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The Coolest Hockey Bedroom EVER – The Headboard

The Coolest Hockey Bedroom EVER is a series of posts chronicling the transformation from a boring bedroom to a hockey heaven for my toddler son. You can read about his dresser here and his locker here. Have an idea for the room? Comment below.

Any parent will tell you that raising a child is a lot like training a horse. (OK, maybe I’m the only one that’ll say that, but stay with me here.)  The only difference is that instead of nudging our children along the right path using carrots and apples, we have to be a bit more creative. So when we bought my son a twin bed, lacking rails and twice the size of the cozy little toddler bed he was used to, we needed to employ some interesting methods to get him to sleep in it. With my son, when it comes to getting him to do things he doesn’t want to do, our trump card always seems to involve the game of hockey.

“Michael Ryder sleeps in a bed like this,” we declared, silently doubting his imaginary-brother-nee-Bruins-winger shopped at Ikea.

“If you sleep in this big boy bed, you’ll grow to be a big hockey player,” we promised, wondering if Zdeno Chara’s parents ever said the same.

Yet two weeks later there I was, reading him books before bed as he lay down. On his old toddler mattress. On the floor.

It was there that I broke out the nuke.

“If I build you a Bruins headboard, will you sleep in your new big boy bed?”

The crowd went wild.

These instructions are not of the step-by-step variety. It would be naive of me to expect that you own the same bed and headboard combination. I’ll give you my specific models in case you’re a fellow Ikeaholic, but the underlying message that I want you to take away from this is that any headboard (or bed, or dresser) can become the coolest. thing. ever with some imagination and a few inexpensive parts. So with that in mind, here’s what I did.

The twin bed we had purchased was the Ikea Odda bed with the under-bed storage. It’s an older model, but thankfully Ikea still stocks the Odda headboard. It’s a pretty modern look, with a large cubby behind the bed and a pull-out bookshelf on the side. The problem, however, was that it was red. REALLY red. Like Carolina Hurricanes red. And for someone who can still picture Scott Walker celebrating his Game 7 overtime goal against his beloved Bruins, red was not going to work.

So my first step was finding a way to get rid of the red. The pseudo-wood material that Ikea uses on many of its products precludes it from being painted, so I ambled into my local fabric store with a few mandates: it had to be thick, it had to be cleanable, and it had to be black and gold. $23 later, I got back in my car with two yards of pleather vinyl (one yard each of black and gold) and a can of spray adhesive.

My next step was to source a Bruins jersey crest. For things like this, I turn to ebay. $15 shipped scored me a 10″ jersey crest, and I was almost there.

Finally, I wanted to personalize the headboard with my son’s name. I checked some online jersey shops, but nobody seemed to sell loose letters. They all wanted $50 or more for full sets of jersey numbers and letters. I sent an email to about six of these websites, and one replied with a generous offer to send me a pair of letters for free. Thanks to Dave at Tally Hockey Jerseys, my sourcing was complete.

I disassembled the headboard and the little bookshelf that fit inside of it, setting aside the red pieces. I cleaned them with rubbing alcohol and sprayed both the headboard and the back of the pleather with adhesive. A few minutes later I carefully cut the edges, leaving me with black and gold panels. I then sprayed the back of the crest and jersey letters and held them in place on the headboard until the glue dried. Reassembly took only a few minutes, and the total project time was less than an hour.

Again, not exactly step-by-step, but you get the point. What was once Eric Staal red is now Bobby Orr black and gold, and fits into the theme of the room perfectly. IKEA’s headboard design provided me with a pretty neat design, but you can create a custom headboard from just about any style. Live in Philly? Paint the headboard with a non-toxic orange paint and throw a Flyers crest in the middle. Does your kid have a four-post bed without a headboard? Pick up four of those miniature goalie helmets from your team and screw one to each post — I’ve found them for $5 each on eBay. Bunk beds? Take some old hockey sticks, saw the blades off, and use the shaft as trim pieces where possible. Sure, you can buy hockey furniture if money is no object. But what fun is that?

Back to my son. It’s been about three weeks since we lugged the headboard upstairs and attached it to his bed. It’s now full of books, and he loves having a cup of water within reach. Most importantly, he’s slept in the new bed every night.

Watching your child grow up is a bittersweet phenomenon, and the transition from crib to toddler bed to twin bed is a daily reminder of how fast they grow. When it comes time to put your little boy into the vast expanse of a big boy bed, it can be as scary for the parents as it is for the child. But if your son or daughter is a hockey fan, hopefully you can make this transition a bit easier (for them and you). All it takes is a bit of creativity, some time, and a little spray adhesive.

Good luck!

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