This Modern Modular Pallet Picnic Set project was a first for me. I had never built any furniture before and had never worked with pallets either. The goal of this project was to make it as economical as possible. Additionally, we wanted to build it in a reasonable time frame so that the family could enjoy it for the summer. Unfortunately, I managed to lose 3/4 of the pictures that I had taken during the build due to a broken cell phone.
This was my starting point. I had a full-length pallet to use as the seating. I used another pallet for the armrest, and only had to add two small pieces of 2x4 to secure them together. After that, it was all downhill. It was impossible for me to find another identical pallet for the other side, so I had to rig one up to get the same dimensions. The backrest was simple enough, other than the fact that I ripped up at least six long pallets to get all the pieces I needed. I angled the backrest back about 10 degrees, but I should've done it to 15 degrees to match the other chairs. I may end up doing that next spring!
Single seater / left side chair
I made the seat and was conscious of the table dimensions, as well as the other chairs. I already had those patio tiles in place from my previous patio furniture and did not want to go hunting for more tiles or lose more grass ( boss's orders ;)).
This chair was an amalgamation of three pallets. The armrest and backrest had to be cut to match the seat. I also wanted to make it look like a cube. I pried more pallets apart to use the planks to cover the legs and other gaps.
I got really lucky with a table. The top is made from all of the planks that I damaged while breaking down pallets. I staggered the wooden joints to emphasize the pallet wood. I used 2x4 underneath to hold all the staggered parts together. Then, I got even luckier when I found a 16 foot 8 x 8" piece of cedar frozen in a snowbank with slight road salt damage. That's what I used for the two table legs. Next, I supported them with cross pieces out of 2x4"s. I repeated the process with the feet. I just used two pieces of 2x4"s for each leg and cut the ends at 55 degrees. For extra sturdiness, I put 2x4" cross pieces from leg to leg. (I have kids that would most likely jump on it).
Right side chair (aka the captain chair)
At this point, my confidence was peaking. I had saved some fully covered pallets from the original stack I had started with (some good quality ones). I basically replicated this single-seater like the other one I did. The two principal differences were that I measured the space that I had left on my patio tiles to cover what was left of them but with enough space to walk between both chairs. The other (major) difference was the backrest. I put a 17-degree angle to it and does it ever make a difference. Best backrest so far. Finally, I stained and sealed the pieces. I think they look great!
For all the rookies out there wanting to do a similar project , here's a little secret if you want to rip apart some pallets for your project: get lots of extra pallets for all the pieces that you want to split or break. Unless you've already mastered how to split pallets apart, of course.
Read more: Pallet Dismantling Tips!