Rustic side table made with pallet wood.


Spring is here! Time for outdoor DIY projects. 

This week I’ve designed a shabby-chic side table for your deck or patio. Anyone can build this project with just a few basic tools and no large workshop space is necessary. I made this entire project using free wood obtained from old pallets.

  • You can make this entirely using hand tools, but it will be much easier if you have a jigsaw and a power sander. Both are inexpensive, easy to use, and will save you a lot of time and muscle aches.
  • If you would like to try your hand at busting apart a pallet (it’s quite easy to do) you will need a crowbar and a hammer with a claw for prying out nails.
  • I used 1/2″ dowels for the exposed pins. These are decorative and not necessary for the strength of the table. If you would like to include them, you will need a drill and a 1/2″ bit for boring holes.
  • I used wood glue, 1″, and 3/4″ nails to assemble the project. The glue gives the table it’s strength: the nails are just needed to hold the pieces in place while the glue dries.
  • A couple of clamps would be handy.
  • I finished my table using Spar Urethane. It’s a great outdoor finish that will protect the wood from the elements.
  •  I used 80 grit (rough) sandpaper, mostly to clean off dirt, and stopped there.
If you would like to give this project a try here are some plans:
Building it is very easy. If you are new to woodworking, maybe a new home owner who wants to get ready for outdoor entertaining this summer, this is a great project to start with. There is no need to get too fussy about any of it: it’s supposed to look rustic!



  1. I’ve made quite a few things out of pallet wood. If you run it through a thickness planers some of it isn’t even too shabby anymore. Its wood. If you have one of these breaking pallets apart is pretty easy:

    I made this out of pallets:

  2. Iced Tea?

    Who completes a project and celebrates with an Iced Tea? Martha freekin’ Stewart?

    I think I have a late entry to the “You might be a mere mortal if…” contest.
    You might be a Mere Mortal if you shoot your final completion shot of a project with a good beer resting on the table.


    Just messin’ with ya Steve. Good table.
    Even if you serve wimpy drinks on it.

  3. Like it. Like it. I’ll do a bigger version for our balcony … after I built the bench. (Then I know how much space I can still use.)

    I like the limited tools videos. I have hardly any space to work and – you guess it – limited tools available.


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