Often overlooked, pallets are a readily available, cheap (you can sometimes get them for free) and easy-to-use building material, that can be put together to form a variety of structures.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that, with a bit of imagination, you can make some pretty impressive things out of a few pallets. Plus, putting to use what many see as rubbish to get rid of, is good for the environment.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, look no further. We’ve got it covered…
A garden shed
At first glance, this may seem mad, but pallets are just a cheap source of wood. Get enough of them and you can dismantle them, then screw them together, to build a wooden garden shed, at a fraction of the cost of the ones in the shops.
In addition to the pallets, you’ll also need an old door and some wood to make a sturdy base for your shed to sit on and to form your roof with. Purchase some shed felt and with a bit of hard work and patience, you’ll have a fully functioning garden shed!
OK, so this one is probably a project for those of us with more advanced DIY skills. But it’s a great way to incorporate recycled materials into your garden.
If you don’t like the look of the pallet wood, you can always paint it afterwards, to end up with a stunning shed that all your neighbours will envy.
We all need somewhere to sit and admire our work from after a busy day in the garden but that doesn’t mean we need to rush to the shops and buy an expensive set of seats.
Use two pallets to make a base, then another to make the back. Dismantle a pallet to make the arms, then add a padded seat and a couple of cushions for comfort. Voila – you have a seat for free (other than the screws!).
Use more pallets to make your seat big enough for a couple of people.
A pallet drinks table
Impress your friends and family next time they come round for a BBQ, with a homemade drinks table.
Screw together three or four pallets (depending on how high you want it to be) to make a table to match your pallet seats.
Paint it in a contrasting colour with Shed & Fence Paint for a real colour pop or just seal it with a good quality wood oil such as Textrol from Owatrol to protect it from spillages and the elements if you’re keeping it outside.
A swing seat
Use wood pallets and some strong rope to make a swing seat. Add a cushion and you’ve got a lovely, unusual place to read your book from on a Sunday afternoon.
This one takes a bit more effort and woodwork know-how, but it does look pretty splendid when you’ve finished and your can always hang it from a pergola or a strong tree.
Ensure that the pallets you’re using are strong enough to take your weight (or the weight of anyone who’s going to sit on it) and that the structure you’ll be hanging it from will support it. If in doubt, speak to a professional!
Create an area for your table and chairs to sit on, out of pallets. Simply screw them all together and then paint them in a bold colour with Shed & Fence Paint to make your seating area stand out.
To stop the weeds and grass coming through, it’s a good idea to put some weed liner underneath. In one area, you could also fill in the gaps between the slats of wood, with flowers or herbs.
Compost bins are essential for any keen gardener. They act as a place to keep your composting materials, so that they can heat up and eventually decompose into something you can grow next year’s veggies in.
But why go out and buy one when you can make one of your own?
Use four pallets to create a compost bin that won’t be an eyesore in your garden.
Use more pallets to make a 3-bin compost system that will enable you to compost to your heart’s content.
Finishing your project
Once you’ve built your creation, you’ll want to give it the right coating to protect the wood and your hard work.
Pallets are often not treated, so it’s important to use a finish that is going to protect, as well as enhance, your project.
But, first thing’s first.
Before you apply your finish, it’s important to apply a wood cleaner and brightener to your pallets, such as Net-Trol.
Net-Trol has been designed to lighten and restore colour to all greyed, weathered wood, without bleaching.
It will remove surface and ground-in dirt, leaving your pallets looking bright and vibrant. Even better, no backbreaking sanding required.
Then you’ll need to choose a finish…
The natural look
Let the natural beauty of your pallet wood shine through and opt for a penetrating oil finish, for protection from UV rays and moisture damage to keep your creation looking smart for longer.
Alternatively, consider using Textrol HES, if you only want to apply one coat.
D1 Pro is perfect for hardwoods.
A semi-transparent finish
If you fancy a semi-transparent finish, you could opt for Aquadecks, a water-based penetrating finish available in 6 different shades. You’ll still see the wood grain through here.
Alternatively, you could use our all-in-one water-based finish, Tropitech.
Painting your wood
Painting your pallets can give your project a whole new look. Use Shed & Fence Paint, available in 35 different shades, to protect and treat your structure.
Building something stunning and usable, out of materials that would otherwise have gone to waste, is both rewarding and satisfying. Plus, when you tell people that beautiful seat or garden swing used to be wooden pallets, you won’t be able to help but feel pretty pleased with yourself from the look of shock on their faces.
Feeling inspired to build something out of pallets? Get in touch to send us some photos of your completed project!