We’ve been talking about building a pallet tiki bar for a LONG time. We had this perfect empty spot in our back yard under a palm tree that was just screaming for a bar! My husband dubbed it the TreeKee bar instead of the Tiki Bar since we planned to use the tree as part of the actual bar. Confused? Don’t be. Keep reading to find out how we did it.
My husband came up with the design and did most of the work. He is not one to go on Pinterest or online for ideas (even though I try to get him to do that). He just comes up with things in his head. He’s very creative! So if you have seen other tutorials and wonder why we didn’t do it that way too, or maybe there could have been an easier way, well, it’s because he does things his way. They might not always be the right way, but they always look good.
We got 4 pallets from a friend who owns a paver company. You can get them at grocery stores or home improvement stores too. Make sure you ask though. Some delivery companies take the pallets back and refund the store. So if you see a stack of them somewhere behind a store don’t just take some. You could get in trouble!
Below are the steps we used in building our bar.
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Materials Used in this Project
Corner Brackets and Tie Plates
Pressure treated wood
Step 1 – Measure and map out the area…
We played around with a layout and decided we were going to use 2 pallets in the front to make the actual bar area. Each pallet is 4 ft wide which would make it 8 ft across. We felt this would comfortably seat 4 bar stools. At first we planned to have one pallet on each side to make a U shape, but we ended up not doing it that way (you’ll see below). We knew we’d need at least 6 posts to hold up the pallets and the roof. And, as for a roof we planned to put one on, but the tree branches would remain on the roof as part of the ‘tiki look’.
Step 2 – Purchase posts for the base…
We used 6, 4in x 8ft foot posts and these ground master post holders to hold up the posts. These things are awesome and rather than digging a hole you just stick them in the ground and then put your post into them and tighten up the bolts.
Step 3 – Secure pallets to the beams…
To secure the pallets to the beams we used these corner brackets and tie plates.
Step 4 – Sides…
We added a 2in. x 8ft board to the top of the pallets to make it secure and all one level. We added a bar top later (see Step 7). We were going to use the 2 other pallets we had as sides but my husband thought that they’d be good homes for critters and wanted to keep it more open. So we opted to add sides as shown below using 1in. x 6in. x 8ft pressure treated wood that we cut down to 1 x 6 x 4’s.
Step 5 – The roof…
For the roof we used 1 in. x 6 in. x 8 ft. Pressure-Treated Pine Dog-Ear Fence Pickets! But first we added a board across the top of the beams so we’d have something to screw the fence pickets into. And don’t worry we made sure to get all the leaves from the tree out of the way, but a majority of the branches remain on the top of the roof. We like it that way. We placed the pickets 4 inches apart and then placed another picket on top of those for a layered look.
Step 6 – Paint…
I contemplated not painting the pallets cause I was sort of liking the rustic look, but then changed my mind and went for it and I’m happy I did. We added a shelf to the back part of the bar too, to hold drinks and bottles. I used the color Tropical Lagoon.
Step 7 – Bar top…
We were searching for a fun looking bar top that wouldn’t be to expensive, like a surfboard or cool looking piece of wood, but we just couldn’t find anything that was cheap. We ended up buying this piece of project board from Home Depot. It is NOT meant for outdoor use but I stained it using outdoor stain, and then used 5 coats of outdoor polyurethane hoping that would be good enough to protect it from the elements. So far, so good, but we’ll see how long this lasts before we’ll need to replace it! Before I began staining we measured and cut out notches where the beams would go.
The stain I used (Weathered Oak) has a touch of blue in it, which is why I choose the blue to paint the pallets on the bar and I was trying to match the barstools that we bought too.
Then we secured the bar top onto the pallets. Using screws and brackets to hold it up.
Step 8 – Pavers…
Step 9 – Finishing Touches…
Now for the fun stuff. Decorating (which is still a work in progress)! We wrapped rope around the 3 front posts to add a nautical touch and to hide the ugliness of the beams. I made this TreeKee Bar sign from this awesome piece of wood that my mother picked up at a yard sale for $5! I used these amazing paint pens for this. The lizard is a gift from some friends and we love it!
We hung cafe lights all the way around the top and these fun nautical looking lights too. We got the bar stools at Sam’s Club and they are awesome! We had to put them together and polyurethane them ourselves, but it was worth it. They are solid and meant for the outdoors so seem like they will last for a long time.
And of course we added sand all around the bar that was once dirt. Can’t be a tiki bar without beach sand!
I made this nautical life preserver wreath out of an old pool noodle and hung that.
My husband found this when we were up in New England a few weeks ago for the Patriots game. He is a lifelong, diehard fan! It is sorta perfect, isn’t it?
We will continue to add things as we find them.
Here are some shots from a few weekends ago when we had a few people over for my birthday.
And one more before/after…
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