HOW TO: Upcycle Your Own Pallet Coffee Table
💪 DIFFICULTY RATING: 50%
⏱ TIME: A Long Weekend
Upcycling is all the rage these days, and in this post, we’re getting creative with a fun project that’s suitable for DIY’ers of all abilities – making an attractive, charming coffee table out of an old pallet.
You won’t need too much specialist equipment (although a few power tools will make the job easier!), and you should be able to finish the project in two to three days.
Perfect for adding a personal, hand-crafted and rustic touch to your living room, the resulting coffee table will fit in perfectly with any vintage-inspired or shabby-chic interior design scheme.
What you’ll need…
A PALLET (120cm x 80cm) or similar.
Pressure Washer (Optional)
Electric DRILL & DRILL BITS
TIP: opt for a rotating-fibre brush drill bit / multi-tool with fibre brush attachment.
Transparent WOOD GLUE
Step 1: Finding the Pallet
The first and most important step is finding your pallet. Whilst a new one will work absolutely fine, an older one will serve you better in the charm and character department.
Thankfully, sourcing old pallets isn’t difficult. A lot of businesses receive their stock on pallets, and many struggle to get rid of them all - so ask around, or head to your local pallet yard.
TIP: You’ll want to choose a pallet with some character, but it shouldn’t be too beaten up – make sure you choose one that can hold its own weight.
Step 2: Cleaning the Pallet
Before you begin to put the coffee table together, thoroughly cleaning and sanding down your pallet is essential.
If you own or have access to a high-pressure power washer, then start with that. If not, using a rotating-fibre brush attachment on your electric drill and running it along the grain of the wood will also work well, and will also create a nice texture on your wood.
We’ll finish the fine sanding later.
Step 3: Dismantling & Repairing
The pallet will need to be dismantled completely, removing all of the slats from the blocks. Pallets are generally held together by dozens of large nails, and you’ll also need to remove all of these using your crowbar or claw hammer.
TIP: This process can be tricky, and unless you’re extremely careful, you may end up damaging some of the slats. Thankfully, these are fairly easy to repair, and will just add to the character of your finished piece.
Just use some ordinary white PVA wood glue to stick any bits back together, clamping the pieces together until they dry. Once dry, use some sandpaper to remove any glue splurges.
Step 4: Preparing to Put it All Together
Now it’s time to talk measurements. Think about how wide or long you want your table to be, and if required, cut the slats to the right length.
TIP: you can lay the appropriate number of slats together to see what it will look like.
Once you’ve decided on measurements, it’s time to prepare each of the individual slats for assembly, which means more cleaning and sanding to be undertaken.
How much sanding you do depends on the finish you’re going for. If you like, you can spend some time softening and smoothing every sharp corner and the full surface of every slat.
Alternatively, you could also leave it fairly rough for a more rustic finish.
Step 5: Assembly
First of all, cut some of the spare slats to the width of your table to create transom pieces, which will hold your table together.
Now, lay your slats together and clamp them in place, before applying PVA glue to the surface of your transom pieces. Then, stick them to the underside of the slats – one at each end, and one in the middle.
TIP: Once the glue has dried, you can further secure the slats in place by replacing some of the nails you removed, or by using wood screws.
Now, glue the six blocks of the pallet to the underside of the transom pieces, before replacing the skids.
Step 6: Finishing the Wood
You’re nearly finished! Now it’s time to complete the wood to your specifications, using the lacquer or paint. As it’s going to be used inside, make sure you choose a non-toxic primer and finish – look for one that’s labelled safe for use on furniture.
TIP: For extra durability, use several coats – sanding lightly in-between each coat for better adherence.
Once your finish is dry, it’s time to fit the castors / wheels, by screwing the fixing-plates to the four corners of the coffee table.
Many of the tools, materials and components needed for the desk are available at Eurofit Direct, and if you need any help or guidance with either buying what you’ll need or with putting together the final project, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or drop us an email.