Introduction: Underlit Pallet Bed

About: I am an old mother, grandmother, and wife, and have just in the past few years realized how much I like and am able to make things out of wood. I have always liked making things, just little stuff out of clay…

I needed a bed in our multi-purpose guest room and wanted a full-size bed in there. My Underlit Pallet Bed is what I came up with!

Step 1: Day 1 - the Basics

I started by planning it out on graph paper and did a test dry-fitting with the pallets on the ground in the way I had it planned out. I thought I had it the way I wanted, but I still cut it out backward. So, plan B was to add on an extra section and 9" on both sides. OK, I made it over that hurdle! Time to really get building!

Step 2: Day 2 - Building the Foundation

First, I put the pieces together to make the bottom of the bed, including those patches mentioned above. Since I had to put legs on it, I began by assembling it upside-down. I began with the bed legs and made them out of salvaged 2 x 6” lumber. They were screwed onto the bottom of the board one at a time, mounting them successively into one another. I made the legs four layers deep, creating 8” of lift. Finally, I put the legs in places I thought may need support, also bearing in mind that I don't want to smash my toes while making the bed.

Step 3: Days 3 and 4 - Painting, Lighting, and Finishing Steps Along the Way

Time to paint! This was going to be too heavy to do all the painting at once, so I had to plan accordingly. I painted the underside section and let it dry. Next, I added a string of tiny lights in the middle between the boards, making sure I had the correct plug ends at the bottom at the top, as I planned to put lights in the head and foot boards and wanted them all to be on at the same time. I fastened them in with zipping ties and staples.

To finish the feet, I added peel-and-stick felt bumper pads to prevent scratching the floors and to make it easy to move the furniture for cleaning. My husband and a friend's son flipped the bed over for me after everything was dry.

Step 4: Days 5 and 6 – the Headboard & Footboard

To make the headboard, I varnished and sanded one pallet and attached it to the bed after it dried. It needed another half a pallet to complete the width, which I cut, varnished, and attached to the head of the bed and to the piece already there. Next, I put a power strip and a phone charger for the little phone cubby, and another power strip plugged into the first one, to use as the on/off switch for the lights. I attached a string of lights inside the headboard and plugged them into the ones under the bed.

For the first part of the footboard, I used part of a pallet but added wood to fill in the spaces between the natural deck boards. I sanded and varnished as described before, and let it dry. Then I attached a string of lights to that part and plugged them into the ones under the bed.

To make the last piece of the footboard, I put leftover pieces from other projects, but had a last minute idea! I decided to put holes with my 3/4" drill bit and inserted flat glass marbles in the holes.

Step 5: Days 7, 8 & 9 -Eevaluation and Second Thought Mods

The pictures show it before I touched up the holes and smoothed them out. When it was dark, I didn't like how poorly the light showed through the marbles, so I added more slats of wood, and a piece on each end to close it in more. Now the light shines through the marbles in the dark.

I had most everything around here that I used to make this Underlit Pallet Bed, with the exception of the varnish. I used about a quart and a half to do the footboard and headboard. It turned out a lot better than I thought it would. Soon the family will be trying it out, and I hope they’re very surprised!

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017