Bedside cabinet using reclaimed wood

There are plenty of ways to use a reclaimed wood pallet for furniture. In this project you can make a couple of bedside cabinets using a wood pallet - or you can pop into your local Builders Warehouse and grab some PAR pine to make one.


Wood pallet* you may need a couple to have a choice of wood to choose from
Piece of 3mm plywood or hardboard for drawer base
Wood nails
Wood glue
Antique wax
OPTIONAL: Wood stain / sealer / varnish

Claw hammer
Jigsaw, circular saw or handsaw
Orbital sander + 80-, 120- and 180-grit sanding pads






Not all wood pallets are going to be in good condition. If you need to remove mould or stains from the wood use a product that restores wood.

Use a claw hammer to remove all nails from the boards before you do any cutting or assembly.

The entire assembly is designed around two rectangular frames at the top and bottom of the bedside cabinet. The sides, back and top are all added onto this frame. It is easier to make the frame according to the sizes of wood slats you have on your pallet, so you can design a bedside cabinet that works well with what you have.

The wood must be completely dry to avoid shrinkage after you make the cabinet.

Select the nicest board for the sides, top and bottom. You preferably don't want any boards that are badly ripped or have holes. In order to determine the size of the rectangles you need layout the boards and measure the total width. This will determine the size of the top and bottom frames.

Cut all the boards to the same length/height. Allow extra for a piece of wood at the front of each rectangle to hide the frame and finish off nicely. Sand all the boards before you assemble. Use 80- and then 120-grit sanding pads if you want a rustic or rough finish, or finish off with 180-grit for a smooth finish. Sand the top of the bottom frame with 180-grit and apply antique wax so that the drawer will slide smoothly in and out.

Make the top and bottom rectangles and then cut and attach the top boards using nails. Bear in mind that the rectangles won't be visible once the cabinet is finished, so you can use rough boards for these. They do, however, need to be cut to size to make matching rectangular shapes.

Make sure all the pieces are straight and square before nailing in place. You can always fix up any small uneven edges with a sander.

Make the drawer from the wood that you have and add a 3mm piece of plywood or hardboard for the base. There are two sections for the drawer front and you need to allow for this, so that both panels can be glued together and then nailed to the sides.

After measuring up for the size of the drawer you need to make, cut a groove 5mm deep and 30mm up on the front and back for fitting the plywood or hardboard base. The hardwood base needs to be the same length as the drawer sides PLUS 5mm each front the front and back grooves. Glue the base into the slot on the back and then attach the sides using nails.

If you don't have a circular saw to do this you can modify by adding small brackets underneath the base to hold in place.

Cut out a heart shape in the top panel for the drawer front. You can use a hole saw and drill, or use a 10mm wood bit and then insert your jigsaw blade to cut out. Glue the two panels for the drawer front together. Once glued use nails to attach to the sides of the drawer.