Create a rustic pallet bed surround

Create a rustic pallet bed surround

Posted 6th Jul 2015

If you’ve been inspired by our fabulous pallet display shelf in issue three, you’ll love Hester Van Overbeek’s bed surround project from her latest book Furniture Hacks (CICO Books, £14.99) – and as luck would have it, it’s all here for you to make at home! Hester, take it away…


Pallet Bed- main


‘I love log cabin style, but reclaimed wooden beds can cost an absolute fortune. This project shows you the cheat’s way to re-create the look at a fraction of the price. For my guest bedroom, I bought an inexpensive diva n bed and then constructed this wooden surround. All my guests are very impressed when I say I built it myself. And as this bed is tucked away in the corner of the room, I only had to build half a surround! If your bed is in the middle of the room, you’ll need to build a full surround, but even this can be done in a day.’


Pallet Bed- insert


You will need
• wood – for a double bed, I used five 2cm x 7cm pieces, each 240cm long
• pallet wood – I cut up four pallets and sanded the wood smooth
• measuring rule
• saw
• strong wood glue
• lots of wood screws
• screwdriver
• electric sander
• damp cloth
• clear varnish and brush (optional)



Pallet Bed-step 1


1 Remove the mattress from the bed base. Decide how large a surround you need to build—my bed is in a corner, so I made a side panel, foot panel, and headboard. First make a frame for the side of your bed—measure the length and height of the bed base, then cut one piece of timber the length of the bed base and eight pieces the height of the bed base. Construct the frame by screwing the short lengths to the longer piece, placing one at each end and spacing the remaining six pieces inbetween at regular intervals.


Pallet Bed- step 2


2 Fill the frame horizontally with pallet wood. It looks good to use wood of different lengths, so you may have to saw some pieces to complete this wooden jigsaw. Butt the pieces up tightly and use strong wood glue and small wood screws to attach them to the frame.


I used the wood from four reclaimed pallets for this bed. I took the pallets apart, sanded the wood, and treated it against fungi, as the pallets had been left outside for months. To save time and effort, try to find clean pallets that have only been used indoors.


Pallet Bed- step 3


3 When the entire side panel is complete, finish the top of the frame by adding lengths of pallet wood along the top edge, gluing and screwing in place.


Pallet Bed- step 4


4 Measure and construct the foot panel in exactly the same way as for the side panel. When measuring the width of the bed base, add on the width of the side panel.


Pallet Bed- step 5


5 Screw the foot panel and the side panel together with a vertical row of wood screws, screwing from the foot panel into the end of the side panel.


Pallet Bed- step 6


6 Measure the height you want the headboard to be—mine is 51 in (130cm) high. Cut two pieces of wood to this length (these will be the uprights), plus three pieces of wood the same length as the foot panel (these will be the horizontal pieces). To join the frame together, lay the two uprights on the floor the correct distance apart. Place the three horizontals between them—the bottom piece needs to be 8 in (20cm) above the height of the bed base, the top piece is level with the top of the uprights, and the middle piece is equidistant between the two. Screw through the horizontals into the uprights. Fill the headboard frame with pieces of pallet wood, this time placing them vertically. Screw them into the frame with small wood screws.


You may have noticed that I ran out of wood when making the headboard frame and used an old floorboard as one of the horizontal pieces. I don’t like a uniform look, so I made sure that the top edges of the wood are at different levels. If you prefer a neater look, align the top edges of the wood.


Pallet Bed- step 7


7 Attach the legs of your headboard to the frame of the side panel by screwing through the lower part of the headboard upright into the side panel frame. If you have only one side panel, the weight of the bed will keep the other side of the headboard standing.


Pallet Bed- step 8


8 To hide the side frame of the headboard, cover it with leftover bits of pallet wood, sawing them to the correct size as necessary. Screw the pallet wood to the frame using small wood screws.


Pallet Bed- step 9


9 Cover the front of the headboard frame in the same way. I think it looks good if these pallet wood pieces are the same width as the pieces covering the top of the side frame, as this gives a more cohesive look.


Pallet Bed- step 10


10 Give the bed surround a thorough sanding with the electric sander. This might take you at least an hour, but don’t skimp on this stage as you don’t want any splintery edges. Wipe over with a damp cloth to remove any dust.


Pallet Bed-step 11


11 You can either leave the wood in this untreated state or, if you want to give the bed surround a glossy appearance, give it a coat of clear varnish. Allow the varnish to dry thoroughly before you replace the mattress.


Project taken from Furniture Hacks (CICO Books, £14.99; photography James Gardiner)

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