A little imagination and a knack for removing nails is all it takes to create trendy furniture and home décor using pallet wood.
Not everyone can envision a pallet as a piece of art or outdoor chair but the readily available, inexpensive wood is making its way into do-it-yourself projects and popping up on Pinterest boards with growing intensity.
Dan Vasilak, of Calumet City, has done his share of pallet projects. He has used the wood from pallets to make two patio chairs, a table, shadow boxes and a garage work bench.
He always enjoyed woodworking and building things with his grandpa, he said, and fine tuned those skills working construction jobs in high school and after graduation
He said DIYers who want to work with pallets should, “Be creative, you’re not building Rome. You’re using wood that is recycled so it’s not a premium oak that you would buy in the store. It has a rustic look.”
Pallets are a great material, he said, because you can get them for free or cheap and make patio furniture that sells for hundreds of dollars in stores. The only downside is removing the many nails that held the original pallet together.
“It’s time consuming,” he said.
Jenn DiPasquo, of Schererville, just starting using pallets in her home projects but is already looking forward to working with them again.
In the past few weeks, she has used pallet wood to make a personal art project for her bedroom and a TV stand.
She agrees that they are a great source material because of their raw, industrial look and minimal cost. For inspiration, she looks to Pinterest.com, a Website devoted to the arts of do-it-yourself. She devised her sign project from similar projects she saw on the site.
“I just come up with an idea, I go with it. If it doesn’t work, I mend it or adapt it to what my goal is.”
She personalized the sign by using words with special meaning to her and her husband. To create the look, she did some sanding, staggered the pallet lengths and used paint she already had and a printout of her saying. The possibilities to create your own personal art are endless, she said.
“I envision monograms, personal sayings, initials, something that means something to you. That little saying is something I always said to my husband.”
Finding new ways to use pallets is trendy, DiPasquo said. “It’s kind of cool to find something and repurpose it,” she said. “It’s rewarding.”
For her TV stand project, she used pallets, old fence posts and scrap pieces of maple. She left the piece in its raw form, with no paint.
“I like the character (the pallet wood) brings to the piece.”
Jeff Bridegroom, of Calumet Pallet Co., Inc., said his company often receives inquiries about wood and pallets for projects.
Customers have used them for making wall art, wall paneling, headboards for beds, bed platforms, backyard tables, chairs and more.
Anyone looking for pallets or wood for their projects can contact Bridegroom at (219) 932-4550 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.calumetpallet.com. They may even be able to help with project tips and planning, he said.
The Website funkyjunkinteriors.net showcases many repurposed home décor and furniture pieces, many created using pallets. Here are some pallet tips the site offers.
A pallet’s original purpose is to ship products. U.S. pallets are treated with either chemicals or heat prior to use. An “HT” on the board signifies heat treated or kiln dried, which is the safest bet. Unmarked boards may be safe but may be chemically treated and dangerous to use.
Look for pallets with straight nails instead of twisted ones. The straight ones pound out easier. Nails should be removed immediately for safety purposes.
Always wear gloves and choose wisely. Skip pallets that smell, look oily, are stained, extra heavy or have too many twisted nails.
Scrub the wood with bleach and soapy water. Rinse and allow to dry. Wood is porous and bacteria can be embedded so pallet wood should never be used for food related items, children’s toys or children’s play furniture.
Ask for permission before taking pallets from businesses. They may recycle them or receive reimbursement for them.