How to make a picket fence using pallets

Written by tammy lee morris
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How to make a picket fence using pallets
Recycle wooden pallets. (T. Waters)

Using wooden pallets is an inexpensive and easy way to create an attractive picket fence for your garden. This is also a great recycled-items project.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wooden pallets of similar size and slat spacing
  • Wood or metal posts
  • Post-hole digger or posthole driver
  • Measuring tape
  • Bricks or small pieces of wood for shims
  • 5 cm x 10 cm (2 inch by 4 inch) "2-by-4" boards
  • Fast-setting concrete
  • Paint and paintbrush
  • Heavy gate hinges
  • Gate latch
  • Screw gun and wood screws

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  1. 1

    Get pallets. Many local businesses will give away their excess wooden pallets if you just ask. Some businesses will allow people to take as many pallets as they can haul away, while others will limit the number of pallets taken at a time. Look for pallets that are uniform in size and slat spacing.

  2. 2

    Decide upon the style of fence. With a pallet fence, you can choose to attach one pallet between two posts, or run "2-by-4s" for support between two posts, then attach two pallets to the "2-by-4s." The style of pallet fence you plan to build will determine the spacing of your posts.

  3. 3

    Set posts for the fence. You will need to use cedar posts, treated 10 cm x 10 cm (4 inch by 4 inch) posts or metal fence posts for your picket fence. Wooden posts will probably be more aesthetically pleasing than metal posts and will be easier to attach the pallets to. If you choose to use cedar posts or wooden 10 cm by 10 cm (4 inch by 4 inch), you will need to dig holes with a posthole digger. Measure your pallets to get an estimated distance between posts. After setting the posts, you will need to secure them with fast-setting concrete (unless you are using metal posts). Follow the manufacturer's instructions for doing this. Allow the concrete and posts to harden before proceeding. Set two posts spaced for one pallet to create a gate.

  4. 4

    Attach the "2-by-4s." If you have chosen to use "2-by-4s" to secure your pallets, the boards should be spaced so the top of the pallet will rest against the top "2-by-4" and the bottom of the pallet will rest against the bottom "2-by-4." Screw the "2-by-4s" into place on the posts.

  5. 5

    Pallets can be broken apart for use or used intact for a heavier (and quicker) fence. To break apart, use a pry bar and a hammer to remove the nails. If the nails are difficult to remove, you could use a reciprocating saw with a metal blade to cut the nails.

  6. 6

    Attach the pallets. The spacing between posts and between "2-by-4s" should be such that you can easily and quickly secure the pallets or pallet pieces. Screw two pallets (or the correct number of pieces) in between the posts and onto the "2-by-4s."

  7. 7

    Create a gate. The two closely spaced posts will be the location of your gate. You may need to brace these posts with a diagonally placed "2-by-4" -- one end attached at the top of each of these posts and the other end attached to the bottom of the next post. Attach the heavy gate hinges to the pallet, then lift it into place and attach the hinges to one of the gate posts. Then attach the gate latch.

  8. 8

    Paint the fence. The last step to creating an inexpensive and attractive pallet fence is to paint the whole thing. The paint will create continuity and add beauty.

Tips and warnings

  • When collecting pallets, you may be able to get only a few usable pallets at a time.
  • You will need to set pallets aside as you collect them until you have enough to start your project.
  • When using quickset concrete for the posts, follow the manufacturer's directions and wait the recommended amount of time for the concrete to set up.
  • If you break apart the pallets, watch for splitting of the wood pieces.

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