Wooden pallets are typically used by companies that move and ship freight.
The freight is boxed up and shrink-wrapped to be then placed on the pallet. The way the pallet is designed allows for a forklift to move the entire load of freight with ease, and carry it from one place to another. Once the freight has been unloaded, the pallets are often discarded.
Enough with describing the foremost purpose of this hot item currently used by DIY amateurs and eco lovers worldwide.
Despite the benefits of transportation, wooden pallets serve your imagination and creativity by transforming the simple into something fun and magical, benefitting the environment and, presumably, your wallet.
Here are some great places to get pallets, and what you can do with them once brought home.
Where to Get Your Wooden Pallets
1). Small Does Not Mean Less
Before taking an adventure to bigger, often chain, companies in search for wooden pallets, keep in mind that they might already have a way of getting rid of their waste materials, no matter how useful you may find them. If you narrow down your search to smaller businesses, you will be surprised how much of their waste, including our desired wooden pallets, are thrown away and never seen again!
Also, companies going out of business might be of help while getting rid of their leftovers. Either way, you may be able to get your wooden pallets for free or pay the price of crayons at your local Office Depot.
2). Pet supply and feed stores
These stores often get pallets delivered that hold bags of feed. Once the delivery is unloaded, the pallets are not needed anymore. Recently, in wooden pallets inquiry on Reddit, one of the users from South Tampa in Florida posted about a well-known chain store Petco leaving its pallets outside for the customers to take for free. Whether you live in Tampa or not, it certainly gives you an insight about places to ask for your DIY materials.
Interesting fact: In both 1999 and 2000, www.calrecycle.ca.gov awarded Petco in Waste Reduction Awards Program of California for recycling, reducing, and reusing waste materials, among which are our favorite wooden pallets! Go Petco!
3). Furniture stores
A lot of small pieces of furniture get packed onto pallets when they’re shipped to the stores. However, be sure which furniture stores are worth asking for their wooden pallets. Iconic companies tend to handle their own waste materials in warehouses, where they are either reused, recycled, or go back to the manufacturer. One of the researched home furnishing stores is the well-known Swedish retailer, IKEA, which recently made extreme global improvements and changes to benefit the environment. According to Modern Materials Handling website, IKEA moved on to phase out wooden pallets globally. The entire article can be found here. Similarly, Ashley Furniture sends its wooden pallets back to warehouse once the shipment has been unloaded.
As pointed out earlier, small businesses do not have a specific plan for their waste materials, neither do they have a constructed system for handling wooden pallets. As expected, they do go back to the warehouse, however, with no definite purpose. Chicago’s local furniture store, Affordable Portables, offers wooden pallets with own pickup from their warehouse location. With little and efficient research, you may be surprised by generosity of your hometown businesses.
4). Equipment stores
From lightweight equipment to heavier items, it all gets packed up in batches and shipped on pallets. And again, it is important to notice the same exact trend when it comes to choosing the right location. A popular sports equipment store, Sport’s Authority, also has a way to manage and handle wooden pallets by sending them back to its warehouse.
They do not provide the material for personal use, but rather the pallets are destined for other purpose than your DIY projects.
Therefore, we ought to turn to local stores one more time. In this case, another home based company of Chicago, Fitness Factory Outlet, allows its customers to pick up their used wooden pallets from the store itself or their warehouse.
An additional great thing worth mentioning about small businesses is the ease to get a hold of a representative without hanging on the phone for an eternity before someone gets back to you. They seem to know every detail of their precious company!
5). Hardware stores
As expected, larger chain companies, such as Home Depot, not only do not offer their used wooden pallets, but they sell them at the store locations. However, the pallets they do sell are new and expensive… which is not exactly what we are looking for.
They do offer DIY projects and ideas under the item on their website, such as dog houses or garden benches; nevertheless, each pallet costs about $30. Assuming the project will require a bit more than one wooden pallet, the entire mission will be quite costly, especially if we include the expenses of other essential materials.
Great news! New York City has many local hardware stores, which may offer you their wooden pallets for free! Not all companies are tempted to use you as their potential profit source. Definitely not Brothers Hardware, a company of great customer service and a few available wooden pallets for a pickup.
6). Construction sites
Now, this is where it gets exciting. By taking a role of a detective, you may find nearby construction sites, such as new neighbors building a house, with their waste materials right on the side. Learn the art of asking rather than unlawfully snatch the wooden pallets. Many, if not all, will end up in their fireplaces, bonfires, or their junk, and they will be more than happy to give the materials away.
Perhaps, it would be a great idea to make friends with new comers and engage them in a neighborhood DIY projects. Maybe even starting a crafty club!
Yes, we all are aware of the dangers using websites such as Craigslist, where none of the sellers or buyers are verified and checked. We all have heard thrilling stories behind this advertisements website, and yet we all find it handy at times. Internet itself is full of junk that we ought to avoid and discard; however, with safety precautions and certain common sense that we all (hopefully) possess, it might be the easiest way to get wooden pallets, if not for free than certainly for less than you might expect. It involves little or no research, as well as automatically assumes your search location – how effortless!
The prices, although low, vary, so make sure to find the best fit! Most advertisers attach pictures for you to check the condition of their wooden pallets, which saves you the unnecessary trip. Here are some of the examples of my own search:
A seller in Addison, Illinois, offers 60 wooden pallets for only $3; however the deal is all or nothing. For your convenience, here is the photo of the wooden pallets:
Another advertiser is willing to give the pallets away for free. You will need your own way of transportation.
Ebay is a verified seller with available feedback, both positive and negative, in case something goes wrong or particularly well. With little research, you will find affordable wooden pallets for your DIY projects. It is especially convenient for buyers with no transportation, although you will pay for shipping, which at times may even exceed the price of wooden pallets themselves.
One such advertiser offers a few wooden pallets in great condition, which seem to be specifically designed for at home projects:
In other cases, you may find many newly built wooden pallets, usually from recycled material for affordable price with own pickup.
9). Stores that are moving into the area
Those stores that are moving in and have a grand opening celebration coming up had to get their merchandise from somewhere – and that merchandise likely came in on your future wooden pallets! It is a great opportunity to explore new entertainment sites in your area, and perchance use your art of asking for their waste material.
What to Do With Your Wooden Pallets
Since you already know a great deal about places to look for free wooden pallets, it is time for some exciting DIY project ideas to fulfill the mission!
To make it easier for you, we have divided the guide to different pallet projects.
1). Build a deck
Building a deck seems like a bigger project on our list, but it is definitely not as time and energy consuming as you might think! It does involve many wooden pallets, depending how spacious your deck is desired to be. Designrulez idea for a deck includes fences of different designs and heights also made out of wooden pallets. This is a great solution for crafties with gardening potential, who intend to fill their project with marvelous decorations.
Need a front porch remodeling? Pinterest is well known for their countless and terrific concepts in every department possible, and this is no exception. This user gives a minimalistic approach to a wooden pallet porch – the project can be found here, where you can follow the entire process. The finished result is stunning in its simplicity:
2) On The Shelf, Off The Shelf!
It is not so often that we may find furniture at affordable prices that will be unique in its fashion, especially handmade elements that will exclusively stand out. There is quite a variety of ideas for shelving your house with wooden pallets, some of which are simpler than others.
Before It’s New is a news site that is known for its lack of censorship; however, the editors also entertain its readers with a diversity of topics, such as reusable materials for Do-It-Yourself projects, one of which, yes, with the use of wooden pallets. An entire article featured on their website is dedicated to passionate lovers of wooden pallets used for at-home furniture. Their collection from different sources is fairly sufficient.
One of its ideas is the simplest adorable shelf, which seems to be merely pinned to the wall without much intervention. You can leave it in a current condition or play with colors and decorations. It is all up to you and your imagination.
Do you have a place for your wine collection to be nicely displayed in a desired room? Well, we do have an insight of what it might look like. PalletsDesigns reserved an entire article just for shelves, one of which we picked as a great example for your wine holder.
We especially liked it not only because it’s simple and takes up little space, but also because it allows you to play a bit if you wish to fill the entire wall with pieces of wooden pallets, depending on how many bottles of wine you possess! This seems to be one third of a pallet. Cut your materials neatly and pin one after another to the wall.
3). Let’s Go Outside!
Making your own furniture may sound like a hassle. The word furniture itself brings about the most complex and difficult processes that you may think of. The association with budget, construction, rebuilding, cutting, splitting, polishing, pins, nails…. in general – hard work with a lot of effort.
Sorry to disappoint your thought process, but it is exactly the opposite. Of course you may choose to play with your tools, take piece after piece apart from your wooden pallets and design something completely different. Do not stress architect! Here, let us examine some of the useful outdoor furnishing that may not involve all that.
Remember, effortless and easy that not mean less fabulous or artless.
The simplicity of a patio set is almost ridiculous. The mission, as we like to call it, involves a truck load of wooden pallets and some paint of desired color to renew the elements.
We do like the white option, since it brightens the surroundings, and literally any additional decorations would perfectly go with it. You may cut some of the pallets in half to make a table in a rectangle shape that will not be as enormous, or if you wish to have a perfect square, no need to work yourself out.
Effectively place one wooden pallet on another in a preferred manner and voila! Also, a great addition to the table would be glass to cover the wood to make it look more fancy.
Then pillows, pillows, pillows! Who doesn’t love colorful cozy pillows?
Pallets Designs suggests another perfect idea! It might require you to do some nailing and attaching, but do not worry! Special skills are not necessary, only a little patience and about six wooden pallets per one item. Yes, we are going to be making a bench!
4). Pallet Wood Wall?
Yes, but we are not talking about a regular wood wall that you usually use as flooring. We are more fond of hot mess that you want your bathroom, or any other room for that matter, to turn into. Of course, be careful, it is not a shed, unless that’s exactly what you desire. We suggest turning one wall into something different. Paint the single pieces of your wooden pallet and stick them to the wall! The results are awfully cool!
And again, we rely on Before It’s New for this idea. Because we believe in irregularities!
5). Hang On the Rack
An ideal household requires a place for coats, leashes, keys, and other items often used by family members, as we would call them items on-the-go. Again, attachment is a necessary part of the project, but we ought to be crafty!
One option is brought to you by our dear Pinterest, where they suggest being crafty even more by adding shelves and cute hearty deco. We suggest anything you are able to manage, do it! You need to detach one top piece of wooden pallet and paint it whatever floats your boat. Add little hangers and pin it to the wall!
6). Come Up Roses
We all should be familiar with this saying, especially when things with your DIY projects start to go as smooth as ever. Gardening is all about colors, be it flowers, pots, backyard furniture, or swings. These would not be specifically called pots, but will definitely organize your plants in a hot mess fashion, just like we love it!
Paint, paint, paint and play with colors.
You may leave one wooden pallet as a whole, another cut in half. Then one thirds. And hang them on the fence, on the wall of your house, or just place the finished projects in different parts of your yard. Whichever you choose, we will love it! Be sure to send us photos of your magic!
Pallets Designs surprises again. Perhaps you are the owner of a flower shop, or you need an organizer for your herbs and plants. With labels. Reconstruct your wooden pallet a bit for space and balance, add long chalk boards for classifying your plants. You can use the pallet as a pot or simply place your ready flowers inside.
7). Hit the Books
We did mention shelves, but what about the stacks of books that you are crazy about and giving them up is not an option? The bookstore look with covers displayed right up front is something unique and unexpected. Be original! Be the bestseller of ideas. Heck, be your own edition of Barnes&Noble!
The blogger of Pallet Furniture Ideas gives an insight to what the project will turn out to be in the end. Cut the pieces in such a fashion that the bottoms of the shelves will have double panels joint together. You might cut as many elements as you wish to make the bookshelf higher or lower, depending on your needs. And organize!
8). Swing into Action
Rather than creating a regular swing, you may prefer a hanging bed! How comfortable does that sound? It is a great way to enjoy reading, relaxing, or napping on beautiful sunny days. Stout rope, couple hooks, two to three wooden pallets attached together in a tidy manner, some kind of mattress, and, of course, colorful pillows for your comfort.
Hang it and swing it!
Design Rules, in their 35 Ways to Recycle Wooden Pallets article, offers a swing tied in a similar fashion, however, a bit smaller. It is a reasonable solution for a front porch entertainment. Add some lights around the rope for pleasant decoration!
9). Family Theater
If you have an extra space in your basement area, why not make it more homely and appealing with an impression of a theater at your own home. Everyone will love it, and it is a great spot for spending quality time with your closest ones.
You will need about twelve nicely painted wooden pallets, which should be placed as if building a staircase, one by one. Place pillows, as on attached photo, for more comfort while enjoying movie night!
10). Give your guest bedroom a unique look
A bed platform made out of wooden pallets is not only affordable, but certainly looks quite impressive. You may require about eight pieces of your DIY material, and the rest of the project is rather easy to grasp.
11). Create a conference table
And once more, Designrulez surprises again with exceptional creativity.
Today’s market forces growing companies to stand out in its uniqueness, not only in their initiative and potential for further success, but also with the entire outlook. Not to mention promoting reusable materials and eco-friendly aspects of the company as a whole. Leading businesses in favor of recycling set great examples for private, as well as corporate, parties
12). Make a staircase… or remodel.
Pulling apart elements of your wooden pallets, you may be able to create a genuine staircase at home. It is much less costly than purchasing hardwood floor panels at your local Menards, and with little patience, might look as marvelous and professional. Glue or pin single panels from your wooden pallets in a way that will cover the entire staircase.
Make sure you treat your material with some professional polish beforehand so it doesn’t get damaged due to constant use.
The following idea is brought to you by Pinterest.
13). Dirty, Dirty
By using pallets to build a hamper holder, you can store your laundry in a solid container that gives your laundry room a hardcore retro look.
14). Frame out your big TV
Don’t just mount that big, new TV on the wall. You can make a place for it with some painted pallets, so it becomes a focal point. Not only does it hang there, but, as usual, you can use the space around to sort memories, such as cards you receive for Christmas or photos pinned to the pallets.
Because why not?
15). Make a coffee table
Let’s take the furniture inside and work with the space you have available for your coffee table. It is a great idea to lift it up a bit by fixing four wheels in each corner. If your house has a more modern, IKEA, look, make sure to paint the wooden pallet with a preferred color, and finish it with a certain polish.
16). Home Sweet Home
Creating a bed for a kitty does not really require building, just making it more comfortable for your pet to jump in. Cats are known for their excellent flexible skills; however, our precious puppies might have some trouble with getting to bed, so cut one panel on one side, which would serve as the door. Designrulez did manage to paint a little heart on their project, but let’s show some more creative love and craftiness by spending some more time on our mission. Perhaps some colorful doggy paint?
17). Pallet Sofa for Advanced
1001 Pallets is a great website with ideas of what you can create using wooden pallets. The site not only displays photos of finished projects, but also provides description by users of what you need in order to achieve ideal results – something that many others fail to do. Also, you may comment on the finished products, and, possibly, ask for specific details from the user.
For this sofa, which you may enhance afterwards with padding, you will need four pallets and a definite amount of screws. The credit goes to Aleksandar Rajkov, citizen of Serbia, who admits to putting a lot of effort into completing this project, especially during the process of unpinning pallets. Great work Aleks!
18). Gardening Once More
Let’s go back to gardening, since this topic really likes wooden pallets. The following project also requires a little more than just placing wooden pallets on top of each other, but we love the challenge, don’t we? This Garden Potting Bench serves as a workshop station for your personal garden designing. The link offers a complete description of what you will need to achieve the desired results, some of which include how many pallets you will need and which parts need to be unpinned or cut.
According to the user, this mission involves approximately ¾ of three pallets to fix the back, and the remaining ¼ of the pallets for the shelves. It is absolutely great that all of the elements eventually get used without wasting our precious material.
19). Pallet Teenager Cabin
Now, this is something we certainly would call mission in real life. A great example of passion, dedication, patience, and enthusiasm all at once.
Do not be disheartened! It is without doubt doable. The project requires about 19 wooden pallets and 40 hours of crafty work. The good news – Edwin De Barry offers a tutorial for this amazing Do-It-Yourself assignment. Surprise your kids, will you?
20). Storage Rack
This task is also dedicated to storage, in this particular case it is destined for veggies and fruits. The draws have labels that you attach to the panels at the finish line of the project. We are grateful for the convenient description of which wooden pallets to use. The pallets need to be deconstructed, so minor handy work is required. Level of difficulty? In our opinion semi-advanced (comparing to the cabin). Definitely patience will come in handy.
21). A Lot On My Plate
This is not really about building; rather, it calls for picking the right spot to display your little treasures, such as plates passed on from generation to generation, or possibly obtained at a local antique store. Whatever the case, definitely not for the use during dinner time. Instead of allowing the dust to cover their value, place them on a hanging wooden pallet.
Plates is only one of the options for the use of our extraordinary kitchen cabinet. Herbs wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
22). Craft for Art
Fill the gaps in your wooden pallet… in fact, however you wish to do so, it will be distinctive. After all, it is a writing desk made out of wooden pallet. The fantastic thing about this idea is the space underneath that you may store whatever you wish: the cables we hate so much, pens, pencils, notebooks, research guides.
23). Country Your Kitchen
Country detail in your kitchen does not have to spoil your cabinet design and purpose. It would be an awkward addition, but how practical and useful after all. Hang the wooden pallet upside down by deconstructing the top part, or leave it as it is and hang it to the wall. You might want to invest in a few hooks to have the pallet serve its purpose.
24). Rocking Boat
This is one remarkable father. Take a look at the rocking boat crafted from wooden pallets – patience and devotion. All for love. The project seems to be quite challenging, and it definitely involves more than strictly pallets. Europeans certainly know their art for crafting!
The beauty about this finished venture is that it manages to fit two children, and our little ones can manipulate the boat themselves from the inside. Wow! The entire description is available here along with multiple photos.
25). Shoe Rack!
Nicely finished wooden pallet, and your shoe rack shall be ready! This surely is not a place for new fabulous hills, but the boys of the house might need an extra space for organizing their outdoor items. Maybe your gym shoes could also fit. This is one of our easiest ideas regarding usefulness of wooden pallets. Nothing out of the ordinary!
26). Run Out The Clock!
This is probably one of our favorite items on this list, because we are fond of ideas that serve more than one purpose. Time watcher and decoration – all in one. The project is not as complex, but it does require knowledge of the clock mechanism.
1001 Pallets gives a great idea for a clock. However, we did some more research to guide you through the process of getting the clock to work! A website, Instructables, connects you directly to their Do-It-Yourself page dedicated to clocks. They even suggest being more crafty and use your old hard drives.
27). Modern… Pallet Kitchen?
In this article, we focused on details that would give your house a different and unique look. Something that will stand out, give you the country or antique look. However, finally someone managed to remodel their entire kitchen with wooden pallets and decided to call it modern! Well, it is up to you to decide how contemporary it is. We think the accomplished mission is quite modern.
All of the cabinets and countertops made out of wooden pallets are beautifully and fashionably harmonized and supplemented with contemporary appliances, such as stainless steel oven or fridge. Add colorful bliss and you mission is achieved.
Choosing the Right Pallet
Of course, we have been through so much finding the pallets, why bother with checking the quality of them knowing we will be transforming them into something magical? After all, we are ready for some painting and renovations. Well, not exactly the right approach (for your own safety). Lifehacker, a website dedicated to provide you with day-to-day tips and instructions to make your life a bit easier, properly points out the dangers of choosing a pallet that could be exposed to certain chemicals or mold.
As we are aware, those hazards spread like a flu, and may be easily overlooked or even unnoticeable for you to check. We suggest giving your pallets a thorough detailed cleaning before using them for any project, be it indoor or outdoor. Lifehacker informs that you may find certain labels on your pallets, such as “HT”, which means they were heat treated, and therefore are free of bugs but not necessarily of chemicals, which is what they could have used in the treatment process.
We want to be picky when loading your pickup truck with DIY waste materials from your chosen source. Firstly, check for any visible signs, such as spills and stains, and discard such pallet. This is the ideal option if you want to be safe and sound.
Find out more about pallet coding and stamping to determine what treatment your pallet has received.
Dismantle Your Pallet Properly
The best way to learn is to see something in action. This YouTube video shows you how the pallet could be taken apart without damage. According to Lifehacker, try to avoid using more advanced tools, such as a crowbar or claw hammer, since you might split the desired boards instead of pulling them apart. Rather, use a common hammer to smoothly remove the nails.
Lastly, take a look at different pallet types for your DIY projects
For more information about pallets please see the below resources: