Posted: Nov 10 2013
by: Jill Johnson

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DIY- How To Make A Pallet Coffee Table

I love my "new" eco-chic coffee table! Another great way to re-use something that already exists in the world. This project is simple and can easily be finished in a weekend. You can see a quick video right here on bunnyjacksontv but there's a lot more detail and instruction below.

Of course, there are many things you can do with a wood pallet and many different ways to make one into a coffee table.  Here is what I did, but you can adapt my DIY with your own ideas and imagination. Also, different pallets have different configurations and dimensions so just work with the pallet that inspires you. I've seen them stained or painted colors.. lots of possibilities.. Here is how I made mine....

First, assemble all of the things you will need. Here are some notes about what I used:

  • 1 Wood Pallet. They come in different sizes and are constructed in different ways. I chose this one for it's rustic patina.
  • Scrub Brush and Soap (My Caldrea dish soap worked just fine.)
  • Saw. I first used a hand saw but it was taking forever, so I switched to a jigsaw. I'm not sure it was the best tool for the job, but it worked. 
  • Wood Glue and Clamps. I cut my pallet in half and stacked one half on top of the other to get the size and design I wanted. My pallet was warped. The wood glue and clamps really helped straighten it out and keep it together.
  • 4 Hinges. This is optional but I like the industrial look and found these cool old hinges at George's Architectural Salvage in Salt Lake City. 
  • 4 Casters. I went with 3" casters that swivel. Before you purchase the casters, make sure you have the right size. This depends on how tall you'd like your table to be, which is dependent on how tall your sofa is. The standard height for a coffee table is from 16 to 18 inches, (mine ended up being under 14") A good guideline is that a coffee table should be about one or two inches lower than the seat height of the sofa. 
  • Screws for the hinges and casters. I was working with 1" wood planks so I chose screws that were 3/4" and 1" long.
  • Sand paper. If you have or can borrow an electric sander, the job will go quicker, but you can easily do this by hand. I used 60 grit paper for smoothing the rough cuts and followed with a much finer grit before the varnish.

  • Paint brush and varnish. There are many eco-friendly varnishes out there. Buy something with little or no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). I used a clear satin finish. It brings out the beautiful old personality in the wood and protects against stains.

  • Accessories for your new table. A new succulent, a piece of stunning pottery, a gorgeous candle or anything else that reveals your personality and style.

Ready? Let's DO THIS!

Clean and dry the pallet.


Using a cats-claw (or hammer and screw-driver), I pried the center plank off the underneath of the pallet and removed the old nails.

I cut the pallet in half. This required two cuts per plank.. see the photos....

Then, I took the two halves and stacked one on top of the other. Like making a sandwich. I took one half and inverted it so the good side of the wood was towards the floor and then put the other half on top of it with the good side facing the ceiling. 


I glued and clamped the two pieces together.

Yep.. that's an instagram shot and if you happen to be following this and making your own right now.. take a pic and don't forget #bunnyjackson #imadethis.. and if you happen to be wearing one of my Bunny Jackson mini skirts  #iheartminiskirts.... in which case I LOVE YOU!

Back to our project..

While your future table is in clamps, screw the hinges on. 

Like this:

Next step... Screw on the casters. 

Style Note: I almost ordered hair-pin legs to use instead of casters but I wanted to get my table done without waiting for the order. However I think these would be super-cool too. Tip: If your casters swivel around, like mine, make sure when they swivel, they still don't protrude from the base of the table.


ALMOST DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

 All you have to do now... is sand all the rough edges.. and.....


Thank you for reading my DIY post! What do you think? I welcome your comments and ideas below. If you like this post, please share with your friends and if you'd like to get an occasional email from me, I hope you'll sign-up for my mailing list. 



  • Hi Jessica- You can use either polyurethane or marine spar depending the finish you prefer. I used Miniwax brand Fast-Drying Polyurethane in Clear Satin. (I should have added a photo of it). I like it because it’s not too shiny and didn’t change the color very much. I only varnished the top to protect it so I didn’t want it to look too different from the rest of the wood. Side note: I like using marine spar for other projects. It dries very glossy and more golden; it’s great for refinishing vintage bamboo!! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I’t so glad you’re trying this project and can’t wait to see results!

    Posted by Jill on October 07, 2014
  • I already have my pallet. One thing is that I’m very confused about varnish. All I see at Lowe’s is polyurethane or spar varnish. What type did you use exactly?

    Posted by Jessica on October 04, 2014
  • Thank you Dana!!- And Sally- thank you too and if you don’t end up making this.. maybe we can do it together whenI get a chance to come visit you!.. ‘Cause I am coming Miss WildHeart!! xoxo (that’s for anyone else reading this.. go see her site.. RULES!)

    Posted by Jill on November 12, 2013
  • F’n GORGEOUS!!

    Posted by Dana on November 11, 2013
  • Jill this is so rad and I want to make one immediately! Aweosme job and thank you for sharing this with us!


    Posted by Sally on November 10, 2013

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