Introduction: "Union Jack" Palette Table

Picture of "Union Jack" Palette Table

I present you my first custom order palette build finished just a few days ago. A girl wanted to surprise her boyfriend for his thirtieth birthday so she asked me to do this cool Union Jack alike table she saw somewhere on the web but out of palettes and with glass on top. Here's what I manage to do in approx. 30 working hours...

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Although this project consumed significant amount of working hours (for sanding as always with palettes) it's really very simple and strait forward to do. Here's what you'll need...

- electrical sander(s)
- drill
- paint brush
- sand paper

- 2 x wooden standard size palettes (in EU its 120 x 80 x 14.5 cm)
- about 1.5l of paint (1l black + 0.25l red + 0.25 white)
- 4 bolts with nuts
- 4 standard furniture wheels (I recycled mine from an old office chair)
- some masking tape

Step 2: Paint and Assembly

Picture of Paint and Assembly

So the first thing you should do is drill 4 holes in place where you would like to connect two palettes. You'll have to do this on the 2 bottom boards of the top palette and on the 2 top boards of the bottom palette. So, measure some fixed distance from the edge of the top palette (18 cm worked for me), drill the holes there then align the two palettes to best-fit each other, mark the places on the bottom palette (just nudge the pen trough the drilled top palette holes), take it apart, drill holes on the bottom palette. this way you will have nice fit of the palettes with holes drilled on right places (this is all because palettes often miss the dimensions, sometime more than 5 mm).

After you paint both palettes in black it is time for masking tape and Union Jack flag layout. I didn't use exact flag layout because it was easier to do like this and it's was not so important. Have patience and press the masking tape really god or paint will go under it - this happened to me but was not so important also.

Paint the white parts 2 times, then put another mask for red and paint 2 times and you are ready for assembly.

Of course, you need to screw in the wheels first - just drill 4 holes on the bottom palette and screw or glue the wheels in (depending on the wheels type you have). 

Step 3: The Final Result

Picture of The Final Result

And that's it - you are ready to pimp up your living room with this awesome contemporary recycled table...Align the palettes, fasten them together (do not forget to paint bolts and nuts to black or red) and voila!

Of course, the good thing would be to add some table glass on top but if you don't mind this holes you can go al naturel :) You can modify the build by adding some lights under the top palette or by creating some storage boxes - it's up to you.

Enjoy and geek on!


phenry5 (author)2014-01-23

Thanks for a great idea. This project was a good one. My personalized Blue marlin design.

phenry5 (author)2014-01-22

This is my pallet table. Not finished yet but an alternate design idea.

GEEK factory (author)phenry52014-01-22

Nice...I would love to see it sure to post it ;)

psauvignac (author)2013-09-20

Thank you for your great idea !
I'm moving to my new apartment so instead of buy one desk, and 2 tables, I rather made them with your instructable.
Here is jamaica's flag and union jack and switzerland are coming ;)
I also bought 3 glasses to put on the top but it's too bad that it's so expensive (approx 280 euros :/ )

GEEK factory (author)psauvignac2013-09-20

OMG the Jamaica's one is amazing - can I share this one on FB page? Now when I see it I will do one for myself...

psauvignac (author)GEEK factory2013-09-20

sure, no problem ! But if you can wait for tomorrow, i'll send you a photo with the full project, not like this one in my garage ;)

GEEK factory (author)psauvignac2013-09-20

gr8! I'll wait for better pic...tnx a lot! p.s. you can add your "credits stamp" on the pic itself or you can post the pic on the FB page ( directly so I can share...

Moki1992 (author)2013-07-08

Aha! Ok, puno hvala. :)

Moki1992 (author)2013-07-07

Genijalno! Svaka cast. Jedino me zanima ovaj dio "take it apart"... kaj se tocno skida sa palete?

GEEK factory (author)Moki19922013-07-07 to je u fazi kada bušiš rupe za šarafe - da zategneš palete skupa - jer teško je pogoditi točno mjesto. Znači prvo izbušiš sa donje strane gornje palete, onda ih privremeno obje spojiš skupa i poravanaš kako najbolje paše. Kroz rupe olovkom označiš lokacije na donjoj paleti, pa ih onda rastaviš i izbušiš donju...

abrown39 (author)2013-07-04

great idea man and cool ible, I did notice on error, the horizontal on the cross that makes up the "jack" shouldnt have white lines going all the way across, it should 90* as it meets the vertical, and that vertical is supposed to be the same thickness as the horizontal stripe, so it should be a red cross bordered with white, thats just one thing I noticed, And im an American. other than that great job. One thing i thought might help was buy better wood like for decking or something and make your own pallets that way you wont have to try to fix a sloppily put together pallet with the cheapest wood possible, you will start with quality material so the sanding and prep time should be alot faster, that way you really dont spend as much time on it. If you did that I bet you could still make some decent money at 150 Euro, and deliver it faster, you would probably have to make one that way to nail a price down, but If I could order a custom table like that for around 100-150 plus the glass, or a sheet of plexiglass that is really cheap, that would be great. Maybe even make a few templates and sell a "custom" production piece and then charge more for custom ordered patterns. and if you used plexiglass you could ship it complete, just remember to use a masonry drillbit if your going to drill through plexiglass, a regular wood bit will shatter/crack plexiglass

GEEK factory (author)abrown392013-07-05

Mate tnx for the all inputs - it helps a I mentioned above, I gave a lot of thinking on this subject and the only smart thing I could think of is just combine both. There are two major issues when sanding a palette: one is a fact that there is a lot of hard reach places where you must hand sand instead with the sander. OK, I could take a palette apart but here we come to the second problem - this is not so easy as it sounds. Original EU palettes are nailed together with those special "screwed" nails and when you try to remove planks they crack easily...

abrown39 (author)abrown392013-07-04

I realize using new wood kinda defeats the purpose of re using a pallet, but if your selling them, what is more important recycling a pallet and spending 30 hrs sanding, or just starting with more expensive good wood, and sanding for a few hours? I personally would go with a home made pallet from better wood that way there are no knots to fall out or split boards, or waterlogged 4x4's, I just looked real quick and 2 12ft sections of nice pine decking 1x6's would be about $20 US 2 12ft sections of nice pine 1x4's would be about $12, thats enough for 1 pallet if you make it from scratch reusing 4x4's, and then the 4x4's who cares really about that just tear a pallet down and steal those, Or just replace the top panels only and you could still reuse most of the pallet and end up with a great surface quickly for about $15 USD, Since you would use 1 12ft section of 1x6 and 1x4 to replace the top boards. so add lets say 8 hours of labor on top of that at what $10 an hour thats 95$ in material and labor plus a 10$ sheet of 4x6ft plexiglass and your looking at 105-115$ in material and labor so a $150 price tag would give you 35$ in pure profit and then 10$ an hour for labor. Just a thought hope that helps

deddog (author)2013-07-05

To smooth a rough pallet quickly try going over it with a blowtorch before sanding, it burns off all the rough edges.
Ps: I'm 53, English and I only recently found out that the term "jack" is only [supposed to be] used when the flag is flown on a ship!

GEEK factory (author)deddog2013-07-05

Great advice, tnx for the input...

Blacksedan47 (author)2013-07-05

Nice job, I applaud you for using used wood. People will spend extra money to buy things made from repurposed material. Plus that pallet may have history. No telling where it been in its life.

I agree - that's why I tend to do everything using used wood - recycling is one of 3 principles I run this small geek business of mine - other two are personalization and modularity...

I put a lot of thinking in this new vs used materials, just like @abrown39 suggested, but for me it's not the same, repurposing and recycling something has more sense, especially in this time we live in...

But far from that I wont use new material if needed...especially if new materials relate to some cutting edge and eco friendly technology...

kirnex (author)2013-07-05

VERY cool. Looks great! Thanks for sharing.

8steve88 (author)2013-07-04

Damn right some of us Brits get ornery when it comes to the Union Jack, the term used before P.C. conspired to ruin this country.
How many North Americans would like to see "Old Glary" with the Union canton stretched to eight stripes or shrunk to six stripes.
A nations flag is important to that nation so it's only common courtesy to get it right.

Saying that it is a cool use of pallets, I'm a joiner by trade so know how much effort is involved in getting a good finish. You might want to look at a product called Sanding Sealer, it goes on thick and dries fast, if you are over-painting with an opaque paint is can cut the time to a smooth surface dramatically.

GEEK factory (author)8steve882013-07-05

Steve tnx for the input - sand sealer sounds perfect...only thing I'm not sure I can get it in Croatia...have to look.

Regarding this me not doing the UK flag as it should be, this was not in any way to diminish or hurt someone national pride (believe me, I live in Balkans where we know all about it - we wage 2 wars because of it :D) - it was just a matter of time, where masking a correct stripes ratios took additional time and the time was one thing I did not have. That's why I put this "Union Jack alike" segment in intro - it's not the 100% correct but it looks alike...

8steve88 (author)GEEK factory2013-07-05

No problem, it was a bit of fun, the union jack is a pain in the arse to get right, the ratio of the sides is critical. At school we were made to draw it until we got it right or the teacher got fed up with waiting.
I can sympathise with you, at the moment I'm reading a book called The Eyewitness by Stephen Leather, it's set in the Balkans and makes for grim reading at times. It must have been hell on Earth.
Cellulose sanding sealer is sold on Amazon and ebay in aerosols (wasteful) or in liquid form, or from a a good trade decorators merchants. The beauty of it is that it dries in minutes, I used to use it for a finish before waxing hardwood furniture.
Your table looks great as it is.
If you want a "quick and dirty" finish sand to remove the worst splinters and coat with PVA glue, the white wood glue, it's sold in 2.5 litre tins and can be used as a "size" to seal new plaster. On wood it dries to a satin finish and shows any saw marks etc. It's used like that in summer use log cabins so you get the rough sawn effect but not the splinters.
Good luck in your future 'ibles and best regards from the U.K.

foxworrior (author)2013-07-04

*Union Flag
not "Union Jack"

GEEK factory (author)foxworrior2013-07-04

Well I was guided by the all knowing Wikipedia ( - where Union Jack is one of the synonyms for the UK flag - it seemed much cooler than "Union Flag palette table"...

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-07-02

Don't worry I will put on ur key signature G3D
That is my favorite

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-07-02

You could be on that show called shark tank. Pallet table kits just BUOP
bring your own pallet

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-07-02

Wow that is a great idea accally
But any how I think I am going to give it a try my self

stunami (author)2013-07-02

Cool idea, and I definitely like the end result. However, and I'm surprised no one else mentioned this, but when doing the union jack, many Brits can be kind of ornery if you get the ratios wrong on the diagonal stripes.

GEEK factory (author)stunami2013-07-02

@stunami thank you and you are right...that's why I wrote "Union Jack alike" in intro text - to have something to defend myself, if someone attacks :)

I really had no time to do this as it supposed to be...but next time I'll do it right!

GEEK factory (author)2013-07-01

MrCOOL tnx for the response - well I could do it for 150$ (or 200$ for the one with US flag because of the more complex masking and painting) but I just had an epiphany: instead of the table I could just make and sell flag stencils (or blueprint, not sure what's the correct term)! :D

Shipping a 50kg table is something no one will pay but anyone can sand and primer paint it at home and then just use my adhesive stencil to finish the thing of...And these stencils can be cheap and easy to ship anywhere...

StoryAddict (author)2013-07-01

Fantastic job! I really love the design.

GEEK factory (author)StoryAddict2013-07-01


TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-07-01

I think I will give it a try my self though

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-07-01

Mabey $200 or $200-$275 with glass

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-07-01

Mabey like $75-$150

CraigRJess (author)2013-07-01

Nice work. It blends perfectly with your couch and the living room. The wheels are a great idea too - I have them on mine.

GEEK factory (author)CraigRJess2013-07-01

Actually it's my friend living room-this was a gift for him but thanks anyhow...the table really does fits perfectly.

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-06-30

I still think a American flag on it would look boss

zrtyler (author)2013-06-30

Sporting the Union Jack: What better way to look cool while celebrating imperialism?
The repurposing of a pallette is nice

rodsanewman (author)2013-06-30

I would love to see one made with an American flag on it...

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-06-30

THIS IS AWSOME how much for something like this but with a American flag instead on it

Hi mate...this can absolutely be done and delivered to you - the only question is does it pays off due to fact I'm from Croatia - from tomorrow we are a part of EU so exporting (I presume to US) something like this is much easier...

I was thinking hard about the price for this - I always tend to give very low prices so anyone can afford it but still to earn something - but in this case is very hard. Sanding (and painting - especially with 3 or 4 colors masking and painting system) this palettes take too much time and if I would calculate all working hours the price would be to high.

So my answer for the price would be around 150€ (without the glass) + shipping costs - for Croatia this I cannot achieve...that's the reason why I did these kind of stuff only for friends so far - they buy the materials and I invest my time.

I really do not know what to say - maybe you (all of you) can help me by telling me how much would you pay for a table like this?

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-06-30

Also do you deliver your creations

mistafixit (author)2013-06-30

What do the keys signify?

GEEK factory (author)mistafixit2013-06-30

The keys are my logo on all products I do - basically G3D is a short for G33K Design (GEEK written in geek language :D ) and at the same time it emphasize 3D design I do... 

HollyMann (author)2013-06-30

Good job - looks nice!

GEEK factory (author)HollyMann2013-06-30

Tnx! I love it to...

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