Learn by Doing

In the world of internet DIY projects, few are as daunting as making your own furniture. What seems like a simple task of slapping some wood together can result in a rickety and lethal pile of wood and metal. Even with a bit of woodworking experience, I’ve never really thought myself capable of building furniture on my own. That is, until my friend did it. I’ll let her go nameless, but she knows who she is. She’s not exactly the type to be on a construction site all day, so it surprised me when she showed me some furniture that she had made for herself over the summer. Using just a few pallets and a ladder, she made a chair, a coffee table, and what I call an closout (as opposed to a closet), and they all came out really nice. Here’s the proof:

A really nice chair from 2 pallets
A really nice chair from 2 pallets
A simple 2-pallet stack makes a nice coffee table
A simple 2-pallet stack makes a nice coffee table
1 ladder + blue paint = "closout"
1 ladder + blue paint = “closout”

Now, you may be skeptical of the apparent simplicity of this task, and I would be, too. Not all furniture and not all handymen/women are created equal. But the beauty and cleanliness of these products is a testament to how simple pallets are to use as building materials. And that is the ultimate goal: simplicity.

If this type of project is for you, then I encourage you to start small and simple. Build within your limits. With a product or two built, you’ll have the confidence and know-how to branch out and try something new. For example, my brother really likes making things, and furniture is his favorite thing to build. What has helped him the most is simply learning by doing. He often collects some materials here and there, from the transfer station or from work, and then he builds. He plans a little, but builds a lot. To name a few projects, he has built a convertible chair out of cardboard, a loveseat using a combination of timber and twine, and, one of his latest, a simple coffee table from a door, some spare wood, and some tiles.

The Horizontal Door Table
The Horizontal Door Table

And here I am, a hypocrite with no homemade furniture to my name. This may be more of a letter to myself than anything, but I hope you’re a bit more inspired now, too. So when you’re sweaty and tired after building your piece, at least you’ll have a place to sit. Get out there and build, people!


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