DIY Shipping Pallet Patio Furniture… And How To Not Die From It

diy-pallet-furniture.jpg Looking for some snazzy, comfy, and eco-friendly patio furniture?

If so, then you’ve probably been SHOCKED by the price tag while you’ve been out shopping.

I sure have been!

If you do, indeed, find yourself in that boat with me, check out this incredible how-to on building your own patio furniture from shipping pallets.

…and a few need-to-know tips to help you not die from it (because I hear that’s pretty important).

Apartment Therapy‘s green site, Re-nest, has a GREAT example of how to make your own eco-friendly patio furniture from reused shipping pallets!

Sheer awesomeness right there.


What Else Can You Make With Pallets?

You wouldn’t believe it if I told you… but I will anyway.

Building things out of re-purposed pallets seems to be a new and growing trend. Some examples of various projects are:

What other fun projects ideas can you think of for reusing pallets?


Why Reuse Pallets?

One user in this pallet project metafilter says,

“Pallet furniture is actually a big deal right now, as used pallets are an endemic disposal problem throughout the industrialized world. But what’s being talked about is recycling the wood and using that wood to build furniture, basically a heavy-duty woodworking project rather than an ad-hoc money-saver.”


How To NOT DIE When Reusing Pallets

As one commenter on the original Re-nest pallet patio furniture post says,

“Please, remember what pallets are designed for – they have to withstand water, wind and weather and are therefore soaked in all kinds of nasty chemicals.”

This is only partly true. Just like any lumber, some wood is “pressure treated” (to withstand water, et all) and some is not.

Guess what one of the carcinogenic chemicals used to pressure treat lumber is?

Arsenic… yeah, as in the poison.

Now supposedly there was an EPA ruling in 2001 that abolished the use of aresnic as a wood treatment, but I have reason to believe it is still used today.

Back in 2007 I worked part-time in the lumber department of Home Depot for a short while. During an electrodermal screening in mid 2008 my certified family herbalist found several toxin levels to be startlingly and unusually high.

Guess what one of them was…yup, arsenic.

Anyway, just be sure to salvage non-pressure treated pallets for any project you choose. If you don’t know how to tell if the wood is pressure treated by looking at it, just ask the business or person you’re getting it from. They should know.

Since I’ve been [unsuccessfully] looking for some great eco-friendly furniture for my front porch, I think I’ll try my hand at this great DIY.

What about you? What are you now thinking about building out of recycled shipping pallets?


Yo. I'm Jeffrey. I think every little step is an awesome one when it comes to living green... but eco-snobbery sucks.

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  • Anonymous

    I was reading the other days about some kind of furniture that can be folded. It is made out of paper(50%) and some other kind of material. You can actually fold a chair and store it on your book shelf.
    Ashley Furniture Customer Service

  • hardwood floors

    I feel a lot more people need to read this, very good info!

  • corner bench

    Thank you so much for the tips. I too have been in complete and utter shock from the prices I have come across. A part of me wants to go for it, but I know I will regret it later on. I’m going to make my own.

  • Wireless Chime

    I love the patio design, very nice.


  • Modern Furniture

    That tips looks great! Hope that you could share your step by step guide on how to create your own personalized patio furniture.

  • InMN

    Arsenic was used as an skin cream, Cocaine was in Coka-Cola.
    We forget that many of our great- however manys used and lived with things that today are considered terrible poisons and many of them lived into their 80’s and 90’s.
    Moderation and taking everything you hear and read with at least a grain of salt seems to be lost arts. As is “do as I say, not as I do” vis a vis Al Gore.

  • Victoriafroud

    Is there anyone out there who can actually show me how to make garden furniture out of pallets.

    • duanek

      sure, my name is duane and i wrote a how to book on where to find pallets, how to take them apart and finally-chapters dedicated to step by step building of projects ranging from fences and arbors to flower boxes and garden benches. please email me at if interested.

  • duanek

    hello, my name is duane. Ive been making exterior wood products for home and garden by recycling used wood pallets. my wife struggled with my concept at first(backyard had about 200 pallets,lol), but when i built my entire fence for my front yard(no it doesnt look like pallets on end!) and a beautiful arbor she came around. I also wrote a how too book with many products. it shows you where to get pallets and the many types. it also shows how to take them apart and has chapters for each project that you can simply make at home! projects range from fences and arbors to flower boxes and garden benches. Please email me at if interested.

  • timetom

    electrodermal screening and certified family herbalist????? (:
    I was looking for something with credibility.
    And even IF the pallets were impregnated with arsenic (which they weren’t), unless they were drenched in water and you drank the runoff, you would not have taken in any arsenic.
    BTW, they now use a copper based compound.

  • sophie

    Impressive idea… Thank you for sharing this blog tips i appreciate it..