How to Make a Coffee Table From a Shipping Pallet

By Debbie Williams

Pallet furniture is very popular right now and it is relatively easy to make. Pallets come in various sizes and qualities. You should look for the best pallets possible. Be sure to ask before taking pallets from a place of business. Some manufacturers recycle them and charge the vendor for lost pallets, but many businesses are happy to get rid of them. Pallets are made from different kinds of wood and some are even hardwoods.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Pallet coffee table

How to Make a Coffee Table From Shipping Pallets

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credit: Debbie Williams
Supplies for pallet table.

Step 1

Acquire two pallets, the same size if possible. If necessary you can dismantle one of the pallets and reconstruct it to match the other one. You will need casters for the base, 3-inch high density foam and a fabric or vinyl upholstery material to cover the top cushion. Please see the last slide for a list of specific materials needed.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Cut out the bottom cross braces.

Step 2

Turn one pallet upside down. Set it up on a worktable and cut out the cross braces on each end. It is important to cut these out instead of just removing them. Leave the center section in place. Do the same thing to the second pallet.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Fill in empty sections on side pieces.

Step 3

Replace any missing or broken boards. Use the cross braces you removed to cut small pieces to fill in spaces on the side pieces so that when pallets are laid bottoms together there are no empty spaces between the aligning side pieces.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Sand the pallets until smooth.

Step 4

Lightly sand the tops of both pallets. These will end up being the covered top and the bottom side of the finished table. Sand the undersides, sides and ends of the pallets until smooth.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Stain the inside of the pallets.

Step 5

Apply the stain to the insides of both pallets. Let the stain dry completely according to the product directions. Brush on at least two coats of a water-based polyurethane.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Mount the casters to one of the pallets.

Step 6

Turn over one of the pallets and attach the casters to the side of the pallet with the slats. Use wood screws to mount the casters where there is plenty of wood thickness and bolts with nuts on the thinner slats.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Attach the pallets together.

Step 7

Align the pallets bottom to bottom as closely as possible. Attach them together with the mounting plates spanning the seam between the pallets. Put one plate on each corner. Finish sanding the outsides of the pallets where they are now joined to be sure you have a smooth, flush finish. Stain and apply polyurethane using the same method as the inside.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Cut and glue down high density foam.

Step 8

Cut 3-inch high density foam to fit the top of the pallet table. Use a strong spray adhesive to attach pieces of foam to each other. Spray a coat of adhesive on the back of the foam and carefully lay this foam pad in place on top of the pallet.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Set the upholstery in place.

Step 9

Lay the fabric over the foam. Set a couple of staples in the center of one side. Move to the opposite side and putting a little tension on the fabric, set a couple of staples. Do the same thing to the opposite sides. Pull fabric straight and staple from the center to the end on one side.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Fold corner in a straight line and staple in place.

Step 10

Pull the fabric around the end on which you have been working and staple in place. Starting on the next side, fold back and in a straight line down and staple in place. Continue in this manner around the rest of the table.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Trim off excess fabric.

Step 11

Cut the fabric off with a sharp blade utility knife at the bottom of the top board all the way around the table. Check for staples that missed the board or are protruding and remove or tap down with a hammer.

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credit: Debbie Williams
Finish trim with mitered corners.

Step 12

Stain and finish enough trim to cut pieces to fit on each side. Use mitered corners if possible. Nail trim pieces in place with finish nails. Set nails and fill with colored wood putty.