Wood crates and shipping pallets are often free for the asking. See how a little elbow grease and ingenuity can turn these raw materials into fab accents for your garden or outdoor room.
Create a 3-D work of art with pallets and leftover paint. Build several crates sized to fit your concept with these simple instructions.
Cut 2×2-inch pieces of wood to serve as corner braces for your crate. (If you’re game, cut them again at a 45-degree angle to finish off the box interior.)
Cut multiple planks from the pallets; how many and the length of each depends on the size you want to make the box. (The same goes for the length of the corner braces.) Nail the planks to the 2×2-inch corner braces to make the box’s four sides.
Cut more planks or a piece of plywood to fit the bottom of the assembled box. Attach with small screws.
Coat each box—inside and out—with latex paint. If you’ve got lots of paint leftover from past projects, this is a great way to make use of it. Not a lot of each color is needed to thoroughly cover the crate.
Cut a piece of kraft paper the same size as each box. Arrange the paper rectangles on the privacy fence per your vision. Starting at the top, remove a piece of paper and attach the corresponding box with 2-inch-long wood screws. Repeat until the design is complete.
Relax and put your feet up on a colorful footstool you’ve made from upholstery fabric and discarded pallets. See the instructions above to build the box. Then make an upholstered lid following our steps here. Use another crate as a side table next to your chair.
Why buy a potting soil bin when you can just make one? Ideal for the potting bench or shed, this vintage version is an old beverage crate lined with a plastic trash bag. The handy cutouts on the sides make it easy to lift to the bench or table top when potting up several plant containers.
Hunt for old wooden boxes with large colorful labels at country green markets, city flea markets or even eBay to score the perfect pick for your needs. Use them as tool caddies or plant containers (it’s always a good idea to line them with perforated plastic to prolong the life of the wood).
If you find a pallet with snug planks in good shape, put your artistic talents to use and create a work of art or a distressed vintage-style sign. Lightly sand the pallet—leaving enough roughness to create character. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Raw wood really soaks up the paint so apply a primer first, then sketch on your design or apply a stencil. Skip the primer if you like the rougher texture. Paint with latex or craft paints. Sand again after the paint dries for extra patina. Apply a sealer when it’s dry to protect your masterpiece.
This rustic light fixture is simply a pallet hung upside down from chains. Start this project by coating the pallet with a dark stain. (If the wood is rough, lightly sand it before staining.)
Once the stain dries, screw small cup hooks into the boards of what would normally be the top of the pallet. These hooks will support the Mason jars from metal jar hangers available at crafts stores or on amazon.com.
Attach large eyehooks to the corners of what would normally be the bottom of the pallet. Attach matching lengths of sturdy chain to each of the eyehooks. Gather all four chains with a large keyring, which then hangs from a hook in the pergola or porch ceiling.
Stabilize the votives by pouring two to three inches of sand into the mason jars before inserting the candles. Light the candles in the jars before dangling the wire jar hangers from the small cup hooks. Do not add caps to the jars.
Whether painted, stained, or used as is, the wood you glean from pallets makes a strong, low-cost material for your repurposed designs. Tell us about your salvaged wood projects in the comments below or show us on our Facebook page..
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