How to Paint an Oak Headboard

What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Tack cloth
Spray primer (for wood)
Spray paint (for wood)
Clear coat spray

If you have had an oak headboard for several years, you may be ready for a change. Or, maybe you just bought a used, heavy oak headboard that needs refinishing. Either way, the easiest way to give it an updated look is with paint. You'll just need a few supplies from a home improvement or paint store, and a little elbow grease.

Step 1 - Preparation of the Headboard

Take your headboard to a space where you can spread out the drop cloth and have plenty of room to work. A few good suggestions are the garage, a patio, or driveway. Place the headboard flat on the drop cloth with the front side up. You're ready to start sanding.

Step 2 - Sanding Your Headboard

Take the sandpaper and rub it in circles on the headboard to rough up the surface. Pay special attention to the corners. If you have any decorative etchings in the oak, fold a small piece of the sandpaper and work it into these areas. You need to sand the piece well to get a rough surface for the primer to stick to. Sanding also removes old debris that have adhered from the air. After you have sanded the front side, wipe it down with a tack cloth to remove all of the dust from sanding. If you do not get it wiped down well, you will have dust in your finish and it will not be as smooth as you would like.  If you are going to add a finish to the back side as well, turn it over and repeat the sanding process on the other side. Next, you will get ready to apply primer.

Step 3 - Applying the Primer

The primer will even out any small dings in the wood and give the paint a good base coat for durability. Apply the primer spray in sweeping strokes for even coverage. Catch all drips and runs that you may get with a rag, then reapply to that area to get a smooth coat. Allow it to dry, then turn it over to apply primer to the back side in the same manner. After the primer has dried, you can paint your headboard.

Step 4 - Painting the Headboard

Shake the can of spray paint well to be sure its mixed. Hold the nozzle 8 to 10 inches from your headboard and apply using sweeping strokes. As you did with the primer, also catch drips and runs immediately for an even finish, then reapply to that area. Paint one side at a time allowing it to dry completely before painting the other side. After the paint is dried, you will apply clear coat.

Step 5 - Applying Clear Coat to Finish

Apply the clear coat spray in the same manner as the paint. The clear coat will give your headboard protection from scratches and other marks, and will also give it a professional sheen. Allow your headboard to dry, and reassemble it to your bed frame.