Before starting on a project to reuse old wood pallets, let us take a look at tips and tricks to help you during the process.

Wood pallets are gaining popularity for their variety of uses. As packaging solutions, wooden pallets boast a long lifespan, but a time will come when your wood pallet is no longer useful for packaging. Luckily, you do not have to throw it away as there are many ways to recycle and reuse it, being durable and even termite-proof.

For those who love to work on DIY projects, old wood pallets will surely come in handy. Wood pallets are highly versatile and are best for repurposing. Whether you use them in their original state or dismantle them into planks, you can think of a variety of creative projects to work on.

Building something new out of old wood pallets is one way to give life to something that some readily throw out. With this in mind, you have a good quality material that is ready to be reused.

Before starting on a project to reuse old wood pallets, let us take a look at tips and tricks to help you during the process.

how to reuse old wood pallets

Where To Find Wooden Pallets

Although some are willing to spend for a few pallets, you can find a few decent ones for free. Remember that any business establishment that receives or ships out products will have pallets on hand. In most cases, they may even have a surplus of pallets on hand. Why not ask if they’re willing to give some away. You might be surprised that some are eager to give you more than what you need. Some of the ideal places to start looking for pallets include:

  • Department stores
  • Auto repair stores
  • Distribution facilities
  • Businesses that receive large shipments

In case you want to obtain brand new wooden pallets instead of the old ones, you might want to get more info here.

Choosing The Right Pallets

Take note that not all wooden pallets you will find will be suitable for your home décor project. It would be best if you avoid those that show signs of excessive use.

Avoid pallets that show signs of damage, especially those that were exposed to the elements significantly. Pallets that show indications of wear and tear are prone to split readily as the wood has become dry and brittle. In most cases, these pallets are difficult to work with.

When selecting pallets, you should go for those that are still in good condition – those that do not have cracks or breaks, not old and weathered (grey in appearance), and has wood characteristics and natural grain that you prefer.

Disassembling And Prepping Wood Pallets

Before starting your DIY project, taking a pallet apart will require a few tools. Although you can reuse the staples and nails holding the pallets together, most have likely become rusty.

If you have the time, you can still reuse the rusty nails by removing them carefully to avoid excessive bending. Soak the nails in any of these solutions to get rid of the rust – hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, salt and lime juice or Coca Cola. Another option is to prepare a paste of baking soda and water to coat the nails and allow to dry for several hours.

When taking apart the pallets, you need a hammer and wrecking bar. Utilize the wrecking bar to thrust into the pallet boards so that you can tug them apart. As for the hammer, it will help remove the slabs and draw out the staples and nails.

It would be best if you sand the pieces that you’re going to use by using a power sander or by hand. Remember, though, that it will take longer if you prefer by hand. Sanding is an important step as it gets rid of any splinters or rough spots that are often present in wood pallets.

What Are The Basic Tools?

If you want to create something out of old wooden pallets, you should be ready with the right tools. Always remember that tools are vital for any DIY project. With the right tools, it will make projects easier to handle and to get the results that you want.

Do not forget to use the appropriate protective gear such as a face mask and safety glasses. A mask will surely come in handy when you’re sanding as it prevents you from inhaling the sawdust. Depending on the project you’re working on, you can burn the wood or stain it with color.

Some of the tools that you should invest in for any pallet project include the following:

  • Power sander to smoothen the surface and get rid of any splinters and rough areas
  • Hammer and wrecking bar for dismantling the pallet apart with minimal damage to the wood
  • Power driver to create holes or to screw the pieces together
  • Bubble level to ensure your piece is level
  • Power saw to create quick and easy cuts
  • Right angle or basic ruler and a pencil
  • Wood burning kit and stain of your choice
  • Safety goggles and safety mask

Treatment Of The Pallets

As a way to avert the transmission of pathogens and invasive pests, the USDA requires manufacturers to treat pallets and other forms of wood packaging before these can enter or transit the United States.

The wood pallets either undergo heat or methyl bromide treatment. During heat treatment, the pallets are exposed to high temperatures in a kiln to seal the wood. As for the treatment that involves methyl bromide, there are several concerns since it is a toxic pesticide with links to health problems among humans and a contributing factor to the depletion of the ozone layer. In recent years, there has been a limit on the use of methyl bromide due to health concerns.

When finding pallets for your next project, check for the IPPC stamp on the flank of the pallets to find out the type of treatment undergone. Those that have an “HT” mark were under heat treatment and were not subject to chemicals during the treatment process. Do not use pallets without a mark or those with the “MB” stamp which stands for methyl bromide.

Creative Projects With Old Wood Pallets

Today, you can readily find a lot of projects where you can reuse wood pallets. Let us take a look at some ideas here:

  • Vertical planter. If you check Instagram, you might encounter posts that feature a vertical garden wall using pallets. Depending on the design that you want, you can easily fit potting trays in between the slots. You can add a creative touch with paint or any art elements that you want.
  • Headboard for your bed. If you want to add a rustic charm to your bedroom, you should try creating a wood pallet headboard for your bed. Pressure wash two pallets and allow to dry for several days before affixing to your bed frame. Apply clear coat with satin polyurethane or leave it unfinished for a simple yet sophisticated look.
  • Pallet bookshelf or bookcase. One way to upgrade a spot for your books is to create a bookshelf made from wood pallet boards. You can either paint with the color of your choice or stain for a natural look.
  • Wall cover. If there is an empty and boring wall in your house, it might be time to add a touch of creativity. You can use wood pallets to cover a section of a wall in your house, which will serve as an accent wall. It will surely add a lovely ambience to your house.
  • Bed frame. Because wood pallets support significant weight, it can be a good option as a bed frame. With the right tools, you can assemble a bed frame made of pallets. With the durability of the pallets, you have a strong bed frame that can readily support a full-sized mattress and can last for many years.
  • Compost bin. Wood pallets are of the right size to create a compost bin. As compost bins require long slots to aerate the organic matter properly, the pallets create the ideal walls for the bin.
  • Recycled pathways. In case you have several pallets on hand, you can use them as walking paths in your backyard or garden. After adding a few finishing touches, you have a sturdy pathway in your yard.
  • Shoe rack. With a few tools and creative touches, you can turn a wood pallet into a shoe rack.
  • Outdoor bench. With a few pallet boards, you can assemble a bench suitable for the outdoors, either on the porch or yard. It is a cost-effective approach compared with buying costly outdoor furniture. Additionally, there is no doubt that the wood pallets will last long and endure the weather elements better.
  • End table or coffee table. For those eager to incorporate a rustic element in their houses, adding an end table or coffee table made out of wood pallets is the right choice.

For your next DIY project, it might be time to try using old wood pallets. With the variety of ideas that can spark your creativity, wooden pallets will surely make a lovely addition to your house.

ryan galvan
Ryan Galvan

Ryan Galvan is a successful blogger with over ten years of experience in the industry. Ryan has been producing high-quality blogs on business for years, and has gained loyal readers because of his ability to explain complex topics.