how to make a pallet table

. . .

Remember a while back when I told you that our deck kind of sucked? And I painted some deck chairs so it would suck less? And remember how I said we needed a table to set our alcohol on to eat at?

Whelp, a few weeks ago I told 2.0 that I love pallets. And I wasn’t lying. I really do. When I see a pallet, I see possibilities. So, 2.0 brought one home for me. I’ve been wanting a rustic table for the deck. You know, the kind that looks wicked awesome and gives your guests splinters. We have a big deck, but I didn’t want the table to take the whole thing over. We need room to work on our break dancing and stuff. So, though a big farm-style table really appeals to me, a smaller table makes more sense for our space.

So, last weekend, 2.0 made that pallet (above) into this table (below).

We kept the costs for this project low. 2.0 bought some 2×2 lumber to make a frame and braces. He also managed to find a second pallet to use for extra wood and to create the legs for our table. You could use any kind of wood you like. Or, find some pre-fab legs. Or perhaps secure your pallet to a pedestal from another table. Use your imagination.

I’d like to preface this tutorial with:

  1. if you cut a body part off or hurt yourself trying to be as awesome as 2.0 and I are, it’s not my problem
  2. we aren’t professionals so don’t email me to tell me that we did something wrong
  3. I ain’t no contractor so I will use the terminology I like, and
  4. yes, we know there might be better ways out there to make a table but we did it this way so you can jam it if you don’t like it.

Step One: Building a Square Frame

2.0 began by flipping the pallet over and attaching a square frame of 2×2 lumber to the bottom (table base). This frame will add some stability to the tabletop, and more importantly, give you something to attach the legs to.

Step Two: Building the Legs

2.0 secured two pieces of wood at a 90º angle with a clamp thingy. That’s right. A clamp thingy.

Then he pre-drilled some holes.

And then we screwed.

Voilà! Legs.

By the way, we made our table 29 inches high. This is, apparently, a pretty standard height for tables. It would seem that most tables are 28-30 inches tall, so we went with the average.

Step Three: Secure Legs to Square Frame

Next, 2.0 secured the legs to the square frame, and thus to the table. An L-Ruler (okay, 2.0 calls it a framing square) was used to make sure the legs would be perpendicular to the table (tippy table + tipsy guests = disaster). You want those legs sitting nice and flat on the ground.

A wedge was used to make little adjustments so things would be level.

Then 2.0 attached the leg to the square frame with screws, and removed the wedge once the leg was secure.

Step Four: Create Leg Braces

2.0 cut eight pieces of 2×2 into 7 inch long pieces. Each had a 45º angle at one end. No fancy tools here. Just good measuring and a saw. We weren’t concerned with looks – rustic was the goal, and frankly, if someone complains about how the underside of our table looks, we’ll take their food away.

Step Five: Sand

Sand the b*tch. We didn’t sand the top. Rustic was the goal. But we sanded the edges where people might brush up against it. Honestly, if we are entertaining Gwyneth Paltrow or the Queen we’ll probably slap a tablecloth down. Everyone else can fend for themselves.

Total cost: $6.00. The pallets were free, the supplies (extra wood and screws) totaled about six bucks.

It’s big enough that we could seat six around it. Actually, we could probably cram eight around it if people could behave themselves. But we don’t encourage our guests to touch each other at our house.

17 Responses to how to make a pallet table

  1. movita's sister August 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    If you have eight people over, I want to sit next to 2.0.

  2. brambleoak August 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    Great tutorial! I need to make a smallish desk and you’ve given me some great ideas.

  3. 2.0 sister August 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Quite impressed with my little bro, didn’t know he could make something without using concrete.

    • movitabeaucoup August 9, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

      Don’t worry. I think he’s using concrete for our picket fence project…

  4. emmalina73 August 9, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    Don’t worry the Queen likes it rural style. I’m British so I know these things. Plus she told me/I made it up so you can rely on my info.

    Cool table!

    • movitabeaucoup August 9, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

      Phewf. But I bet friggin’ Gwyneth and Apple won’t be so accommodating.

  5. Marsha Sefcik Interiors August 10, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    Love it! I want one :)

  6. emmalina73 August 10, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    No Gwyneth would be all like “Oh I have splinters!” and “Is this macrobiotic?”. Bearch.

  7. Navylady.c@gmail.com February 4, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Im super excited. I was given two PERFECT shipping pallets today. They were brought over by a friend who knew I was looking to make a pallet couch. But these pallets, scream farmhouse style table. So I was curious, as to how high I should add the legs. Thanks so much for already doing the leg work for me. 29 Inches it is. I havent decided if Im doing to paint or stain my table, but its going to be one or the other. Eeeek. Im stoked. I love yours. I may trim my alternate edges in 2×4, to keep it uniform, what do you think?

  8. Lisa Parker Gaddy March 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    So I’m stalking your blog. I have a stack of free pallets. Question:Are those green lustre bowls vintage? Any idea what brand? It looks like some I have in peach,but I’ve never seen that color and must have. Also, nice Leg shot !

    • movita beaucoup March 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      Lisa, I’m sad to say that those bowls are not vintage. They were a cheap pick-up somewhere years ago. Basically, you have to wash them with feathers as the paint chips off the outer sides of the bowls all the time. Probably not so food-safe anymore… Proving once again, that things made in the days of yore are way better.

      Also, that is 2.0′s leg. Mine is less furry. Unless you meant the table leg, and then thanks…

  9. Jeannie June 1, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Love it awesome. You are hilarious you made myself and my hubby laugh.Love your blog

  10. Lan | morestomach June 2, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    it’s like you guys are JESUS building this with your bare hands!

    as my gma says when i tell her i’m not inviting many people to my wedding due to space: WE ARE ASIAN, WE CAN SQUEEZE MANY PEOPLE AROUND A TABLE IF WE HAVE TO.

    you say you could fit about 8 people around this bad boy? i can be the NINTH, no problem, cus, as you know, i’m ASIAN.

  11. natalie @ wee eats June 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Movita,

    I LOVE YOUR TABLE! I’ve already forwarded it onto my other half for consideration.

    Thank you (and sorry, other half, if you end up reading the comments)

  12. movita beaucoup August 9, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in August 2010. Good luck with your projects!

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