This was an easy project that only took a few hours from start to finish. Not including the stain and polyurethane, which I had on hand, total cost was $40.00.
Step 1: Materials
-Foam topper (varies depending on pallet size)
-Fabric (2 square yards)
-Stain of choice
-3 inch blocks (x4) (optional)
Step 2: Select Pallets and Fabric
When choosing the pallets the size isn't as important as making sure the 2 pallets are generally the same length and width. If one is slightly larger use it as the bottom since the smaller pallet will make up the difference when the foam topper and fabric are applied later in the process.
Measure the largest pallet, length and width, prior to selecting and cutting your fabric. Remember that you will be wrapping the fabric over several inches of foam, so be sure to leave yourself some room. Our pallets were 48" X 36", and we used 1.5 square yards of material. It made it a little harder to get enough material over the foam to attach to the pallet, but still worked alright. 2 square yards probably would have worked a little better.
Step 3: Sand and Stain
Sand pallet to remove rough edges and splinters. Apply choice of stain. In the interest of time we only stained the visible portions of the bottom pallet (see picture). We used 2 coats of red oak stain and wiped each coat with a rag after letting it sit for a minute. We were going for a more rustic look so we used light sanding and wiping the stain. Next apply polyurethane. The more coats you apply the shinier it will be. 2 coats were sufficient for our purposes.
Step 4: Attach Foam
Using the measurements obtained prior to cutting your fabric, select a foam topper that will cover the the top and wrap around all 4 sides to the bottom of the pallet. We used a 1.5" memory foam mattress topper for a queen size bed. We attached the foam to the bottom of one of the long sides approximately 1 inch in using our staple gun. Next we pulled the foam over the top of the pallet around the side and attached it approximately 1 inch in to the bottom of the pallet with the staple gun. Be careful how tight you stretch your foam. Depending on the type, if you stretch it to tight the staples will just pull through. Wrap the remaining shorter sides in the same manner and attach with the staple gun. Finally we cut the excess off with a razor knife, laid it out over the top of the pallet and secured it the top edges of the pallet through the first layer of foam with the staple gun. Since the mattress topper was a little thin we decided to double layer the top. There are thicker, denser foams out there, but they are considerably more expensive.
Step 5: Attach Fabric
Lay your fabric out flat face down on the ground. Lay your pallet upside down centering it on your fabric. Using the same method as the previous step, take the staple gun and attach the fabric directly to the pallet just past where you attached the foam. Attaching the fabric directly to the wood gives you a better hold then trying to staple through the foam.
Step 6: Attach Lower Pallet "Base"
Take your newly upholstered pallet and lay it cushion side down on the ground. Now take your second pallet, laying it on the first so the bottom of the upholstered pallet contacts the top of the second pallet and attach. This will be the "base" of the ottoman. We used a finish nailer and inch and a quarter staples to attach the two pallets. We stapled them together where he slats of both came in to contact. Some downward pressure may be necessary to compress the foam enough to attach the slats. In the pictures I was standing on the base to accomplish this.
Step 7: Attach Blocks Optional
Depending on the height of your furniture two pallets might not be tall enough. We didn't realize that until later. Rather than stain another complete pallet and attach, we used some 3" blocks I had from another pallet as "legs". Once sanded and stained we attached them to all 4 corners using 2" brad nails and the finish nailer to shoot them into the sides of the blocks at a 45 degree angle. This also kept the weight down. I plan on adding casters shortly and will update when complete.
Step 8: Sit Back and Relax!
Sit down, put your feet up and enjoy the fruits of your labor preferably with a cold beverage!