The Beginner’s Guide to Pallet Projects
Pallets remind me of mobile homes because they have unlimited potential and are extremely affordable. You can make just about anything out of pallets at a great price.
You can use pallets as a whole or by breaking them down into individual boards. Single boards are a perfect building material! Wood from older pallets can have a beautiful weathered patina that is hard to mimic with new lumber so they are perfect for creating texture on a wall or other displays.
We’ve gathered some great information that will help determine which pallets are the best for your intended project and how to find affordable or free pallets. We’ll also cover safety issues and show you several examples of how you can use wood pallets in your home decor and design projects. Get ready to be inspired!
Know Your Pallets
There’s more than one type of pallet. Understanding the different pallets and knowing which type will work best for your project can help ensure your home decor projects are a success. You can also increase your negotiating power when buying pallets – knowledge is power and if you show them that you know what you’re talking about you may be able to negotiate a better deal.
A pallet is a basically a bottom frame or deck that is used to maximize loads during transport. They are placed under packaged goods to make stacking easier and allow front loaders and fork lifts to easily move them during shipment. Simply put, they act as a sturdy foundation and stacking tool.
Stringer Pallet Design
There are two main types of wood pallets. The most popular is the stringer pallet design.
The Stringer design has a top deck and sometimes a bottom deck of equal size separated by middle framing boards. They are perfect if you need lots of boards for your project.
Here is an image from STBPallet.com of a stringer pallet:
The Block pallet is another popular design. They have access openings on all 4 sides, making it more convenient for fork lifts to use.
Between the top and bottom decks are solid wood shaped in a block, hence the name. Here’s another image from STBPallet.com of what they look like:
Since different types of pallet frames are used for various weight loads and stacking needs there are a variety of designs available.
Basic US Pallet Size
The basic pallet size in the US is 40″ x 48″.
2-Way Vs. 4-Way Entry
The most popular frames used for pallets is the 2-way-entry and the 4-way-entry. The entry counts refer to the number of openings on the sides of the pallet. A 2-way-entry pallet only has 2 places for a forklift to insert it’s arms in order to move it. A 4-way-entry has 4 opening, 2 on each side.
Pallets have various deck designs as well. The open board and closed board deck are the two most popular designs. Open boarded pallets have a space between them and closed decks do not. It’s similar to building a deck onto your home, open decking allows water to flow between the boards and closed decking does not.
Look at the photo below, found on a great site called DIYReady.com and you’ll better understand the different types of wood pallet:
Wood Pallet Safety
Sometimes pallets are coated or soaked in toxic chemicals to extend their lifespan and keep bugs away. If you will be using the pallet for a kitchen or outdoor dining area it’s important to steer clear of those pallets. Luckily, most pallets will have a stamp on them to help you determine if they’re safe. There’s also a few visual clues that can help too.
The IPPC Stamp
The IPPC stamp will tell you a lot about the pallet. Here’s a handy-dandy infographic from DIYReady.com that explains the stamps and codes found on most pallets. (DIYReady.com seems to be the most informative resource for pallet information I’ve found, so if you want to learn more about the subject you should definitely visit them.):
Finding Pallets for your Home Decor Projects
Here in WV there’s a pallet dealer that sells any kind of pallet you need. It’s an old gas station turned pallet station! The more you buy, the cheaper they get. I suspect there are dealers close to you and a simple Google search should help you find them. If paying a few dollars per pallet doesn’t bother you, that’s probably the most convenient method of getting them. You can pay to have them broken apart as well and that’s especially nice because some pallets have some crazy nails that are hard to remove.
If you’re thrifty (or what my daughter likes to call ‘cheap’) then you probably don’t mind spending a morning calling around asking store managers if they have any damaged or unneeded pallets that you could take off their hands. Smaller, locally owned grocery stores and nurseries are a great place to start.
Breaking Wood Pallets Apart
You can use a pry-bar to break pallets apart but it will probably damage the wood a bit so it’s best to use a saw and cut the nails and then pull them out. The video below will show you how:
Pallet Project Ideas
Now that you know more about pallets, it’s time to learn just how awesome they really are!
If you’re lucky enough to find a few pallets for free you can completely transform a room for practically no cost at all. You can also build anything you want – for cheap!
Below are just a few pallet projects that you can find online. There are entire websites dedicated to pallet projects so you can easily find a project that you will love. Just click on the pallet project title to be taken to the original site for instructions.
One of my favorite pallet projects is using the wood to cover a wall. It creates a beautiful accent in any room and adds texture to a space. The room below is a perfect combination.
The wall below provides texture and color to a room and it is beautiful!
The bedroom below uses pallets in several different ways. The possibilities are endless!
Adding pallet boards to your ceiling is a perfect project for any room, especially smaller rooms that just need a little pizzazz.
You can use pallet wood as a floor covering!
This next pallet floor project is awesome and you can get the entire step-by-step instructions and photos from the owners at the blog called ‘A Building We Shall Go‘:
With the right construction experience, you can even build a deck with pallets!
This twin bed combo is a great way to turn a spare bedroom into a smart guest room.
This is a beautiful and unique pallet bed frame project.
This pallet bed is perfect for your deck.
You can create a great outdoor bench and flower pot combo with relative ease.
If you live close to the beach this is a perfect project for you. Having an outdoor shower is so convenient.
This Etsy find is a perfect piece to create a little mud-room area.
With a little color and additional distressing you can make this beautiful bench!
These hanging lamps are a perfect project for a rustic themed room.
This beautiful coffee table would look perfect in any living room.
This island would look great in your kitchen!
This is an amazing project that is beautiful and useful.
This fairly simple shelf made from a single pallet would be a great addition to any room.
Another great addition to your deck or porch.
Using pallet boards as a pathway is a beautiful addition to any yard.
What a great way to separate space in a large area!
This little wall office is perfect way to have a desk in a small area.
Need a place to keep wood dry? Here ya go!
This is a beautiful piece of furniture. You could use it as a TV stand or a desk.
This is a great way to keep office and school supplies organized on your desk.
Your dog would love this pet bowl! Raising the bowls off the floor a bit is said to aid in digestion health.
Have a big pie of shoes at your front door? This is a perfect solution!
More Pallet Projects:
As you can see above, you can make anything you want with pallets and at an affordable price. The sky is the limit!
Have you created something beautiful from a pallet? Is there a lesson you learned or a tip you’d like to share please add it in the comments below.
As always, thank you so much for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!