Upcycling 101: Upcycling a pallet

Sean Armstrong
Photography Editor

Today I’ll be discussing a very popular upcycling item: the pallet. In case you don’t know, pallets are the square wooden things that businesses put product on during shipment.

The neat thing about pallets is that they are very easily transformed into different, useful things. A quick visit to my favorite site for upcycling ideas, Upcyclethat.com, will reveal hundreds of different projects that involve pallets. And most of them are fairly easy. From tables and chairs to planters and shelves. There is even a project that uses old pallet wood to refinish an old wall in a house.

I have recently completed a sign project with some old pallets. It only took a few hours, and I only needed a few things: 2 pallets in rough shape, some small nails, one 6’ 1×1 piece of wood, a hammer, a saw, some paint, and a spray can of outdoor polyurethane.

First, just rip the pallets apart. Be careful though, because the pallets are held together with nails which are usually rusty (and nobody wants Tetanus). Also, try and keep the boards in whole pieces so that the sign is easier to put together later on.

Second, cut the 6’ 1×1 in half and line them up about 1’ apart. Then take the wood from the pallet and place them across the two pieces of 1×1. Personally, I wanted a more rustic look for my sign, so I placed them kind of offset and used the rougher looking pieces of wood.

Third, use the hammer and small nails to attach the pallet wood to the 1x1s underneath. I recommend using two nails on each side of the pallet pieces so that they are attached firmly, and so that the small nails aren’t too noticeable.

Finally, use the paint to put whatever kind of design you want on your new sign. After it is all dry, spray on two coats of the polyurethane. After that dries, you’re all done! Make sure you hang the sign somewhere where everyone can marvel at your pallet upcycling masterpiece.

Attached is a photo of my pallet sign, which I made for my “Hookah Lounge” I have in my basement. Thanks for reading, and as always, don’t trash it, upcycle it.