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

by Jeffrey

home improvement, reusing / repurposing, shipping pallets

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

Also below are 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.

Here’s how to tell if wood pallets are safe for your DIY projects.

Since I’ve been [unsuccessfully] looking for some great ecofriendly 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?