If you’ve spent even a small amount of time on Pinterest or Instagram in the last decade, you’ll be aware of the upcycling trend. This is the concept of taking old, unwanted things and transforming them into something that’s stylish, useable, and just a little bit quirky.
In the world of upcycling, wooden pallets are comfortably the favourite building material. And we’re here to tell you why and how.
What are wooden pallets?
Wooden pallets are flat structures made from different types of wood, typically hardwood or softwood, that were initially designed to provide support for transporting goods. They come in various sizes, with standard dimensions such as 48×40 inches, and consist of top and bottom deck boards and stringers or blocks that connect them.
Why we should be upcycling wooden pallets
Environmental benefits – By repurposing pallets, we can significantly reduce the demand for new wood and the energy required for manufacturing. It helps conserve natural resources and minimises the environmental impact associated with the production and disposal of pallets.
Waste reduction – Pallets often end up in landfills. Repurposing them diverts them from the waste stream, extending their lifespan and reducing the burden on landfill sites.
Cost savings – Using repurposed pallets can be a cost-effective alternative to purchasing new materials. With a little creativity and effort, you can create functional and visually appealing items without breaking the bank.
Sustainable and unique designs – Repurposed pallets offer a distinctive aesthetic appeal, adding a touch of rustic charm to your creations. The natural wood grain and weathered patina can enhance the visual appeal of your upcycled items, giving them a unique character.
How to upcycle wooden pallets
Furniture – Pallets can be transformed into stylish and functional alternative furniture pieces. From coffee tables and bookshelves to outdoor seating and bed frames, the possibilities are endless. Sand down the wood, add a coat of paint or stain, and combine the pallets with other materials to create completely bespoke furniture.
Garden projects – You can use pallets to create some wonderful outdoor accessories for your garden. They could, for example, be used as a frame from which to grow plants, or as a standing plant pot for herbs and small plants. Regardless, you will need to use a Milwaukee drill to secure the wooden bases so that soil can be held within the gaps for plants to be grown effectively.
Outdoor projects – Pallets are perfect for outdoor DIY projects. Build a patio deck, a barbeque station, or a garden bench using repurposed pallets. Their durability and weather resistance make them well-suited for outdoor use.
Arts and signs – If you are looking for a rustic-look canvas or sign, you can use the wood from the face of a pallet as a canvas to display artwork, or to be painted on to directly.
Remember to follow these guidelines when working with wooden pallets
Safety first – Inspect your pallets for any signs of damage or chemical treatments. Choose pallets that are clean and in good condition. Wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, when handling and dismantling pallets.
Dismantling – If you need to disassemble a pallet, carefully remove the nails or screws using a crowbar or a reciprocating saw. Take your time to avoid damaging the wood.
Preparation – Once you have the pallet pieces, sand them down to smooth any rough edges or splinters. This step will also help prepare the surface for painting or staining, if desired.
Creativity and customisation – Let your imagination soar as you repurpose pallets. Customise your projects by combining pallet wood with other materials, such as metal, glass, or fabric. Experiment with different finishes, colours, and textures to achieve the desired look.
Join the upcycling community – Join online communities, forums, or social media groups dedicated to pallet upcycling. Share your ideas, learn from others, and gain inspiration for your own projects. Collaboration and knowledge sharing can enhance your skills and creativity.