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Creatively Use Pallets

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Everyone is looking for ways to go green these days: reduce, reuse, recycle is theme many of them focus on. From bringing your own grocery bags to the store to biking to work, many people are chipping in to help the environment. One big way we can all help is to reuse things we already have lying around for remodeling projects around the house. Recycled glass countertops, carpet made from plastic bottles, and refurbished furniture are just a few things you can use. Perhaps one of the most on-trend things to use creatively around the house is a pallet. Here are some ways to obtain, prepare, and use pallets on you next project.

Getting Free Pallets

To work with a pallet, you first need to obtain one. The modern pallet was introduced in the early 20th century as a way for workers to efficiently stack and move materials. Pallet wood is strong and usually made from pine. Eventually, with all the stresses of the shipping business, some pallets need to be retired. Many businesses simply give these pallets away for free, so ask around at local manufacturing or big box stores for free pallets.

Working with the Pallet

The life of a pallet is rough, so it will need some working to make it shine. Here are a few steps to follow:

  1. Remove all nails and separate the pine boards.
  2. Cut off any broken pieces with a circular saw so that all boards are the same width, but not necessarily the same length.
  3. Run the edges through a jointer to make them straight (this step is optional, but helpful for projects that need high accuracy).
  4. Sand down each board multiple times using progressively finer grits. Start with about 60 and work your way to 120 or 150, depending on the nature of your project.

Once these steps are completed, your boards are ready to be worked into anything you can think of. Pallet wood is generally not of high enough quality to take a good stain, but if you get exceptionally good boards staining can look great. Pallet wood is generally painted, oiled, or left alone for a rustic look. 

Pallet Wood Ideas

Many people use pallet wood for flooring, accent pieces, or shelving. Spice racks are especially popular because the pallet wood adds flair and a modern, yet rustic charm, to the kitchen. Flooring is a challenge, but the results are amazing. You can make a coffee table, side table, TV stand, bookshelf, or even a dog kennel. Your only limit is your own creative mind.