Make the most of your outdoor space this spring and summer with a custom-made piece of outdoor furniture. It’ll give you space to sit in your garden to read a book or sip a cooling drink. Plus, the cushioned base and back make sure it’ll comfy for lounging on your decking all summer long.
You could use any kind of old pallets to build this bench, or you could even construct a similar version of this outdoor sofa using pressure-treated timber and chunky garden fence posts to create your own design. Just look around and see what leftover timber you can find to build your thrifty garden project. And, once you’ve made your outdoor sofa, it can stay outside in all weather – just remember to bring in the cushion pads in the evening so that they don’t get wet!
You will need
- 4 x pallets (these are 1200 x 800mm with internal blocks rather than beams)
- Set square
- Jigsaw and a hand saw
- Palm sander and sandpaper
- Drill and drill bits suitable for wood
- Screwdriver and screws suitable for wood
- Spanner and 10 x M6 bolts with nuts 50mm
- Wood glue
- 4 x castor wheels with brake
- Sunlounger cushion
Step 1: Cutting out the pallets
To cut the ‘arms’ of the pallet sofa, use a set square to draw straight lines across the sides of the pallet, alongside the internal blocks. Leave one full plank at the top of the pallet to use as the back of the sofa. Use a jigsaw to cut along these lines on the top and underside of the pallet. This will create ‘arms’ on the sides of the pallet. Depending on the type of pallet you’re using, you may need to make one more cut across the back of the pallet to separate the middle section, leaving one full plank across the back as a backrest.
Repeat this step to create a second arm frame from a second pallet.
Step 2: Sand the pallets smooth
Use an electric sander to sand off all the rough edges of the arm frames until you have a smooth finish. If you need to get between the gaps of the pallets, use a piece of sandpaper or a sanding block to manually smooth down the surface. Sand down the whole top surface of one solid pallet to form the seat layer. The sand around all the edges of the second pallet for the base layer. Be sure to thoroughly sand the front of these pallets, as this is where your legs will come into contact with the wood and you don’t want any splinters or sharp edges.
Step 3: Drill pilot holes for the bolts
It’s time to measure and drill pilot holes for the bolts that will hold the sofa frame together. Use a drill bit 1mm larger than the bolts to make it easier to thread the bolts through. Add four holes across the front of the two base pallets where they will meet when stacked together.
Then, measure and drill holes in the back of the base pallets and in the back of each of the arm frames. I used 6 bolts at the back because I’m also glueing the arm to the base, but you can use more bolts if you have them – adding four pilot holes across the back of the frames too. When you stack up the pallets, all the pilot holes should line up, but don’t bolt them together yet.
Step 4: Attach caster wheels
Turn the base pallet over and attach castor wheels to each of the four corners using long screws that are suitable for wood. Put this pallet flat on the ground and put on the brakes on the castor wheels so that it doesn’t move. Stack the second pallet on top. Bolt the two base pallets together at the front and back, using a spanner to tighten the nuts and bolts.
Step 5: Glue the arms together
Where the arm frame meets the base pallets, cover the area with wood glue. Stack the arm frame onto the base pallets, line up the pilot holes and bolt the arm frame to the base at the back. Repeat this step with the second arm frame, adding wood glue to the underside and bolts at the back.
Step 6: Create a comfy cushion
Depending on the size of your pallets you may need to search online or in garden centres to find a suitable-sized sun lounger pad or bench cushion for the sofa seat you’ve created. Or you could upcycle an old lounger cushion pad or have a piece of foam cut to the right size.
In this instance, the sun lounger pad I used needed to be cut in half and the loose edges stitched back together. You can hand stitch or use a sewing machine to neaten the edges or leave them raw. Here, I’ve used one-half of the lounger cushion on the base of the pallet chair and used the other half as a back cushion.
I hope you like this tutorial and please let me know if you have a go at making it yourself. As always, take care when DIYing or using tools and materials – and always be safe! I’d love to see your own photos of your pallet sofa so please feel free to tag me @cassiefairy on Instagram in your makes!
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