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How to build a pallet cubby

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Difficulty: Intermediate

You can create an awesome cubby house for your kids using recycled pallet timber.

 

This cubby has an additional shop and can be built over a few weekends for a minimal cost. And you can feel great in the knowledge that you’ve created something special for your kids while helping to save the planet by recycling pallets otherwise destined for landfill.

Steps

Step 1

Pallets can be sourced from many different locations. It is best to use unstamped pallets or those with a HT (heat treated) stamp to avoid risk of exposure to chemicals. Many Bunnings locations offer free pallets and they are perfect for this project.


You can use a pinch bar to remove the individual boards from the pallet, but using a cordless reciprocating saw slicing between the boards and beams and cutting the nails is an efficient option. This method stops a lot of wastage from broken boards which will inevitably happen when using a pinch bar. It also means you don’t need to hammer out many nails, as once the nails are cut the boards are ready to use.


After you have a quantity of boards you might like to grade them depending on how straight they are, the extent of any damage, and where you’ll use them in the project. You’ll be using the best boards for the floors so it is nice and flat. Any damaged boards can be cut down for use on the walls and around the windows.

 

1.1 A pinch bar can be used to remove the boards from the pallets..jpg  1.2 A reciprocating saws makes quick work of removing boards.jpg

Step 2

The base of the cubby will be a full-sized pallet. Select a pallet with a solid construction as the floor.

 

2.1 Select a sturdy base pallet with minimal damage..jpg

Step 3

Time to fix the upright posts. Remove the second board and second last board from the pallet with a pinch bar. For the upright posts we will be using 4 spare runners from a disassembled pallet. Take the four runners and mark the height of the base pallet’s runner on them. Countersink and pre-drill holes suitable for 75mm coach screws in the side of these vertical posts. Cut the tops at a 45-degree angle to suit a pitched roof before installing.

 

3.1 Use a pinch bar to remove boards..jpg  3.2 First board removed..jpg  3.3 Mark the height of runner..jpg  3.4 Countersink holes for coach screws..jpg  3.5 Pre-drill timber for coach screws..jpg  3.6 Check the upright post is straight before fixing..jpg  3.7 Fix upright posts into place..jpg  3.8 Fixed upright post..jpg

Step 4

We now move onto laying the floorboards. Cut and pre-drill four blocks to support the first and last board in the corners with 75mm screws. Begin laying new boards across the length of the pallet fixed with 50mm screws. As you progress along the pallet you will need to remove the old boards and replace them with new boards butted up against the previous one. A small infill piece can be used to finish off next to the post.

 

4.1 Mark height of runner..jpg  4.2 Pre-drill holes in blocks..jpg  4.3 Blocks installed..jpg  4.4 First board screwed down..jpg  4.5 Remove boards in the wrong place as you lay new boards..jpg  4.6 Continue down the pallet..jpg  4.7 Fill gaps on outside of posts..jpg  4.8 Completed floor..jpg

Step 5

Installing beams will give the frame rigidity. Take measurements between uprights and cut spare runners to suit width. Pre-drill horizontal runners and join uprights together with 75mm screws on all four sides. This will secure our posts together.

 

5.1 Measuring distance between uprights..jpg  5.2 Install horizontal beams..jpg  5.3 Screw at a 45-degree angle from the top and below..jpg  5.4 Two horizontals joined to a vertical post..jpg

Step 6

For the pitched roof supports, take four spare runners and cut one end of them at a 45-degree angle. Pre-drill them and screw the angled pieces together with 50mm screws. Install on the upright posts as the roof supports with 75mm screws.

 

6.1 A 45-degree cut on one end of the roof supports..jpg  6.2 Pre-drill holes in the 45-degree join..jpg  6.3 Pre-drill holes in roof supports to fix into vertical posts..jpg  6.4 Screw roof supports into upright posts..jpg  6.5 Roof supports in position..jpg

Step 7

Take three spare boards and cut to size for divisions where doors and windows will be placed. Pre-drill and screw into position with 50mm screws. Here I have created a door plus a window on the front and a door on the side. The door on the side will be used to access the shop section of the cubby.

 

7.1 Cut to length and position upright division board..jpg  7.2 Screw into position top and bottom..jpg  7.3 Fix a horizontal board to create windon division..jpg  7.4 Create a side-door division..jpg

Step 8

Begin fixing boards to the walls. A brad nail gun will be helpful in holding the boards in place until they are permanently screwed in position with 50mm screws. Start at the base and work your way to the top of the walls. Take a saw and cut the overhanging timber boards flush with uprights.

 

8.1 Start at the bottom fixing boards into place..jpg  8.2 Boards meeting in the corners..jpg  8.3 Over-hang of boards..jpg  8.4 Cut boards flush with frame..jpg

Step 9

Now onto the roof. Start placing and fixing the roof boards into position with 50mm screws or a brad nail gun. If the cubby is going to be in the weather, a sheet of builders underlay plastic can be added before placing the boards. Finish off the left-hand side of the roof line by cutting off the roof support then add the last finishing board.

 

9.1 Begin laying roof boards..jpg  9.2 Cover roof with boards..jpg  9.3 Cut roof support beam to length..jpg  9.4 Add final finishing board..jpg

Step 10

To finish the roof, infill boards at the front and rear underneath the cubby roofline using 50mm screws or a brad nail gun. You will need to cut the tops at a 45-degree angle to suit the roof line.


Now you have completed the cubby portion of the project.

 

10.1 Measure from under the pitch of the roof to the bottom of the horzontal beam..jpg  10.2 Cut the middle board..jpg  10.3 Start placing board working outwards..jpg  10.4 Finished rear roof..jpg  10.5 Finished roof front..jpg

Step 11

Time to build the shop floor, which will be made from three quarters of a full-size pallet. Take a full-sized pallet and with a saw cut off a quarter of it by sawing through the runners.


For the upright posts, we will be using four spare runners from a disassembled pallet. Take four runners, pre-drilling mounting holes in them as these will be the upright posts. Remove the first board and install the uprights in all four corners with 75mm screws. Once the uprights are in place, add supports for the first and last board. Continue to install floorboards in the same fashion as the cubby floor.

 

11.1 Pallet for shop base..jpg  11.2 Remove the first board with a pinch bar..jpg  11.3 Pre-drill four upright posts..jpg  11.4 Install posts onto base..jpg  11.5 Create blocks for the first board to secure to..jpg

Step 12

For the shop roof beams, measure the distance between the upright posts. Cut four boards to suit the length and pre-drill holes in the ends. Install them as horizontal supports beams on all four sides with 75mm screws.

 

12.1 Measure distance between uprights..jpg  12.2 Install horizontal beams onto uprights..jpg  12.3 Four beams fitting in position..jpg

Step 13

A shop bench is a fun and practical addition. Measure the height at which you would like the shop shelf to sit. Cut and pre-dill three runners to a suitable length to fit between upright posts and then install them into position with 75mm screws.


Take spare boards and cut to length to suit shop counters. Fix them into the horizontal beams with 75mm screws.


To finish the corner of the counters, take a spare piece of board and screw it into the void between the shelves with 100mm screws. Cut a radius with a jigsaw on this infill piece. 

 

13.1 Measure height for shelf..jpg  13.2 Install shelf support beams..jpg  13.3 Installed shelf..jpg  13.4 Gap where shelf should join..jpg  13.5 Cut an insert piece to fill void..jpg  13.6 Cut to shape with jigsaw..jpg  13.7 Shop beams and shelves in position..jpg

Step 14

Time for the shop’s wall panelling. Cut to length, pre-drill and install three beams with 75mm screws to make up the bottom surround. This will be used to fix the boards to for the wall panelling. You can now start fixing the boards around the outside.

 

14.1 Install bottom fixing beam into position..jpg  14.2 Beams fixed into position..jpg  14.3 Fix under-shelf boards..jpg  14.4 Continue fixing boards under shelf..jpg

Step 15

Begin the shop’s skillion roof by cutting to length and fixing a beam to the high side closest to the cubby with 75mm screws. Lay your roof boards across the roof fixing them to the beams either side with 50mm screws or a brad nail gun. Once they are laid, mark a straight edge and cut to length.

 

15.1 Cut and fix roof beam in position..jpg  15.2 Laid roof board before trimming..jpg  15.3 Laid roof boards after trimming..jpg

Step 16

You’re now the proud owner of a pallet cubby house with shopfront. You might choose to paint the cubby or even build additional elements like fruit and flower boxes, decorative cut-outs and doors. You could also decorate with curtains and other accessories. Adding the finishing touches is really up to your tastes and perhaps a good opportunity for your children to contribute some ideas to really make it their own.

 

16.1 Finished Cubby house..jpg  16.2 Feature cut-out..jpg  16.3 Feature cut-out..jpg  16.4 Trimmings to finish..jpg  16.5 Painted and finished..jpg  16.6 3D Plan details.png

Materials

  • Approximately 12 pine pallets
  • 50mm brad nails
  • Treated pine screws sizes 10-8 x 50mm, 10-8 x 75mm, and 10-8 x 100mm
  • 16 x 75mm coach screws

Tools

  • Cordless drill driver
  • Circular saw or Compound mitre saw
  • Jigsaw or handsaw
  • Pinch bar
  • Hammer
  • Brad nail gun (optional)
  • Cordless reciprocating saw (optional)

Images

1.2 A reciprocating saws makes quick work of removing boards.jpg

1.1 A pinch bar can be used to remove the boards from the pallets..jpg

2.1 Select a sturdy base pallet with minimal damage..jpg

3.1 Use a pinch bar to remove boards..jpg

3.3 Mark the height of runner..jpg

3.4 Countersink holes for coach screws..jpg

3.2 First board removed..jpg

3.5 Pre-drill timber for coach screws..jpg

3.7 Fix upright posts into place..jpg

3.6 Check the upright post is straight before fixing..jpg

3.8 Fixed upright post..jpg

4.2 Pre-drill holes in blocks..jpg

4.1 Mark height of runner..jpg

4.4 First board screwed down..jpg

4.3 Blocks installed..jpg

4.6 Continue down the pallet..jpg

4.8 Completed floor..jpg

4.7 Fill gaps on outside of posts..jpg

4.5 Remove boards in the wrong place as you lay new boards..jpg

5.1 Measuring distance between uprights..jpg

5.3 Screw at a 45-degree angle from the top and below..jpg

5.2 Install horizontal beams..jpg

5.4 Two horizontals joined to a vertical post..jpg

6.4 Screw roof supports into upright posts..jpg

6.3 Pre-drill holes in roof supports to fix into vertical posts..jpg

6.1 A 45-degree cut on one end of the roof supports..jpg

6.2 Pre-drill holes in the 45-degree join..jpg

6.5 Roof supports in position..jpg

7.1 Cut to length and position upright division board..jpg

7.2 Screw into position top and bottom..jpg

7.4 Create a side-door division..jpg

7.3 Fix a horizontal board to create windon division..jpg

8.2 Boards meeting in the corners..jpg

8.1 Start at the bottom fixing boards into place..jpg

8.4 Cut boards flush with frame..jpg

8.3 Over-hang of boards..jpg

9.1 Begin laying roof boards..jpg

9.2 Cover roof with boards..jpg

9.4 Add final finishing board..jpg

9.3 Cut roof support beam to length..jpg

10.1 Measure from under the pitch of the roof to the bottom of the horzontal beam..jpg

10.2 Cut the middle board..jpg

10.3 Start placing board working outwards..jpg

10.4 Finished rear roof..jpg

10.5 Finished roof front..jpg

11.3 Pre-drill four upright posts..jpg

11.1 Pallet for shop base..jpg

11.2 Remove the first board with a pinch bar..jpg

11.4 Install posts onto base..jpg

11.5 Create blocks for the first board to secure to..jpg

12.1 Measure distance between uprights..jpg

12.3 Four beams fitting in position..jpg

12.2 Install horizontal beams onto uprights..jpg

13.1 Measure height for shelf..jpg

13.2 Install shelf support beams..jpg

13.3 Installed shelf..jpg

13.4 Gap where shelf should join..jpg

13.6 Cut to shape with jigsaw..jpg

13.7 Shop beams and shelves in position..jpg

14.2 Beams fixed into position..jpg

14.1 Install bottom fixing beam into position..jpg

14.4 Continue fixing boards under shelf..jpg

14.3 Fix under-shelf boards..jpg

15.1 Cut and fix roof beam in position..jpg

15.2 Laid roof board before trimming..jpg

15.3 Laid roof boards after trimming..jpg

16.4 Trimmings to finish..jpg

16.1 Finished Cubby house..jpg

16.2 Feature cut-out..jpg

16.3 Feature cut-out..jpg

16.6 3D Plan details.png

16.5 Painted and finished..jpg

 

10 Replies
Super Contributor

Thank you @MitchellMc 

For not only sharing your project but have all the wonderful photo's to go with it.  I always feel a picture is worth 1000 words.

 

I have a little granddaughter who I would dearly love to build something like this for, possibly Christmas or the birthday after Christmas. I will have to run it by her parents as to how big, but now I have something to show them so they can get an idea of what is possible on a tight budget.

 

Thanks again

This old gal :smile:

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hi @Old-gal24.

 

Many thanks for your kind response, your feedback is really appreciated. For the price of a few packs of screws and your time, it's an awesome low-cost project. You can really make the project your own by adding additional elements. I spent my day off building a little mud kitchen out of pallet wood to go along-side it with running water and plumbed drainage. It's great for washing grubby hands before heading inside and perfect for making mud pies!

 

 

Mitchell

 

 

Valued Contributor

Beautiful work! @MitchellMc 

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Many thanks for the compliment Red (@redracer01)! 

 

It's really quite a simple project that almost anyone can complete with no complex joints and just requiring a few weekends to piece together.

 

Mitchell

 

Established Contributor

Thank you! Love this tutorial - going to modify and create for my next chicken coop! This is brilliant. Cheers.

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hi @Caron,

 

Many thanks for your kind feedback, I'm sure your chickens will love it! 

 

If you need further information or have questions on the build process, please let me know.

 

Mitchell

 

Super Contributor

@MitchellMc  Wow great job!! What kid wouldn’t be excited with that to play in?? Wish I was a kid again ha ha

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hi @Tara86,

 

Thanks for your kind comment! I am a little bit surprised at the exorbitant prices my daughter is charging for fresh fruit though.

 

Mitchell

 

Newbie

Nice work man!

 

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @Hectic_pete. It's fantastic to have you join us and many thanks for the compliment.

 

Are you thinking of building something similar? My daughter absolutely loves it. 

 

We look forward to hearing about your projects around the house and garden and we'd encourage you to let us know if you ever need assistance with them or you'd like to share with the community. I trust you'll find loads of inspiration for them from within the community as our fantastic members are posting their own projects here all the time.

 

Mitchell

 

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