Definition: Pallet-craft is reusing wood from shipping crates or pallets to make furniture, shelving, toys, decks, planters, sheds, animal pens, compost bins, ceilings, accent walls (wall cladding), benches and other useful items. Pallet craft can be as simple as making a bird house or an entire custom home out of (typically) free salvaged pallets. The field is booming, which is evident from the proliferation of content on the Internet and from traffic to our site (‘pallet’ and ‘pallet furniture’ are top search terms).
Our focus here is on functional, quality, popular items for DIY builders – how to turn discarded pallets into useful items around your home, and incorporate pallets into construction of the home itself. Previous blog posts include:
Interior Pallet Walls
Straw Bale/Pallet Walls
Pallet Wood Flooring
Pallet Wood Ceilings
Here are some basic pallet wood building guidelines:
– Search for free pallets from shipping companies, factories, malls, grocery stores, beverage distributors, building supply centers and industrial parks. With over 4 billion pallets in current use, you shouldn’t have to pay for them.
– Pallet quality varies considerably. Find sources who will let you choose good pallets of uniform size.
– Only use pallets marked HT (heat treated). MB (Methyl-Bromide) pallets are treated with pesticides and fungicides to deter insects and mold, and are not recommended for projects in your home (although they will likely be more durable for decks, fences and other outdoor uses). Personally, I can’t stand chemicals and do not use chemically treated wood at all.
– Work with whole or partial pallets (ex: half pallets) whenever practical to minimize disassembling/breaking down pallets.
– Watch videos on YouTube for practical advice on disassembling/breaking down pallets if you need individual boards/planks.
– Prepare pallets in advance, preferably working outside while wearing a good quality dust mask. This includes sanding the wood with an orbital sander and using a blow gun to remove dust.
– Alternate the widths, colors and light/dark wood to create a pleasing, more natural appearance.
– Put unsightly boards (ex: heavily grayed, badly cracked or stained boards) in inconspicuous locations.
– Consider investing in good quality tools. A chop saw, sander, nail gun and compressor will greatly speed the work.
Image source: Blue Velvet Chair
Image source: Esprit Cabane (good directions for building decks)
Image source: Esprit Cabane (good directions for building the coffee table shown above)
Image source: Pinterest pallet craft