California, Green, Ramblings, the Ridiculous, Urban

How To Make a DIY Pallet Coffee Table (and a Bonus “DIY Guide to Writing DIYs”)

  1. IICDIYCDI = If I can do it, you can do it. And IICDI, trust me, YCDI. (Note: I’ve also included a DIY Guide to Writing DIYs in this post so watch for that in blue.)
  2. (When you write DIY project reports, you ALWAYS tell why you DESPERATELY NEEDED to do the project you are about to brag about, so I did that here for you.) I wanted to make a coffee table for a shared office because I bought a little rug from Ikea on clearance and it just begged for a coffee table to go on top of it. (At this point you want to include a picture to whet their whistle.) Here’s a picture so you know what I’m talking about.taple top
  3. (This is where I make it sound so easy when, in fact, it actually is not so easy unless your brain is wired this way.) The first task was envisioning the table and collecting the pieces. I wanted something using as many reclaimed/repurposed items as possible to create a very useful coffee table while retaining the rustic, vintage, chic, hipster character of the original items  (You have to use a lot of these adjectives to describe your DIY projects if you want anyone else to think it’s cool and/or worthwhile.).
  4. Every time I’m in my car, I have on my “junk finder” goggles that help me see other people’s trash as my future treasures so I’m always on the lookout for pallets, tires, and other gems to jam into the hatchback and dump in our backyard. (This is where I brag about my neighborhood and how lucky I am to find everything I need so easily when the reader will likely never encounter a pallet on the side of the road and will end up paying for one on craigslist or at Anthropologie.) I have found so many awesome items on the side of the road that have become staples in our backyard – tables and chairs, pallets, picket fencing, large tiered wooden structures, and even a kitten. All you have to do is keep both eyes on the sidewalks while driving and you’ll be amazed at what you find. (Again, chances are you will never find anything good, but keep trying.)
  5. oldpallet(Watch out, here comes the obligatory confession of near-failure to make you feel not so bad about the huge foible you are bound to do when trying this at home.) I found a GREAT pallet a few blocks from my house that I dragged home by hand. I used a sawzall/reciprocating saw to chop the pallet in half because it was way too big for a coffee table and (here’s where I give a little shout-out to all the other creative things I do and how great my life is to have a woodpile out back.) I needed half of it for my woodpile.I kept the half-pallet I saved in the garage because I didn’t want it to get rained on (you have to include such obvious details so no one can come back at you and whine and/or sue you because of their wet, warped, and/or moldy pallet). As it turns out, I decided this pallet would be way too heavy and thought about scrapping the project for good (not really, but saying this makes you feel better about all the projects you’ve scrapped in the past).
  6. This left me at square one until I happened to find the PERFECT pallet just blocks from my house outside of a storefront that’s being renovated for a new local coffee roaster (again, bragging about the neighborhood is key here). There were two pallets and a few pieces of plywood, but I had to leave one of the pallets because it wouldn’t fit in my car (saying stuff like this, that “there was so much stuff on the sidewalk I had to leave perfectly good pallets behind,” is key because it makes people drool with jealousy since most will never be able to find a pallet on their own). The pallet I found was thicker than normal and better wood, so I immediately thought KNEW it would be a perfect tabletop for my project.
  7. My LHS (use abbreviations like LHS to talk about your local hardware store to indicate DIY-superiority) is going out of business (of course, your’s isn’t, so you will not find prices nearly this good anywhere) and I made a few trips there to buy spray paint and pipes, all at 50% off normal price. I paid about $8.50 for everything I needed. (No matter how much you spend, say it’s under $10 so everyone is amazed at how cheap it is to DIY when, in fact, it’s not that cheap.) The only thing I couldn’t find at the hardware store were the flanges needed to secure the pipe legs to the tabletop so I had to buy them on a major retail website (everyone knows you’re talking about Amazon, but don’t say Amazon or link directly to the product to add mystique and/or uniqueness to your project). The flanges also cost no more than $7.49 (say this even though they cost more, see two comments ago if confused).
  8. Finally, I had collected all the pieces. Now, the hard part – finding the time to put it together (LOL!!!!! (DIYers like to LOL!! at stuff like this since our lives are SO busy and it is so difficult to find time to keep track of all the little projects we have going on at once)). Finally I had a free Saturday and was able to sand down the tabletop with an old sanding block (lie and say you used an old sanding block instead of the orbital sander you ACTUALLY used in order to make it sound like you are a lot heartier and intense than you actually are) and then sprayed a light coat of primer spray paint, followed by two light coats of London Fog gray spray paint. Table Side Not too thick, or you’ll cover up the wood grain and have drippy drops of paint running down your table (You should always list one or two errors/pitfalls you would never make but other people probably will). I also spray painted the pipe legs a bright, glossy Colonial Red. I left the flanges and end caps their natural pipe-y color.
  9. Next, I screwed in the flanges and secured the legs. I’ll be honest, this was the most rewarding part – knowing that I was in the final stretch of the project. There were even some tears (there weren’t, but saying there were adds to the sense of accomplishment).
  10. Finally, the project was complete and I was able to enjoy the coffee table. It looks just GREAT and I COULDN’T be happier. (You really have to sell the completed project as having really filled a giant hole in your life or no one will want to make a coffee table or any other DIY project of their own. It always helps to include a picture with you gathered with family and friends enjoying whatever it is you just built, so everyone can actually see how happy this project made you.)

everett on table


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