In the era of creativity, makers are everywhere. From 3D printers to CNC routers to the recent hit, the raspberry pi computer board, technology is being used as tools to improve, create, and innovate.
Along the artistic spectrum, artists are commonly featured when they create novel objects from disparate parts and pieces. For instance, one artist has become popular by taking the common Lego and making furniture and sculptures. In terms of furniture, a recent trend is to recycle wood pallets to make a variety of furniture and accessory items.
Here we will show you various examples of how you can furnish your home with enough pallets and some creativity.
Two easy examples
Wooden pallets often look ugly and rough. However, to the woodworker or innovative DIYer, they are perfectly prepared sections.
1. Coffee table – rustic
A rustic look relies on plank selection and sanding. First, select wood that is the most weather worn. For a rustic look, the importance of weathered wood is obvious, but the weathered look will also cause individual planks to appear different when butted together.
When sanding, you should sand only the rough edges off the pallet planks. Once sanded, you can apply polyurethane. With the polyurethane applied, you can then sand, buff, and apply more polyurethane until you get the sheen you want.
The trick for a rustic appearance is to ensure you do not sand the planks smooth because rough wood maintains a rough look. If, however, you sand too deeply, you will eventually reveal rich, lush, untarnished wood, which will make the table appear new.
2. Coffee table – modern and elegant
For a modern look, when you try to furnish home with pallets, you might not think a modern coffee table is an appropriate project, but if you select wood that is less weathered and more uniform in grain, color, and texture, the end result can be amazing.
When you sand, sand until you reach untarnished wood. The importance in proper plank selection for a modern look is critical because only by selecting planks uniform in color, grain, and texture will the final product look like it is made of uniform wood. Too many disparate planks gives the final piece a more rustic look. Of course, you can alternate between light and dark planks for a stripped appearance.
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Environmental friendly versions
The theme in these examples is that they all represent an environmentally friendly approach to furniture making. Of course, a pallet lying in an alley is going to look like garbage, and your first instinct might not be to top it with flowers and display it in your living room. Even a pallet lying on the floor of your local home store will not be in the best condition.
However, if the aforementioned examples illustrate one thing, it is this: wood is wood. Raw material is just that: raw material. It is already cut and squared and ready to use. You might think that, of course, an innovative DIYer can transform anything into art or some attractive piece of furniture. However, you can accomplish the same thing, and in doing so, you will be recycling perfectly usable wood and helping to maintain the shape and growth of our global forests.
The cost of a pallet is low, considering it involves up to 16 or 18 planks (depending on how many are usable). Additionally, the wood is often pine and riddled with knots. This type of wood is called knotty pine, and when it is shaped into a cabinet, for instance, it sells at a premium over traditional plain pine.
Not convinced yet?
Once you have selected the general appearance you require, you can simply decide on which type of furniture or accessory you desire. For instance, pallet planks are very similar to project planks or face planks, so they can serve as source material for just about any project. If you’re not convinced yet, we show you more ideas to furnish your home with pallets.
Standing bookshelves are primary pieces of furniture. As such, you will need to glue planks in overlapping fashion to construct one thick layer. When the layer is created, you can cut this newly fashioned unit to size, using it for a side, door, or shelf.
Shelves are, perhaps, the easiest projects to make out of recycled pallets. You only need one layer of planks, and L-supports secure easily to individual planks. For shelves, uniform plank selection is important if the shelves are going to be nearby one another. If they are going to be across the room or in separate rooms, planks of different grains or shades will not matter much.
For storage shelves, you can often stack and secure entire pallets or half-pallets for use as garage or pantry shelves. The best way to secure them together is to intersperse the pallets with 4×4 blocks cut to the desired height.
For a nightstand measuring approximately 24 to 30 inches in height and approximately 18 to 24 inches in width and depth, you will need between 25 and 40 pallet planks. An over abundance of planks ensures you have plenty from which to choose. In total, you might need three pallets. You can choose to leave the pallets in rough condition. However, if you sand the wood, the nightstand will be virtually indistinguishable from one bought at a fine furniture outlet.
6. Coffee tables
As centerpieces of the living room, pallet coffee tables might require two layers of planks for the top, depending on their thickness. This is because pallet planks can be very thin after sanding, so two layers will provide the durability you will require. Depending on your needs, the sides should also be two layers. If the table will have a shelf, it can be comprised of one layer connected via dowels.
For curved coffee tables, it is best to cut long facing curves with the grain, so the final edge is comprised of one long-board edge. When you apply clear finish, the edge will look more professional. On a curve, if you cut against the grain, the individual planks will show in the edge.
Of course, you might think pallets can be used for functional home furnishings, but they could never be used for artwork or decoration. In this assumption you would be surprised to discover that with both worn and wooden pallets, you can achieve remarkable results in the form of vases, book ends, or even wall plaques.
Shapes: square or curved
Vases can be constructed with the walls at 90-degree angles, giving the final project the appearance of a box, but they can also be stacked and glued then turned on a lathe. In this instance, the final piece will be sculpted and curved -a pretty amazing thing, considering the initial source material consisted of recycled pallets.
Of course, if you do not have a lathe, the center can be hollowed out with the combination of a router and long-tipped drill. If you do not mind a seam, you can cut the center out with band saw then glue the sides back together.
8. More ideas to furnish your home with pallets
These are just the easy ideas when you want to furnish home with pallets. For instance, other projects include the following.
- chopping boards
- lazy Susans
- monitor stand
- flower pot
Note: when it comes to artwork, over-sized art pieces such as this amazing troll can be achieved by stacking and layering.
However, you can also use pallets and cover them with cloth or epoxy. Finally, you can cut them at odd angles and sand until smooth. The final product will not look at all like a pallet.