Easy Little End Tables in 2 Hours




I spent forever shopping for end tables that were small enough to fit on either sides of our bed. There's not much room between the sides of the bed and the wall one one side, and a patio door on the other side. I finally gave up and decided to make my own.

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Step 1: Rip Apart Two Pallets

Get rid of any nails and sand the boards down a bit.

Step 2: Make the Legs

Cut the cross pieces exactly in half (this turned out to be exactly the height I wanted). This will give you 12, but you only need 8.

Step 3: Make the Tops

I cut 3 boards exactly in half (or whatever width of the table you want). I wanted them narrower so they'd fit on either side of our bed. Cutting them exactly in half gave me about the size I wanted.

Cut 4 smaller pieces to make a box underneath your table top. Screw them together so they form a cap.

Step 4: Stick'em Together

Screw the legs inside the 4 corners of the caps.

You can make another 'cap' or shelf to sit further down if you want. It adds a little more stability and it looks nice. It's exactly the same idea as building the top cap, just measure and make it a little smaller with no overhang.

The scraps in the front of the 2nd picture are all that's left of 2 pallets. Not bad.

Step 5: Sand and Stain

Or paint.. or just leave them - whatever suits your fancy :)

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18 Discussions


Question 11 months ago on Step 3

So do I only use pallets for everything?
if so, what is the sizes of the boards i cut because in the pictures there is different lengths?


1 year ago on Step 5

We made this table but made it narrower than yours. For top we used 3 pallet boards instead of 4.

It looks great! Thank you!

NatalieL2John An KortneyH

Reply 2 years ago

Hi John, sorry for the slow reply. I actually don't remember! We have a million different leftover screws from various projects and I probably just grabbed what was easy and what made sense to me. Likely 2 - 2.5 wood screws of some non-special variety.


2 years ago

So, just a couple of daft questions: 1) where do you get pallets? 2) I love the look of your finished table. What kind of stain/finish did you use on it? It really looks awesome.

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

Hey ToddR66, sorry for the delayed reply. My husband picked up a bunch of free pallets from the back of a UPS warehouse. I honestly don't remember what stain it was...I had a few leftover cans of various types. My best guess is it was probably a walnut gel stain that I just ragged on to give them some colour.


2 years ago

The base was first stained with 1/3 provincial and 2/3 gray mixed together and applied liberally with a sponge brush. I let it set for about an hour and then applied a 50/50 coat of black enamel thinned with mineral spirits. I wiped this coat on with a rag loosely to allow it to streak on to the surface to darken up the gray but still allow the base layer to shine through.


2 years ago

Dear NatalieL2,
The project looks fairly simple. Im just not as crafty as I'd like.

If it's not to much trouble can you please brake down Step 4: Stick'Em Together. I just want to make sure I do it right.

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

Sure. If you look at the end of Step 3, you'll see where the tabletop or "cap" is put together - basically a square box, and the table top pieces sitting across the top of of the square. Then in Step 4, I laid the cap on the ground (upside-down) and placed the 4 legs inside the box, one in each corner, and then screwed them in place. Then you can turn it over and stand it up. If you want to add the shelf like I did half way down the legs, measure the inside dimensions (how far apart are the legs from each other?) and make another "cap" that size. The lower shelf or "cap" will just be a bit smaller than the table top one, and make it with no overhang,... ie: cut the top pieces to the exact length of your square box. Does this help you? Sorry I'm not very technical at all and tend to go very much by feel.


2 years ago

Great job! You have inspired me also. I was looking for some nice end tables as well. These will look great in my small space. Tks for the 'ible.

Will certainly be making these in the spring. When I'm able to get at the pallets. At the moment they are buried under snow. :-(

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

Thank you :) Glad you like them. They were surprisingly simple and I loved that I could just cut just about everything in half and stick it together without doing much measuring. I'm all for cutting corners and doing everything super simply! And I understand about spring - my pile of pallets is all under snow right now too!


4 years ago

These are awesome! But I wish you included measurements. I have so many diff size pallets :)

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I know what you mean about different sized pallets - I have a huge pile and hardly any are alike. However, with this set up for a small table, I honestly didn't really measure. Cut the stringers exactly in half, and cut the cross pieces (for the top of your table) exactly in half. The only thing you would measure I guess is the 4 boards that make a box under the top. And to be honest I didn't really measure these either. I wanted a little bit of an overhang all around the tabletop, so I cut them a little shorter than the tabletop pieces, so they'd form a box just smaller than the table top - hope this makes sense! If you didn't want an overhang, you'd just cut them to match the same size as your tabletop pieces (which were cut exactly in half). .... With this idea, it wouldn't matter what size pallet you have, each pallet would just make a slightly different sized table (w/in a couple inches).


4 years ago on Introduction

I am a vivid believer of recycling pallets too, but this design is brilliant and far greater than I have achieved. I am familiar of the pallet stringers with the curved cut-away section, so this timber construction really means so much to me. Well done and you have inspired me.

1 reply