How to Make a Coffee Table Using Pallets

October 6, 2016

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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We had a fabulous time last week down in Florida. Starting the week off with my cousin’s beautiful wedding (by far the most gorgeous I’ve ever been to) in Pensacola and spending the rest of the week (which went by way too fast!) in Destin. We had sunshine everyday–PERFECT! But more than that…we were with family. 🙂 Hard to leave and say goodbye, but so many great memories were made!

Vintage Wedding

We rented an AMAZING home that slept all 18 of us (my side of the family). If I could style my home after any home, it would be that one! They put shiplap ALL OVER that house…floors, ceilings, walls, right down to…they even had shiplap on the garage walls! I’m going to put a link HERE, in case you want to check it out–it really is something to see. Lots of new ideas are now floating around in my head.

Sand Between Your Toes House

I could go on and on about our trip, but I’ll save you all the details and get to the primary purpose of this post…the long-awaited, wedding gift to be unveiled.

I knew I wanted to make my cousin, Summerlyn and her groom, Robert something by hand that would be functional for their new home together. BUT it also had to fit in the back of our SUV for the drive down there. So needless to say, I was somewhat limited. After giving it much thought, I decided on a coffee table. But not your typical coffee table, because again, it had to fit in the back of the truck. I had made a pallet coffee table for a friend a little over a year ago and LOVED how it turned out!

The assembling of this build is super-easy. The toughest part about the whole project is taking apart the pallets. I have a blog-friend, Gail at, who wrote a post on this very topic. The tool she used would make this endeavor A LOT easier. You can read her post HERE.

But for now, onto the build:


***Track down 3 pallets. Because pallets are put together so rough, I have found that having 3 of them to work with is the best case scenario for this project. Many times you end up with broken boards. So the extra boards come in handy.

***Many times pallets are laying around outside of businesses (such as warehouses, grocery stores, etc), but always be sure to ask before you take them. In some cases, they receive money back for returning their pallets. So it’s best to ask before taking.

***My pallets practically dropped in my lap. My neighbors were doing some major landscaping and had several pallets they were looking to get rid of. Score for me!!


***Use the tool mentioned in the post above to tear apart your pallets. If you have a reciprocating saw (also called a Sawzall), it works well too.

***The goal is to break the pallet down to individual boards.

Disassembled pallets


***Do a mock-build. Figure out which boards you’re going to use and which ones you’re going to discard or save for another project. Also this will give you an idea of how close together you want your boards.

coffee table mock build


***Because pallets vary in size, you may have to cut your boards to get them all the same length. This is best done using a miter saw.

Step Five: SAND!!!

***Sand, Sand, Sand and Sand some more. This is, by far, the most time-consuming part of the project. I like to throw in my earbuds and sand away with a 60-grit sandpaper, using my Rigid Random Orbital Sander.

Ridgid Orbital Sander


***Lay out three cross-boards (these are the boards that the horizontal pallet boards sit on to separate your shelves).

***Place your boards for the bottom shelf on top of the cross-boards. (I tried to use my rougher boards, since they won’t really be seen)

***Drill them into the cross-boards and flip this section over. As shown in the picture below.

Pallet Coffee Table 1

***Paint your bottom shelf boards. You really only need to paint about half-way, because the middle boards won’t be visible when fully assembled.

***Paint the tops and sides only. No one will see the bottoms (unless they’re laying underneath your coffee table. 🙂  )


***Drill each board onto your cross-boards.

***I have found that the best screws to use for pallet projects are Coarse Thread Drywall Screws. For this project I used 2 1/2″ screws #6.

***Paint…again. 🙂

pallet coffee table 2


***Set three cross-boards perpendicular to your middle shelf boards. (One on each end and one in the middle….as shown below)….

pallet coffee table 3

***Using a Kreg Jig, drill these cross-boards into your middle shelf. If you don’t have a Kreg Jig, I highly recommend getting one. It makes projects so much easier. I love my Kreg Jig and use it all the time! Without one, you will have to drill sideways down into your cross-board..not easy to do, but can be done.

Here’s a picture of my Kreg Jig…Don’t let it intimidate you. It’s VERY easy to use.

Kreg Jig Tool


***Follow the same procedures for step 7.

Pallet coffee table 4

Here’s a side view…

Pallet coffee table 5


***This is where you give it the character you want.

***Here are the steps I used to get the look below:

I: One coat Kilz primer.

II: Two coats Behr Marquee Ultra Pure White paint.

pallet coffee table 6

III: Dry-brush a black glaze over the entire coffee table. (I used Restored Garage Custom Chalk Paint: City Midnight Glaze–but really any black glaze would work).

pallet coffee table 7

IV: Sand the entire coffee table again. Rough it up a bit, distressing the edges, corners and individual boards randomly.

V: Apply one coat wax. (I used Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax).

Pallet coffee table 8

Step Eleven: ADD WHEELS

industrial wheels for furniture

***Now you’re ready for the last step. Add your wheels. I ordered mine through Amazon and spray painted them with Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint.  Here’s the LINK to get the same wheels I used. I found them to be cheaper as a set of four, rather than buying them individually from Home Depot.

pallet coffee table 9

And that’s it!!! I know 11 steps sounds like a lot. But I really did break it down into each little step. The hardest part is disassembling your pallets, the most time-consuming part is sanding, the rest is fun and easy. This thing takes shape fast and it’s so rewarding to see it all come together.

How to make a coffee table out of pallets

Here’s a front view of it, where you can put magazines, remotes, etc…

How to make a coffee table out of pallets 2

I know the bride and groom loved it!! And that was the most rewarding part of all. 🙂

pallet coffee table wedding gift

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