How to Build a Patio Couch Out of Pallets

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    How to Build a Patio Couch Out of Pallets

    My wife and I enjoy entertaining on our backyard deck, which we’ve lovingly maintained over the years to provide a restful, relaxing retreat for family and friends. However, it has always lacked adequate seating, so we went shopping for patio furniture recently and were shocked at the high cost.

    Outdoor couches run about $800; add two side chairs and the price jumps to over $1,200. I was starting to think that maybe having our guests stand around wasn’t so bad after all. My wife, Hattie, had other ideas. She went online, searched for DIY deck furniture projects, and found several that were built out of wooden pallets. Admittedly the designs were more rustic than refined, but they looked comfortable and simple to build. Most importantly, though, I see wooden pallets stacked up outside of businesses all the time, and they’re free for the taking.

    So, I decided to build the outdoor couch shown here using four salvaged pallets and two upholstered seat cushions that Hattie made. It’s super comfortable, roomy enough for three adults, and best of all the entire project cost only about—drumroll, please—$200!

    Plans and Materials

    pallet couch plans

    George Retseck

    pallet couch plans

    Staff

    How to Procure Pallets

    When I started picking through stacks of pallets, I saw that they varied widely in size and construction. Most were about 40 in. wide x 48 in. long, which is too short to make a couch. They also varied in height, and some only had slats on the top while others had them on the top and bottom. The better-constructed pallets had thick, strong slats, but others had thin, flimsy slats that were cracked or warped. There didn’t seem to be any uniformity at all. And I wanted pallets of all the same size, so they’d be easy to assemble into a couch with minimal alterations.

    Then one night, we went to a local brewery and I saw several pallets that were uniform in size and construction and, best of all, measured 5 in. high x 40 in. wide x 58 in. long, perfect length for building an outdoor couch. The brew master said I was welcome to take as many as I’d like, so I loaded four into our car: one for the back of the couch, two to form the seat, and one extra pallet to make parts like the feet and trim. Here, now, are step-by-step instructions for building your own outdoor couch from wooden pallets:

    Trim the Pallets to Size

    Start by using a circular saw to cut two of the 40-in.-wide pallets down to 24 in. wide; they’ll form the seat of the couch. If any nails are in the way, yank them out with a cat’s paw pry bar so you won’t ruin your blade. Next, form the back of the couch by cutting down one pallet to 35 in. wide. Again, watch out for nails.

    Prepare the Pieces

    Use the pieces trimmed from the first three pallets and the fourth full-size pallet to create the remaining parts of the couch.

    The couch has six feet, three under the front of the seat and three under the rear. Each foot measures 6 in. sq. x 6 in. tall. Use a circular saw or miter saw to cut enough 6 x 6 in. wood pieces to form six 6-in.-tall feet. The pallet pieces are various thicknesses, so how many you’ll need can vary based on which pieces you choose. Glue and screw the pieces together using construction adhesive and 2-in. galvanized decking screws. Drill 5/32-in.-dia. pilot holes first to avoid splitting the wood.

    Next, pry apart the fourth pallet to make two ¾ x 5½ x 24 in. horizontal trim pieces, and four ¾ x 5½ x 11½ in. vertical trim pieces. Also, cut a ¾ x 4 x 58-in.-long piece of wood to serve as a shim. Later, the shim will be inserted between the couch back and seat to angle the seat back slightly. Without the shim, the couch would have a rather uncomfortable 90-degree sitting angle.

    Apply the Finish

    Before assembling the couch, put a coat of penetrating deck stain on all surfaces of every part. Apply the stain with a paintbrush and 4-in.-wide trim roller. Allow the stain to dry overnight, then apply a second coat. Once the second coat is dry, you can begin assembling the couch.

    Build the Couch

    Assemble the seat of the couch from the two 24-in.-wide x 58-in.-long pallets. Apply a bead of construction adhesive across the top of one pallet, then set the second pallet on top. Confirm that the pallets are flush and even along the ends and front edge, then drill pilot holes and drive 2-in. decking screws through the top pallet and into the bottom one. Position the 6 total screws near each corner and in the center at the front and rear.

    Next, set the couch-seat assembly on top of the six feet. Position three of the feet along the front edge of the seat, and three feet along the rear edge. Secure the feet to the couch seat with construction adhesive and 2-in. decking screws.

    Take the ¾ x 4 x 58-in.-long shim and hold it against the rear of the couch seat, flush with the upper edge. Glue and screw the shim in place. Then, take the 35-in.-wide pallet and set it against the rear of the seat to form the back of the couch. The shim will cause the couch back to tilt outward about 98°. Glue and screw the couch back to the couch seat with six 2-in. screws.

    Now, reinforce the joints between the seat pallets and feet with 3 1/8 x 7 in. steel mending plates. Screw the plates vertically across the joints, positioning two at each end of the couch. Glue and screw a 5½-in.-wide x 29-in.-long horizontal trim board to each end of the upper seat pallet. Then, install two vertical trim boards under each horizontal trim board. Glue and screw the vertical trim pieces to the lower seat pallet and to the feet, concealing the mending plates.

    Create the Cushions

    pallet couch

    Lakota Gambill

    Use a serrated knife to cut a piece of 2-in.-thick x 19-in.-wide x 57-in.-long high-density foam for the back cushion, and a 3-in.-thick x 25-in.-wide x 57-in.-long piece of high-density foam for the seat cushion. Cover the foam with outdoor-rated fabric. Hattie sewed a simple one-piece box cover with a Velcro closure using an online pattern calculator. If you aren’t able to sew them yourself, it’s also possible to order custom-sized cushion covers online. You can also bring the fabric and foam to an upholsterer or buy ready-made cushions online.

    Final Thoughts

    The pallets have a slightly rough surface. I thought about sanding it, but I’m glad I didn’t. The wood’s coarse texture holds the cushions in place and prevents them from sliding off.

    If I were to change one thing, I’d cut the shim a bit thicker—perhaps to 1 in.—to tilt the back a little further to create an even more comfortable sitting angle. But, all in all, we love our new outdoor couch. It fits perfectly on our deck, and has become quite a conversation piece with family and friends. Plus, it cost a tiny fraction of a store-bought couch. Now, if we could only keep Moxie, our English setter, off the couch, we’d have more space to sit and relax.

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    Published at Fri, 29 Oct 2021 20:45:00 +0000

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/a37542048/build-patio-couch-pallets/

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