Upcycling A Pallet Into A Coffee Table With Monocel Wood Varnish

Pallet Table

Applying wood varnish to a pallet coffee table

wood varnish

As we discussed in our last post, we are passionate about up-cycling and reusing old and otherwise land fill bound objects, especially timber. So when we came across a couple of old timber pallets in a skip bin, in the age old up-cycling tradition, we went about transforming them into something useful again. With some help from Monocel Marine Grade Wood Varnish, it was a simple afternoons work.


Now you usually don’t have to look too far to find some old pallets, or even just scrap wooden planks really. Most building sites will have a skip bin or rubbish pile filled with plenty of great materials, and usually a few pallets. Just ask if they’re being thrown away, and there you’ll have your timber.



  • Old wooden pallets (1 or 2 depending on the size of your table)
  • MDF board (to nail your planks forming a base)
  • 4 timber 10cm x 10cm legs (you can find these as offcuts quite easily, and can be any size you like)
  • 250ml Bondall Bondcrete woodworking glue
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • 500ml Monocel Clear Timber Wood Varnish
  • 500ml Monocel Stain & Varnish (whichever colour you like)
  • Jigsaw or Handsaw
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Power drill


*All of these materials can be sourced easily and cheaply from your local Bunnings.


wood varnish pallet


Step 1

Marking out your table


On your MDF board, which should be cut to the size you want your table, first rule a line down the middle. Draw in your design, this will make cutting and laying out your pallet planks much easier. We’ll be making a rather funky chevron pattern. Shown below.

wood varnish

Step 2

Cutting your tabletop lengths


Disassemble the pallet and cut the number of lengths you require from the pallet boards (you can use a mitre saw, handsaw or even a jigsaw). Just make sure to match the pieces up with your template.


Step 3

Glueing your panels


Now you’ll have to glue down your pallet lengths to the MDF board, to set them in place before you nail them down. Use Bondcrete for the strongest bond, this is crucial, as when it comes to hammering and sanding, you don’t want any movement.


wood varnish


Step 4

Nailing it down


It’s time to nail your boards into place for extra strength.


wood varnish


Step 5

Assemble Sides


We’re going to add some thick sides, using more offcuts from the pallets. Simply cut 4 lengths, to make a rectangle that will nicely fit around the sides of your newly glued and nailed table top.

wood varnish


Step 6

Screw the sides together


Screw together the sides of your table, attaching it to your table top.

wood varnish


Step 6

Attach Legs


Use 4 more lengths from your pallets (you could even use other offcuts you sourced from a building site or may have had lying around). These can be any size and length you like, it just depends on your table.

Screw these into place underneath your table top, by screwing into the inside walls of your side pieces.


wood varnish



Step 7

Sand It Back


Give your table a light all over sand, (or heavy sand), depending on the condition of your wood, in preparation for the wood varnish.


wood varnish


Step 8

Applying the Monocel Wood Varnish


wood varnish


Now your table is ready for some wood varnish. For this you’ll need either a brush, roller or foam applicator pad to apply the varnish. We recommend a foam applicator pad, as it gives the most efficient coverage and smoothest finish. And you’ll of course need some Bondall Monocel Wood Varnish. We’ve gone for a Clear Wood Varnish for the top, to really bring out the natural variations in the pallet wood. But we’ll be using some Monocel Stain & Varnish for the sides and legs, to provide a nice contrast.

wood varnish


Step 9

Wood Varnish undercoat


We’re going to apply a blue undercoat, which we will then sand back to give the table a nice blueish undertone.


wood varnish

wood varnish

Sanding back in preparation for your wood varnish

Step 10

Applying stain & varnish to the sides and legs


Now to varnish the rest of your table. You can choose any finish you like for your table, and we’ve gone for Monocel Jarrah Stain & Varnish for the legs. You will need around 3 coats to get the desired richness of colour in your wood varnish, with a light sand in between each coat. Monocel gives you the highest level of toughness, and you can even use it on your outdoor furniture.

wood varnish


You should use Monocel Gold Marine Grade Wood Varnish on any exterior timber. So if you’re building a table or any piece of furniture for the outdoors, make sure you use the  best marine grade wood varnish. Monocel Gold Wood Varnish has invisible zinc built in to add the toughest level of UV protection, so your furniture will look great for many years… rain, hail, or shine as they say.


wood varnish


You can keep adding coats until you reach your desired level of finish, be it a nice gloss finish or any colour of stain.

wood varnish monocel


And thats it. With a little creativity, an afternoon and Monocel Wood Varnish, you can have yourself a nice conversation-starting coffee table for next to nothing.


Happy Upcycling.