Introduction: Folding Pallet Chair

Picture of Folding Pallet Chair

This is a chair born out of necessity. Well, not really. It just sounded cool. It is quite comfortable though. In fact, I am sitting in it now. But I digress. I got all of the wood I used from the Sears store in my city. So the only things I bought were the two bolts and nuts. Overall, this project cost me 20 cents. Not bad.. It folds too for easy storage. 

Step 1: Materials & Tools

Picture of Materials & Tools

You will need:
2-3"x.25 bolts
2-.25" Nuts
4-40" 1x1.75 Boards
2-78" .75x3.5 Boards

I know these are strange messurements, but I did get these boards from pallets. You can use many different sized boards but these worked well for me.

Chop saw
Straight edge
Tape Measure
Finishing Nails
Wood Glue
1/4" bit
1/16" bit

Step 2: Cut the Supports

Picture of Cut the Supports

Cut two of the 40" boards down to 32"

Step 3: Mark the Angles

Picture of Mark the Angles

Lay out your your boards to the angle that you will want your chair to be at. Mark the angle; you will need it later. Lay a board across the bottom. This will help the find the angle that your chair will set  at.


Step 4: Cut the Foot Angles

Picture of Cut the Foot Angles

One of the feet happend to be 45 degrees, which was nice. The other one was tricky because the angle was greater than the saw could do. So I propped it up with a two by four and braced it with a wedge of wood and pushed on the propped up part. Next lay the  newly cut  wood up against another board to make sure the angles match up.

Step 5:

Picture of

Mark the center by connecting the corners of the x. Drill a 1/4 hole at the mark. Countersink so the bolt is flush..

Step 6: The Back

Picture of The Back

Cut 18" slats out of the remailning boards. Check by standing up the boards where they will go on the BACKSIDE of the back. If it is not on the back, it will not fold properly. Be sure to mark their locations, because it will make the next step easier.

The bottom slat determines the angle of your seat, so be sure it is in  the right spot!!

Step 7: Glueing (Gluing?)(Glooing?) and Nailing

Picture of Glueing (Gluing?)(Glooing?) and Nailing

Line up the back-boards with their marks. Drill two 1/16" holes per side per board. Add wood glue and hammer in finishing nails.

Step 8: The Buttrest

Picture of The Buttrest

Or the seat. Which ever you prefer. You will want to subtract the width of your side supports (mine were 1") times 2 from 18" and cut that many inches out. For example since my side supports were 1" wide each, I made my seat-boards 16" long. Repeat the attaching process from the last step. I added another nail in though.  Put the bolts in when you are finished that.

Step 9: Sand Like You Have Never Sanded Before!

Picture of Sand Like You Have Never Sanded Before!

Since this is recycled wood, it will be in pretty rough shape. To combat that, I sanded the mess out of my seat. I used a dremel multimax with the sanding attachment. You could use regular sandpaper, but that would take ages. I like to leave a little bit of the stamps and such because it gives it a cool look. Especially for my "man cave."

Step 10: Sit Back and Enjoy!

Picture of Sit Back and Enjoy!

Now you can finally sit back and appreciate your fine work. Adding pads for outdoor chairs increases the comfort by the way. Enjoy!


MichałD (author)2015-07-12

my version...

Bdbro made it! (author)2015-04-02

used the inside of a cable reel for the slats. comfy kickin it chair for anywhere!

l8nite (author)2012-06-21

the chair is really cool and a great idea, the "ible" is also well done. However, the chair looks like it has been built inside-out to me, is there a reason you mounted the seat boards to the bottom of the supports and the back pieces to the back? I'd be concerned that the fasteners would pull out but then I probably weigh twice as much as you do

schoonovermr (author)l8nite2012-06-22

Thanks. And yes, there is a reason. I would have prefered to put them on the inside, like you suggested, but if they were it wouldn't fold up. Also, if you were concerned the nails would pull out, you could use screws. With me though (about 115 lbs), the glue is sufficient. If fact, the first one I made had no glue. The bottom started loosening up after about a week though.

RND_EYE (author)schoonovermr2014-02-26

after looking at your design (awesome btw) I think I've found a solution to everyone that thinks its inside out and still fold up complete. I'll post as I build. thanks for the idea!

Chadifornia (author)2012-06-25

Great idea! I dont think the dude above was complaining, he was showing concern of its intergrity. Im a builder for a living and the design is awesome. I believe that with a few minor teaks it could be SUPER solid. Keep up the good work.

solarbipolar (author)Chadifornia2013-04-12

Intergrity and teaks.

schoonovermr (author)Chadifornia2012-06-26


nnemec (author)2013-01-25

Looking for instructions how to make fold down pallet futon. Anyone change this into futon? I need step by step instructs,

clazman (author)2012-06-24

Whoa!! I HOPE that you have considered the physical properties of the wood that was used for this project!!!!

Before anyone here builds this chair I want to warn you!

The shear load in the brads that secure the bottom back board are quite high!!

For a 115 lb. person the shear load that the brads must support per side is 263 lb. This is proportionately higher for a person that weighs more than 115lb and doesn't sit GENTLY onto this chair.

I would exclaim that this board should be secured with #10 screws x 2" lg. and maybe three per end.

The 1/4 bolt is another situation. The seat support and back support each must resist a loading that creates a unique stress analysis.

Either the seat support or the back support must resist half of this 263 lbs. or 131 lbs. Now imagine that the bolt is being twisted in both the seat support and the back support to support the 113 lbs.

Now, assume that the first 1/4 inch from each side of one of the supports does most of the load carrying job to resist this twisting stress. The wood stress is then 1050 psi. This is only a factor of safety of maybe 3 for loads for parallel to the grain and EXCEEDS the stress perpendicular to the grain for certain species of wood.

Now if the person weighs more than 115 lbs. and doesn't sit down gently but drops onto the chair creating several g's of force increase then failure will surely ensue.

In summation, it really concerns me when we have individuals creating systems without any consideration of the physical properties of the materials that they are working with.

schoonovermr (author)clazman2012-06-25

I don't need a physics degree to know that it works. If it worries you that much put the board on top and put a bigger bolt in it. It won't fold but it will stop your complaining

meenzal (author)schoonovermr2012-06-26

There is a "be nice" policy here. No need to be rude when someone points out a safety issue.

schoonovermr (author)meenzal2012-06-26

I was fine with all of it except that last paragraph. But I apologize if it came off too rude.

dalovedr (author)2012-06-25

Nice Job Looks Great!

schoonovermr (author)dalovedr2012-06-25


danzo321 (author)2012-06-24

I'm wishing you had some dimensions on this step.

schoonovermr (author)danzo3212012-06-25

THere are dimmensions throughout the instructable

danzo321 (author)2012-06-24

"Gluing" is correct..
OK, I did not understand what you were up to.. thought you were using actual pallets. They are built with huge staples. Here, pallets are usually oak, very strong but hard to sand. This looks like southern yellow pine, which is great too.

danzo321 (author)2012-06-24

I get what you did but really, there is no need for feet to sit so utterly flat on the ground. Might just round off feet --?

afujishima (author)2012-06-24

I love this! I've done western futon frames from pallets.. but this beats that! It looks so nice it could be put in a contemporary living room with some leatherette cushions in white or black.. or cushions made from jute fabric... Very awesome!

schoonovermr (author)afujishima2012-06-24

Thank you very much. You should put some instructables of your frames up. I would love to see them.

afujishima (author)schoonovermr2012-06-24

Maybe one of these days when I make another one.. they were all made for friends who needed something small that didn't cost them an arm and a leg.. futon chairs price-wise are insane.. O_O

schoonovermr (author)afujishima2012-06-24

necessity is the mother of invention...

afujishima (author)schoonovermr2012-06-24

I couldn't agree more!

hornbadoing (author)2012-06-24


schoonovermr (author)hornbadoing2012-06-24

ha after 2 hours working in the georgia humidity that will do it

gailgates (author)2012-06-24

AWESOME!!! I want one now.

schoonovermr (author)gailgates2012-06-24


vincent7520 (author)2012-06-23

However, I don't see why the three slats on the seating side (where you put your butt on, not your back) are glued / nailed / screwed (whatever) on the bottom side of both lateral mounts.
It seems to me they could have been mounted on the top and the chair would still be foldable as long as the back resting slats remain screwed on the "rear" of their respective mounts.
The benefit I see is that it would be much stronger as I would think that 75% or more of the weight rest on these three slats.
Or did I miss something ?

redsunmtm (author)vincent75202012-06-24

at least someone saw that ! it is completely reverse mounted ! the parts that support body (butt and back) have to be on top or you'll fail !

schoonovermr (author)redsunmtm2012-06-24

As I have said before, if they were to be mounted on top, it would hardly fold. The glue and nails is sufficient to hold me and my 205 lbs dad (probably not at the same time though).

schoonovermr (author)vincent75202012-06-23

I definitely see what you are saying, and it will still fold. However, It will not fold as much. I wanted my chair to be as compact as possible. As I mentioned, I am not all that heavy, so the slats being on the underside are not much of a concern to me.

vincent7520 (author)schoonovermr2012-06-23

Oh ! OK then … As I said : bright, simple and nice !…

RoosterSocks (author)2012-06-24

I love the simplicity of it


colt711 (author)2012-06-24

This is really a great use for pallets.....mostly around here they are used for small animal pens & compost bins. You know, there should be an instructables contest for new uses for all those old Pallets. mary ann

schoonovermr (author)colt7112012-06-24

Thank you and i agree with tbe contest idea. That would be great

Rosilin (author)2012-06-24

Good one for Historical Re-enacting! :) Thank you!

schoonovermr (author)Rosilin2012-06-24


vincent7520 (author)2012-06-23

Bright, simple & nice ! …

schoonovermr (author)vincent75202012-06-23

Thanks! (author)2012-06-21

It looks like the bottom slat of the back is what sets the angle of the chair. You may want to point out that the positioning of it is important,

schoonovermr (author)

I think I mentioned it in a image note, but I should make it more known. Thanks

About This Instructable




Bio: Maker and builder- aspiring woodworker and engineer
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