Introduction: Make Your Own Pallet!

So you want to make that crafty pallet project that you saw on Pinterest, but you just don't have access to any pallets.

What's a person to do?

Make your own!

Follow these easy steps to make your own homemade pallet, and you'll be ready to make your own pallet-based projects in no time!

Step 1: Materials

Pallets come in all shapes and sizes.

This is a very simple design for a 32-inch square pallet that is five inches tall.

This only requires three standard 8-foot framing studs ("2x4s") and a box of 2-inch nails.

You will need a hammer, a saw suitable for cutting 2x4s (hand saw, circular saw, miter saw, etc.), and ideally, a band saw (for ripping boards in half across the width to make the slats).

Step 2: Initial Cuts

Begin by cutting each of your three 2x4s into three equal pieces (each should be just a bit less than 32 inches long).

Step 3: Create Slats

To make the slats, we need to cut six of the boards in half across the width.

I first marked a line down the middle of one edge on each board indicating where to cut, and then cut these in half on a band saw.

Step 4: Attach Bottom Slats

The three remaining boards will become the middle support pieces which are called "stringers."

Fasten three slats to the stringers as shown to create the bottom of the pallet. Use two nails through each location as shown in the photos.

Step 5: Attach Top Slats

The top slats are fastened in the same manner as the bottom ones.

However, you have some aesthetic options here.

You can use all of the remaining nine slats for a "full deck" pallet . . . or eight, seven or six, depending on what you think looks more "pallet-ish."

I was going for the "classic pallet" look, so I went with seven evenly-spaced top slats. (The remaining two slats were not needed to make the pallet, so they were thrown away.)

Use nails to fasten the top slats in place, and you're done!

Step 6: All Done!

That's it.

Pretty easy right?

Now stand back and admire your homemade pallet!

Optional step: For a more complete pallet look, you may want to weather it a little. Toss your pallet around, slide it in and out of a truck bed over and over, or even leave it out in adverse weather for a while. This will all increase the character and true-to-life-ishness of your homemade pallet.

Step 7: Disassemble

When you are ready to harvest the material from your pallet, get out a hammer and a crowbar.

One of the major benefits of making your own pallet is that they are much easier to take apart than their commercial counterparts. Simply pry off the slats and remove the nails.

Occasionally a board may split in the process. But that's all part of the challenge when working with pallets, and is to be expected.

Step 8: Now Make Something Awesome!

Congratulations,

You now have a pile of pallet wood that you can use to make some crafty thing!

Comments

author
69fordf100 (author)2015-02-03

I was actually looking at Home Depots unbuilt pallets last night. Thought great way to get super fresh unweathered pallet

author
danzo321 (author)69fordf1002015-02-08

Did not know they carried that!

author
crosenbaum (author)2015-02-04

My wife has grown tired of our pallet coffee table. I might harvest the lumber and give this a shot!

author
andrea biffi (author)2015-02-04

I think I'll disassemble a pallet to make my own pallet ;-)

author
corybschneider (author)2015-02-04

I loled

author
dr_peru (author)2015-02-04

LOL!

Some suggestions for more great projects:

1:

Buy a really expensive piece of "shabby chic" furniture (you know, the new furniture, that has some paint sanded off again to make it look "vintage"), than neatly paint it to make it look new again.

2:

Buy "worn" jeans, patch them up and redye them to look new again (I name those "unworn™")

author
seamster (author)dr_peru2015-02-04

Ah, yes! Great ideas!

author
Tecwyn Twmffat (author)2015-02-03

The perpetual pallet project!

author
sethpiro (author)2015-02-03

It's nice to see we've come full circle!

author
rgallimore (author)2015-02-03

very nice instructable. I followed your design exactly. I couldn't afford to by new wood though so I used some old pallets that I found on the curb. I think I managed with that okay

author
seamster (author)rgallimore2015-02-03

Oh, that's a great idea; very clever of you! :)

author
depotdevoid (author)2015-02-03

Ha ha, sweet instructable!

author
jwl41085 (author)2015-02-03

Man this is great!

author
normy (author)2015-02-03

Bravo!

author
monkeyracing (author)2015-02-03

This is one of the best bits of trolling, EVER! Awesome!

author
JörgenBörg (author)2016-12-23

lol, reversed world in diy :-)

author
pkr316 (author)2016-02-24

OK great ible... greater troll. AND Home Depot carries "ready to make pallets"???? LOL When they have a pile out back? The irony... BUT I get the "new wood" for pallet projects. the person who first looked at a pallet & said "hmmm free wood.. what can I not make?" is a master genius and probably gets no credit.. or is a hillbilly with no internet who has no clue about this trend! It is a toss up! Thanks for the few minutes of great entertainment!

author
AndrewD39 (author)2015-10-08

Can someone show me how to break apart a table or chair to make into a pallet?

author
Bill Rose (author)2015-08-05

Would this idea work with some oak wardrobes I have in the spare bedroom, I could dismantle them and re-size the wood. Then I could use the pallet for another project I have been thinking about for some time. I timber Xmas tree for the porch..! Hmmm!

author
seamster (author)Bill Rose2015-08-05

Now that is a brilliant idea!

I've been on the lookout for an antique piece of furniture to use to make some pallets for a while. So jealous that you've got those wardrobes. You could really make something nice out of them! :)

author
buck2217 (author)2015-07-01

But why?? :-)

author
seamster (author)buck22172015-07-01

I wrote this for anyone that feels the need to be hip and trendy, but doesn't have access to pallets. They're all the rage these days! :)

author
buck2217 (author)seamster2015-07-01

I get that but at the moment there seem to be pallets EVERYWHERE!! are you making them and dumping them!!

author
agulesin (author)2015-03-10

You could try making thousands of them and selling them to truckers etc. Donk! ;-)

author
GeoffreyM2 (author)2015-02-15

You guys are far too cheap!: Ebony, teak, redwood, and ironwood! Bubinga wood! Big leaf "mahogany." Or, that composite material available now for decking. Carbon fiber, Paper mache? Aircraft quality aluminum, Titanium? Pumice, anyone? The strongest, by far, would incorporate broken, old, and moldy MDF, bamboo, luan, or wicker from dumpsters! Cobwebs!

author
SophiesFoodieFiles (author)2015-02-15

Waw, this is so cool! :)

author
Kevanf1 (author)2015-02-09

Oh, I know this was a little tongue in cheek Instructable but if I may just add some genuine usefulness. Try drilling a hole that is a bit thinner in diameter than the nails you are using. It helps to stop the wood splitting and actually means that your nails will hold faster.

author
seamster (author)Kevanf12015-02-09

Hey good tip, thank you for that!

author
Kevanf1 (author)2015-02-09

Ah, you need to use ring nails for that truly authentic, difficult to get apart feeling from the wood. They have 'rings' all the way along the shank that grips the wood. That's why transport pallets are so hard to dismantle :)

author
thassaj (author)2015-02-08

How about an instructable the explains to make a pallet out of a dining room table - a little tricky working with oak I bet, but think what a strong and high quality pallet that would make!

author
seamster (author)thassaj2015-02-09

Ah, that's an excellent idea. I wish I'd have thought of that!

author
masterbuilder (author)2015-02-08

Even better--take apart a rustic coffee table or shelf, and turn that into a pallet!

author
blizatrex (author)2015-02-08

Is there an april fools contest coming soon?

author
trimbandit (author)2015-02-08

So meta. I love it

author
Josh Campbell (author)2015-02-08

I have to be honest I chuckled at this for a second. But wait, there are a lot of cool pallet projects and wouldn't it be cool for some of the outdoor ones to be made with treated lumber, why yes it would! Great write up with beautiful results (as far as pallets go lol).

author
raevans55 (author)2015-02-06

So if I understand this Instructable correctly, we're being shown how to construct a pallet so that we can then rip it apart for the raw materials to make a wooden something.

author
seamster (author)raevans552015-02-06

This is intended for people that may not have access to free pallets, but still want to make stuff from pallets. (Sometimes we gotta be burdened with a bit of inconvenience if we want to be hip.)

author
raevans55 (author)seamster2015-02-06

So why not prepare the wood as if you were going to construct the pallet, drill the appropriate holes, leave it outside for a while to 'weather', then build your whatever.
All that nailing together then pulling the thing apart just seems like so much wasted effort

author
jrakerose (author)raevans552015-02-08

You're really not understanding the point of this instructable, are you? It's just all in good fun.

author
jdenslinger (author)2015-02-08

First, Awesome idea! It never occurred to me to build a pallet for use in projects! This is a great way to make sure the project gets a good study pallet, AND Best of all, it's completely customizable in dimensions and materials! This nstantly got my brain rolling though, and came up with some ideas to add-to. (it's what I do, I'm like the BASF of braining) :D

For something a bit easier, 5x 8' fence boards (or 1x4, with or without rounded edges for something a bit more sturdy) cut in half; and 1x 10' or 12' 2x4 cut in equal thirds. To make it more "realistic" looking, using 1x 1"x6"x8' board for the
lead boards would give the variable width boards most pallets come
with.

2.5" Deck screws might offer longevity as well, and with a nice counter-sink would be better on the feet if the pallet is used for walking on (such as with a camp showers, tent porches, and ditch bridges)

This also opens up to using woods that don't normally come in 2x4 sizes, like walnut, maple and oak where the lead board, chamfers and bottom boards can be the better quality wood and the stringers can be pressure treated 2x4s to save a bit of money, if they won't be seen / noticeable.

http://rrmgtonline.com/art/blockpalletdiagram.gif

author
danzo321 (author)2015-02-08

It says Be nice, so.. You're crazy, but .. in a good way. Look, anybody 10% less crazy would use one-by-fours for the thinner boards. And then you neglect to use your bandsaw to cut the distinctive notches that forklift drivers like. Big reason to use pallet wood is, it's almost always oak, which is a lot stronger than pine-spruce-hemlock.

author
jmacdonald13 (author)2015-02-08

:-) There's a guy who walks past our house every day right to left with a sack barrow then half n hour later comes back left to right with a pallet or two. I'll show him this next time I see him. It'll save miles in walking. :-) Thanks for sharing. :-D

author
royhandy (author)2015-02-08

Best instructable ever? Probably not!

I'm off to Lowes to buy some cedar to make my new pallet, though.

author
MikB (author)2015-02-07

I was thinking of marking this 'ible as "Inappropriate", because every other pallet instructable is about disassembling pallets. Not making them. Nobody makes pallets round here. But you saved it right at the end, so I'll let it slide :) Nice one!

author
mvieke (author)2015-02-06

Awesome! Troll level=1000

author
jeffman5377 (author)2015-02-05

Am i missing something here??? Lol

author
erosnala (author)2015-02-04

What for theres millions out there!!! Nice job though.

author
Tecwyn Twmffat (author)2015-02-03

Use the disassembled pallet to make ........ another pallet! I'm really digging this!

ghost in the bag.WAV
author
seamster (author)Tecwyn Twmffat2015-02-03

Hey, now this is a brilliant idea! I'll need a fresh box of nails, though.

author
Tecwyn Twmffat (author)seamster2015-02-03

No, you should straighten the nails out on an anvil.

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Bio: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is ... More »
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