Refinishing a headboard with Jill of All Trades

This week, our Jill of All Trades, Jill Washburn, puts the finishing touches on the headboard (that she got for free, by the way) that she painted and highlighted a few episodes ago.  

Today she replaces the spires with round ball finials and teaches us how to repair a hole that has gotten loose or has been drilled too large.

First Jill had to find 4" solid wooden balls to top the bedposts. She found some at Then she drilled holes in them with a drill press. To do that, she cut a short piece of 4" PVC pipe and set the ball inside it to help keep it stable. It made the ball much easier to hang onto and easier to position on the drill press table. After she drilled the hole into the balls, she replaced the double sided screws that she took out of the spires that had been on the bed and she painted them with the same black semi-gloss spray paint that she used on the headboard.

Next, Jill needed to mount them on the bedposts. Normally, that would be easy, but Jill had already shown us, last time she worked on the headboard, that the holes had gotten too large over time and were much too loose to solidly hold the finials. Of course, our Jill of All Trades has an easy fix for that, and all it takes is some basic household glue and some toothpicks!

Jill made an educated guess and estimated that three toothpicks would probably be enough to fill the slack in the holes on the bedposts, so she took three toothpicks for each hole and rolled them in a little Elmer's glue. You could also use wood glue. Then she placed them evenly around the inside of the holes (as if they were the points of a triangle). Jill says not to worry if they are too tall. You can come back and trim them later, after the glue dries. Let them dry thoroughly.

Once they are dry, you can trim off the excess toothpick that extends beyond the holes. Jill used scissors and just cut them, but you could also use a razor knife or a pair of pliers.  

Now you should be able to place your screw into the hole and have it hold firmly. Depending on the amount of "slop" in the fit of the hole, you may only need a single toothpick. Some projects will require you to line the entire inside edge of the hole with toothpicks. If the amount you use is not enough, you can always add more.

Jill says that this trick will work for cabinets, furniture, door frames, or any place where a screw into wood is no longer holding firmly. Some projects may require something more. You can also do the same trick using kitchen skewers, popsicle sticks, craft sticks, etc., if you need something "beefier".

So, there you have it.  A headboard that was a throwaway has a new life and many years of use ahead of it.


To watch Jill take you through the process (and have a few laughs with the gang), click on the video player above.