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3 Clever Ways to Reuse Wood Pallets

Help reduce landfill waste and make your home beautiful with clever upcycling ideas for discarded wood pallets.

Wood pallets are the new darlings of the online repurposing world.  In case you aren’t familiar with them, pallets are the flat structures used to stabilize large quantities of merchandise during shipping.  When companies that aren’t in the manufacturing business receive pallets, they will often give them away for free rather than store them.  This makes them the perfect material for ambitious and environmentally conscious DIY-ers.

Talented upcyclers have done everything with wood pallets from making reclaimed wood dining tables to creating outdoor furniture!  While many pallet projects require knowing your way around a tool box, there are some that are perfect for even a novice DIY-er.  Here are three of my favorites:

Rustic – Industrial Coffee Table

Why spend $400 dollars or more (much more) on a rustic industrial coffee table when you could make one yourself for around $30?  Use Craigslist to scope out a free pallet and then head over to your local Lowe’s or to pick up four screw-in casters.  If you want to get fancy, you can stain or paint the pallet and have a local cut a piece of glass to put on top.  For less than $80, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind designer coffee table.

Vertical gardening

If you’ve always wanted to grow some edibles but don’t feel like you have the space, why not try creating a vertical garden.  Fern, from the container gardening blog “Life on the Balcony,” has a great tutorial for creating a vertical garden using a wood pallet, staple gun, landscape fabric, and sandpaper.  I won’t repeat it all here, but if you’re interested, go visit her site so you can get your grow on!

Pallet Headboard

Bring the rustic industrial look into your bedroom by using pallets to create a headboard.  Depending on the size of your bed, you may need two pallets for this project.  Look for pallets that are in fairly good condition, with few nails and wood splinters sticking out.  Clean the pallets thoroughly with a stiff brush and warm, soapy water.  Let the pallets air dry (in the sun if possible), and then sand with a medium grade sandpaper.  Use tack cloth to remove sawdust and then stain and seal (if you want).  Use a cleat to hang the pallets behind your bed or screw them into your metal bedframe.

Charron January 24, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Love the headboard!
Jessie Gable January 24, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I want to try the coffee table.
Jason Greene January 24, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I like the fact that the subhead on this site is DIY “Don’t Injure Yourself.” In that vein, keep the wood pallets out of your home. Of the three ideas presented here, I have no quarrel with using wood pallets as support for a vertical garden as long as it’s outside. However, the two indoor ideas are risky and I’m not talking about splinters. Wood pallets are often treated with toxic pesticides and fungicides. Cancer-causing formaldehyde is also frequently found on them. It is difficult to know if wood pallets are clean and you can’t clean them yourself because substances seep too deeply into the wood. Why take the chance of polluting your indoor environment with dangerous substances?
Jessie Gable January 24, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Jason, are you serious? Do these crafty people know that? Should we tell them? I haven't injured myself yet, but there's a first time for everything. I'd rather not start with cancer.

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