For this week’s How-Tuesday post, Mary Andrews and Tim Vidra from 17 Apart teach us how to transform a discarded shipping pallet into a beautiful storage system suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Roll up your sleeves and kick off a season of spring cleaning and gardening with this perfectly repurposed project!
Springtime always gets us excited to return to the garden, get organized, and integrate fresh, seasonal updates around our home. We recently recycled a shipping pallet we’ve had in storage into a versatile indoor/outdoor storage system, and we can’t wait to share how easy it to make one of your own.
You Will Need:
A shipping pallet
Indoor/outdoor spray paint
Sandpaper or grinder
Wood filler and finishing nails (optional)
Face mask & protective gloves
1. Source a pallet. Wooden shipping pallets seem to be everywhere these days. (Many businesses will actually pay people to come get them and haul them away.) If you see a company that has pallets, they may just allow you to take as many as you can carry.
A word on pallet wood and safety: Be picky when selecting pallets. Some pallets left outside may carry harmful chemicals, bacteria or are made with pressure-treated wood. Recent regulations require some pallet manufacturers to treat the wood before shipments — either with chemicals or heat treatment. The safer of the two is heat treatment, so look for a stamp on the wood with the letters HT. It’s always a good practice to use protective gear when working with your pallet to avoid wood splintering, nails, or breathing in any harmful chemicals.
2. Prepare your pallet. All pallets are shaped differently and many come missing a few boards here and there. First decide the best configuration for your wall shelves, then begin by removing the select boards on one side of the pallet to expose the horizontal boards on the inside (these will end up being your shelves). Leave at least one board on the face of either end to create the look and feel of a framed shadow box.
Once the desired boards have been removed, continue prepping your pallet by removing or hammering down any exposed nails. If you come across any boards with large cracks or jagged edges, hammer a few finishing nails in through the side to seal and repair the wood.
Using a sheet of sandpaper or a grinder, sand all the rough surfaces and edges around the pallet, removing the remaining dirt and debris from the outer layer. If you plan to paint the pallet and are going for a more finished look, at this stage you can fill open nail holes and cracks with wood filler.
3. Prime and paint the pallet. If you like the more exposed or rustic look of the pallet wood, you can either move onto the next step for hanging the storage shelves, or seal the entire pallet with a clear protective coating. If you choose to paint, coat the entire pallet with a thick base of primer. Pallet wood can be very porous, so the primer will make your finished paint color pop (and help to conserve paint).
Once the coat of primer has completely dried, apply the finishing paint coat. We opted for an indoor/outdoor spray paint in a bright buttercream. If using spray paint, be sure to wear a protective face mask and spray using very thin and even coats in a well ventilated area. Allow a full 24 hours for the paint to dry before moving to the next step.
4. Hang the pallet. Attach your desired hanging hardware and hang your new pallet storage system securely in place on the wall. We went for a wire and hook system since we have picture molding in our home. Any hardware system you prefer is fine, so long as it is strong enough to secure your pallet safely. If you attach wire hardware to the top of the frame like we did, make sure to screw in hooks closer to the back of the frame top — this will help the pallet rest flat along the wall.
5. Use your new storage. For an indoor look: Bring your new pallet storage system inside and hang it on your wall. Layer the shelves with meaningful decorative items like framed photos, little keepsakes and even indoor potted plants or vases with fresh flowers.
For an outdoor look: Hang your new wall pallet in an outdoor space for an instant functional storage system. Fill it with useful items for the garden, or use it for organizing shop tools or studio storage.
And there you have it — a functional organization system upcycled from something originally headed for the landfill!
If you make your own pallet storage system, share a photo with us tagged with #howtuesday or post in the Etsy Labs Flickr group. Have another idea for reusing pallets? Let us know in the comments below!