Learn how to build your own practical outdoor storage bench from pallets. With pallets, not only can you make almost any type of furniture, but you can also do so cheaply, while at the same time recycling some pallet wood.
Outdoor Storage Bench
Tools and materials
To make an outdoor storage bench like the one in this tutorial, you’ll need the following tools and materials:
- Reciprocating saw or crow bar
- Orbital sander and/or electric planer
- Mitre saw or handsaw
- Drill/ screwdriver
- Nail gun
- Pallets (read our article on where to get free pallets here)
- A plywood board measuring 860 x 340 x 5mm
- Wood filler
- Wood screws
- Masking tape
- 2 handles/ knobs
Cost, time and difficulty
The difficulty level of this project is rated as medium, given that you’ll need a certain level of skills when it comes to using the different tools, as well as furniture assembly.
The approximate price of materials is around £30. This price may vary depending on how many layers of varnish you use, and whether you buy the pallet or find one for free. You can purchase some of the tools and materials used via this sample shopping basket.
The condition of your pallet boards will impact the amount of time required to complete this bench, along with the decor you want to add. In our case, it took us a couple of days work to finish the project.
Outdoor Storage Bench Step by Step Tutorial
Step 1: Dismantle the pallet
First of all, you need to dismantle one or more pallets as you’ll need at least 20 pallet boards of a metre in length to make this chest. The pallets can be taken apart using either a crowbar or a reciprocating saw. The second option is much faster and won’t damage the boards as much.
It is also essential to use a saw blade that’s suitable for cutting both the wood and metal nails, to avoid breaking the blade.
Step 2: Sand or plane the pallet boards
Pallet wood generally features numerous imperfections, damp, splinters, etc. To remove these and achieve a more uniform surface, you’ll need to use an orbital sander.
However, if the pallets are in bad condition or highly repellent, we recommend tidying them up with a planer. This way you can smooth the surface down in less time and achieve a perfect finish.
Step 3: Fill the holes
The next step is to remove any nails and fills the holes with putty. To do this, it helps to use either a spatula or your fingers. Once filled, remove any excess with a damp cloth. Lastly, sand the surface when it is dry.
Step 4: Cut the parts
The next step will be to cut the boards with a mitre saw or handsaw. The parts you need are:
- 5 boards measuring 90cm long for the top of the chest, and 2 crosspieces measuring 30cm to join these.
- 10 boards measuring 45cm for the sides that make the legs.
- 4 measuring 31cm to join the top and centre of the sides, and 2 measuring 34cm for the bottom.
- 8 boards measuring 86cm for the front and back of the chest.
Step 5: Assemble the chest
Once you’ve cut all the parts needed, it’s time to assemble the outdoor storage bench. Do so in the following order:
- Join the boards that make up the lid and sides.
- Screw together the boards that form the front and back of the bench.
5.1.- Lid and sides
To make the chest lid, join 5 boards measuring 90cm by screwing them to a couple of crossbeams measuring 30cm long. Then, join 5 boards measuring 45cm in length by screwing on two 31cm boards and one 34cm board to the bottom. That’s the two sides done.
5.2.- Front and back of the chest
To join the two sides, screw together 4 boards measuring 86cm in length to the front and back of the chest. In the image below you can see the process in detail.
Step 6: Protect the wood
The next step is to protect and colour the wood with varnish. This type of finish allows the wood to breathe and helps to regulate interior moisture, making it ideal for outdoor furniture.
Step 7: Nail on the bottom
Once the varnish is dry, nail the plywood panel to the bottom of the chest. For this you can use a nail gun, a stapler, or a hammer and nails. Next, coat it using the same colour of varnish you chose for the rest of the chest.
Step 8: Decorate the lid
You can use different shades of varnish to decorate the lid of your outdoor storage bench. Using masking tape, mark out the sections for each different colour to create a geometric design.
Because varnish acts like a wood stain and shows off the grain of the wood, you can blend several colours together to achieve different shades.
Step 9: Screw on the hinges and handles
Lastly, attach the hinges and handles to the sides To do so, follow these steps:
- Screw the hinge to the back of the chest and to the lid. To avoid having to level down the wood, we used hinges without a hinge cup.
- Drill holes to attach a handle or knob at either side.
- Screw on the handle to allow you to easily move and relocate the chest.
There you have it! Your very own handmade outdoor storage bench!
If you enjoyed making your own outdoor storage bench, why not have a look at our other garden DIY tutorials?