer will take care of the hay smell.…?

    • fiveoeight

      Ours never had an odor. But I would assume sev­eral coats of the sealer will do the trick!
      Sorry for the slow response– thanks for visiting!

  • nicole

    How is the sealant on your head­board hold­ing up now that it’s been a cou­ple of years? I’m think­ing of using it on a barn wood door I’m making.

    • Nathan_at_508

      Actu­ally great! We’ve been using that head­board for our bed from day 1 and it looks the same as the day we made it!

  • mhh.…good wwork

  • What is this for?

    • Nathan_at_508

      Hi Christina,
      Not sure what you’re ask­ing about here but the project over­all is a head­board for our bed.


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