Projects using discarded wood pallets have become popular among many DIY handymen and workshop hobbyists. For some in fact, creating furniture, storage fixtures and even full size houses with pallet wood! One reason is the sheer volume of damaged and discarded pallets that are available. Once you start to look around you’ll notice pallets everywhere!
Whether you’re a handyman, an office worker or a garden mowing pro, here are 7 simple and DIY projects that can get you started with some great ways to use one of the modern world’s most abundant (and cheapest) building materials, to build yourself something to be proud of. Let’s get started!
Project 1: Coffee Table, Herringbone Style Top
BeachBumLivin creator Shane White has made a specialty out of building simple but great looking projects out of pallet wood and filming easy to follow tutorials for his thousands of YouTube fans. For his coffee table how-to video he has included some tips on where to find pallets and how to prepare them for use in your DIY projects.
Pro tip: A reciprocating saw equipped with a metal cutting blade makes de-constructing pallets easy. You can use the saw to cut through the nails that secure the deck boards to the stringers. Then raise the nails from the back using a nail punch before easily prying them out – this method avoids cracking and splintering of boards that may occur if you try to pry the entire nail out.
The basic design for the table uses a plywood top as a base on which to build the herringbone design. To create the design, White uses pallet deck boards cut into 6-7cm wide strips.
To make a clean smooth top, place a thin layer of wood off each board after you have made sure no nails remain in the board.
To create the base, White uses the leftover pallet stringers to create a frame that braces four legs made from a square timber he found washed up on the beach.
Pro tip: After cutting the nails with a reciprocating saw, if you want to reuse the stringers, use the nail punch to sink the remaining shaft of the nail below the surface. If you plan to make cuts on the stringer, mark the position of any nails, so you can avoid hitting nails with the blade of your saw. Although a reciprocating saw does not cut as accurately as a table or circular saw, you may prefer to use one equipped with a metal cutting blade when there is a possibility you will be cutting through nails.
Project 2: Rustic Beer Cooler Side Table
Ahh, now this is something you can build to show off your DIY skills to your mates. A rustic beer cooler side table, the perfect addition to any deck or man cave. There are multiple tutorials and step-by-step instructions available for pallet wood cooler holders. The basic design provides an elevated stand for your cooler that looks great and won’t cost a fortune. If you want to go all out, attach a bottle opener, receptacle for caps and a handy place to stash the empties when you’re ready for another – brilliant!
So, the key to a good deck cooler design is working around the cooler you plan to use. As in almost any DIY project, it is necessary to adjust plans to fit your space requirements, hardware and the materials you have on hand.
Jeff Patterson from Home Repair Tutor has done a great job in his rustic cooler tutorial video (below) of basing all his measurements around a cooler he happened to have hanging out in the garage. This is the true essence of what DIY is all about.
Pro tip: If pallets are not easily available in your area, there are other ways you can source similar reusable material. You could try your local tip shop for boards from old fences, gymnasium floors and wooden siding – which all make great material for pallet wood projects.
Project 3: Pallet Wood Dining Booth
If you liked the idea of a pallet wood deck cooler, then why stop there? You can build an entire outdoor booth out of pallet wood. The Smiling Samoyed Brewery in the tiny settlement of Myponga, South Australia, has some great pallet wood outdoor furniture. Two booths, deck railings, 5-seater bar and assorted other fixtures were created entirely from recycled pallet wood for the brewery by local artist and recycling expert, Ian Dunstone.
Dunstone, doing business as ArtCycle Workshop, specialises in creating art and furniture from other people’s trash. For the brewery’s outdoor seating area, he wanted something that could handle the elements and would fit with the brewery’s rustic charm. A stack of 1000 x 1200mm heavy duty used pallets provided the perfect building material. To see more details of the finished project you can check out his Facebook photos stream.
Project 4: Twin Pallet Patio Bar
If you’re looking for some inspiration you need look no further than Quentin Jeandel. An avionics systems engineer in Toulouse, France, Jeandel has made collecting pallet project ideas his mission. At his website, 1001Pallets he collects ideas for projects from around the world. Starting with his very first project, a pallet wood Christmas tree in January of 2013, he has now amassed more than 2000 project ideas.
It’s simple, take two matching pallets, fix them together, base to base and stand them on their side. Cover with the paint of your choice, top with three 400 x 400 x 40mm pavers, or a piece of timber – whatever you decide on.
Project 5: Pallet Outdoor Furniture
Here’s some inspiration for your backyard or deck. Hang a couple of pallets up and use them as plant holders or a home for a little herb garden. You can mount them to the wall at the right height where pets won’t be able to get their paws onto it. Like the idea of the pallet chair? Stack some pallets two high, use some brackets (find them at your local hardware store) to hold them together, make some cushions to fit the size of the pallet and you’ve got yourself a simple DIY pallet chair!
Project 6: Pallet Coffee Table
What a beauty, a simple DIY coffee table which looks a treat. All you’ll need for this one is a single pallet, 4 caster wheels, a sheet of glass and a coat of paint – too easy!
Pro tip: Remember to grab at least two caster wheels with built in brakes to stop the table moving around.
Project 7: Pallet Plank Rack
This is an easy way to create yourself a rack/holder which is perfect for hanging up your tea towels and utensils in the kitchen, or a coat rack in the entry, or could even be used to organise your tools and cables in the shed. You can pick yourself up some loose forks or spoons from the local tip shop or op shop, or you may have some spare around the house. Simply screw them into the timber plank and fix it to the wall – easy!
By completing DIY projects using pallet wood you’re helping to make a little dent in the piles of pallet wood that otherwise end up being discarded. As well as helping out the environment, you get a sturdy, inexpensive piece of furniture and an awesome conversation piece. It’s a win-win solution all round!
Got ideas of your own? Let us know, by commenting below! Happy Building!
Content credit. Thanks to GreenSocks for sharing some project ideas with us!