jenny lind bed paint + DIY bed rails

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In my latest post on Sam’s big boy room you got to see his finished antique Jenny Lind bed I found off Craigslist.  I am beyond thrilled with how it turned out!


This is how the bed looked when we got it off Craigslist.  Completely worn out.  Looked like it may have been in a garage or barn for several years as the varnish and stain had seen some weathering.  It was also missing the side rails.  But basically, nothing a little sanding and paint can’t fix!

PAINT – After sanding down and cleaning the bed I used my Critter paint sprayer to apply a coat of primer.  By the way, that paint sprayer is the best purchase I have ever made.  EVER.  It’s under $50 which just makes it all the more amazing in my book.  With all of those spools it would have been a nightmare to do it by hand.  I shudder at the reminder of painting my stair railings several years ago.  Yuck!  Ok, so after the primer cured, I used the paint sprayer to apply two coats of Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black.  You guys, it’s a gorgeous black!  I would describe it as a deep, creamy black.
DIY Bed Rails –  Since the headboard and footboard didn’t come with the rails, I had no way to attach the two together and hold a mattress.  I wanted to share with you guys how we made our own rails so that if you ever come across a great antique bed without any, you would know what to do!
We used 1×8’s to create our own rails and cut them to be about 5 inches longer than the length of the mattress for both sides.  That way there would be enough room for tucking in sheets and blankets at the foot of the bed.  Once cut they were primed and painted to match the bed.  Then we added 2×2’s along the inside of the new rails and screwed them into place.  These 2×2’s will be used to support plywood that will support the mattress.
Since our headboard and footboard have pins inside the legs to connect the rails, we used these bed claws I found on Amazon.  They worked out perfectly!
Apparently I didn’t get a photo of this next part 🙁  To support the mattress, we put down pieces of plywood cut to the size of the bed and screwed them into the 2×2 support on the side rails.  We did not use a box spring, so the mattress went directly on top of the plywood support.
And finally, for extra support, we added a couple of scrap 2×6’s we had lying around to support the center of the bed on the underside of the plywood.  One piece for the upper half of the bed (shown in the photo) and another for the lower half of the bed.  I snapped this pic as I was tucking Sam into bed last night so forgive the really bad quality.  It was a snap and run 😀
Sam’s bed is by far my favorite part of his room so far.  I think these spooled beds are such a classic look.  I’m so glad I didn’t scare away from it since it didn’t have all the parts!
SOURCES: bed claws // DIY moon art // IKEA hack nightstands // sconces // duvet and toss pillow – Homegoods // gray blanket // sheets sold out (similar here) // rug – purchased overseas // bed paint – SW Tricorn Black




  1. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper Avatar

    before i switched to GF black for all of my furniture a while back that was the black i used! i love it! the bed is gorgeous- i love sam's entire room.

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      After I painted it on I was all, "I must now paint all things this black!!!" It's soooooo much better than my usual black paint go-to which was whatever plain black can of paint or spray paint the big home improvement store had already stocked on their shelves. Yikes! I feel like a grown up now 😀

  2. Lil Avatar

    So good. Thank you. I found an adorable twin bed without side rails and was wondering how to tackle it. Thank you for sharing.

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Yea!!! I'm so glad to hear this!

  3. Katy Avatar

    I love you for this post. My mother-in-law gave me an old spindle bed (that she slept on when she was young) to use for my son and it only had the metal bed rails. I bought a bed skirt and don't like the way it looks, but didn't know what other options I had. Now I know!

    I painted my son's bed bright blue and he loves it (and so do I), but when he gets older I may tone it down to black. Yours looks amazing!

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Oh my word, I love that yours has such a special history to it, and I bet the blue is just gorgeous!!! I too thought about the bed skirt option, but couldn't get the image of wooden rails out of my head. Luckily it was an easy fix!

  4. Mindy Avatar

    Awesome possum. Great color, too.

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Holy cow I'm late to responding to this! Thank you, Mindy 🙂 I really want to use this color somewhere else now. Kinda thinking Mike's office door would look cool painted black.

  5. Molly Avatar

    Happy to find this via Pinterest! I have my grandparents double size bed and rails but mattresses back then must have been shorter, a modern set has to be squished to fit and then your feet hit the foot rails. Now I can make a new set of rails, thank you so much!

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      I'm so happy you found it too 🙂 You're right, I forgot all about beds being shorter back then!

  6. Tatjana Avatar

    I found you through Pinterest and so happy you posted this. Thank you! I am hoping to find a bed like this but wanted to know if your mattress is a queen or full. I am trying to figure out if I can fit a queen mattress on this bed (that was intended as a full bed).

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Hi Tatjana! We have a full sized mattress on this bed. The headboard and footboard are for a full size. I'm sure you could put a queen size mattress on if you made longer side rails (a queen mattress is 5 inches longer than a full) and moved the 2×2 support up to the top of the 1×8 side rail so that the pieces of plywood lay flat over the top of it since the mattress would be too wide to sit inside the frame (a queen is 6 inches wider than a full). I would just double check measurements and make sure your ok with any overage on the sides.

  7. Julia Avatar

    Do you have a mattress and box springs or just a mattress on the bed?

    1. Anonymous Avatar

      Sorry! I just read in the article that you did not use box springs.

  8. Michelle Montgomery Avatar

    This was so helpful…I just picked up an antique spindle footboard and headboard for $30 and I've been scratching my head trying to figure out the side rails because I didn't want metal! Totally going to do this.

  9. CrazyWonderful Avatar

    Woohoo on the antique bed find!!! So happy to hear this will work for you as well!

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    I think I saw that headboard and footboard on Craigslist in DFW. I have been trolling looking for spool beds and now I know how to do the side boards. This is awesome!

  11. Maria @ BedtimeDeal Avatar

    Do you use box spring to rise up your mattress height?

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      No, we didn't use a box spring. The mattress is laying on a piece of plywood. With this particular bed, if we would have used a box spring, the mattress would have set too high and covered up the headboard. Hope this helps!

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    Best post about making your own bed rails on the internet! I was actually ready to buy a router and make them the old fashioned way, even though I'm not at all qualified. Thank you, I'm going with the bed claws.

    I do wonder why you didn't use slats instead of plywood for the support, but maybe it's because you were worried they'd bow because of the width of the bed.

  13. CrazyWonderful Avatar

    Thank you, I'm so glad to hear that! The reason I went with plywood instead of slats was because we didn't use a boxspring below the mattress. With this particular bed a boxspring would have made the mattress sit so high that you wouldn't have been able to see much of the headboard. So, without it, I needed the mattress to sit on a completely flat surface so there wouldn't be any lumps or areas that didn't feel supported. I suppose you could still use slats, they would just need to be spaced pretty close together. I hope this helps!

  14. Eva Avatar

    Love this! Just curious how much you paid for the headboard and footboard? Also wondering if this could be attached to a basic twin metal frame (although I too love the wood sides). Thanks!

    1. Shelley Avatar

      Hi Eva! You know, I can’t for the life of me recall! I want to say it was around $100. As far as attaching it to a basic metal frame, I think it depends on the frame and whether or not the frame would meet at a place on the headboard and footboard where you could screw it in. You could always try it!

Meet Shelley

Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

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