Updated: May 10
At the end of my first year at University I was in the mood for some mischief and, with my friend Chloe, went for a walk around our local town. On our walking adventure we happened to come across a house with construction being done and a perfectly empty, unused pallet sitting outside the house. After asking for permission, we proceeded to carry the pallet back to our halls of residence and begin work on making it into... something.
Deadlines soon ended and I was required to move out of halls and the question arose of what to do with the pallet. So, my boyfriend and I came up with the brilliant plan to drive it home, sticking out of his convertible car, to further be worked on at my house in east London.
This is how I turned a free pallet into a bar:
Step 1: Get a space
The first thing you need to make sure you have access to is a decent space to work. The pallet I used to make my bar was a fairly big size and because I don't have a studio/shed big enough and a lot of sanding is required, the end of my back garden was the most suitable solution.
Step 2: Get a pallet
As I mentioned above I found my pallet when walking around my Uni town which means they aren't too hard to hard to come across! You can also go to your local dump/recycling centre and you'll be sure to find something cool to use. You also don't have to use a pallet but anything that needs a little TLC and that can be up-cycled works.
Step 3: Get equipment
When I began renovating the pallet the only equipment I used was sand paper, a hammer and some nails - I bought all from my local Homebase for less and £15. Later when I did more work on the bar I also used a power sander - to save time, wood glue and a saw to cut other spare bits of wood. - shout out to my dad for letting me use all of this equipment and his garden for this project; Love you Giles!
Step 4: Get renovating
Before making your pallet into a new bar/table/whatever you want to make, you need to make sure its strong and sturdy first. I did this by simply pulling off any broken wood panels and replacing them, bending back the brackets and holding it all in place with new nails where needed.
Step 5: Get a flat surface
The first thing you need is a flat surface. To do this I found another two lonely pallets - the small one level kind - a took them apart to fill in the gabs on the top to create one flat level. I simply nailed them in place, mimicking how the original panels are secured and did my best to have a few gaps as possible.
Step 6: Get practical
Whilst tearing apart other pallets I found one that had "thepalletcompany.co.uk" embossed into the wood and I thought it looked really cool and decided to use this as a back panel to stretch across the back of the bar to give the drinks/bottles a edge to lean on. I fixed this with wood glue and more nails. I also then also added two side panels that I cat diagonally to create a side edge but allowed the front of the bar to still be accessible.
Step 7: Get sanding
The main time consumer of making this bar - or anything involving wood - is sanding. I sanded the entire thing multiple times and it took forever! Originally I was doing it all by hand and with the sides/inside edges it is easier to do it by hand but if you have a power-sander use that! It really helps in the long run to be able to sand the whole top surface to create a nice even level as well it being way more fun using a power-sander.
Step 8: Get creative
Once the pallet was finding its shape and the sanding was almost all done I tried to get as creative as possible to help make this project my own. Since I wanted to use this as a bar the first thing I had to get was a screw-on bottle opener. I found an old fashioned metal one online (probably Amazon), that just required two screws to attach it to the wood of the bar and really gave it a nice finishing touch.
Another this I would have loved to had (if I had time and more wood pallets) would've been some drawer for the front to store things in for the bar but unfortunately I couldn't do that this time - maybe the next one!
Also, another thing I never did for this bar is apply a proper finish to the wood, especially as this bar would sit outside (in the rain) sometimes, so to help keep it from weathering, apply a nice wood finish to it - you can get creative with paints at this point too!
Step 9: Get alcohol
Of course I was building a bar and so the final step was to buy/gather a load of alcohol, glasses and mason jars to keep on the bar. I also bought a mason jar cocktail shaker and a drink dispenser to keep with this cute hipster theme.
After the bar was finished the only thing left was to give it a name and a home. I loved having Patrick the Bar in my uni house and he was a fantastic addition to the living room. If I could I would have him in my house forever but obviously uni is only temporary and after moving him 3 times already it was time to say goodbye to Patrick after 2 long years of fun. Next time I see a free pallet though, I know what I'm going to do!