Some of our favorite projects involve the use of wood pallets. They are easy to find and most importantly, free! You can ask your local grocery store or check out a few construction sites. Just be sure to ask for permission to take them as some companies now pay to have them removed or are contracted to return them.
**Sidenote: We learned while doing research for this project that pallets are stamped with HT or MB. Pallets with HT stamped upon them are heat treated and generally safe for use in DIY projects and within the home. Pallets stamped with MB however, are chemically treated and may have been used to transport chemicals or other potentially dangerous items. We made sure all of our pallets were stamped with HT prior to using them.**
Our house has an indented entertainment area along one wall. I initially had wanted to make DIY built-in bookshelves, so began scouring Pinterest and came across a beautiful pallet wall done by Rachel Pereira over at eHow. We decided to give it a try!
We began by locating the studs within the wall and running five 2x4s up the length of it, using wood screws to secure them. We used scrap wood, which was not perfectly straight by any means, so we compensated by cutting a couple of the boards and adjusting them to line up along the studs as best we could. We also ran two boards perpendicular to the 2x4s, screwing them into the studs as well and attached the TV mount to those.
We then set to work taking apart the pallets, and by we, I mean Brent:
“I use a cordless Kobalt reciprocating saw with Irwin bi-metal blades. I sit the pallet on end and cut down one side in between the pallet boards I want to keep, and the brace boards that are in the middle. After cutting down the side boards I use a pry bar to give myself a little extra working room before cutting down the middle boards. Using this technique leaves the nail heads in the boards for a little extra flair. It also saves on man power from using a pry bar on the entire pallet to break them apart and still having nails in the back.”
After the pallets were fully broken down we lightly sanded each individual board, while wearing a dust mask of course!! We did not sand them until completely smooth as we wanted to keep that rustic appearance, while also removing any large splinters. Then we made our first trip to Lowes to purchase wood stain. I was very picky when it came to the color of the stain. We actually ended up purchasing two different colors and mixing them half and half, Minwax Pre-Tinted Classic Grey Interior Stain and Espresso Interior Stain. We rubbed the stain on using cloth rags in a circular motion and wiping off any excess. We allowed the boards to dry for a day then mixed the boards from each pallet together. You will get quite a bit of variation in color from each of the boards as they are not clean, new wood.
Then began attaching the pallet boards to the 2x4s already attached to the wall. For this we used a brad nailer with an air compressor. Possibly the most difficult process of the whole project was getting the pallet boards to line up and meet together well without any large gaps. In one area we ended up cutting a small sliver of wood and inserting it in the gap because the boards were too bowed. It is something that only we would notice, except for now I’ve told all of you. 🙂 (After attaching a few of the boards, we decided to stain the 2x4s as well which helped immensely to make any gaps less noticeable.) You will want to stagger the boards as you go.
We purchased two cheap Billy bookcases from IKEA, then decided to purchase matching doors as well to keep nosy animals out of them. They were not the PERFECT height for the alcove, but they still look quite nice. This wall is now one of my favorite parts of my house! I could not be more pleased with how it turned out.
Hope you enjoyed! Feel free to shoot us a message or leave a comment with any questions!