Old Brass Headboard Makeover

I have been on the lookout for a headboard for a few years now. When I saw this ugly brass headboard on a local selling site, I passed over it at first:

Not much to look at, is it? When I saw it pop up again, I offered the lady $10 and she accepted. It’s not what I had been hoping for, but since my husband now wants to build a headboard, this will be a good place holder while I wait. Because we all know how long it takes when your handy husband says he wants to build something. Can I get an amen?


I started by lightly sanding everything, then spraying it with a layer of primer.

Then it got a few coats of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze.

I had never used the metallic spray paint before and I was super impressed. Look how pretty it is:

Now I get what all the hype is over this product. Those sparkly flecks make the whole project feel legit. No one would ever guess that this headboard was a $10 junker. With it’s new coat of paint, this thing is gorgeous!

Now my husband can take his sweet time making a custom headboard, because I could live with this one for years. Which we all know is exactly how long it will take him to make a different headboard anyway.

33 COMMENTS

  1. What a shame! You turned a lovely brass headboard into an ugly old-iron look that harkens back to the 1920s and '30s. You can find ugly old iron headboards for almost nothing. Don't pick up brass pieces if you don't like brass!

    • I'm sorry you didn't like how the headboard turned out. This particular bed was in bad shape… the brass was splotchy and scratched and if I hadn't rescued it, it probably would have just ended up in the dump. I am happy that I could rescue a piece of furniture and make it something that I love.

  2. Hi there,
    I am working on this exact project. I have a question regarding the way that you would have fastened the frame to the headboard. I do not have the original bed screws/ bolts, is there a certain way you recommend attaching?

  3. This is exactly what I want to do with a hideous brass headboard I bought a decade ago (who knows what I was thinking back then). Could you please give me some guidance on what kind of primer I can use? Also, is it necessary to sand it if it is not damaged or blotched? Thanks!

      • Yes, it’s always best to wipe down everything after sanding. Even a slight speck of debris will end up looking like a mountain when painted over! A moist towel will do, just make everything is thoroughly dry before you start painting.

  4. I just saw this, and LOVE it! I am going to do this to an old brass daybed..Cant wait to see it! Funny I have the exact same bedding too in my master bedroom..:)

  5. I love the way this turned out it was EXACTLY, what I was looking for!!! I have my old day bed from when I was a child, that is brass plated and it’s shiny like yours but I’m just going to try and sand it like you did and spray paint it!!! Will let you know the result!!!

  6. This is so pretty! I love the brass bed we inherited, but my husband does not. This might be a good compromise. How did you spray it so it is even all around? Did you lay it on the ground, then flip over? Stand it up? How many coats did it need? I’ve never spray painted anything before, so I am a little nervous!

    • I hung a tarp on the fence, leaned the headboard against the tarp, then sprayed one side at a time. The trick to spray paint is always several thin coats… and always start and stop the spray just off of the project. If you get any drips, wipe them with a baby wipe or damp cloth, then let hte project dry, sand it a little, then re-coat. Good luck! Once you get the hang of spray painting, it’ll open the door to so many new possibilities!

  7. I love how this turned out! Thrifty and beautiful. Planning to do the same to the old bed in our spare room. How many cans of spray paint did you need? And do you remember how many coats you applied?

    • Hi Amy, I’m so sorry. It’s been years since I painted it and I can’t remember exactly. If I had to guess, I’d say it would take two cans, but I usually buy one extra so that I don’t have to run to the store halfway through a project. I applied three light coats.

  8. Just the inspiration I needed. I have a brass bed I would like to be black but your oil rubbed bronze with the flecks looks great!! Sand. Wipe. Spray. Got it. Thanks!!

  9. I was gifted an old brass bed from a friend after losing pretty much everything in my house fire. I have been thinking about doing this,thank you for your help! Mine’s going to be matte farmhouse black.

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