Building a Tiki Bar…Out of Wood Pallets

Tiki Bar.  A MUST on our list of things to have/do while living in Hawaii.  But, they take time and money, a lot of both, right? WRONG! Not if you use pallets!

I have grown to LOVE this common wooden structure that so often goes unnoticed and tossed aside after it’s initial job of assisting in the transportation of something.  They are strong, well built, and to be honest, they have great lines.

We were able to acquire 6 pallets that were no longer needed at a job site, bought some screws, a 4×4 post and a sheet of plywood and got to work.  It was so easy!

Because the pallets are able to hold their own in weight and structure, all we had to do stand them up on end, put them in an L shape, screw them to the deck and then together and the basis of our bar was set.  We then cut our plywood in two strips to make as our bar top and screwed them on.  J.O. even made a small shelf for back behind the bar.

We decided to stain the wood and then I got to work on the countertop.  I wanted something different and cheap.  Well, the countertop ended up being different, but not as inexpensive as I wanted.  I decoupaged first with an old sarong I had laying around. I was able to get by cheap on the modgepodge by making it my self.  I used two different recipes and both worked great.  The first is a simple solution of half water and half glue mixed up.  The second (and yes, it actually does work) was 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 and 1/4 cup of water.  Mix it all together and heat for about 2 min. It should be smooth and not too thick. If it’s too thick, just add more water.  After I did all the decoupaging (I even did the shelf with photos of surfers and such) I went to the store in search of a good sealer.  I needed something that was waterproof and durable. What I found is AMAZING.  It’s a little spending, but I have so many for projects in mind after finding this stuff!  It is called “Pour-On” and it is made by Enviro Tex Lite.  All you do is mix the two part solution and pour it onto what ever you want to be sealed.  Think of thick lacquered counter tops at bars.  It ran me roughly $60 for two boxes.  The next day, I mixed it up, poured it on and waited 24 hours.  Beautiful! But it needed another coat and an added something….glitter :) Yes, I added glitter to the counter top and another coat of the sealer.  It would be crystal clear and look like the ocean, but it rained, so the sealer became a bit tampered.  It still looks pretty cool, though if I do say so myself!

I bought a few things at the Aloha Market (read about it here) to complete our tiki look and now all we need is to stock the bar and have a party!

Oh, we also made a new table for the lanai out of pallets.  It’s simply two pallets stacked on each other with a 4×4 post in each corner separating them.  A few screws and a bit of stain later and there you have it.

Last, I bought a few wooden carvings of sea creatures that I wanted to glue onto out “ocean” countertop.  I used Gorilla Glue because I thought it would hole up the best, not knowing that it foamed when it dried! It looks like the animals are coming out  of the water! Ha! Although this technique worked for my project, I can see how it could ruin others.  So, lesson learned: Gorilla Glue foams.  

Long Live the Pallet!



Building a Tiki Bar…Out of Wood Pallets — 54 Comments

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  2. This is by far the coolest tiki bar made from pallets that I’ve seen! I have accumulated the 6 pallets and will be attempting this in the next few weeks. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Love this!!!! My bar is sitting without a top because I can’t find an old kitchen counter for under $300!! Can you email me more Info on how to do the counter please?? Kelleye747 @

    • Go to You may be able to glaze it if you are handy. Midwest chemicals or Hawk has everything you need and the coating it way way stronger than that pourable thick surface. But it’s difficulty level is also higher.

  4. Your tiki bar looks great. We have built one out of a wooden swing set left by the previous owners. Been trying to figure out what to use to seal the wood on the bar and the foot rails around the bottom. Will tell my husband about the product you used. Our bar is already attached, but the foot railings are not. Also going to put a small sink and a place to drop a cooler of ice in. I hope you enjoy your tiki bar. The parties have already started at our house and when the tiki bar is finished, our friends have told us to have a “stock the bar” party. I wish I could post pics, but I don’t know how and I don’t have a website.

  5. I’m busy with my own bar. Is there a place I can put pics for everyone to see? My problem is I’m going for the Bushveld look and the blue counter top will not look as good as yours. Any idees?

  6. This is beautiful. I already have the pallets and I am just waiting for the weather to get better! I am so excited to get started. I will let you know how it goes. 😉

  7. Your project is awesome! Very creative and artistic! Applause to you. I have one question please. Can you please explain the steps and procedure of how you made the counter top blue? I understand you poured on the goop which dried like a clear laquer but at what point and what materials did you make it blue? Thank you very muc.

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  9. Wonderful job on the bar, I am considering trying something like this myself.:-) one off topic question though pls tell what those giant red plants in the background are called I have seen them planted by the city before, and have been trying to find out what there called so I can plant some of my own. Thank you….love the animals coming out of the counter top to great detail, makes it unique

  10. i am curious how long it took you to build it… i am planning on using it inside, so i will have to anchor it somehow… any ideas???

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  12. May I ask how you put the plywood on the top of the bar? I have everything else in place, just wondering how you attached the plywood to the top of the pallets? Do you place it in the middle of the pallet than screw it down? Help

  13. Pingback: Summer Fun: Tiki Party Ideas - Everyday Inspiration from LTDEveryday Inspiration from LTD

  14. this idea is so awesome and I would like to build it in my garage but my garage has a cement floor and I don’t want it to be that big so do you have any ideas of which I can anchor it to.

  15. I am already scouting pallets. Question…your tent roof? Any info on that? Would love to find something silmilar…

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