Never underestimate the decorative power of a pallet. These sturdy wooden platforms can go from the shipping yard to your living room or backyard with a little creative know-how. The next time you see a stack of forgotten pallets sitting behind the hardware store, ask if you can load some up and take them home. Most stores will appreciate the favor, and you'll be on your way to creating something from nothing.
Pen For Animals
Make an outdoor play area or pen for animals including dogs, goats chickens or pigs. Find plans and building instructions online or in hobby farming publications. Use L-brackets and long wood screws for connecting pallets and dig an eight to ten-inch trench to keep pallet walls from wobbling. For additional re-enforcement, use rebar rods to stabilize pallets. Push 36-inch rebar rods into the trenches, slide pallets over the rods, then back-fill with soil and tamp.
Build a yard or garden fence with pallet appeal. Connect pallets with decorative wrought iron brackets, and set a wobble-free foundation for a pallet fence with an eight-inch trench and fixed posts set nine to 12 inches into the ground. Affix pallets to posts with wood screws, and back-fill trenches with dirt. Plan to set pallets on their sides into the trench. Pre-shape the top sides with a rotary saw to expose individual slats for decorative picket-fence appeal. Paint the fence white or leave it natural for a more rugged appearance.
Combine rustic and contemporary themes with a glass-top desk made from pallets. Stack pallets into simple structures such as a pyramid, box or rectangular shape. Affix rubber bumpers to pallet corners and set a thick beveled glass top on the structure for a sturdy and architecturally creative desk. Create a side table from a single dismantled pallet. Remove slats from one side of a pallet and saw off frame pieces to use as table legs. Reserve slats. Set the remaining side of the pallet on top of the legs and attach with wood crews. Fill in open slat spaces with reserved slats and sand the entire piece for a smooth finish. Stain or paint for a polished appearance.
Create a work of art with painted pallets. Paint stars and stripes on a pallet for a patriotic statement or dismantle a pallet and use one side as a frame for posters or a collage of photos. Make a bulletin board with a single-sided pallet. Remove frame wood for a light-weight board and hang the pallet on a wall with slats exposed as the base for thumb tacks. Add a strip of metal for magnets, or look for chalkboard backing at craft or hobby stores and glue it to the pallet for classroom appeal. Make a holiday decoration with a pallet as a base for mini lights. For example, hammer small nails into a pallet to outline the shape of a Christmas tree or snowman. String outdoor mini-lights around the nails and plug them in. Use extension cords as needed and lean pallets against trees for an evening display in your yard.