A Table/bookcase Made From a Pallet





Introduction: A Table/bookcase Made From a Pallet

About: I work voluntarily to help develop the community where I live. I like to explore new areas and experiment with making things myself. I am extremely passionate about making the change to a future where we re...

As it's easy getting hold of pallets, I like turning them into nice furniture. I had the idea of combining a table with a bookcase itself and so planned this.
I used: One standard pallet, some venetian blind strips, four small metal brackets, thin plywood board found at the bottom of drawers, some plastic wheels that move in all directions. Some short screws (1cm) and some longer (4cm is good), a few nails (4cm).
Tools: I mostly do things manually so used a saw, screwdriver, sandpaper plus an electric drill.

Step 1: Getting the Wood Ready

First, you'll need to do the plan and measurements and this will mostly depend on the width of the wood so when you put pieces together, the sides will join with the others. Therefore as this one is made up of three pieces of wood together, the width of those three need to be the same as the length of the pieces so that they will match when joining to the other sides.
Just draw out your plan, see how many pieces you'll need and cut them accordingly.
Measure the size of the books you'll want to put in there then make your dimensions fit these. I wanted four separate book sections so the depth will be a little more than two book depths and a little higher than the books are so you can get them out easily enough.
I did mine so that some side pieces would be horizontal and some vertical as you'll see later but you can do it how you like.
Then, for the table top, I used four pieces as I wanted it to be bigger than the body part so they were cut longer. You can see them at the top left of the photo.
I sanded down each piece and got the ends smooth, just with normal sandpaper wrapped around a spare piece of wood.

Step 2: The Base and the Sides

I used two other pieces of wood to fix the base together. you can nail them or screw them together. I used nails. These pieces are where the wheel will go in so you'll need to drill four holes in the corners that are the width of the metal rods that are attached to the wheels then just slot them in at the end. Make sure they fit in tightly so they won't fall out.
For the sides I screwed in each piece to fit along the edge of the base. It's best to use two screws for each one so they won't twist. Don't use nails for this as there's the chance that the wood will split, being close to the edge.
Continue in this way for the opposite side but don't fit the top onto it yet.

Step 3: Dividers

This is where you'll have books on both sides so for this I used the plywood.
To hold them in place, I used some thin pieces of wood tacked in with enough space between them to slide in the plywood. I chose two pieces just so the colours would go together as the other side was white but that's up to you.
You'll need to cut the plywood so that it slots in really snugly. This way, there's no real chance of it coming out.

Step 4: Fixing the Other Panels Together

The next step was putting the top on what I'd got so far. The three pieces need to be held together again so I used the venetian blinds for this. You could also use other thin strips of wood if you have them. Basically, you don't want them to get in the way of books being put on the shelves. I used short screws to fix them in place in the position where they will go inside the sides of the the walls.
Then screw the top onto the ends on the sides and follow the same kind of pattern for the upper part.
I had the upper panels made horizontally and held them together with blind slats again as I didn't have any more thin strips of wood. You can see the dividers done like that on the photo.

Step 5: The Upper Section

The upper two walls were also screwed to what is now the middle piece. I put a blind slat across the middle for the plywood to sit on although it's not really necessary. Cut some more plywood and slot it in as before.
Then, the last piece to make it the table top. I didn't want screws to be seen on the top so fixed the four metal brackets onto the corners as shown. Place them so that when you put the table top on the brackets will join to two pieces of wood on each side so the whole top will be fixed. Then, you can screw upwards with tiny screws.
For the four longer pieces that formed the table top, I again joined them together with blind slats which again, you'll need to make sure will sit inside the edges once you put it on. Then screw on the table top and it's done.
I chose some gloss varnish to finish it off and it is now a snug little table that can hold about 40 books. Ideal if you have a reading chair where you can rest your mug of warm broth and your pipe. :D



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    14 Discussions

    I love this plan, it came out beautifully and I appreciate the simplicity with tools and instructions. I had seen a similar one for children's books that was quite expensive (over $200) and not as attractive as yours. I think I found my next project, thanks!

    1 reply

    I love this idea. Just waiting gathering all my tools for my projects. I'm not crazy about the wheels (my kids would turns this into a soapbox racer). Other than that, I hope to have photos in about 2 weeks.

    Very nice design, it's useful, looks good & really well made. What are the dimensions - total height, width and depth of it also the height of each shelf, the table on top, curious. If you don't mind giving, thanks. I would love to get my husband to make some of these!

    1 reply

    Thanks. The dimensions just depend on the size of the wood you are using. It's about 60cm high altogether and the table top is about 40cm wide.

    I have seen so many "pallet" furniture pieces that were crude and ill designed then built with all the craftsmanship of an insane beaver that I almost skipped this 'ible. I'm glad I didn't! This is a well designed, very usable piece of furniture, well made and yet constructed using essentially free "scrap" wood. Very nicely done! I'm off to my wood pile to start the selection process for my own copy.

    When I started making things out of pallets I used to sand them. That got really dusty though so I bought a thickness planer. I haven't gotten any new used pallets since I moved. There is a lot less around by me now. When I used to get pallets though I'd get like a dozen at a time. When you're working with that many pallets you don't want to sand them, believe me.

    1 reply

    I always wear a face mask when I'm sanding as it can cause respiratory problems so that's a good tip to point out. If you're making something with a pallet, the wood as it is is usually very rough so it needs sanding if you want to make furniture from it.

    Best pallet idea I've seen in a long time!! ....had enough of the 100+ takes on coffee tables :-b
    Permission to steal kind sir, this is exactly what the doctor ordered.....needed one for exactly that purpose for a long time.
    Thank you for submitting this, now, time to find me a free pallet or two :-)


    3 replies

    Thanks a lot. Yes, I like to come up with different things. It makes it more of a design challenge. Feel free to use it, that's what it's for! Put a photo on here if you make one. :)

    Thanks Elliot,
    you wouldn't happen to have your plans handy, and if you do, would you mind posting them?
    I'll post a picture or two once I get my hands on a pallet. Going out this afternoon to look for a couple.
    Thanks again,

    Sorry, no. I didn't actually draw out any plans, only a sketch of the finished idea, which won't be of any use.