The Palette Desk Project ~ Part 2, finding materials

~ The Palette Desk Project ~

(all parts to date here)

Part 1 – defining the need 

Part 2 – gathering materials 

Part 3 – preparing the materials and design

Part 4 – sink that monitor!

Part 5 – finishing details

Part 6 – the big reveal! 

Today – 

 Part 2 – gathering materials

  • I want a larger desk than what I have
  • I want it lower in height than a reg table to accommodate the large computer screen
  • I want it funky and I want it free, so I’m using junk

Part 2 – gathering materials

Guess it goes without saying that you need materials before you can build much of anything.

But which comes first? The idea or the materials? In this case, because I want to do this for free, materials will dictate how I pull this one off.

But yes, I have to visualize something so I know what to collect. So… because I seem to have a vast and unlimited access to palettes, I’ve zeroed in on old palette wood.

This is what I say to myself… I place questions before me and answer them before moving on to the next. Yeah, I talk to myself.

Q “What are my options… hmmm… perhaps three identical palettes side by side, adding to the tops, then just make legs and some kind of structure to hold it all up? 

A “Iffy. It would be hard to place the right sized boards inbetween the already attached ones. Nah. Dumb idea. But maybe if I found the PERFECT palettes…”

Q “Or what about just collecting loose boards and somehow attaching them to a framework of sorts for the support, then build some sort of coolish legs?”

A “Yeah, I think so. Let’s see what I can find and then I’ll know.”

See how it all works? I don’t have a flip flying CLUE what I’m doing. But I will when I find it. 🙂

Having forsight helps

Now, don’t hate me for this next comment, but I believe this is what makes me feel confident when I’m about to build something.

I can see it object fully built before it’s even started. Right down to the nails, colour, texture, height, everything. And I won’t stop until I get it looking how I visualize.

What I can’t see are all the mistakes I’ll make along the way because I don’t yet know what will go wrong. 🙂 But I’m finding, wood is very forgiving unless you cut it too short. And because I’m not working with high quality wood, I don’t mind the rustic nature I no doubt will leave behind in my quake.

It’s not always that easy though. I don’t know alot about frameworks yet, so things get foggy when I don’t know how to frame something up. That’s when I take out my trusty camera and start snapping pics around me that may help for ideas.


Kinda like this. Great table! But some of the details won’t work for what I need so I won’t be using these pics this round. But it’s good to have in case I want them for something else.

Camera Tip

Never ever leave your home without your camera ever again. Always take your camera in case you happen upon opportunities such as this. And always be on the lookout for free inspiration wherever you go.


Let’s go to the palette mall! (taken on another trip) When I decal my firetrucks, I always start my shift by checkin’ out the new stock. What have they got this time? Anything for my new desk I hope??

What you’re about to see is insane. Ready?

Ahem… the palette wood bin was FULL to the brim with strips of old palette boards, already taken apart. I have NEVER seen this many in one trip ever. I outwardly gasped when I saw this. But was there enough? I knew roughly how long I desired the table to be so I stacked the boards side by side.

JUST enough!

 After I started breathing again, I needed to find something for legs.

Well, right behind me was the stack you see against the wall. There were 2×4’s buried in there, all of varying heights. Loose again!

Now, this is where I start visualizing. 2×4 legs wouldn’t look… cool. But SAWHORSES might. 🙂 Once again, I stuffed my truck silly, hoping I had enough because I had NO idea how to build a sawhorse. I’d worry about that tomorrow.

Part 3 is coming soon. I need more photos after the mayhem that transpired (and I’ll be sure to tell you aaaaall about it), so I’ll continue this soon!

Ok, so… any other wannabe builders out there? How did you learn? ARE you learning? If not, what’s stopping you?

Wanna keep up with the rants in real time? See ya there. 🙂

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Categories: Junk Drawer

16 thoughts on “The Palette Desk Project ~ Part 2, finding materials

  1. Love hearing the process!! I usually “see” the whole thing before I begin as well. So I don’t hate you for that…LOL!! Then I kill myself trying to get it to look like what I see. Sometimes, I am not successful. And that bums me out big time.
    Can’t wait to see Part three!!

  2. I have a question about using pallets. My Dad scared me and said that the wood is treated and that I might not want those chemicals in my house (or around my kids). What do you think? I really want to use some free materials!

  3. I know what you mean about the ability to visualize~thats essential for me in designer mode. You do a good job of communicating the process Donna. I am sure your table is gonna come out awesome. Did you see the faux zinc finish that freckled laundry did?? that seems like it is right up your alley and could be used somewhere in your junky funky house!

  4. Remember the whole booshwackin thing and how I cut the electrical cord? Well, I admit that I am dangerous with sharp objects. My dad and I both are terribly accident prone. I am trying to work up a compromise with my husband that he can do all the cutting/sawing, and I can do the rest. I think he’s coming around. Everytime we get a palette, I think of you 🙂

  5. LOL You would drive my dad insane!!

    He came down to help me work on my patio. I was fixing to put together some simple board surrounds to cover the awful, ugly metal posts supporting the deck above the patio. Dad asked where my plans were. I tapped my head. I thought he was going to fall out. He slammed the brakes on the project saying he needed to “study on this”. -sigh-

    So now I’m going to bang those together when he’s not around and they will be just grand!

  6. I can usually see exactly what I want it to look like in my head before I start, unfortunately the end result doesn’t always match. But practice makes perfect, right?

  7. I love it! I can’t imagine running into *free* 2×4’s. What a find…that desk is gonna be great. Right now I am building a deck out of old wood. A year or so ago a friend called and said they were tearing down a huge deck and if we wanted to come help we could have all of the wood. SWEET! So now we’re building our own deck out of her old one. If course, it isn’t free. It’s been a lot of cash in screws and bolts alone! 😉 Lisa~

  8. #2 Sarah, I was told that palette wood is not treated. You can tell if wood is treated by looking at the surface.. little cuts are all over the treated variety. Someone please correct me if this is incorrect.

    #5 Julie, thank-you! I just may but so far I’m coasting ok on my own. I hope we still have that woodworking date for the fall. 🙂

    #6 Erin, that you said you think of me when you get a palettes.. you couldn’t have given me a nicer compliment. LOL

    #12 House… you’re making me blush! 🙂 Thank-you!

    Check out Facebook and see what I hauled home today. I can’t believe it.


  9. Love the desk and shelves. Working on this project over Christmas break. My daughter and guy use my house for their photography business and I want to give them a place to edit and work. They love this idea. One question, I can’t seem to find the shelving units you used. Any help on where to look would be great. Thinking I can make them myself, but would love the “easy” way and just buy them done.
    Thanks for the inspiration and help

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