DIY Project: Pallet Sofa Makes for 5 Star Naps

How-To Repurpose / Refurbish

Once in a while there’s a project that’s so clever, you almost want to clip on a tool belt and get to it immediately. This pallet sofa ticks all the boxes when it comes to creating something from practically nothing and is a perfect addition to any game or media room, apartment, or urban/industrial loft. Moreover, if you’re in need of extra napping space, rumor has it, this sleeper is 5-star worthy.

Pallet sofa as easy as 1-2-3. You can even store games, books, and magazine inside. DIY idea and photo: cuartoderecha.com

Materials:

• 6 wood pallets (Where to find? DiggersList, paint/warehouse/hardware/feed & pet supply/grocery stores)

Sandpaper

electric sander (optional)

• paint

Various paint brushes

Flexible foam (1.8-3.0 pounds p/cubic foot is best, at least 4″ thick)

• furniture fabric & notions

• a trusty sewing machine

• flat brackets and screws

Instructions:

1. Sand all outer surfaces of pallets, paying special attention to the edges and corners.

2. Paint pallets in desired color and allow to dry.

3. Measure top surface of each pallet to determine the amount of flexible foam you’ll need cut to size.

4. Cover seats and back cushion in desired fabric. (see box cushion how-to video)

5. To secure the pallets, screw a flat bracket onto back of top and bottom pallet (on each end), then another onto top front and back of each pallet group to secure together.

6. Place cushions and lounge or snooze away.

UPDATE:

I’ve been asked on several occasions how much fabric to use and/or how to make outdoor sofa cushions. Here is a FABULOUS tutorial by “A Beautiful Mess” (one of my favorite blogs!)…check it out!

*Optional: if you do not wish to sew, use pre-fab cushions and/or pillows.


Written By Skaie Knox

Decor/Design/Repurposing nerd and DIYer, brand ambassador, freelance writer, and the editor-in-chief for HomeJelly. Skaie is also a signed and published singer/songwriter (Fervor Records/ASCAP) and kid's book author (Big Bug Lunch!). She was voted "Class Clown", and is a rescue dogs crusader.

61 Comments

  • Shay says:

    Where can you buy the flexible foam for the cushions? I found a flexible foam website but there was no way I could find to buy any…Help please :)

    • Skaie Knox says:

      Hi Shay! Quality flexible foam can be found at stores like Joanne’s Fabrics (call the store before going to check their inventory) or your local furniture fabric stores. It is worth spending a bit more for quality, as cushions are put through continuous use (sitting, laying, jumping), so if you’d like to have your pallet sofa last, you might have to spend more on the front end. I also found this site: http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/foam-and-pillows.aspx It looks to have a very large selection of foams and other useful supplies. Hope this helps!

  • t says:

    What kinds of stores have the half pallet sizes in the picture?
    I find pallets galore, but none in that size.

  • lauren says:

    Hey! My mother had the suggestion of using memory foam instead. Is this a good idea? And what do you cut the foam with?

    • Skaie Knox says:

      I love this idea! It would definitely be comfy! As for cutting foam, my favorite idea is to use an electric meat slicer! Go figure! It’s easy to hold and cuts likes butter.

  • Jeanio says:

    Are you worried that the pallet wood has been chemically treated?

    • Skaie Knox says:

      I didn’t know they’ve been chemically treated. Are they all? If so, do you know how to remove it? This is interesting information…I will have to investigate further.

      • M says:

        If they have been chemically treated they shouldn’t be used at all for an indoor project, heat treated pallets are sometimes stamped HT. In general pallets can be pretty dangerous to repurpose, they are generally used for a number of different products (food, chemicals) and since wood is porous they can absorb and harbor bacteria like listeria and e coli deep in the wood.

        • Skaie Knox says:

          This is pretty interesting information. I think the lesson here is to be sure to do some due diligence when using pallets. If you can research where they have been used and what for, it would make sense that it could minimize the potential hazards. I’ll keep my ears and eyes open for any word on this. Thanks for your input!

        • Carrie says:

          If you’re worried about chemicals on the pallets paint them to seal them in. You can use all kinds of new fangled paints that are low VOC or milk paint etc. Or you can sew covers for them cover them up. Either way this is a pretty good idea.

      • Carrie Sue says:

        From what I read, if you submerge the pallets into a bleach and water solution and leave to dry completely before use then it is safe to use. I am going to ask my pool guy if its safe to dunk them into the pool for a few minutes as I think the chlorine dip then drying in the sun should kill anything nasty!

        • Skaie Knox says:

          Hi Carrie. All cushion sizes are different (I didn’t make the covers in this photo). The best way to go about this is to take your cushion(s) to a fabric store, (Joann’s for example) and ask the fabric cutters how much material they would recommend to cover the ones you have. They will also be able to cut the fabric there (it’s important to check with them because different fabrics come in different widths ((36″ and 48″ and 60″ wide bolts))). Additionally, most fabric stores have patterns for you to follow so you can properly make them – even with cording, tufting, etc. Note: if you’d like to add cording with the same material, you’ll need more for that as well.

          Good luck!

  • Lindsay says:

    They do make half pallets (Euro size) but they aren’t very common here esp. with the planks on the top. Most of the time they are plywood tops and pretty hard to find. You can buy them or rebuild to the right size. As far as cushions go, I’ve heard the cheapest options are futon mattresses, crib mattresses, or I’ve seen some great prices n cushions at Garden Ridge!

  • Julia says:

    The pallet sofa is a great option when trying to integrate furniture in a new and innovative way. Its simple design often allows for easy cleaning as well.

  • Alexia reed says:

    I meam if you sand the wood and wear a mask then spray some kind of paint it would trap in the nasty so you wouldnt have to worry about it right?? I have a beach themed house because I live on the coast so I qas going to make this and paint it so would it be safe then?

    • Skaie Knox says:

      @Alexia…I’m not sure if that would do the trick…I believe this is beyond my scope of expertise when it comes to chemical contaminants of wood. My guess is, paint won’t trap harmful fumes in, so if you have any concern as to the original use of your pallets, I might pass on using them. You may want to contact your local shipping stores or larger compartment stores to ask if they have any information on where they get their pallets. I can’t confirm or deny other commentors’ claims regarding this issue, so it’s best to check out the details of your pallets in your area. Good luck!

  • Raven Austin says:

    I’m making this to redo my new backyard and I was wondering if their is something less expensive I can use instead of the foam. I am 16 and jobless so the foam isn’t ideal.

    • Skaie Knox says:

      Hi Raven! Yes…I understand! Let’s see, when it comes to bargain shopping home decor, it means you’ll have to be creative. I’ve heard some people use futon mattresses and even twin bed mattresses. Have you heard of Habitat for Humanity ReStores? They are warehouses with all kinds of home decor items often selling stuff for .50 on the dollar. You can go to DiggersList.com, where many HFH ReStores post current items from their stores. You can also search for futon or bed mattresses here using your zip code to find a ReStore (or private seller) near you. You can also check craigslist for cheap futons or beds…you might even be able to find some for FREE! If you want to go uuber cheap (and possibly temporary) you can try a blow-up bed or even pool blow-up floaties. I hope this helps…this was a real “spit-ball” response! Good luck!

  • Jilli Gates says:

    I have seen where somebody said to go to lowes type store for the cushion. They sell them for campers and are supposed to be inexpensive. Also not positive but was told by a friend that a treated pallet will have spray paint mark on it somewhere.

  • Miss K.P.-Ness says:

    This will be in my backyard soon- we can sit with cushions anytime, or I can pull out my “spare mattresses” from the garage when a backyard nap / late afternoon read is in order.

  • Brandy says:

    I got 12 pallets from lowes for free, call before. I was considering making cushions but also 16 and jobless haha. Lowes pallets are all untreated, heard that pallets with dark color have been treated but I am not positive. Thanks t9 whoever wrote this! Big help!!

  • Michele says:

    How many yards of fabric do you need per cushion/pallet? Thank you!

    • Skaie Knox says:

      Hi Michele! I didn’t make the cushions for these pallets, but for a simplified answer, here it goes. It all depends on the size of the cushions you use. Mainly, you want to measure all around the cushion to see how much material you’ll need to cover. Then add one inch to that amount so you can create 1/2″ seams. If you’re making a separate strip all the way around the thickness of the cushions, you’ll need to add another inch to your material, so you can add another 1/2″ seam here, too.

      Here is a great tutorial on making outdoor sofa cushions:http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2014/07/make-your-own-outdoor-cushions.html

      Hope this helps!

  • D says:

    I was wondering how would you do the back of it?

    • Skaie Knox says:

      Hi D…not totally clean on your question…but, if you’re asking how you could include the back of this sofa, say, for an outdoor deck, I would cut, sand, then paint a 3/4″-1″ thick plywood, then screw or nail the pieces to the back of the pallets the same height as the pillows. Then you can lean back as nicely as you wish! I hope this answers your question! Cheers!

  • Tim says:

    How much do normal pieces of foam cost? And do you have to use 4″ or would 2″ work also?

  • Ginger says:

    What do you suggest is the quickest way to separate the pallets?

  • Kelly Tenore says:

    Any suggestions on what type of fabric to use on this pallet bench that can stay outside during summer months? Looking for something that can get wet and not damage the cushion. I would like to make a pallet bench by my pool but don’t want to haul cushions in and out every day.

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