My friends have a sunroom with no furniture, and I have a surplus of weathered, old, wood pallets. Sounds like an opportunity for both of us. After all, one of the definitions of pallet is “bed.” An upcycled pallet daybed is a simple project you can do in a day or two with basic tools and excellent results. I got my pallets from a horse ranch where they kept hay bales off the ground, but you can find pallets for free, being thrown away in alleys, or given away via Craigslist.
Step 1 – Clean Them Up
These pallets have been outside for a long time, so as-is they’re not something you’d like to lounge on. They’re not so much dirty, as housing colonies of spiders and earwigs. I evicted all the crawlies with the high pressure spray of a hose. Do this in the morning and leave the pallets to dry in the sun.
Step 2 – Wreck One
Two of the pallets will be used for their structure, but from the third we need the parts. Pry the slats off with a flat bar and a hammer, or a crowbar, or a pallet wrecker if you have one. For some projects its fine to just cuts the slats off, leaving the nubs attached to the internal frame, but don’t do that here because we want those inner members too. Disassemble the entire pallet.
Step 3 – Attach the Casters
This bed’s on wheels. Cut 3 1x4s the length of the remaining pallets. Set one aside for later. You should have some 4x4 blocks from the pallet you took apart. (There are different varieties of pallet, so you might not get these blocks. In that case, get some 4x4 lumber.)
Screw these down to the corners and the center of the two boards, so each has 3, equally spaced blocks. Screw a caster to each block. On the board that will go in front, use locking casters.
Step 4 – Secure the Bed
The base of the bed is two pallets butted up to each other. To keep them together used a brad gun to tack the 1x4s across the bottom at the front and back, so the casters are at the corners, with the locking casters on the front edge. Tack the third 1x4 across the center. Screw these cross pieces to the inner frame of the pallets every time they intersect.
Now the pallets are a single, secure, rolling unit.
Step 5 – Create the Backrest
Now you’re going to use the slats. You need something round to create your pattern. I used an upended 5-gallon bucket. Set the slats around the bucket like rays extending from the sun. Start with slats extending from the center line of the circle, opposite each other, and continue the arc on both sides ‘til they meet at the top.
Measure the distance between the ends of the bottom slats and cut a 1x4 to that length. Remove the bucket and set the 1x4 along the bottom of the array. Now cut 2 1x4s to go from the top of the array to the bottom of the cross piece, and 2 to go from the edges of the arc to the bottom of the cross piece. Tack them all together, securing the slats in the arc. Set the crosspiece of the backrest along the back edge of the bed and screw it in place.
Finally, cut a string to the length of the bed. Secure the string to the center of the cross piece and holding it taught use it as a guide to mark a pencil line in an arc across the array. Cut the array down to side along this line to make it fit the bed.
Step 6 – Finish
These pallets have been out in the weather so long they don’t need to be protected from the elements, but if yours are fresher wood use a stain and sealer to protect it. When it’s dry, you can dress it up with some indoor/outdoor pillows or cushions - but not too much - you don’t want to cover up that aged wood or hide your handiwork.