How to Transform a Thrift Store Headboard with Ebony Stain

installation of vinyl plank flooring diy home improvement project

We purchased this mahogany headboard from a thrift store for $35. It was a diamond in the rough. We stripped, sanded, and stained the headboard ebony. We are thrilled with the results!

Originally, we painted this with crackle paint (not our best project), and our daughter used it in her college apartment. Because it was so low, we built boxes for each leg to make it taller, click HERE to learn how. Years later, we decided to strip and stain it with an ebony stain. We now use this in our adult son’s room at our lakehouse.


We have striped a lot of furniture over our 34+ years of marriage but this was challenging. Below is a before picture.

The crackle paint came off easy; however, the original finish was hard to strip away.

We used Klean Strip Premium Stripper. To apply the stripper, we used an old metal pot, an old paintbrush, and wore thick rubber gloves.

First, we coated the headboard with the stripper and then wrapped it in kitchen plastic wrap. We left it for several hours. Next, we used an old putty knife to scrape the old finish off.

It took SEVERAL coats of stripper and plastic wrap to get all the original finish off.

You can see we are making progress in the picture below.

Once we removed most of the original finish, it was time to start sanding.

Sanding in preparing for staining this headboard ebony

We used a rotary sander on the large, flat areas.

We folded sheets of sandpaper to sand between the cracks on the spindles and other odd angles. It took some time, but we finally removed all the original stain.

A little more sanding and we are almost ready to stain.


We used ebony Varathane Premium Wood Stain.

We wore rubble gloves and wiped on the stain using a clean cotton rag. It is important to wipe the stain in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Stain is different than paint; stain soaks into the wood and paint adheres to the wood. Be careful not to apply too much stain.

Isn’t it beautiful?

I just love the way the spindles turned out.

The ebony stain reminds me of my grandmother’s baby grand piano when I was a child.

Elevating the Headboard

Beds (including headboards) are taller these days. So, Neal built these boxes to elevate the headboard. Check out how we did this by clicking HERE.

Here is the final result.

We are pleased with how the headboard turned out. Since this project, we have installed vinyl flooring in the basement.

To learn how we made a headboard from an old door, click HERE.

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

Pinterest pin how to strip and stain headboard ebony

Let us know if you have any questions about how we stripped and stained a thrift store headboard ebony by commenting below.

Happy DIYing!

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