Introduction: Rustic Pallet Nightstand With Lamp

For over a year now I've been without a light on my side of the bed. I figured that after I made my wife her lamp out of black pipe I would come up with something for myself. I couldn't imagine something that i would like that would fit with our taste.

My wife found an awesome blue rusted cast iron pulley from 1905 at a scrap yard and with that I finally got the inspiration to build my lamp for my side of the bed.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


  • Pallets, about 4 or 5
  • 1x2's
  • Screws
  • Spray Lacquer
  • Black pipe with fittings for your design
  • Antique pulley
  • Sisal twine
  • Lamp socket with cord
  • Light bulb
  • Outlet with box
  • Short extension cord
  • Spray paint (I went with hammered dark gray)


  • Table saw
  • Planer
  • Drill
  • Wood drill bits
  • Sander
  • Steel wool
  • Screw driver
  • Wire stripper
  • Torch
  • Grinder/Dremel/File
  • Rope making machine (I will talk about other options for this later)

Step 2: Constructing the Nightstand

For the making of this Instructable I will not really give measurements for everything I am doing because there is room for creativity that will fit you and the space you have. I hope that this will inspire you to make your own and change anything that I have done to make fit your personality.

I will give you the overall dimensions of the base nightstand to give a reference for the project. It measures 15"w x 15.5"d x 28"h

I started with several pallets, about 4 or 5, that I dismantled that gave me some wide and skinny slats. I did have some that split in this process so you need to take that into account. For dismantling pallets there are several Instructables here that go into detail that can help.

At this point I decided to plane down all my boards to clean them up. you can choose to leave them as they are if you like the ruff look.

All sides are made up with three boards butted up tight to each other. Cut all the boards to the same width that will add up to give you the desired depth. And then cut them to length for the width (top and bottom) and height (sides).

Construct the top and bottom panels first by cutting 1x2's to the same dimension of the depth of the three slats together and screw them to the three slats making sure everything is flush and tights on the ends. Now cut two more 1x2's to fit the space between the first two 1x2's. screw them onto the other two sides to create a box.

Next screw the side panels on by flushing the ends with the 1x2's of the top and bottom panels. Do the left and right panels first and finish with the back panel. The back will cover the left and right side panels.

If you want you can add a shelf in the middle by following the same steps as the top and bottom panels with only the first two 1x2's as supports. Position and level it at the desired height and screw it into place.

I decided to add a drawer to the bottom shelf and used the same method above to build it. because I used skinner slats I added a gap between some of them on the side panels which helped in the end to give me a spot to pull the drawer out in the front.

Step 3: Adding Lamp Stand and Power

Because this will be a nightstand I wanted a outlet to power the lamp and a phone charger.

I got a basic electrical box for an outlet to mount on the inside of the open shelf. The outlet I chose had not only the common plugs but also two USB ports for my phone charger. It was a 3.5 amp port. This is a bigger outlet depth wise so I need to grind down some plastic on the electrical box to make sure the outlet fix ok. I popped out one port in the box and placed in the nightstand where I wanted it and traced out the location of the port. I then drilled out a hole in the back panel to feed in a cord to be wired up to the outlet. I then screwed the box into position.

To wire up the outlet I took an extension cord the had a beak in the line that exposed some wire and cut the six feet off of the male end of the cord which had no breaks in it. First strip off enough insulation to wrap the bare wire around the screws on the outlet. The black wire will go to the brass/gold screw the white wire will go to the silver screw and the green/ground will go to the green screw. For my outlet I simply pushed the wire under the screw and tightened it done and gave the wire a tug to make sure it wasn't going to slip out. After everything is wired up screw the outlet into the box pulling the excess wire out the back.

For the lamp stand I used 1/2" black pipe and fittings. There are two floor flanges, two 90 degree elbows, one tee, one end cap, one coupler, one 12" pipe, one 3' pipe, one 4" pipe, one 1-1/2" nipple and two 1" nipples.

Some parts where covered in a coat of oil to protect it from rusting. This is unsightly to me so I took some steel wool and dish soap to scrub all of it off.

I assembled them as pictured. The two sections will be joined together and screwed to the side of the nightstand opposite the bed.

With the lamp stand attached I put four coats of spray lacquer to bring out he color of the wood and protect the black pipe from rusting.

Step 4: A Different Take on the Rope Light

When you hear rope light you think of colorful christmas lights that run the length of the rope. My take is a little different.

I wanted to have a lamp cord run through the center of a larger diameter sisal rope. I made a few attempts to do this and I will explain them and show you the way that I settle on.

My first thought was to take the length of sisal rope and the cord and carefully twist open a section of the three main strands of rope and push in the cord and continue that down the length of rope. This worked but exposed to much of the cord in the center. This is a good opposition if you do not have a rope machine and to get around the exposed cord you could buy or paint a cord that matches the color of the rope.

Next I tried unraveling the three strands completely and rewind them with the cord in the center but I could never get the strands to wind back up tight enough. it looked very sloppy.

I finally decided I needed to make my own rope. I made a machine that would do all the twisting using small strands of sisal twine. I plan on making a different machine that I will post an Instructable but he one in the pictures I made quickly because I was anxious to get done and post this Instructable.

The basics of the machine is to string several strands of twine between three hooks on one side and one anchor point on the other side. The three hooks on geared to a hand crank the will twist the strands together tightly. With a guide to keep the three main bundle of strands separated it moves from the single anchor point down the length of the rope. Adding the twists into the three bundles of strands in one directions causes the now three larger strands to twist the opposite direction as you move that guide down the rope. Before twisting I added lamp socket and cord into the middle.

Again I will be doing an instructable on how to build this machine and make rope. Hopefully soon so look for that.

The funnest part of making the rope was burning off all the small strands that stuck out from the rope.

Step 5: Finished and Final Thoughts

To finish I hung the pulley onto the pipe black pipe between the coupler and end cap which helped hold it into place and not slide around. Then thread the rope plug end through the pulley and down to the side of the nightstand. I took advantage of a natural knot hole to feed the rope through to get to the outlet. You might have to drill a hole if you don't have knot hole anywhere.

I am very please with the outcome of this project. The biggest problem I ran into was getting the cord into the rope. I plan on making a longer one in the future as a part of the rope making machine instructable that I talked about. The extra length of the rope will allow to wrap it around the bottom of the lamp stand section.

One other thing I would like to change in make the drawer a little smaller so it slide in and out a little easier. Keep that in mind you plan on making this.

I would love to hear any comments you have on this project.

Thank you for your interest and if you feel its worthy I would appreciate your vote in the wood and lamp contest.

Step 6: Rustic Pallet Nightstand With Lamp

Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Wood Contest 2016

Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016

Participated in the
Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016