How to Build a Kitchen Island from Wood Shipping Pallets
Deliver modern style with an island assembled from a pair of 36×36-inch wood pallets, a sheet of 1-inch MDF, 1×3 and 1×6 poplar boards, a pair of 19-1/2×13-inch metal brackets, and a butcher-block countertop. Shop for 36×36-inch pallets online or at local pallet recyclers (some can cost as low as $6 each). Check your home center for poplar craft boards, MDF, and brackets. Before you begin, prime and paint the pallets, brackets, boards, and MDF, and seal the butcher-block top.
1. Build a Modesty Panel
Build a modesty panel to run the center length of the island, between the pallets, by cutting two 1-inch MDF sheets (ours are 35×611/4 inches). Then, cut three pieces of 1×3 poplar to 35 inches long to use as cleats that will join the two MDF sheets. Position the first cleat at the center of one sheet and space remaining cleats 19 inches apart on either side. Adhere with wood glue; clamp. Next, cut four 6-inch-long pieces of poplar. Align two of the 6-inch poplar pieces along the right edge of the same sheet of MDF, positioning one 41/4 inches from the top, and the other 101/2 inches from the bottom. Glue and clamp. Repeat for left side. Let dry. Apply glue to the face of the attached poplar pieces; position remaining MDF sheet on top. Clamp and let dry.
2. Finish Pallets
Cut two pieces of poplar sized to fill the gap in each pallet's top edge (visible in photo 3). Glue in place. When dry, drill holes through these boards where the island base and countertop will join. Next, create the four hooks to connect the pallets to the modesty panel. From the 1×6 poplar boards, cut four 4- and 5-inch pieces of poplar for a total of eight pieces. Align and glue one 4- and 5-inch piece together, like a hook, as shown in photo 2. Repeat for a total of four hooks. Center two hooks on the inside of each pallet, positioned so they would slide into the side slots of the modesty panel. Glue and let dry.
3. Attach Modesty Panel
Slip pallet ends into the modesty panel using the hook-and-slot construction.
4. Place the Countertop
Place countertop on island base. Use the predrilled holes in each pallet's top edge to screw up through the palette and into the top with 11/2-inch screws. Then, install the metal brackets at the center of the modesty panel.