Pallet and Scrap Wood DIY End Table

I think this is the project I have been most excited about so far! I was cautiously optimistic about how it would turn out, but everyone I told was pessimistic enough to bring me down to earth. Pinterest pallet projects are trendy lately, so there were many examples out there so I could get a good idea of what I wanted to make. However, I didn’t follow any directions*.

*Having a super handy dad to guide you and try to take over the project helps get around this obstacle.

And so here is my Memorial Day cabin weekend project, finally done! This is the before picture. I started with a couple normal pallets and some scrap woodβ€”2x4s and 2x2s. Step one: we pulled a few of the wider, less junky boards off the pallets.

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If you have a dream in your heart and let your imagination run wild, you, too, can see a beautiful table in this old pallet.

Then, I cut the leg and brace pieces to size. These were cut from the scrap wood because the pallet wood didn’t seem strong enough to serve as the support pieces. To decide what height I wanted, I measured an existing end table. Dad pro tip: measure each piece individually and cut before measuring the next one. Also make sure to cut on the same side of the line you mark each time. After this, I screwed the leg and brace pieces together to form the base.

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Craft projects AND power tools? It’s true, I am the total package. Shout out to my assistant, Doug.

Next, we cut the top (I had to pull the tools out of Dad’s hand to give myself a turn) pieces from the pallet wood and drilled holes in them so they align with the wooden supports they’ll sit on top of.

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Geez, give someone else a turn with the drill DAD.

Next, I screwed the top pieces onto the framework. Hey, it’s starting to look like a table (if you flip your computer upside down)!

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Yessir, the table has a top!

Then, since things were going so well, we got fancy and added a fetching little shelf, just for fun. This wood was cut from the pallet too, but from narrower pieces. The width didn’t exactly add up to the width of the shelf, so I left a little gap in between each slat.

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Top and shelf in place…almost.

Then comes a task I truly abhor: sanding. Oddly enough, the electric sander made a giant difference compared to the grating task of sanding by hand for hours. The fact that I decided this table is meant to be rustic and slightly imperfect helped, too. Tip from me to you: if you state that your intended product is a rustic and imperfect one, you will be very likely to get those results and be less stressed along the way.

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Vroom, vroom! (Electric sanding noise.)

Look at that. Smoooooth like butter. You could rub your powder soft cheeks on it, (does she mean face or butt? I’ll never tell) but I don’t necessarily recommend you try. The table is all constructed already! Wasn’t that fast? Now comes the really exciting part: turning it upside down yet again! Hold onto your hats!

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Here it is, all constructed!

But really, this is actually the exciting part. Staining the table really starts to give an idea of what it’s going to look like when it’s finished. The stain was another leftover freebie that my parents had from somewhere.

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Oops, there’s a stain on my table. [Pause for laughter]. Coat #1 done.

As much as my dad stood watching and endlessly critiquing me while applying a second coat of stain disapprovingly, I went for it. And I love the final color. The darker wood is definitely my style and will fit with my apartment’s decor, too.

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Coat #2 complete.

And now for the fun, endless part: sealing. I ended up doing one coat on the entire thing, a second coat on all the visible outer pieces, and a bunch more on the top and the shelf, probably six coats total. The idea of the seal was to fill in as many of the rough and uneven areas as possible. Plus, it gives it a shiny, smooth look.

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Seal the deal.

So, without further ado (this got entirely too long but I am just so excited), here’s the final product!

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No, of course I did not stage this picture. I always read Emily Post by the dim light of my antique lamp.


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It fits perfectly in the spot I wanted to use it!

Oh, just one more picture, why not?

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Me so shiny.

As an added bonus, this entire thing cost nothing! I got the pallets donated by a friend and everything else was leftover from my parents or lying around the cabin. So I finally did it. My big pallet project. Whew πŸ™‚

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