Coffee Table - Single Pallet

Introduction: Coffee Table - Single Pallet

About: Hi guys, my name is Luan Retief. If you are reading this it means you have found me on instructables for which I am very grateful. A little bit about myself: I am a director and co-owner of a irrigation tech...

For this very easy DIY instructable I will be showing you how to make a coffee table from one single wooden pallet. My wife and I recently moved into our first little home and suddenly realized that we have a serious shortage of furniture. This is the first project that we are taking on to correct that. I will give step by step instructions and advice on how we went to work making this coffee table.

The parts you need:
> a pallet
> paint
> screws: 12 x M4x40 and 8 x M4x70

The only tools you will need is:
> a saw (I used a saw and a hand held jig saw)
> a drill (used for drilling and as screwdriver)
> a sander
> pliers
> a hammer
> a paintbrush

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Getting the Pallet in a Usable State

For the idea that I had I needed the pallet in at first two pieces, a top and a bottom. Now there are plenty ways to take apart a pallet, but if you have quite an old one like myself the best way is a little force. As shown in the pictures I used a rubber mallet to bang out the support pieces. I was not planning to use those pieces so I it did not matter if they took a bit of a beating. This was the fastest and easiest way to take it apart and leave me with the pieces I needed. It took me about 5 minutes.

Step 2: What to Do About the Nails

For this project you do not even need to take out the nails! The nails are the glue keeping the pieces of the pallet together, so why bother to take them out. Rather just tuck them away neatly saving you time, effort and money (seeing that you do not need to screw the parts together).

What I did was to cut all the nails sticking out in half using pliers. This left me with shorter pieces that were easier to work with. Next just take a hammer and flatten the nails into the wood. (TIP: Get them as plat as possible!) All of this is shown neatly in the photos. Now its on to the next step.

Step 3: Cutting Into the Sizes You Need

The first cutting needed is to split the top into two pieces. This will give you the two surfaces you need for the table, one top one bottom. the pallet I used had 9 cross pieces on it, I split it so that the top piece had 5 pieces on it, 2 wide ones and 3 narrow. I made sure to split close to the wide piece as not to leave any pieces sticking out. This left me with 4 pieces for the bottom one 1 wide and 3 narrow. (In the next step I will show you how I changed the bottom piece for what I needed.)

I used the support pieces that used to be on the bottom of the pallet as the legs of the table. For this I just measured the height that I needed, marked off with a ruler and pencil and then cut into length.

Step 4: Changing the Bottom Piece

As you can remember from step 3, the bottom piece is one wide and 3 narrow pieces, well I need 4 narrow pieces. So what I am showing here is how to change it into exactly that. First I marked off the amount that I want to take off from the wide piece, the I used the ruler to get a straight line on which I will be cutting. I then used the jig saw to make cuts up to the line, resulting in much shorter cuts when I had to split the wide piece. (This is a valuable tip for using as it remarkably reduces the chance of cutting skew due to the lack of concentration on a long cut.) Then I just cut off all the remaining pieces standing out.

Step 5: The Corners and the Sanding

I did not want any sharp corners that could hurt someone (myself) so I cut them off at a 45 degree angle. This looks nice and is a bit safer. I then continued to sand down all the pieces so that they have a smooth finish ready for painting.

Step 6: The Painting

We decided to go for a two tone finish so my wife did the painting part. She mixed up some grey paint using black and white and continued to paint the two surfaces with this. We went with white for the legs and supports.

Step 7: Starting to Assemble the Table - the Legs

Now the assembly can finally start, this is probably the easier part of the whole project as everything is now ready to just be put together. All that is needed now it accuracy when marking off. So to measure where the legs should go I traced them in position onto the bottom of the top surface. Then I marked where I want my holes and I drilled them, careful not to go to fast as it can then brake out on the other side. I then placed the legs on table and drilled through the holes into the legs just to make a spot, then I continued to drill the legs deep enough afterwards. In the one picture you can see the method I use to remember which leg goes where, I number the position and the leg with the same number and give myself a reference point as not to forget which way round it is suppose to go.

Step 8: The Legs Continued

I then proceed to put in the screws. I first put them through the surface, sticking out a bit (as can be seen in the second photo) this makes it much easier to align the leg as it has also already been drilled. I then continued to do the same for all for legs. Now I already have a table but it is still missing the magazine shelf.

Step 9: Adding the Magazine Shelf - the Supports

First I need to add the supports on which the shelf will be resting. I used some things lying around to locate the support on a height that I wanted. This was to ensure that both sides end up on the same height and level. I then drilled the holes in the same way as I did with the legs earlier. Then I continued to just screw them into position, this is where i used the M4x70's. These supports have a double goal, the are there for the magazine shelf, but also to add support to the table legs.

Step 10: Adding the Magazine Shelf - the Surface

All that is left to do now is to put the shelf into place, position it and fasten. I could simply slide in the shelf and hook it over the supports as this was the way it is designed to work. Then I just added four screws to keep it in place. And that was that.

Step 11: The Final Project - Finding a Place to Put It

Finally the project is done and it is time to sit back and look at what you have created. It is mind blowing to think that this entire table was made using one single pallet!

I hope you enjoyed this step by step guide and that everything was clear and easy to follow!


Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Be the First to Share


    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest
    • Wearables Contest

      Wearables Contest
    • Fix It Contest

      Fix It Contest

    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is a really great pallet table! Thanks for sharing the steps to build one!

    Luan Retief
    Luan Retief

    Reply 3 years ago

    It's a pleasure! Let me know if there is something you have questions on