Make Your Own Pallet Furniture

Shutterstock / Olesia Bilkei ©

Have a go at upcycling with these easy projects from experts at The Paint Shed!

With the cost of living crisis, we are all looking for ways to freshen up our homes and gardens without breaking the bank.

Many of us are turning to DIY and upcycling rather than buying brand new and we’ve spotted several DIY trends on TikTok that are gaining popularity. One  is using wooden pallets, with videos using the tag #palletfurniture being viewed over 50 million times so far.

From coffee tables and beds to outdoor seating and garden bars, there is a multitude of furniture you can create with pallet wood and a few simple tools.

Michael Rolland, DIY expert and MD of The Paint Shed, has provided some pallet furniture ideas and handy advice before getting started.

So, what can you make from old pallets?

A coffee table

One of the most common and simplest pieces of furniture you can make with pallets is a coffee table, perfect for both indoors and outside. You will need two clean, sanded-down pallets. Stack them flat on top of each other and simply secure with a drill and screws.

Optional extras you could add include castor wheels for easier moving, and contrasting planks fixed on top for a stylish finish.

Pic: Shutterstock

Customise your rustic coffee table using candles and books  – or if you are using your table outside you could add some plants and flowers to brighten it up. The good thing about DIY is that you can make your new furniture unique to fit your home.

A bed base

Another popular way to incorporate wooden pallets into your home is by creating a bed frame or mattress base. The number of pallets needed will depend on the bed size you want to create.

Two pallets for a single and four pallets for a queen size bed is the standard recommended, but you can always cut your pallets to fit your mattress perfectly.

Pic: Shutterstock

All you need to do is fix the pallets together with strong wood glue first, to ensure perfect alignment and steadiness, then secure using screws and a drill. Finally, turn the bed upside down and set it into place.

Make sure you decide how you want your bed base to look before you start, as they will be easier to paint before attaching them together.

Outdoor corner sofa

Another easy pallet furniture idea is to create some garden seating, such as a corner sofa. To make a chair, simply place two pallets flat on top of each other. Then, prop another pallet vertically at the back of the top pallet to create the backrest. Finally, secure everything in place with a drill and screws. Don’t forget to sand the wood down to ensure no one sits on a splinter!

You can decorate your new seating with cushions and throws to not only fit the aesthetics of your garden space but also make your seating comfortable. TikTok user @the.wendy.house_67 shows how she easily created and decorated her DIY garden pallet sofa which has over 22.4K views.

Pic: Shutterstock

Garden Bar

Using just two wooden pallets you can build your very own DIY garden bar to impress all your friends and family at your next garden gathering. In @thepalletman_’s video on TikTok which has over 3.6M views, he shows how you can easily create a garden bar in 3 easy steps. He suggests taking the nails out and cutting one pallet in half. Next, screw the two sides together ensuring you use a spirit level to make sure they are straight. Finally, grab some old trimming for the bar top.

Vital things to remember before you start working with pallets

1. Preparation is key!

Before you start any DIY involving wood, put on thick gloves and goggles to avoid injury from any nasty splinters.

Next, move on to preparation and cleaning. Be sure to thoroughly prepare your surfaces before you start assembling, as this will make things a lot easier. Preparing your pallets involves sanding down the pallet well with a sanding tool, ensuring all sides, edges and surfaces of the pallets are smooth and lack any splintered wood.

Pic: Shutterstock

Always ensure you are working in the direction of the wood grain. Sanding across the grain will leave scratches which will become obvious if you choose to paint or stain your furniture after.

Make sure you wipe your pallets clean, not only to remove any dirt and dust, but also any splinters left behind from the sanding.  You can do this with a simple solution of water and dish soap, scrubbing the surface with a cloth until the wood is clean. Make sure the wood is completely dry before proceeding.

2. Cover your surroundings

If you are assembling your furniture inside, ensure you cover the floor with plastic sheets that you can easily remove. This will protect the floor from scratches and also make it a lot easier for you to collect wood scraps or splinters which could endanger children or pets.

Pic: Shutterstock

3. Repair with wood filler

Using reclaimed materials means that sometimes, they may have a few imperfections to them such as chips or holes. However, you can use wood filler, such as Toupret Wood Repair Filler, to hide any of these. Simply press the wood filler into the cracks and scrape off any excess. You can press the wood filler deeper using your fingers and again make sure to wipe off any excess.

4. Treat and protect the wood

Pallets are usually made with pine wood, so make sure a decent wood protector is used.

To waterproof your pallets, you’ll want to add a stain or sealant to the wood’s surface. A stain-sealant combination will give the wood of your pallets a beautiful, dark, natural colour whilst also offering protection. Make sure the sealants are applied in a room with proper ventilation as the chemicals used can be strong and potentially harmful in prolonged exposure.

Sadolin Garden Furniture Stain And Protector offers three natural wood colours and protects exterior wood from algae, mould and the elements, perfect for DIY pallet garden furniture.

5. Know which pallets are safe

When upcycling with recycled materials, you can’t always guarantee they are safe for indoor use. Wooden pallets can be treated with harmful chemicals or become contaminated. It’s vital you know what to look out for and how you can select a safe pallet.

You should always look for pallets that have been pre-treated with heat, kiln-dried or debarked.

You can identify these pallets by a country code (for example GB or FR) and another two letters indicating the treatment (for example HT for heat treated or KD for kiln dried). Untreated ‘national’ pallets are also safe to use and you can identify these because they will either have no stamps, symbols or codes, or a stamp reading EPAL.

Always avoid the following pallets:

Pic: Shutterstock

  • Stained pallets – you don’t know what the stain is or where it has been
  • Pallets stamped with MB – this is a code for methyl bromide, a very toxic insecticide
  • Coloured pallets – the paint is usually toxic, and the property of a pallet rental company
  • Pallets stamped with EUR, an old logo indicating the pallets are old.

Have you upcycled pallets or done any other DIY projects? Send a photo to the address/email in My Weekly magazine, and you could win £25 if it’s published!