Upcycled Outdoor Furniture Set




Introduction: Upcycled Outdoor Furniture Set

This is my first instructable.  I have been building with pallets for about five years, enjoying their low cost, versatility and cool weathered/industrial look.

I have decided to turn a few of my projects into instructables - apologies if there is a lack of pictures - but most of the projects I'm sure have been covered before one way or another - hopefully these can help people to design their own upcycled creations.

This is a three piece set I built last year of a reclining chair/ottoman, a four seater outdoor bench and an 8 seater outdoor table - complete with herb garden insert (you could replace this with an ice chest or condiment holder or anything you wanted.

Please check www.craterobber.tumblr.com for lots of the things I have made.


Step 1: Materials

Pallet wood - easy to come by - my preferred method is to pry a gap between the top boards and the rest of the pallet with a chisel or pry bar and then cut the boards free with a sawzall (reciprocating saw).  This leaves the nail heads in which looks good - or you can pull the nails once the boards are free and re-use the holes.

For this project I used a drill and driver, skill saw, recip saw, pry bar and some good quality self-tapping screws.

To make the frame I also got some left over 2x4 and other off-cuts - this meant the size of the table was limited to my longest offcuts.

Step 2: The Frame(s)


Unfortunately I cannot find a picture of the frame but it was a basic square panel with a middle stud to add extra support (I later had to cut the middle out of this to fit in the sunken planter).

You can either make a table to suit the size of the boards or more likely cut them to suit your preferred length.

Make sure your cuts are level and straight and everything is square when you put it together - unfortunately working with pallet wood means a lot of the boards won't be perfect.  It is however a lot easier to piece them together if you are working with something that is already straight and true.


The basis for this bench was a large shipping crate I found discarded.  I added a 2x4 frame to the inside in order to support the weight of four people on top of it and patched up broken pieces.  This process again depends on what materials you have to start with but ensure you are strengthening any box you find, it is not a good look to have someone fall through a piece of your furniture!


Some off-cuts of 16mm ply were used to cover either end of the tyre.  I simply screwed the wood into the rim of the tyre using self-tapping screws.  

Step 3: Pallet Cladding


At this point I used the stockpiled pallet boards to clad the table - fixing them to the frame with self-tapping screws at either end.  If you have different pallets and different boards arrange them to your liking - remember it is best to lay everything in place before you start fixing things together.

I also decided here to insert a small square box wooden planter I made from some ply offcuts.  This meant the middle 2x4 had to have a piece taken out of it and replaced with the planter.  I then affixed batons round the sides of the planter and the half pallet boards directly to the baton.

You could clad down each end of the table for quite a good look too.


Again a mix of boards was used - all different lengths.  I decided to fix everything and then cut to get a more even finish.  Once all the boards were screwed into the frame underneath I simply ran a saw down the back edge to keep everything flush.


Again same principle except here all of the wood used was from the same pallet.  I fixed castors to the ply on one side of the tyre and the pallet boards directly to the rubber on the other side.

I then used the thicker supporting wood from a pallet to build up a backrest to the seat (layered on top of each other) and clad that in the pallet wood.  

The two sides (arms) are two pallet boards fixed to the backrest and bottom of the chair. 

Step 4: And Finally..

Finishing touches.  Everything can be stained or varnished to your liking - remember if you are going to build these to use outdoors to stain/varnish well and with a few coats to ensure these last more than one summer!


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    9 years ago

    As a final decorative step on the chair, something that popped into my head was how great the tire would look wrapped with sisal rope. Either way the entire set rocks. Add a washing machine drum fire pit, encase a mini fridge in a pallet board façade, and your outdoor summer kitchen/entertainment room is complete. Great job!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Love the idea my area has lots of pallets. Any idea how many are needed for each project?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, I used about 20 pallets total as I try to only use pallets that are already broken or have some slats missing. You could size down the table / bench depending on how many you have at hand. Cheers


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for the great ideas. My friends think I'm nuts for bringing good pallets home. I've used them for flooring in a temporary storage shelter (dirt floor), and as bases to keep plants off the ground. My next project is to get a bunch of them and make a makeshift fenced area for my dogs, so I can let them out all at once, rather than one at a time on a chain. Only one dog is mine. One is my sons and the last is one I'm long term dog-sitting. I love the picnic table one.


    i love the idea of taking something that others consider a throw a way and making it into something new. this is just awesome.

    Nostalgic Guy

    I like the table & bench they look great & the construction is be simple enough for almost anyone to recreate with readily available hand tools.
    It's always good to see people making use of timber that otherwise may end up in landfill.