How to make things from wood pallets

Jupiterimages/ Images

Wooden pallets are the easiest way to get free wood. They are crude surfaces made of boards used for loading and unloading everything from food to machine parts. Although some pallets are recycled, many are needlessly thrown out, clogging up landfills. Do your part to recycle by saving a few pallets from the trash and using them to make craft projects.

Track down a bunch of wooden pallets. Warehouses, small manufacturers and even large retailers regularly throw out pallets. If you ask, they should be willing to give them to you instead.

Pry the pallets apart with a crowbar to get individual strips of wood. Try to break as few of the pieces as possible when you take it apart.

Sort the wood into pieces you want and pieces you don't. Remove the nails from the pieces you want to use. Pallets are made out of cheap, low-quality wood, and some of the pieces may be too thin or damaged for your project.

Come up with a project suitable for the wood you have. You want something that doesn't require too much cutting and shaping and doesn't need particularly large pieces of wood. Birdhouses, doghouses and boxes are good projects for wood pallets because they can be made with thin, cheap wooden strips.

Hammer the basic parts of your project together. If you want to make something boxy like a doghouse for example, make the walls by laying a bunch of pieces side by side, then bracing them together by nailing on horizontal cross-braces. You can use a table saw to cut out the entryway and cut the edges of the ceiling at an angle so they fit together.

Finish your pieces. Sand everything down with progressively finer grit sandpaper until it is fairly smooth. This is an important step, since pallets tend to be very rough and can easily give you splinters if they aren't sanded.

Attach everything together. Use wood glue and nails to join the different pieces together. This will give you a stronger bond than either nails or glue alone.

Most recent