Use basic tools and construction knowledge to discover new uses for old pallets. These simple DIY pallet projects are no-frills and downright beautiful.
While wooden pallets are free and readily available, upcycling them for home and garden projects comes at a price. The process of breaking down a 40-by-48-inch pallet (the most common size in the United States) into usable wood is time-consuming and requires strength, a high threshold for frustration, and sometimes pain.
If you appreciate the idea of an inexpensive pallet project but want to avoid smashed and gashed fingers, we’ve got some simple DIY ideas for you. These no-saw or low-saw pallet project plans are doable by anyone with a few hand tools and minimal building skills. After a few hours of enjoyable labor, you can have a useful fixture for your home or garden that you’ve built yourself from recycled materials.
When you’re on the hunt, look for wood that’s dry, straight, and in solid condition. Make sure to use pallets stamped “HT,” which means they’ve been treated with heat rather than with chemicals. Some pallets have forklift openings on all four sides, while others are only open on two sides — so consider which type will be best for your project. For more advice on selecting pallets and pallet plans, see Pallet Project Ideas.
The Merrythought Pallet Swing Bed
Tools and materials: tape measure, mattress, 2-by-4 lumber, saw, drill, screws, rope.
A single pallet and some rope are all you’ll need to craft a simple swing. But, Manda of The Merrythought blog had a more substantial project in mind when she created this bed-sized swing using a pair of pallets. Manda began by measuring the twin-sized mattress that she wanted to use as a topper. The mattress’s dimensions determined how many pallets the project required. Because two pallets end-to-end were too short for the mattress, Manda extended the space between them by screwing 2-by-4 rails to the pallets’ bottoms, and then added an additional slat to fill the gap. If you have solid sewing skills, you can forgo the 2-by-4 extension and instead stitch a cushion to fit two pallets bolted together at their sides. If you hang your swing bed from a tree branch, be sure to inspect the tree’s health and research some quality load-bearing knots. Otherwise, you can hang your pallet swing from a metal support structure with a chain. Read more about this pallet project at the Merrythought blog.
Siff’s Pallet Fence with Gate
Tools and materials: drill, bolts or screws, wooden posts or metal pipe, hinges, gate latch.
To craft an inexpensive fence, you can stand a line of pallets on end and join their sides together with bolts. Siff Skovenborg’s handy DIY project bridges the area between two outbuildings without requiring a big investment. To secure her fence to the buildings, Skovenborg first bolted boards to the wall studs. Next, she stabilized the upright pallets with 4-by-4 posts driven 24 to 36 inches into the ground. For added stability, you could seat the posts in concrete. Skovenborg then fastened strong hinges and a latch to one of the pallets to create a gate. To prevent small animals from crawling between the slats, she added welded wire fencing to the rear of the pallets. You could enclose an entire garden plot or a small field with pallets by placing a post at each corner and at regular intervals along the sides.