Wooden pallets are the perfect items to upcycle around the home.
It might surprise you to know that they can be refashioned into useful, practical items.
What, exactly, are wood pallets?
These are wooden transport structures that support products that are lifted by equipment such as forklifts.
If you have a wooden pallet or two you don’t know what to do with, don’t throw them away!
Here are some things you can do with them around the home.
15 Upcycling Pallets Ideas
Build A Swing
If your kids want to have a swing in the garden, you can make one easily with the use of a pallet. Simply tie ropes to it and then tie the ropes to a strong tree branch.
Make Shoe Storage
Pallets can easily become convenient ways in which to store your shoes. In fact, your shoes will be able to get stacked perfectly and easily in wood pallets.
Keep one or two pallets right next to the front door of your house for shoe storage so that your kids can place their shoes in the pallets to prevent dirtying the rest of the home when they enter it.
Create A Coffee Table
You can make your own coffee table to save money by using an old pallet you don’t need. Add a sheet of glass to the top and perhaps some legs or wheels, and you’ll have a beautiful and portable coffee table that has storage space inside it.
This is also a clever item to consider when furnishing your summer house.
Build A Pretty Pathway
If you want an easy pathway that leads from your front door through your garden, you can use pallets to make it. Simply take them apart and use the wood planks to create a pathway on the ground.
They’re especially useful in areas of the garden where the ground becomes muddy and is difficult to walk on.
Make DIY Coat Hooks
If you need a place for members of your household to hang their coats and other items, you can easily make your own DIY coat hooks with the use of a pallet. You only need one plank from the pallet.
Then, screw hooks on either side of it. You can also paint the plank if you want it to look stylish.
Set Up A Quick Surface
Sometimes you need a bit more storage space in the form of a surface. You can easily use a wood pallet to do this. Simply turn a wood pallet on its side and place it against the wall.
This can come in handy in a shed or workshop where you need a convenient place to rest items. To make it look good for use in the home, paint it in a bright colour. This can easily turn it into a bartop!
Create A Patio Sofa
While this might sound like a DIY job that’s a little more intensive, it’s not difficult to do. You’ll have to stack two pallets together and then add a pallet on the back that will serve as a back rest.
Enjoy A DIY Planter
Having greenery on the wall can become achievable with the use of a pallet. Simply place it in its entirety against the wall and slot plastic potting trays between the pallet’s slots.
To make it look even more charming, you can write the names of the herbs you’re planting in the pallet planter on the front of it.
Make A Pallet Headboard
If your bed is looking a bit sparse and you want to add a headboard to it, you can do so with a pallet. Start by sanding and treating the pallet wood, then place it between the bed and wall. If your bed is large, you will need two pallets. This doubles up as a bed shelf, so it’s sure to come in handy.
Build A Wine Rack
If you need a place to store your favourite wine bottles, you can make your own wine rack out of a pallet. Cut a pallet in half, and sand and varnish the wood. Drill holes into the planks that are large enough to fit your wine bottles.
Then, use the wine rack as a freestanding rack, or simply lean it against a wall in the kitchen.
Cover Your Radiator
Cut off one side of your pallet with a pry bar or hammer, then be sure to clean it properly before placing it in front of your radiator. This is a great way to protect your radiator and make it look more appealing.
Make An Instant Mug Holder
If you don’t have enough storage space for your tea and coffee mugs, you can make one with pallets. Cut one plank from a pallet and add metal hooks to it. Alternatively, for more storage space, you can cut off a larger section of the pallet so that you can hang more hooks from the planks.
Install An Easy Room Divider
Sometimes we all need a bit of privacy, but room dividers can also help you designate different tasks and purposes to different areas of a room. You can make your own divider with the use of a few pallets.
Connect them with screws and then prop them in such a way that they can bend a little. You will also be able to attach binder clips to the pallets so you can put your favourite family items on display, such as photos and your children’s art.
Get A Wood Pallet Bookshelf
This is a charming bookshelf you can make without too much of a hassle. It looks rustic and cute, so it’s also going to be loved by you and the kids. To make it, you will need some extra tools, though. You can find the complete tutorial by checking out JenWoodhouse.com.
Build A Garden Tool Rack
You don’t need to do much to turn a wood pallet into a tool rack. Simply attach it to a wall and use hooks on it so you can hang all your garden tools so they’re within easy reach when you need them.
This is pretty much the same principle as the tutorial for making mug and coat hooks.
What Can You Use To Dismantle A Wood Pallet?
You just need a hammer to take apart a wood pallet. Dismantle the bottom of the pallet by hitting the blocks or chocks. Detach the top planks section, then strike the hammer on the wood planks behind it. This will help to take apart the pallet structure.
If you have a brick chisel and hammer in your garage, you can use both of these tools to take apart your wood pallet. Cut the nails that are between the wood planks with the use of your brick chisel.
Insert the brick chisel between the planks and the rafters (otherwise known as dice or blocks), and strike it with a hammer. The key is not to strike the wood too hard otherwise this could break the planks.
Other items you might need:
- Cat’s paw. A cat’s paw is a hammer that’s useful for dismantling a pallet without causing any damage to the wood. It’s basically a tool with a round or hexagonal bar that curves on one end to give you a V-shaped cleft at the tip. It’s perfect for getting a good grip of stubborn nailheads.
- Oscillating tool: This will help you to remove rusty nails quickly and easily.
- Nail punch: Use this to drive the nails instead of pulling them free as it can be much easier to do while preserving the wood.
Extra Tips For Painting Wood Pallets
In this article, we’ve featured the tip of painting your wood pallets so that you can make them look better. This will also add decorative style to your home. But, before you try to paint your wood pallets, you should know some important things.
- Wood pallets can be made of different types of wood. If the pallet is smooth, then it will be easier to paint, but don’t sand it too much otherwise that will ruin its rustic personality.
- You should use 80-grit sandpaper as this usually works well. If you want an extremely smooth result, use a 120-grit sandpaper.
- After you’ve sanded the pallet, remove dust with the use of a damp cloth. This cleans the wood so that the paint will stick to the wood much more effectively.
- If you’ve painted your pallet, you might find that you will have an uneven finish. The reason for this is because pallets are porous. To remedy this issue in future, apply a primer to the wood before you go ahead and paint it.
How to Choose and Use the Right Pallet
Although you might think pallets come standard, the truth is that there are many different types of them. For example, you can find pallets that don’t have a base, while others are close boarded and have a perimeter base.
Choosing the right type of pallet can help you a lot when upcycling it into another item because it will make your work go smoother and can help you put in less effort, such as when cutting the pallets.
Make sure the pallet is safe for use. Pallets are used many times for transporting materials, so they can end up stained from toxic chemicals or other products.
Before bringing a pallet home, make sure that you study it to see its condition. If it’s got stains or spills on it, it’s best not to use it.
Look for any stamps on the pallet. If there are no symbols, numbers, or words on the pallet, then this is a safe and clean one to use. Usually, pallets that haven’t been treated for transportation purposes won’t have any of these markings.
There are other markings to check for when inspecting your pallet. The main one is the PPC Logo. This is a seal of approval for pallets that have been used internationally. If your pallets have been used internationally but don’t have this logo, don’t use them!
This logo is important because it will be accompanied by a treatment code that informs you of what substances were used to treat the pallet, so it’s very helpful in informing you of whether or not the pallet is safe for you to use. Here’s a rundown of what those codes mean:
- This stands for debarked. It means bark was removed but the pallet wood itself was not treated with any substance. So, this pallet has no chemicals in it and is safe for use.
- This stands for heat-treated, but the pallet is otherwise untreated and safe.
- This is methyl bromide. This is a toxic fungicide that can be dangerous to humans. Avoid the pallet!
- This stands for European Pallet Association Logo. It means the pallet is safe because it has been heat-treated and debarked.
- This is an older version of EPAL, but should be avoided because pallets need to be EPAL approved in order to be considered safe.
Where can you find free pallets?
If you need to get your hands on extra wood pallets, you should be able to find them at furniture or hardware stores.
Should you use coloured pallets?
Although these can look fun and cool to use, they’re best avoided. The reason for this is that they’ve probably been used to transport items such as pool chemicals or chemical fertilisers so they can be toxic.
If you have one or more wood pallets lying around, don’t throw them out!
You can use them in a variety of ways around the home, as we’ve seen in this article.
However, before you start upcycling wood pallets, make sure that you’ve got ones that are safe for you to use. As we’ve seen in this article, not all wood pallets are free of toxins, so you want to proceed with caution.