Folding Pallet Desk label

Have you ever thought about creating a functional piece of furniture without spending a dime? Reclaimed woods are the perfect material to unleash your creativity and build something truly unique. Today, we have Karianne from Thistlewood Farms, who always amazes me with her think-outside-the-box projects.

She has repurposed an old shipping pallet into a flipping pallet desk!!! What in the world? Reason number 535 why I love that she is a contributor to my blog. Be amazed, friends…be amazed.

With some imagination and basic tools, you can transform this discarded piece of wood into a practical and stylish workspace. So roll up your sleeves, and let’s get crafting!

Folding Pallet Desk label

I knew when I saw this pallet……it was destined for greatness.

Before it became a fold-up desk.

Before it hung on the wall and provided storage for even the tiniest of spaces.

Before it ever dreamed a dream outside the walls of the barn.

shipping pallets

Back when it looked like this.

Can’t you see it?

Right there.

Just remove a few boards and add a simple cable and some plywood…..and you totally have a space-saving fold-up pallet desk.

It’s hanging on my wall….smiling and ready for its star on the Hollywood walk of fame.  🙂

Pallet Desk Project

Where to Source Wooden Pallets for Your DIY Pallet Desk

Finding pallets for your project doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are some suggestions for sourcing pallets:

  • Local Businesses: Contact local businesses like warehouses, construction sites, or retail stores. They often have surplus pallets they would be willing to give away or sell at a low cost.
  • Online Marketplaces: Check online marketplaces such as Craigslist, Freecycle, or Facebook Marketplace. Many people offer free or inexpensive cut or uncut wood pallets for pick-up in your area.
  • Pallet Recycling Centers: Some cities have dedicated pallet recycling centers where you can acquire pallets for your projects. Reach out to these centers to inquire about their availability and any associated costs.

Safety Precautions

When working on a repurposed pallet desk project, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Here are some essential safety precautions to keep in mind:

  • Wear Protective Gear: Before starting any DIY project, make sure to wear appropriate protective gear. Safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask are essential when working with pallets to prevent any injuries or health hazards.
  • Secure Work Area: Set up your work area in a well-ventilated space with ample lighting. Ensure that the work surface is stable and free from clutter or tripping hazards. Clear the area of any obstacles to avoid accidents.
  • Handle Tools Correctly: Always handle tools with care and use them according to their intended purpose. Keep them in good condition, ensuring that blades are sharp and properly secured. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the safe operation of each tool.
  • Store Tools Properly: Use tools that are suitable for working with wood, such as a circular saw, jigsaw, drill, and sander. Learn how to operate them correctly, paying attention to safety features and guidelines. Never force a tool if it’s not working properly; seek assistance or replace it if necessary.
  • Lift and Carry Safely: Pallets can be heavy, so it’s important to use proper lifting techniques to avoid strains or injuries. Lift with your legs, not your back, and ask for help if a pallet is too heavy to lift alone.

Fold-up Pallet Desk Tutorial

To bring your DIY pallet wood desks to life, you’ll need a few essential desk materials and tools. Here’s a list of what you’ll require:

  • Pallet: Find a sturdy and clean pallet for your project. Ensure the pallet is in good condition and free from rot or damage.
  • Plywood: Cut a piece of plywood to fit between the bottom two boards of the pallet. This will serve as the folding out desk surface.
  • Piano Hinge: Use a piano hinge to provide stability and flexibility when folding the desk. Attach one side of the hinge to the plywood desk top and the other side to the bottom board of the pallet.
  • Window Sash: For added charm and functionality, attach a window sash to keep the desk closed when not in use. Connect one side of the sash to the plywood desk top and the other side to the middle board of the pallet.
  • Cables and Hooks: Select cables capable of supporting at least 100 pounds to ensure a sturdy desk top. Obtain cable hooks, crimps, and eye hooks for attaching the cables securely to the pallet and desk top.


While it might seem like desk constructions are too complicated, you’ll find that this entire project isn’t as difficult as you might have imagined. Here are the steps to take to make this compact pallet desk:

Step 1: Cut a Piece of Plywood for the Desk

Most pallets have two sides. One with a lot of boards. One with usually about three boards.

For this project, the side with a lot of boards will be considered the back.

The one with three boards will be considered the front.

You don’t even have to remove any of the boards for this project.

Start by cutting a piece of plywood to fit between the bottom two boards.

front of the desk

Step 2: Attach a Piano Hinge

You want to use a piano hinge instead of regular hinges to provide maximum stability.

Attach one side of the hinge to the plywood desk top and one side to the bottom board of the pallet.

piano hinge on desk

Step 3: Attach a Window Sash

I think a window sash is a fun option to keep this fold-up wall hanging desk closed when not in use.

Simply attach one side of the window sash to the plywood desk top and one side to the middle board of the pallet.


Step 4: Assemble Cables

The cables are used to support the door when it is in the down position.

You want to purchase a cable that will support at least 100 pounds to make sure your desk top is sturdy.

You will need cable hooks, crimps, and an eye hook.


Step 5: Thread the Eye Hook

Thread the eye hook through the cable as shown.

Wrap the cable around the cable hooks and crimp in place as shown.

You will be attaching one end of the cable to the pallet and one end to the desk top.

Cut your cable to fit snugly between the pallet and the desk top when the desk top is down.

Thread the eye hook and wrap and crimp the cable hook for the other end of the cable.

Repeat step 5 for the other side of the desk.


Step 6: Sand and Stain Assembled Pallet

I used dark walnut stain and applied one coat following directions on the can.

Let the dark stain dry.

Apply a coat of polyurethane following the directions on the can.

Let dry.


Step 7: Attach Eye Hook to Desk Top

After the pallet is thoroughly dry, attach an eye hook to one side of the desk top.

Repeat step 7 for the other side of the desk top.


Step 8: Attach Other Eye Hook to a Small Block of Wood

Attach the eye hook to a block of wood.

Attach the block of wood to the inside of the back of the pallet as shown.

Repeat step 8 for the other side.


Step 9: Attach Securely to the Wall

Screw it directly into the wall studs, and if needed, use wall anchors to secure your handsome desk creation.

That’s it! You now have one of the most amazing desks that you can use for work, study, and more.

How to Take Care and Maintain Your DIY Foldable Pallet Desk

To ensure the longevity and functionality of your repurposed pallet desk, it’s important to perform regular maintenance and care. Follow these steps to keep your desk in great condition:

  • Clean Regularly: Dust your DIY desk regularly with a soft cloth or a mild cleaning solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the wood or finishes.
  • Apply Stain and Finish: Apply protective coats of stain or paint to enhance the appearance and protect the wood. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application techniques of the coats of stain or paint.
  • Protect From Moisture: Pallet wood is susceptible to moisture damage, so keep your functional desk away from areas prone to spills or excessive humidity. Use coasters or placemats to protect the surface from hot or wet objects.
  • Perform Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect your entire desk for any signs of wear or damage. Check the hinges, cables, and hooks for any loose or weakened components. Make any necessary repairs promptly to prevent further damage.

Start Making Your Functional, Simple Desk

A fold-up pallet desk is a project that is perfect for a small space, as it’s only the depth of a pallet when closed.

I told you it was destined for greatness. 🙂

Liked this project? Here’s a few more from Thistlewood Farms.


How to:  Barn Wood Letter


How to:  Pallet Top Desk

Yardstick Stool

How-to:  Yard Stick Stool

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  1. “Attach the eye hook to a block of wood.”


    “Attach the block of wood to the inside of the back of the pallet as shown.”

    How? Is it glued?


  2. Seriously, when I see the stuff Ms. Thistle comes up with my head wobbles from side to side and while trying to wrap my brain around how her’s works, I mutter to myself looking at her creations.


  3. This is unbelievably gorgeous!! I love the stain you used as well. May I ask what color/brand you used?

  4. This is absolutely gorgeous! I can’t wait to make one! Thanks so much for the tutorial =)

  5. Hello,

    I am new to the DIY community and absolutely found this post helpful for my first project: my desk.
    I would like to know what size plywood from the hardware store should I look for, for the pallet desk? I would like to have this done before the new semester starts, that is August 29, 2016. Please help! Thank you.

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