a vintage iron bed DIY

Last June, when we were driving home from Mexico, I looked out the window and saw something truly special. You’d think I was a kid passing by an amusement park the way I yelled and begged Kris to stop the car. He stopped… even though what I was frantically pointing to was this:

A little antique shop in a dusty border town. Not much to look at, except the side of the building was stacked with rows and rows of antique iron beds. All of them sitting outside, baking in the sun and rusting away.

Miles is rounding the corner on 4 years old, which means it’s about time for a big boy bed. I’d always imagined him having a vintage iron bed. I especially love the simple, clean lines of mid-century hospital beds. They’re lower to the ground, which is great for kids, yet the look is sophisticated enough that he can use it into his teens. I also knew the simple iron bed would go well with his current room design.

So, while Kris kept the car running, I hopped out and began looking through the piles of bed frames. Many were too rusted to restore, but I found just what I was looking for, priced at $40:

I took it home and started the tedious process of sanding it by hand. The rust wasn’t too thick, thankfully, and I read that you can use white vinegar to counteract it, so I sanded the whole frame, then wiped it down with rags soaked in vinegar, let that sit for 24 hours, and then sanded again.

Once it was smooth and all the rust flakes were gone, I was able to spray paint it. I chose “heirloom white” by Rust-Oleum because it has a nice off-white, matte finish.
Here’s how it turned out:
I used a vintage wool military blanket as his bedspread. (It’s a charcoal gray color.)
We already had the chevron throw blanket, and his “cold blankie,” which is the crazy quilt I made for him a couple years ago. He likes it because the cotton fabric stays nice and cool.
I set it all up while he was at preschool this morning, and his reaction couldn’t have been better. He was giddy, jumping up and down and laughing at the sight of his very own big bed. Score one for mama. 🙂
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