DIY Rustic Pallet Coffee Table

By Dana Fox

When I started the project I’m about to share with you, I had no idea what I was doing or how it would turn out.  Luckily, I am thrilled with the results:

This rustic looking coffee table was made with just two pallets.  There had been a bunch of pallets stashed next door as they had just finished hauling new building materials in on them.  I walked by them for a couple of days, with ideas stirring around in my head.

Last weekend I convinced Dustin to help me craft a table with them. I pretended to know what I was talking about when I explained my idea to him… but let’s be honest, I was totally making it up on the spot.

(^ haha).  He willingly started to help me, which kind of surprised me because he usually thinks my ideas are ridiculous.  So, we started out with two pallets. I knew that I wanted to stack them to make a little magazine shelf and I wanted the gaps in the boards closed up. So first things first, we had to tear those babies apart.

Step 1: Obtain Pallets
Step 2: Remove boards from the top.

D hammered the boards off from the opposite side.  We had a nice collection of rusty nails afterwards.

While he was doing that, I was giving them a light sanding.  Once all of the boards were off, we had to put them back on, only this time they would be side by side.

Step 3: Place boards back on frame, side by side.

Since the boards were now side by side the width was smaller, so we just cut the remaining frame off of one side, which worked well because the size we ended up with was much better.  Then we screwed the boards back in, using the existing nail holes.

Step 4: Cut off excess frame
Step 5: Screw boards down

We did this to both pallets. (Remember, we are using two so just do the exact same thing for both.)

This is where D started to doubt me and wanted to give up on the whole project. He said it was looking horrible and “wasn’t cute”. *gasp* how dare he!  After a lot of arguing about what exactly “rustic” is, he agreed to finish helping me.

Next came the legs. I just used the scraps of wood we had chopped off from the frame and cut them to size. My legs were about 8.5″ tall.  Then they were simply screwed into the bottom pallet.

Step 6: Cut legs to size and screw into bottom pallet

Then came more sanding. Being that these are pallets, they are super rough and need lots of sanding.  I used an electric sander for this part. Once they were nicely sanded, I stained them! The hardest part of this project was getting the stain right.  I originally tried using an ebony shade and it just turned out super black.  Then, I tried a reddish cherry stain (I wanted it to match my existing furniture) and again, it turned out super black.  I opted for a lighter red oak shade and it seemed to do the trick.  Just remember that if you’re making one of these, the wood is untreated and soaks up the stain, so go a few shades lighter than what you really want.

Step 6: Sand and Stain
Step 7: Varnish

After the stain was dry, I covered it with a clear varnish. Once it was all pretty looking, all we had to do was put it together. We brought it into the house first (because this thing is HEAVY and it was easier to take it in 2 pieces).  Then we just set the bottom half down, and placed the other pallet on top of it. You can screw it down but we left it for fear of having to move it again in the future.

Step 8: Put top pallet onto bottom pallet and you’re done!

I am so happy with how it turned out. I love how it’s not perfect and has a bit of rustic charm.  It also perfectly fills the large space we made it for, and the stain matches our existing furniture! D also instantly changed his mind about my “ridiculous idea” once he saw it in the room. I told him he needs to learn to trust my furniture choices 😉

My favourite part is the little “B” detailing on the wood… and of course the magazine shelf!

What do you think of our table project??  The best part? It was completely free!!!!

*Note: If you have purchased this table off of a seller named Old Bits of Wood or oldbitsofwood on Etsy, you have been scammed. He has been selling my table and using these photos in his listings for over a year. It blows my mind because he is not even showcasing the actual item his sellers will receive, and yet my photos have been the whole source of his business for years. After contacting Etsy’s legal department they had all been removed, however, he’s back at it again with no shame.  This table is NOT sold anywhere as it is a FREE d.i.y. project and profiting off of it defeats the entire purpose. Any table purchased from this seller will NOT look the same as the wood and detailing is unique to this single table. Using this project concept for profit is strongly prohibited, and the design and all photos belong to myself, © 2011*

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Dana Fox
Dana Fox
About me

I am a country loving Canadian with a mind that never sleeps. When I'm not running the Wonder Forest blog ship, you can find me creating artwork for phone cases and home decor, whilst managing the daily tasks of Dana Fox Creative. Visit me at the links below if you wanna be friends!


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  • Jessica @ jessicaNdesigns

    I LOVE it!!! I actually have this project saved in my to do folder for when my kids are big enough not to get hurt on a coffee table!


  • Rebecca’s Emporium

    You are a genius!! :)

  • wildchild

    this is such a good idea! i want a pallet and room for a coffee table stat. but i totally understand having a boy who is not so excited about all your great ideas. mine looks at me like i'm crafty crazy all the time.

  • jessie

    That is beautiful! You are so amazingly creative. Seriously though, it turned out great. And the best part is whenever anyone asks or says something about it you can be like "yeah. i made that. i'm awesome. no big deal."


  • Irene Wibowo

    nice idea! love it! :)

    Love Simple Green

  • Stephanie {Luxe Boulevard}

    Now see, I was telling my husband he should bring home some pallets from work before they shut down for good. He kept arguing, why do I need pallets. In case I needed to make something with them. YES!!!! I will forwarding this to him.

  • Mal

    I love this, such a cool piece!

  • Gentri

    I absolutely love this! I've seen soave projects with a simple pallet and love them all! Who knew they could be so chic? :)

  • Erika Lee @ A Tiny Rocket

    it turned out FAB!

  • Stephanie

    Great job! That table looks like the kind of thing Restoration Hardware would charge a ridiculous amount of money for. I'm impressed!

  • mybeadifullife

    wow! that looks good

  • Lisa

    I love it!!! can't wait to try and find the stuff so I can make one for myself!

  • Jello♥

    what a neat idea! i love it!
    well done!

    = )


    Wow, that came out great!

  • Jessica Wray

    you're so talented!

  • Charissa

    I love this. Rustic is my absolute favorite.

  • my best friend jules

    Oooh! What a stunner! I love how it turned out! You're pretty good "making up" stuff on the spot 😀
    xxx mervi

  • Kyla

    Oh my gosh, I LOVE that table! It adds such a cute charm, and it's sure to be a conversation piece!

  • Julie Ann

    I love this!!! I might have to try it!

  • sécia

    This is fantastic and truly beautiful!

    ♥ sécia

  • Tempestt Evans

    This is absolutley fabulous! I love it sooo so much! Great job!

  • Faith

    omg, it's incredible! i love it! i want one!

  • punkychewster

    that table is so dreamy! i imagine placing lace doilies/covering and vases of fresh flowers!! good work!

  • sweetheartville

    Great idea! I love how you kept it low to the ground, too.

  • Mel

    How wonderful! I actually have two pallets in the cellar that I've been cracking my head over on what to do with them. This is perfect!! Love the rustic touch!! great idea!!!


  • Monica

    SUCH a great table. Good job. Maybe someone already asked you, but did the vanish cover it enough so it won't give slivers? I feel like it looks like sliver central!

  • FrancescaGatti

    I need to do this. Moving into a new flat in a week and we definitely have to have one of these!
    What a brilliant idea! xx

  • Ellie Sew Sweet

    What a beautiful way to UP-cycle! Love it!

  • Grace

    I always love all your pictures, they're so artistic and pretty!

    xx Grace

  • Ashley J @ MommyByDayCrafterByNight

    This turned out beautiful. I love how earthy it looks. Pallet furniture is popping up all over but this is one of my favorites I have seen! I would love it if you would link this up to my Ta-Da Tuesday Link Party!!!

    xoxo, Ashley J

  • he calls me wifey

    this table project is awesome. i REALLY love it!

  • Jess@Balancing The Dream

    I love it!! It looks perfect in your room!!

  • Karena

    Love this idea! I would love for you to share it on my link party this Friday at

  • Candace @ Candace Creations

    I love your pallet coffee table it is so awesome and the photos are great too. Thanks for linking this up at scrappy saturdays and making me drool…lol! You're going to be featured this weekend so come back over to check it out, grab a button if ya want and link up anything else you got! I hope to see more of your great work at scrappy saturdays!


  • Faith

    Love it! It looks so rustic but yet industrial somehow too. Awesome job!

  • Michelle @ My Life as a Mrs.

    This is great!! And a nice, simple tutorial…love!!

  • Honey at 2805

    I've been seeing quite a few items made from pallets and your table i quite unique.

    I would be delighted if you would link up to Potpourri Friday (in progress) plus a giveaway!

  • Rachel

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this. You are being featured this week at Lines Across My Face. Thanks for sharing and I hope to see you again.

    Also, I love all of your projects and I am happy to have found your blog.

  • Alana Karl

    what an awesome table, way to show him that you had a great idea!

    coming over from the idea room.

  • Mel M. M. McCarthy

    I want to make one of these big time. It looks gorgeous!

  • DeeAnn

    Very clever! I love it.

  • sam

    this looks great – just pinned it x.

  • Je suis une monstre

    Hey Dana, just discovered your blog, and absolutely LOVE it! Great photography and ideas. I love this rustic pallet table so much, I featured it pon my bloglet, in my Five Fabulous Fings on Friday post. You can have a peek here if you wish:

    Looking forward to having a home with enough space to accommodate one soon!

    Keep up the great work, Katie. xxx

  • Whitney

    Love it! I'm copying your idea, this weekend. Thanks for the Instructions. It will look great in my new apartment. :)

  • Rebecca – A Daily Something

    This is insanely awesome – I want to do the same thing w/a few pallets I've been eying – also at a farm up the road. haha!

  • Diane

    I Love it!!!

  • Unknown

    What a great idea! Planning on making one – maybe tomorrow. How do you attach the top pallet to the bottom pallet though?

    • dana @ wonder forest

      We didn't attach it, it sits on the top of the base. It's heavy enough that it doesn't move. we figured that attaching it would make it much much harder to move (it is REALLY heavy).

  • richeyk

    Going to build one for our sons new apt in NY! Thank you!!

    YEARS and I mean at least 25 years ago we built a wooden patio out of pallets..before we had real jobs and could not afford lots of lumber… and that lasted us for at least 3 years and was FREE!

  • richeyk

    Going to build one for our sons new apt in NY! Thank you!!

    YEARS and I mean at least 25 years ago we built a wooden patio out of pallets..before we had real jobs and could not afford lots of lumber… and that lasted us for at least 3 years and was FREE!

  • richeyk

    Going to build one for our sons new apt in NY! Thank you!!

    YEARS and I mean at least 25 years ago we built a wooden patio out of pallets..before we had real jobs and could not afford lots of lumber… and that lasted us for at least 3 years and was FREE!

  • Gary ®

    I love that table. There are also small pallets, and I think I would have to make maybe an end table or two to go along with that. NICE!!

  • Julia

    What a cute project! I love it so much that I decided to feature it in our roundup of rustic crafts! Check it out here:


  • Alan Triffitt

    Hi great idea,I've used pallets before for making stuff, stools,shelf units etc, and to save all the sanding which is a bit of a pain I used a propane blowtorch. This burns all the rough spiky bits of wood off and really brings out the grain of the wood; all it needs then is a stiff brush down and varnishing or better still waxing.

  • Ali

    Looks great I want to find out what is the best way to make pallets safe enough for indoor use. I read that they are dangerous for inside use especially if there are kids in the house because of the chemcicals used, possible mold, bacteria etc?

  • Ali

    What is the best way to make pallets safe enough for inside use. I heard that because of the possible chemicals, bacteria, mold they are dangerous for indoor use especially with the kids.

    • dana @ wonder forest

      If you don't know where your pallets came from and are unsure about bacteria, etc., scrub it with soapy water and bleach and allow it to dry completely. I don't recommend using any pallet for food related items, or anything for children or to use as toys just because you cannot be 100% sure that (even after scrubbing it down) you got all of the crap off of it. If you're concerned, then maybe pallets aren't for you. These pallets were just used to carry heavy construction materials so I wasn't too worried about pesticides, etc. They were more dirty than anything, and the sanding took care of that.

  • thejunkdrunk
  • Elena

    I love that table.
    Great idea I try to make one!!!


  • TeriFromKansas

    I'm in the process of making this table right now! I haven't used my blog a lot lately, but I posted my progess and will post more once I finish the table.

    I hadn't seen any comments of people who attempted this table yet, so I thought I'd share. :)

  • Kelsey Ray

    Please tell me what exact stain you used?! I love this color and would like to try it myself. Thank you!! :)


      I'm sorry I don't recall the exact stain. It was done 2 years ago and I no longer have the can. It was a dark cherry colour.

  • Mac Cutting Boards

    Very cool! I always love repurposing woods (scraps used and unused) to make it into a functional decorative piece. I love the rustic look! Thanks for sharing!

  • DMG Freight Services

    Excellent use of old pallets, well done, very impressed

  • Bert

    Rustic pallet coffee tables seem to be very popular. I think they are a good alternative to traditional coffee tables. I dunno if everybody is ready for them though. People who are not design explorers will just stick to the conventional styles.

  • Katie Walters

    LOVE this!! Thanks for posting! Any ideas what the dimensions are?

    • Dana Fox

      Not sure off the top of my head. The width of a standard wood palette minus about a foot in length!

      • Katie Walters

        Awesome, thank you!!

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