Reclaimed Pallet Wall

So this has been a long post in the making. I am not quite sure why it has taken me so long to post this one, especially since it has been one of the more talked about projects I’ve done in a while. Unfortunately, I built this wall before starting my blog so I don’t have great step by step photos, so I’ll do my best to explain.

It all started a year ago, last February, when I said to Paul, “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s hang a bunch of old pallets on the wall!” Trust me, he stared at me like a deer in headlights. But as usual, we discuss it and he let’s me do whatever I want. Boy, that’s trust I’ll tell ya! So it was a go, we’d create a feature pallet wall in Paul’s music studio.

I’ve seen quite a few blogs out there that used pallets for various re-purposing projects, including walls. I don’t know why it is exactly, but I love giving life to old worn out things that most people would consider trash, and making them things that people marvel over. I love all those “re” words like re-use, re-purpose, re-store, re-claim.

To get started, the first thing obviously you need to do is begin a journey to find these old beauties. The older and more weathered the better.

Important tip #1: Not all pallets are created equal.

It is very important to get wood that is safe and not loaded with pesticides and other gobbely-goop. Depending on what the pallets were used for, like plants etc., they may be chemically treated. To be safe, only use pallets that have an HT stamped on them. This means they were heat treated and no pesticides or chemicals were used.

Once you start looking for pallets, you’ll amazingly see them everywhere. We found a few abandoned here and there, but it was taking us a while to compile the amount we needed. Then one day we happened to drive by a pallet company, so Paul stopped in and asked them if they ever get rid of old pallets. It was like the mother-load in there. The answer was YES they do, and the even better part was they were already broken apart which is the hardest part of the job. The icing on the cake was they sold us the boards at 50 cents a piece. Cha-ching!!!

We finally figured we had enough pallets to finish the wall. Some of them were already separated into individual boards and the others were still intact. Initially, I would have loved to not pay for any pallet boards, but let me just say, breaking them apart is a pain in the A to the double S! You really have to have a reciprocating saw, or you will practically kill yourself and the boards trying to pry them apart.

Use the saw to cut through the nails where the two boards are connected. That way you end up with those beautiful nail heads still in the wood. Once they are all detached, separate out the useable wood from the old trashy wood. Use a wire brush to scrape any loose debris, then use a light sandpaper to take down any obvious splinters and rough spots. Do not sand too much though, as you will remove a lot of the wonderful patina that has aged on there.

After the wood is prepped, sort it by size. I swear one pallet can have up to 5 or 6 different widths. This step is important because as you plan your layout for placement on the wall, you will use the same width per row and you need to make sure you have enough to go across the entire wall.

Important tip #2: Bring the boards in the house and let them dry out for at least one week.

 

I know you’ll be anxious to get this party started, but trust me on this one. After those boards get acclimated to the house temperature and dry out, it is possible they can warp a little. Not good if they are already on the wall. Lay them out flat so they have a good chance of staying straight then let them be. You’ll thank me for this later. In the meantime, you’ll need to paint your wall. Pallet boards do not line up perfectly so you will see through them here and there to the wall behind. Paint your wall a dark color that compliments the board colors. We chose a dark khaki color. Trust me again, don’t skip this part.

When the big day arrives and your ready to go, start shopping through your boards. Paul and I picked out our favorites and made sure they were placed on the wall where we could see them well.  We started in one upper corner and used a level to make sure the board was straight. All the other boards will follow that first one. We applied a small strip of liquid nails on the back, which actually helped keep the boards on the wall, then used dark colored drywall screws to secure in place.

Now just keep going across the row making sure you use all the same width boards. Obviously when you get to the end, you’ll cut your last piece to fit.

Keep repeating this over and over and over and…. you get the idea. Don’t be afraid of funky pieces with cracks and knot holes, it adds character. Remember to get creative. Stagger the seams and vary the colors.

Important Step #3: Wear Gloves. I think the splinter possibilities speak for themselves.

 

 

When you get to an outlet or light switch, don’t panic. What you’ll need to do is use an electrical extension ring like the these ones here. This will make the outlet stick out so you can make the outlet plate flush with the boards. As you can see the hubster is a great handy man!

As we got closer to the bottom of our wall, we decided that we didn’t think the white baseboard would look good at the bottom, and decided it had to go bye-bye. We ripped it out and placed our boards all the way to to the floor. When you get to the last row, you will have to not only make cuts in the length of the board but also the width so they will fit in exactly to the floor.

 

Well, there you have it my friends. I never thought hanging trash on my wall could look so beautiful. We cleaned up and put the drums back in the room and it looks mauh-ve-lous! We get so many compliments on it because of it’s uniqueness. Either that or people are just being nice. Ha! I’d like to believe it’s because they have never seen anything like it before.

 What “re” project have you done lately?

 

 

 

 

 

 


34 Responses to Reclaimed Pallet Wall

  1. Pingback: D.I.Y. Pallet Headboard | Oodalollie

  2. Haily says:

    This is such a beautiful idea! We are definitely going to do this as our next home project in our bedroom. My wall looks somewhat of the same size as ours, so I was wondering about how many pallets you needed to use to cover the entire wall?

    • oodalollie says:

      We ended up using quite a few pallets, probably 30 or so, plus we got some pallet boards already separated from a pallet company. We found that the boards on the pallets were all different widths. We made piles of boards divided by width until we had enough length to go across the room. We found that we liked the design aesthetic better by lining up the boards this way. You have to also allow for boards that can’t be used because they are cracked and warped which ended up being a lot. My wall is 20 feet wide and we ended up using close to 100 boards of varying length. Hope the info helps. Good luck with your wall, message me if you have any other questions I can hep with.
      Kelly

  3. Mel says:

    My husband and I are in the process of doing this in our home… Did you use any type of stain or clear coat over the top?

    • oodalollie says:

      Hi!

      No we just left the wood raw. If you prefer a clear coat though, you can use a matte finish and it wouldn’t change the look of the wood much. It’s your preference but not necessary.
      Good luck with your project! Let me know if you have any more questions.
      Kelly

  4. Dana Dooley says:

    This look beautiful! Just wondering if it helps with the sound absorption in the room ? Thank you for posting this.

    • oodalollie says:

      Hi Dana,

      Thanks for your question. Yes, it does help with sound absorption. As you can see from the post my husband is a drummer and so he makes a LOT of noise. 🙂 We did find that although it did not drown out too much sound emanating from the room, it did help from an acoustic stand point of sound waves bouncing throughout the room. Our music room used to be our garage which was converted. The wall that divides the room from the rest of the house has all closet doors running the length of the room. The closet doors are bi-fold doors and we re-did the doors by removing the slats and replacing it with really pretty upholstered soundproofing panels that we made ourselves. That helped quite a bit with sound too. If you’d like any more information about that or photos, I’d be happy to share.

      Best of luck,

      Kelly

  5. Larry says:

    How many nails or screws did you use per board? Wondering about warpage. How are the boards holding up? Thanks

  6. Larry says:

    How many nails or screws did you use per board? One on each end or two? Looks great

    • oodalollie says:

      Hi Larry!

      We kept the boards stacked and in the house for quite a while before using them so they could acclimate to the air conditioning. We had one slightly warp but with no issues pulling away from the wall. We used a fair amount of screws where ever we felt we needed them on the board. No real rhyme or reason to it, but it looks good since we also kept the nail heads on the pallet board too. The wall has held up exceptionally well and looks just as it did on day one!

  7. Mckenzie says:

    What is the wall color I absolutely LOVE IT! I love the wood pallet wall too!

    • oodalollie says:

      Hi McKenzie,

      So sorry I missed your comment! Thank you – we love the pallet wall too. The color we used for paint was Behr Mocha Accent. It is a really pretty green.

      Kelly

  8. Doug says:

    As additional suggestions; painting the back wall a flat black or very dark grey helps hide the wall when the board joints do not hold tight. Also, I run the boards through a table saw to straighten the sides for a much tighter fit. The biggest reason I seal the wood (all for sides prior to installing) is that it helps maintain the moisture level in the wood for expansion or contraction. This is one of the best jobs I have seen posted yet! Well done!

    • oodalollie says:

      Thanks Doug!

      Great suggestions. We realized we did not paint the back wall dark enough, but the room we have it in is a converted garage and has no windows so it makes it very difficult to see through the boards.
      Thanks for your comments :), I appreciate the feedback.
      Kelly

  9. Alyssa says:

    how could you do this on a cynder block wall in a basement?
    Thanks!

    • oodalollie says:

      Hi Alyssa,

      I am sure anything is possible, however it would take quite a bit of effort to drill through the cinder blocks. I am not sure you would want to go through all of that. You would need special tools to drill through the wall. If you decide to tackle this, I would consult a contractor since it would not be your typical DIY job.

      Best of luck,

      Kelly

      Kelly

  10. Mindy says:

    Just curious, as we have an exterminator come on a quarterly basis, is there any need to have these boards treated every so often ad those who live in a log cabin? …even tho the boards aren’t exposed to the outside I was still curious. Thx! 🙂

    • oodalollie says:

      Hi Mindy,
      Sorry for the delay in my response, my daughter got married and I was a little busy to say the least. 🙂
      We do nothing to our boards and have never had a problem with bugs. If you use an exterminator for general purposed that is sufficient.

      Enjoy!

      Kelly

  11. Shell Hernandez says:

    I love love that pallet wall. I want to do that to my bedroom. Thank you and keep up the good job.

  12. Shell says:

    What tools did you use for this project. I don’t have alot of tools but I want to make sure I get what I need before starting this project, I don’t want any delays cause I don’t have the right tools. Thank you.

  13. Sam says:

    Very unique! I love it so much!

    I’m curious, did you make sure to hit the studs behind the Sheetrock or did you just screw into Sheetrock with nothing behind it, with no issues of any boards sagging or falling off? Just want to cover everything before I get started.

    Thank you,
    Sam

    • oodalollie says:

      Hi Sam,

      We had a unique issue in that the wall we were screwing the boards into has metal studs which were much harder to attach to. We used a little liquid nails behind the boards for extra support. I would suggest though that you mark the studs and try to hit them if you can. If you let the wood acclimate to your room as suggested, the boards should not warp afterwards.

      Happy building!

      Kelly

  14. Rob Marquardt says:

    I am going to put up a wall next week and have two questions. If I use liquid nails, will the sheet rock be ruined beyond repair if the wall is ever redone? What size sheet rock screws did you use?

    Nice Job!
    Rob

    • oodalollie says:

      Hi Rob,

      The liquid nails will definitely tear up your sheetrock. On the particular wall we did this on, it was not an issue. There are a couple of options you can do if you don’t want to use the liquid nails. You can either just screw the boards into the studs, or you can attach furring strips to the wall, then apply the boards attaching them to the furring strips. The screws we used were 2 1/4″.

      Best of luck with your wall!

      Kelly

      • Melissa says:

        I used this post as inspiration for a pallet wall we did in my son’s nursery– we were worried as well about destroying the wall underneath. We used the furring strips and it worked great! We were still able to make the pattern random, but everything was secured on those strip!

  15. Pingback: pondering the basement bar | buffalo check and bourbon

  16. Ashley says:

    How did you accommodate for the wall plugs did you taper the wood down? Or did you extend your boxes out from the wall?

  17. Pingback: Second Stage Decorating Ideas – howdoyoulikethemnaples

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