MAKE A BACKYARD BAR USING PALLETS


Make a Backyard Bar Using Pallets. Backyard bar made out of pallets with two bar stools in front of it.


Let me be up front: other than simple projects I made in eighth-grade shop class, this is my first time building anything. I am sure there are better, more advanced ways to do this, but this was easy and something that you can do, too! Wanting to do this on a very small budget, I used reclaimed pallet boards. The first step took the longest – finding the perfect boards.

A pile of pallet boards.

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I searched for pallets that were in good condition and the same size. Not knowing they came in so many different dimensions, I accumulated quite a pile, which my husband did not enjoy! I needed a pallet that was a good height and width.

I found a long pallet (47") that was in great condition and had nice wide cross boards (6”). This formed the front of my bar. It was the perfect height (40") to accommodate the stools we planned to place in front of it. I sanded it lightly – just enough so no one would get splinters – since I was going for a rustic look. I stood it up to form the front of the bar. Easy enough and no cuts needed – a priority for me as a first-time builder.

The front of the bar.


Next, I had to find a pallet that was the same height to use for the sides of the bar. I ended up needing two, which I determined through good old-fashioned trial and error. If I cut one pallet in half, the sides would be too short, and if I combined two uncut ones, the sides would be too long. I found two identical pallets that were the proper height. The cross boards on these pallets aren’t as thick as those on the front pallet, but it isn’t noticeable unless you look closely.

I measured the two pallets to the desired width of 2’ and cut off the extra. (I used the offcuts to make a neat little shelf that I incorporated into the bar area.) I placed the cut ends of each side pallet toward the front of the bar and attached them using deck screws, which I had an extra box of in my garage. Although it didn’t feel very sturdy, I assumed that attaching the top would reinforce the structure.


View of bar from behind.


We happened to have an old wooden shelf in our garage that was 65" long and 17 1/2" wide; we decided to use that for the top of the front pallet. I measured for a nice overhang of 8" to allow for sitting at the bar. I did have to buy wood for the tops of the sides to get the U-shape I wanted. I cut that purchased board in half to form two 17 1/2" long by 9 1/2" wide boards. I matched it up with the front bar top and attached it with screws through the top, making sure to secure it to a board. The side overhang was 4".

Front and side view of completed bar.


Once I secured the top, the structure was very solid, as anticipated. After sanding down all the parts that needed it, I wiped the bar down and began staining. I used a paint brush, but I know some prefer a cloth. I liked using the brush on such a big surface. I stained one of the shelves the same color, using about three coats. I finished the bar top with a coating of Varathane to create a washable surface. Last summer, I cleaned it so much using antibacterial wipes that some of the Varathane lifted. This year, I will have to reapply it or I might even put an epoxy on top.

While waiting for the finish to dry, we decided to build a small patio for the bar to sit on. We dug and leveled the area and laid the stones.


Image left: Positioning the patio stones on which the bar will sit. Image right: Sweeping completed patio area for bar.

We moved the bar on to the patio, ordered two stylish stools and put it all together. We also added a bottle opener on the side, which has really come in handy. As for the shelf, it holds bottles very well.

A view of the author’s back yard showing some outdoor chairs, the bar, shelf and pub table.


After making the pallet bar and feeling so proud of myself, I used more of the pallets to make a standing pub table for the bar area, a work bench, a garden bench, a vine climber and a storage rack for hockey sticks. All you need to do is search pallet-board ideas on the Internet and endless (and often inexpensive) projects will appear.

Text and photos by Cheryl McCleary

Back Yard Bar Tools and Accessories

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GL119 - Inflatable Solar Candle Lantern, each

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45K2242 - Silicone Wine-Bottle Caps, pair

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