Welcome to Part 2 on how to build a pallet chair! This post will share every detail on how to build this easy and comfy wood chair from scratch.
This project came about when I desired some original outdoor furniture that was super comfy. So when my eyes landed on two pallets in my own yard, I came up with a vision of an easy, oversized pallet chair to accommodate my other pallet furniture for on my covered patio!
And boy has it delivered! I’ve now had it for 12 years and it’s still perfect!
To view the reveal of the finishing details of the chair, visit part 1.
So let’s build! Read on for the complete details with these easy instructions.
This post contains some Amazon affiliate links in which I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases through these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank-you for helping to support my blog!
How To Build An Easy DIY Pallet Chair – Part 2 Step-By-Step
Supplies you’ll need:
2 pallets of the same dimension – any size will do, but the key is that they are both the same size.
4 square posts for legs
2 cedar planks for arms
Long screws or nails
Miter saw or handsaw
Wood glue is optional. I didn’t use any.
View all my own tool suggestions at: DIY Tool Must-Haves
Designing the pallet chair
1. Start with two pallets of nearly equal size if you can.
One will be your seat and the other will be your backrest.
2. Sand the pallets well using an orbital sander.
Make sure wherever you sit or touch is extra smooth. I started with coarse sandpaper, then moved to a finer grit using an orbital sander.
Caution: Since pallet or reclaimed wood can be contaminated, please do wear breathing, hand and eye protection while building.
3. Cut the 4 support leg posts to desired size, then sand until smooth.
The height of the legs will be determined upon the kind of padding you choose for your chair.
The arm length (front to back) should slightly extend beyond your pallet seat depth.
– – – – –
My chair measurements are:
padding – new 5″ foam
legs – 25″ high
arms – 5.5″ wide x 32″ long
pallet seat – 42″wide (left to right) x 30″ deep (front to back).
pallet backer – 42″ wide (left to right) x 36″ high.
How to select safe pallets
Read how to select safe pallets from THIS POST: EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT PALLET WOOD.
Dry-fitting the pallet chair
4. Dry-fit all the chair components to make sure they fit well.
I also placed something underneath the bottom pallet to determine the height I wanted for the seat before attaching.
I chose to not attach the backer pallet because I had a railing for support. Allowing it to lean also offers you a nice comfortable angle to lean against.
If you wish to attach the back, I’d rig up a support board behind the back that attaches to both arms.
Creating leg supports:
5. Cut 2×4 chunks to fit inside the pallet seat opening, then attach into place with screws.
Before the seat pallet was attached to the foot posts, the inside of the pallet was reinforced with small cuts of 2x4s to fit.
The small reinforcements give the back and front legs something more to grab onto.
6. Determine the height of your seat.
To determine the height of the seat, you’ll first need to decide what you’ll be upholstering the seat with as part of the finished height.
I placed boxes underneath the pallet to help determine the desired height.
The height of my seat from floor to top of pallet is 12″.
The foam I chose was 5″ thick, so I lowered the pallet seat height to accommodate that.
Finished height with pallet and foam cushion was 17″ from floor to top of cushion.
Attaching the pallet chair legs
7. Attach pallet seat to the legs by pre-drilling holes, then attach with screws.
Turning the seat pallet on its side, the legs were attached with 4 screws as shown above.
Pre-drilling the holes will really help for assembly.
Adding chair armrests
8. Screw on your choice of board armrests.
I chose cedar planks that were wide enough to hold a cup of coffee. Just be sure to sand them really well to avoid potential splinters.
And adding an old sign to one armrest was a fun twist too!
Visit many other sign stencils HERE
I used this Farmers’ Market stencil to create the sign.
The assembled pallet chair
Pretty funky, right?! Now it’s looking like a real chair!
So let’s make it super comfy next.
9. Choose your seat cushion.
Pallet projects are obviously not comfy on their own, so you’ll need to figure out some kind of soft padding for this simple chair. I purchased brand new cushion foam that I got cut to size at an RV upholstery place.
I chose 5″ foam because I did a trial on a sofa cushion we had and I loved how it felt! 5″ foam is not cheap though, as this seat alone ran me $100ish. But if you can land some reclaimed foam or choose something thinner, you’ll save money.
Make sure you do a trial and actually sit on the foam you choose to ensure it’s comfy, as the density chosen will determine the softness.
Outdoor foam is another option, but it can double the price. I just bring this foam piece indoors when it’s damp outside.
Pallet Sofa option
I also built this pallet sofa using reclaimed foam. It is 6″ thick and super soft.
The pallet sofa was built to suit the reclaimed foam purchase, so that made things a little more affordable. However this build is much more involved, being built with loose reclaimed lumber.
So let’s check out more about how to get custom seat foam cut! This was so interesting.
Getting new seat foam custom cut
Getting new foam cut for your pallet chair is not the cheapest option, but it is a good one if you have an odd-sized pallet you can’t outfit anything else with.
I got this foam cut at Kingdom Mattress Factory in Chilliwack, B.C.
Fred used a foam cutter, and glued the foam chunks together creating the exact size cushion required. It could have been cut out of one chunk if he had it on hand. You can’t feel the seam at all so it worked out great!
Update: The joins later separated, so if you can get 1 solid piece, I’d recommend that. Or possibly be prepared to reglue at a later date.
Also shown above is a glimpse of the green reclaimed foam I purchased intact and custom built a pallet sofa around.
Visit the larger pallet sofa in THIS POST.
The bean sack upholstery
Over the years, I’ve used many different seat covers for this pallet chair.
However to start, I chose to use authentic coffee bean sacks because they are pre sewn and I love the look!
The bean sacks were wrapped around the seat cushion, then the back has pillows inserted into the sacks. Instant, easy and no sewing!
See more of the upholstery in Part 1 – Pallet Chair Reveal HERE
The large 26″ pillows were slipped into the bean sacks, then the edge flapped over towards the back. The pillows fit perfectly!
The pallet chair seat
The bean sacks are loosely wrapped around the seat foam. I just didn’t want to sew, but you certainly could.
They are a little itchy when you sit on them with shorts, but during those times, I just plunk a blanket down first and all is well.
How to store the upholstery
Because the foam I chose was not outdoor durable, all the foam, pillows and sacks come in at night or during damp weather so they don’t get mouldy. It’s a little bit of back and forth, but I find the comfort of the chair outweighs the work involved.
I have a special place underneath the sofa where I slip the foam into hiding when it’s not being used. Underneath a bed is where the larger one resides.
Bean sack stencils
If you can’t land authentic bean sacks, consider purchasing burlap material (or a painter’s drop cloth) then stencil them with one of these rustic pallet styled stencils which would be perfect!
Visit more pallet stencils HERE
Here’s how the painters’ drop cloth looks when stenciled with a funky subway style look!
These fabric covers were wrapped around loosely, and washed up beautifully! And they were nice and smooth against legs in shorts as well.
I hope I’ve inspired you to try your hand at this recycled pallet wood chair build! Or maybe a couple of pallet benches are something to consider.
All I know is, DIY projects are awesome, since they are so easy to customize to your own needs and size requirements.
Besides… you can rest in complete comfort after your efforts… and all summer long too! Think you’ll give one a go?
Other DIY pallet ideas: