The Geek Cave’s pallet couch!

The Geek Cave pallet couch!
The Geek Cave pallet couch!

After constantly seeing various pallet creations on Facebook and elsewhere online, I thought I could make something cool out of pallets. Did I start with something small and easy? Nope. I decided I wanted to make a couch for our newly minted home theater. There’s four of us in the house, we like to entertain, and we don’t really have a spare bedroom, so I wanted something big for the room similar to the pricey sectionals you see in furniture stores, only with some geek appeal. No offense to those pallet couches I saw online, but they were too boring for me. I wanted something unique. Only where do you even begin?

I had to wait to get some pallets, so I started knocking ideas around in my head and decided one of the things I wanted was to have an electrical source on the couch, and that led to the idea to have a charge station for the various phones and tablets that float around the house with 2 adults and 2 kids. I checked out some things on Amazon and found a 4 USB dock for about $10. I wanted to house it so I fashioned a box out of some scrap wood. Once it was a box, I just sanded it down, rounded the corners a bit, and stained it. I left the back open for cords (and a semi-secret storage space), and a hole in the front for the face of the dock. I happened to have an electrical outlet face-plate left from another project that was the perfect size for the USB dock. I used hot glue to attach the dock to the plate, leveled it inside the box, and hot glued again to attach the plate to the box. Basically it went in like a car stereo would with a face-plate attached. Turned out looking good and works perfectly.

One of the other things I wanted to try for this project was adding some glow powder to an epoxy resin. I planned on using it on the actual couch somewhere, but I decided to also add it to the charge dock for a little fun. I took another piece of scrap wood and drew a USB symbol, then used the Dremel to carve it out enough to pour resin in. I wasn’t sure how any of this was going to turn out, but it all looked surprisingly good. The glow effect is nice.

And just for good measure, I added a lamp and storage space for remotes to the charger as well. Convenient.

This is what happens when you’re itching to build something, but you have to wait for the materials.

When I finally got the pallets I needed, through a local wool mill, and a couple longer pallets I scavenged, I started to try different combinations to see what would work. One of my methods for building is literally just staring at the materials until ideas come. Since I wasn’t sure what the pallets I was going to get were like, I couldn’t really plan much ahead of time. When I finally landed on some real plans, I got to work cutting and staining. Fortunately, I didn’t have to cut too much on the actual pallets. I just trimmed, sanded, and stained them, stacked them the way I was going to want them, and then started bolting them together. This was the most difficult part of the project. I was building in my basement, and then had to reassemble them later in our family room. I pre-drilled all of the holes, made sure they were going to fit back together, and then started the next step. The glow resin. I had recently re-done the top of the bar in our family room (a project I’ll post here later), so I knew how to work with epoxy resin, but this part of the couch was a royal pain.

I started by using the Dremel to carve the dead wood out of the knots, which I would fill with the resin. I also cut some notches in the front, and small notches on the corners of the chaise part of the sectional.

That was the easy part. I used aluminum tape to close the holes, leaving a small space pointing up where I could pour resin in. Unfortunately, the tape didn’t hold so well, and I had a mini-disaster of wasted resin on my basement floor. In the cleanup, it ended up everywhere in my basement. If you turn the lights off, you can see it glowing everywhere. It looks like a Dateline episode where they shine a black light on a hotel room, and you immediately think it looks like a porno was filmed in your room a half hour before you checked in. Fortunately, it only gives me a laugh every time I turn the lights off in there.

The next step was building some sort of table that would connect the sofa and chaise to form the sectional. This worked out pretty well for size. I took 2 pallets and shortened them reattached the boards to form 2 mini-pallets that would be the sides of the table, and used some other scrap to stabilize the ends. I actually bought a nice piece of lumber for the top, and bought another cheap long board to cut for trim. I also used some of it to form 2 magazine rack-style shelves for the end that would be exposed. Last step was to cut a hole for dock and lamp cords to run down to a power strip attached to the back.

Then I stained it, and thought it looked amazing. Turned out better than I’d hoped, and matched the charge dock and lamp perfectly.

I made sure everything was going to line up good, and then built a back for the couch by cutting more pallets in half, reinforcing them a bit and then standing them up behind the couch. I used more of the long board as trim along the back and stained it to match,

Then I hauled it all up to the geek cave and assembled all of it. Major task but it all worked well. It fit perfectly in the space.

All that was missing were cushions and some lighting. We went as geeky as we could on the pillow covers. Star Wars, Marvel, and The Walking Dead. It was really the touch it needed to fit this room.

Then I added the lighting. We love having fun lights in this room, so I bought a couple strips of remote-controlled LED strips, wired them to each other, and hit glued the remote sensor to the lamp I had made. Worked great, and adds a nice touch and some fun to it. I ran the lights through the table portion, along the side of the chaise, across the front of the couch underneath, through the end of the sofa, and then across the back. The adhesive on the lights was worthless, so used a ton of hot glue to attach it. Then I ran a test, which you can see in the video below. There are TONS of combinations you can set it on, and even program your own. All of the lighting and items needed to run them together were less than $50 total.

Finally we got to the cushions. I called in the big guns of my wife and my mother for this major task. As much as I’ve tried over the years, I’m just awful at sewing. Completely worthless, so I got the best free help possible. Foam is expensive, and the initial piece I bought wasn’t thick enough. But my mother, knowing she may have to sit and/or sleep on this thing, bought a second piece that was actually even thicker, and we actually used both pieces in a double cushion. If we ever decide to replace it, we’ll just make one BIG cushion for it, but what we did has worked well, and is super comfortable. It’s quite the napping spot.

And because it just wasn’t geeky enough….I covered the mini-lampshade with a leftover piece of glow in the dark Darth Vader material. The final touch. Thanks for reading this long post. I hope your builds and creations go smoothly. More geek projects coming soon.

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