Recycled Pallet Projects, Part 3: Outdoor Coffee Table

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Deck screws
Electric screwdriver
Wood Stain or paint
Paint brush
1 wooden 4x4
2 wooden pallets

Wooden pallets serve their purpose in carrying items and materials from one location to the next, but after that what are they good for? There are actually a lot of projects you can do with wooden pallets, but one that is quite useful and easy to create is a coffee table. Save yourself some money and help minimize landfill waste by creating a coffee table you can use outdoors with some patio furniture.

Before You Build

Determine how high you want your coffee table. Most coffee tables are about 18-20” tall. Each wooden pallet is approximately 5” tall, so two of them will be 10” of your table height.

Step 1

Inspect your pallets before you do any work with them. Wearing some safety gloves to protect against wood shavings and splinters, check for any damage across the pallet to make sure the entire surface is usable. Look for anything dangerous, like odd smells to indicate a hazardous product spill, oils stains, or any protruding nails, which can be removed with pliers or a hammer.

Step 2

You need to cut 4 pieces from the 4x4 to go in between your top and bottom pallet as the middle, and then you will need 4 pieces to be your legs underneath the bottom pallet. A good height for coffee table legs is about 3-4,” leaving your middle pieces of wood to be about 4-6,” depending on your preference. Cut all 8 pieces from your 4x4.

Step 3

Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots on the wooden pallets. If you are going to apply a wood stain or paint, it will be easiest to apply it before your coffee table is put together. Then you need to give the pieces and pallets time to dry before you assemble your project.

Step 4

Determine where your screws are going to connect your 4x4s to your wooden pallet. Using a drill bit in your electric screwdriver, drill holes into the 4x4 where your screws are going to go. This is actually optional, but it makes the process much easier when you are drilling your screws into place.

Step 5

Take your bottom pallet top side down and have your 4x4 legs handy. Each leg will be placed at each outside corner and your screws will secure the leg to the pallet by going at an angle through the edge of the leg up into the pallet. With your screwdriver and deck screws (to avoid rust), screw 2 screws through each side of each 4x4 leg, so that all legs are securely attached. You don’t want your screws to protrude through the first piece of the pallet wood, so make sure to start the screw low enough on the 4x4 leg that it will not go all the way through.

Step 6

Flip the bottom pallet right side up and set it on the new coffee table legs. Now you want to secure your 4 middle pieces to the bottom wooden pallet using the same method. Again, be careful not to let your screws go all the way through the top piece to the pallet, to avoid sharp screws sticking out that could scratch someone.

Step 7

And finally, you can secure your top wooden pallet in the same way, by securing the 4 middle pieces to the pallet with screws angled in on each side. This may be easiest to do by putting the top pallet upside down and setting your middle pieces on it. This will make the angle easier to screw down into the top pallet. Make sure your screws don’t protrude too far again.

Step 8

Set your table upright and admire your work! You may want to check for any touch-up areas, or paint over the top of your screws if you don’t want them to show. Set an outdoor plant in the middle and you are all done!