- Arts and Design»
- Crafts & Handiwork
Pallet Furniture Projects.
In this hub...
I've finally attempted my first ever pallet project..and I'm actually pretty happy with the results! In this hub is some information on the growing trend of pallet upcycling, as well as a brief 'how-to' relating to my own project for anyone who wishes to try their own.
Pallet projects are becoming increasingly more popular. They offer a free source of decent quality wood that can be transformed into almost anything with just a little creativity. Many people are now jumping on the 'upcycling' bandwagon due to the individuality that can be achieved at such cheap prices (or often entirely free.) Pallet wood offers a rustic charm, perfect for creating that shabby chic or vintage interior.
Personally, I love the idea of repurposing. Taking something that was destined to rot in a landfill site and crafting it into a lovingly made piece of furniture is immensely satisfying. It amazes me to see so many creative and inspiring uses for things that are often discarded and I love the fact that with just a little effort, you can create a unique design that can't be bought in the shops.
Here are a few of my favourite pallet project designs to start off the hub...
Sourcing a good pallet
Be warned, once you start a pallet project, you will start finding them everywhere you go. It's not uncommon to find them in ditches or leaning unwanted against an alleyway wall, but there are a few good places to look if you're going to be needing more than one.
Industrial companies, recycling centres or landfill sites often offer an abundance of old and unwanted pallets. (Though they are pretty heavy, so a car is essential when sourcing one!)
Most companies will have a few they don't need lying around as they aren't something that is frequently reused by business, therefore making them a nuisance to get rid off. Therefore, fortunately for any upcyclers, people will be perfectly willing to give them away. We asked a local small business if they had any spares and were lucky enough to find that they were more than happy to let us have a few. They even offered to leave others out for us in the future whenever they had extra. (I feel our house might end up becoming crammed full of future 'projects'!)
For the best projects, try and collect ones that are of good quality; one without stains or split panels will offer more wood to work with.
And remember, if you're struggling to find any pallets to upcycle (and you don't mind cheating a little) then you can also buy them online.
I hadn't even considered that a pallet project could be unhealthy, so got stuck into creation/destruction mode without a care, before accidentally stumbling across warnings on the internet later that night about dangers of using them in home projects. (Luckily we had chosen a harmless one. )
Some pallets aren't suitable for home projects. Companies treat them to protect them from insect infestation. This can be done using heat treatments or chemicals which can be dangerous to work with. Also, the dust from woods is dangerous to inhale on any level so a dust mask should always be worn when cutting or sanding pallets.
The website on the right has some great information and shows which pallets are safe for home projects and which to avoid.
We own a hammer, screwdriver, cheap saw and saw-table and a small electric sander (a brilliant time-saver.) and that's so far been all we've felt we needed to dismantle and build our first pallet project so don't worry if you don't own any fancy woodwork tools.
Taking a pallet apart.
Pallets are made to be robust, for industrial use, so taking a wooden pallet apart can take some doing! Here's a video that makes the technique look nice and easy...
If you're fortunate enough to have found a pallet that comes apart this easily then that's great!
But if you collected one that was strengthened from both sides and no amount of whacking with a hammer seems to do anything, then you might want to use a saw to save yourself some frustration and just saw planks of wood off from the supports. (This does give you shorter wood to work with, hence our original idea for an outdoor table becoming a much smaller coffee table.)
The coffee table project
So, one particularly sunny day, (probably much to the appreciation of our neighbours) we decided to attempt to build a new coffee table in the garden. Neither of us have built any furniture before and aren't particularly skilled wood-workers, so I'm actually pretty happy and pleasantly surprised by the result.
Here's a loose step-by-step guide if you'd also like to build a table.
- ...Find a pallet locally and attempt to drag it home.
- Take it apart with a combination of hammer-whacking and sawing.
- Collect the wood you have salvaged and sand it down to achieve the preferred look. (Just lightly sand it to achieve a more rustic wood, or sand it until the wood is as perfect as the planks will allow to achieve a more 'finished' look, like in this particular project.) Note: the sanding process is very dusty so you want to be in a well-aired area.
- When you have sanded all the wood you need, lay out the wood in a design you like, to see how the table top will look.
- Attach the table top together by screwing some supporting struts to the back. We used pieces of scrap wood from the same pallet as the struts. (We also used wood glue on the struts before screwing them on, for extra strength.)
- Work out how many legs you want the table to have and how you wish to attach them to the table top.
- Attach the legs using strong screws or nails. We used small metal brackets bought from a hardware shop to add strength to the design.
- Here, we chose also to add a frame to support the legs and make the table more sturdy and the screws less obvious.
The finished coffee table.
Upcycle and Repurpose!
I've become slightly addicted to the ideas of upcycling and repurposing. There are so many ways to modify a piece of furniture or materials that others view as rubbish to give them a new lease of life and create individual hand-crafted pieces.
If you're interested in upcycling methods, the hub linked below shows how decoupage can be used to personalize a piece of old furniture.
- An Idea for Upcycling an Old Chair.
Here's another upcycling hub.
Books and tools
Just out of interest...
Have you ever made any pallet furniture?
I'd love to hear about your own pallet projects, ideas and experiences so please feel free to comment.
Have you ever heard of Upcycling?
Upcycling the nails?
A huge number of nails are used to hold pallets together. I was wondering if anyone had some good uses for upcycling rusty nails in any way? Please comment or send me a message, I'd love to hear some creative ideas!