DIY barn door headboard: day 2

We’re back with an update on our headboard project, where we’re turning an old barn door into a headboard. You may remember that we found this door hiding in our old stable/garage when it was being demolished last Fall, and now it’s well on its way to becoming the headboard we’ve always wanted.

After removing all of the nails and extra, random pieces of wood that were attached to the door to stabilize it, the next thing we needed to do was give it a good cleaning. I don’t want 120 years of stable dirt next to my head! I did a ton of research about what type of cleaning solution to use. Borox was recommended… but a trip to Home Depot looking for it was unsuccessful. I ended up just using a little bit of regular dish soap in a bucket of water, and I think that worked great. Before I even started, I gave it a good vacuuming to get rid of any cobwebs and crumbly bits.

barn door headboard project

I accidentally bought XL gloves for my XS hands!

barn door headboard project

I scrubbed both sides and all of the edges and got into every little nook and cranny two times with soap and water and the rough side of a regular sponge, and then we went over everything with the hose at the end to blast off any remaining dirt as well as lingering soap.

barn door to headboard project | Burritos & Bubbly

We let it sit in the sun for a few hours to dry and cure, which I read should help prevent it from warping in the long run (though at this point it’s been wet and dry so many times that I think it’s going to be just fine). We lucked out with perfect weather for this project. I mean, usually I’d be complaining about low 70s in August, but when you’re outside scrubbing a door all day, 72 is awesome!

Here’s the back of the door before, which you saw last week:

barn door headboard project

And after getting cleaned:

barn door headboard project

Some of that grey smeary paint is still there, but that is the bottom and most of that will be cut off. This is the back side, anyway, which will face the wall.

Oh, and ta-dah, here’s the front, which you didn’t see in our last post. This was what it looked like before being cleaned. Our plan is to cut it off under the bottom crossbar.

barn door headboard project

And now here’s the front nice and clean:

barn door headboard project

Here’s a closeup of the front before:

barn door headboard project

And the same corner after:

barn door headboard project

You can really see what a huge difference a little soap and a lot of old fashioned elbow grease made! The wood has become a nicer, richer color and I like it even more than before. Plus I like knowing that I won’t be leaning up against a ton of old gross stuff.

Our next step will be sanding, and then probably some more sanding, before we sand it again. As you can see in this closeup, there are a few damaged areas that we would like to smooth out, not to the point that we eliminate the character that this wood has developed over the years, but we definitely don’t want to get splinters when we sit in bed. I’d like it to feel a little more “headboard” and a little less “dirty old door” when it ultimately moves into the bedroom.

Follow along with our headboard project here!

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