Pallet projects are all the rave these days since the pallets are usually free for the taking and represent dozens of possibilities. They’re a favorite building material for those DIYers and weekend warriors. Pallet wood is unique, and you will rarely have to stain or distress wood since most of it gets exposure to the elements that allows it to develop a very natural and rich patina. As a bonus, you can easily take the pallets apart to create your pallet projects without a lot of extra tools.
Pallet projects are also a fun and economical way to create whimsical and rustic garden and home accent pieces. They’re accessible to anyone who can find pallets, and most of them only need the simple tools you already have around the house like a hammer and nails. You may also need a saw and cordless drill to create most of the following pallet projects in a day or two.
1. Herb Wall Garden
This very charming pallet project requires very little in the way of building materials to create a small herb garden that you can easily set up on your patio. Most pallets have small slots between the top and bottom of the wood, and these are the perfect size for small-scale herb pots to slide in. They’ll hang suspended between the two slats, and the lips of the pot will hold them in place.
Once you decide which herbs you want to add, you can buy the pots that’ll fit. Fill them with your desired planting medium and add your herbs. Water them thoroughly after you plant them. You will also need paint and a small paintbrush to write the names of the herbs above each slot. Set the pallet project up against the wall and watch your herbs thrive. You could also mount it straight to the wall if you want a hanging herb garden.
Marigolds in a pallet by yooperann / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
2. Wood Pallet Bed Frame
Did you know that you can use a pallet project to create a wood pallet bed frame that looks rustic but is very solid? The number of pallets you need for this project will vary depending on your bed’s size and whether or not you want to create a headboard. Before you start putting your frame together, you’ll want to pressure wash your pallets and give them several days to air dry.
You can clear coat them or stain them, but this isn’t necessary since the wood has a natural patina. Decide how many pallets you need for your bed and how high you want it. You’ll need at least two for the headboard. Nail the pallets together to create a rectangle for the mattress to sit on. Once you get it set up, you can attach the headboard to the frame for a rustic pallet project.
Hunger strike by Hernán Piñera / CC BY-SA 2.0
3. Radiator Cover
If you have a radiator in your living room, it’s one piece of unsightly furniture that you can’t just pick up and remove. You could paint it to help it blend in, but it still sticks out. If you have a wooden-based or rustic design aesthetic, you can use a pallet to cover the radiator and make it look like it works with your room’s design without interrupting the flow of the space.
All you have to do for this pallet project is source a pallet. Get a pry bar and hammer and knock off one side of the boards. Next, set it up in front of your radiator for a simple cover. If you want to cover the sides, cut the discarded side of the pallets up and attach them to your main piece to create a shallow box with an open box. Slide it in front of the radiator. This will also give it more stability.
Painted radiator cover by Carolyn Riccardelli / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
4. Wooden Backsplash
When you think of a kitchen backsplash, most people think of tile. After all, it’s resistant to water damage, pretty, and you can make several design styles with it. However, this pallet project challenges this and gives your kitchen a very unique look. You will need more tools for this project as you have to cut the boards down to the size you want, stain or clear coat them, and adhere them to the wall.
To start this pallet project, measure your backsplash area. Deconstruct a pallet to get flat boards. Be careful that you don’t break them. Once you get them, cut them to your desired length and sand them so they’re smooth. You should apply a stain or clear coat to lock out moisture and make it last longer. Adhere them to the wall behind the sink. It works well in farmhouse designs.
Kitchen sink project by Bryan Kennedy / CC BY-NC 2.0
5. Compost Bin
Did you know that wooden pallets are almost the perfect size for a compost bin? You’ll need four intact pallets for this pallet project for one compost bin. If you want multiple, you’ll get more pallets. You can even attach them all together and have a pallet separating each bin. What’s even better, the pallets have long open slots that allow air to flow in and around the compost to aerate it.
Besides the pallets, the other other thing you’ll need for this pallet project is zip ties. Stand the pallets up and zip tie them together at the corners, working your way down from the top of the pallet. You should have a nice box when you finish that you can toss your compost in. Make a few and set them side-by-side in a corner of your yard. You don’t have to stain them, but keep in mind that they will break down eventually with exposure to the compost and elements.
3-Bin Composting System by Gail Langellotto / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
6. Hanging Coffee Station
Maybe you’re updating your kitchen but you can’t find a way to fit a small coffee station in and you don’t want to leave it sprawled across the counter. If this is the case, this pallet project can help. All you’ll need is a square wire basket, pallet, cup hooks, nails, saw, paintbrushes, and some paint. To start, deconstruct the pallet to get the long boards. Measure and cut them into your desired size.
Our coffee station was four boards wide, and we added six cup hooks. Once you get the boards measured and cut, apply a coat of paint. We also stenciled “Coffee Break” on the outward face of the pallet and painted it white. Attach three cup hooks to the top of the pallet and three to the bottom. The wire basket will hold your coffee pods, and it goes close to the bottom, above the cup hooks. Attach the whole thing to the wall.
Sola Coffee Mugs by Sarah Coggins / CC BY-NC 2.0
7. Towel Rack
This is another super simple pallet project that you can easily throw together in an hour or two, depending on how handy you are. All you’ll need is paint, a pallet, pry bar, towel hooks, nails, and a cordless screwdriver. This project requires that you take the pallet apart because all you really need is one board for a decent towel rack in your bathroom.
When you get the pallet pulled apart, find the nicest board. Sand the edges if you want, or you can leave them as they are as they can be worn. Next for this pallet project, apply a coat of paint and allow it to air dry. Attach your towel hooks along the length of your board, evenly spaced. Screw the towel rack to the wall and hang up your towels. You can make it stand out or paint it the same color of the wall to blend in.
Towel Rack Bathroom by Mr thinktank / CC BY 2.0
8. Pallet Fence
If you need a low fence around part of your property, you can use this pallet project to create one. It’s perfect for surrounding your garden, flower beds, or your yard, depending on the size. Since this project can be larger-scale, you will need to source several pallets for it and decide if you’re going to stain or paint them before you put them up.
You’ll set the pallets up side-by-side along your chosen perimeter. Using nails and a nail gun, you’ll attach them to one another. It’s also a good idea to reinforce all of the pallets with several boards running along the bottom of your fence. You can nail them onto the pallets for more stability. Keep in mind that these are thinner boards, so they can break down relatively quickly. However, it’s a nice temporary solution if you need a shorter fence or barrier.
We built a pallet fence by hmmlargeart / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A sandbox is a great way to keep your kids entertained for hours on end, especially when they’re much younger. To start this pallet project, find an area in your yard that is suitable for a sandbox. It should be as level as possible because you’re going to dig down to create a small pit, and the pallets are going to be the frame. Decide how deep you want your sandbox to be and dig down to this depth.
Get landscape fabric and line the small pit you dug. This will help keep your play sand contained. Get a pallet and deconstruct it before staining the pieces. You want to create a sandwich out of two boards to help hold the landscape fabric in place on each side. Nail the boards together with the fabric between them to secure it. The final step in this pallet project is adding the play sand for your kids.
Sandbox by Mark Bult / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
10. Farmhouse Shutters
While these won’t be hurricane shutters, they add a nice rustic quality to your home. To start this pallet project, measure the window’s length and height. For the length, divide it by two. This will tell you how tall you have to cut the boards and how many slats you’ll need per shutter. Deconstruct your pallet to get the straight slats and cut them to the correct size. Apply a coat of stain and allow them to air-dry.
For simplicity’s sake, say that you need shutters that are five pallet slats across. You’ll set them side-by-side and measure them. Cut two boards that span your shutter horizontally. You’ll need another board that goes from one end of these boards down to the other to create a “Z” shape for support. Nail these to your shutter. Add hinges and hang them on your window. Repeat this pallet project for the second shutter.
Shutters by Bert Everson / CC BY 2.0
11. Accent Wall
When most people think of an accent wall, they think of a bright pop of color that offsets their other three walls. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can create a very rustic and weathered looking accent wall using this pallet project. It’s relatively easy once you do all of the measuring and figure out how many pallets you need to cover an entire wall. Measure the height and width of the wall and figure out how many slats you need to cover it.
Take your pallet and take it apart to start the pallet project. Sand down the boards so that they’re smooth and apply a coat of stain or clear coat. Stain will add to the rustic look, and allow them to dry completely. Starting at the bottom of the wall, nail your pallet slats directly to the wall. You will have to cut them to fit horizontally. Work your way up the wall until you finish.
Accent Wall by Lisa Williams / CC BY 2.0
12. Raised Garden Beds
For this pallet project, you’ll be able to create raised garden beds for a few dollars and tools you have around the house. Depending on how handy you are, you may want to stack pallets to create some height, or you can use slats to create legs. First, measure out how large you want your beds to be. If this is your first one, you can make it easy on yourself and make it as long as the pallet is.
Take your pallet and carefully pull the wooden slats apart. You’ll use two or three for the walls and two or three for the floor, depending on how wide you want it to be. Nail them together in a rectangular shape, leaving the top open for access. You can nail one slat on each side of every corner to create legs and reinforce them by creating a rectangle for the bottom and nailing them to the legs. Set the box up and add your potting medium and plants.
Raised Beds and Woodchips by ☼☼Jo Zimny!☼☼ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
13. Table Centerpiece
This incredibly easy pallet project will make you a long and narrow table platform that you can use as a centerpiece to display your items. You’ll need two or three narrow slats from a pallet for the top of the centerpiece and one larger or two slightly more narrow slats for the base. Decide how long you want your centerpiece to be and cut your top boards. Subtract three or four inches and cut the base boards to create a slight illusion that the centerpiece is floating.
Next, sand each board to get rid of any rough edges. Stain or paint them to your desired color and allow them to dry completely. Lay the top boards side-by-side in this pallet project and nail or glue them together. Attach the bottom boards to the center of the top boards. Flip it over, set it up, and load your items on it when you have it in place on your table.
My adorable funny cat can’t wait for Thanksgiving FOOD. by Deb / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
14. Coffee Mug Holder
Coffee mugs can take up a huge amount of cabinet space in your kitchen, especially if you have many to choose from. This pallet project can help clean some out of your cupboards while keeping them in easy reach when you need them. You’ll need a single pallet, some paint, paintbrushes, saw, nails, nail gun, and cup hooks to complete this project. Start by deciding how large you’ll want this mug holder to be.
Cut your pallet down to size, leaving at least three horizontal slats. These are where you’ll hang your cup hooks. On the top slat, paint the word “Coffee” or whatever you like. Allow it to dry and attach your cup hooks across the lower horizontal slats. How many you can fit depends on how wide you made it, but you should be able to get at least three to four mugs on each level. Adhere it to the wall with nails.
Mugs by Andrea Parrish – Geyer / CC BY-ND 2.0
15. Garden Tools Rack
If you’re someone who is short on space in your storage shed but you have several long-handled garden tools to store, this pallet project is for you. All you’ll need for it is a single pallet, a small block of wood, and a few nails with a nail gun or hammer. Pick out a space in your shed to set your pallet, making sure that there is open space above it for the tools to sit.
Attach the small block of wood to the pallet in the center against the floor on the open end to provide stability and prevent it from falling forward when you load it. Slide the pallet back against the wall, making sure the closed ends are on either end. Slide your long-handled garden tools into the open space between the pallet’s sides. It’ll hold them up out of your way until you need them, and they’re in each reach.
Tools by Morgan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
16. Room Divider
Instead of a privacy screen, this pallet project allows you to create a rustic room divider that doesn’t totally close off one space from the other. You’ll need four pallets, heavy-duty hinges, and a nail gun for this project. If you want to hang items on your pallets, you can use small nails and get binder clips to hang your items without poking holes in them.
To start this pallet project, you’ll lay two pallets flat on the floor so they’re end-to-end. Using your hinges, attach the two pallets together. You don’t want them to bend, so you can put the hinges sideways. Repeat this for the second set of pallets. Now, you’ll attach these two sets of pallets together using hinges, but you do want them to move, so the hinges will go horizontally. Each pallet can have one or two connecting hinges. Set the entire thing upright and use it to divide your room.
Pallet by René Gademann / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
17. Patio Couch
This pallet project will need nine wooden pallets to create a decent-sized couch for your patio. You’ll also need paint or stain, paint brushes, nails, nail gun, and indoor/outdoor pillows. Start by picking out your location for your couch and clearing out your space. Stain or paint all of your pallets, allowing them to completely dry before you assemble them.
You’ll set out three pallets side by side and nail them together. You can run a long length of wood between the slats and nail them to it for more stability. Run one one each side and one down the middle. Stack three more pallets on top of the original three and nail them to the bottom pallets. For the back, nail three pallets upright to the back of your base. Add your indoor/outdoor pillows to the base and backrest of the couch. It’s now ready to use.
Pallets-sofa by epanto / CC BY-SA 2.0
You don’t have to splurge on a fancy headboard for your room. Instead, this pallet project allows you to create one in just a few short hours. You’ll need one to three pallets, depending on your bed size. You’ll also need a rag or paintbrush, stain or paint, nails, and a nail gun. YOu will have to slide the bed away from the wall to get the headboard in and attach it to your frame.
To start this pallet project, find out how many pallets you need to complete your headboard. Get your required pallets and apply a coat of stain or paint to them to seal them. Allow it to air dry. Move your bed out from the wall and slide your pallets in. Nail them to your bed frame. If it’s metal you may have to consider an alternate route like bracing the pallets and pushing them tight to the wall instead of directly attaching them.. Slide it back tight to the wall.
Bed of pallets sofa by Possum1500 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
19. Entryway Ceiling
Thisl simple pallet project on the list is a fun way to spruce up your entryway, especially if you have a worn-out porch ceiling that drags the look of the rest of your decor down. If you have lighting, you’ll have to remove it before you do anything else. Next, stain or paint your pallets. You could leave them plain, but they’re more prone to warping with moisture exposure. Allow them to dry.
Measure and cut your boards to match your ceiling’s size. Carefully nail each board up, one at a time. Work form one side to the other, and make sure that the boards are tight together for this pallet project to get a neat look. You can add a frame around the edges to help hide any short boards. Reinstall your light fixture and you’re ready to go.
Open-Air Refectory by Istvan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
20. Kids Bookshelves
Sometimes, it’s not possible to fit an entire bookcase in your kid’s room, especially if storage space is at a premium. For this pallet project, you’re going to use the closed ends of the pallets to create floating bookshelves that you can attach straight to the wall. To start, you’ll cut the pallets down to size, leaving the closed end for the bottom and between five and six inches on the sides.
This will create a box to hold the books. Stain or paint the pallet pieces to make them more durable and ensure they last longer. To end this pallet project, attach the stained pallet pieces to the wall. You can now slide the books in, and the rail at the bottom will hold them in place. Make sure you use heavy-duty nails and find the studs if you use this method for larger and heavier books.
Diy pallet bookshelf with three levels by Possum1500 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
These 20 pallet projects can help you kill a few hours on a weekend while creating a functional space somewhere in your home, yard, or garden. You can try one or try a few and see how well they can improve your space’s function and add unique touches to your home.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.