Introduction: Pallet Accent Wall

Picture of Pallet Accent Wall

I built this wall to add some warmth and character to a wall in my bedroom. It was fashioned out of pallets that I picked up at a local business that I buy my tools from. It was fairly simple to do, but be prepared as it is rather time consuming to take pallets apart without destroying the boards in the process.

Step 1: Find and Dismantle Pallets

This was actually the most difficult part of this project since I needed quite a few pallets to complete it. I found out that a local place that I buy a lot of tools from had a pile of them in their yard so I grabbed my trailer and brought them home. Obviously the amount you need will depend upon how big your wall is. Mine is about 8'x12' and I needed about 40 pallets.

Dismantling them is quite a labor intensive project. You can look all over the internet and find suggestions on how to do this. I found that a prybar and and hammer... with an occasional need for my reciprocating saw worked the best. It may not have been the fastest, but it was the most effective at removing the timber without breaking it.

Step 2: Straighten and Square Your Boards

Picture of Straighten and Square Your Boards

Once you have your pallets dismantled, it's time to begin straightening them. You're going to want the boards in each row to be the same height. Keep in mind you don't need the each row on the wall to be the same height, row 1 could be 3 inches and row 2 could be 4 inches, but you don't want 3 and 4 inch boards in the same row or you'll wind up with some gaps.

To accomplish this I just used my table saw and rip fence. It takes 2 passes for each board. The boards are rarely straight, so I just placed the inside of the bow in the board against the fence and set the fence so it would cut off just enough of the board to make it straight, this is typically about the width of your saw blade, but really depends upon how badly the board you're working with is warped. You could use a jointer and planer for this, but this way will give you a good enough result with a lot less effort. For a project like this, good enough is probably better than you really need.

Once you have your boards straight it's just a matter of squaring the ends with your miter gauge. I cut different lengths off at this point so that the ends wouldn't line up when I put them up on the wall. It's pretty arbitrary, but you could make it into a science if you wanted to make a pattern or a shape of something.

Step 3: Put Up a Backer Board (Optional)

I decided to put up some 1/8" MDF in front of my drywall in case I ever wanted to remove this in the future. It's fairly straight forward, find your studs and put some screws in. I don't have any photos of this, but you can see it in the next step.

Step 4: Put Up Your Boards

Picture of Put Up Your Boards

Start at the top and work your way to the bottom. If your walls aren't the same height on both ends (mine had a difference of 1.5" from the left side to the right side), you'll be able to hide it better if you leave the the tapered cut on the bottom, especially if put some stuff in front of the wall... carpeting helps as well.

I used some construction adhesive on the backs of the boards and then a nail or two on each end to hold it in place so it wouldn't move as the glue dried.

I had some outlets located at the bottom of the wall that wanted to keep. I purchased some outlet extenders which essentially brings the outlet out to the new wall thickness. They can be purchased and any hardware store/orange or blue big box store.


coolguy891 (author)2016-05-19

If you like this please vote for it in the reclaimed wood contest. Thank you!

JörgenBörg (author)2016-12-23

very nice.

Carpenter Guy (author)2016-06-05

Good luck on winning!!

18fkreiger (author)2016-06-04

Love it!!

Abuamer (author)2016-05-24

Love this and voted....thank you.

ty520 (author)2016-05-24

I would offer one bit of advice:

sometimes, the pallet wood can be pretty rough and snag your sheets.

I opted to sand my pallet headboard

TomT35 (author)2016-05-22

The easiest way to get boards like this is to find a lumber mill that is making the boards for pallets. They use the cheapest trees available locally, often too small or the wrong species for commercial lumber. It is not kiln dried or planed, so the cost is comparatively low. I found a place that was cutting cherry and sycamore which made a nice alternating wainscotting.

ty520 (author)TomT352016-05-24

not many people will live near a mill.

alternatively, you can often get the pallets for free from construction supply yards: especially brick yards. Just give some local places a call and ask if they have some available - sometimes they re-use them, but may be willing to give away ones that are getting too worn out to safely re-use again

coolguy891 (author)TomT352016-05-24

I'll have to look into this, I've built quite a few things from pallets and taking them apart is such a PITA.

ydlv (author)TomT352016-05-23

Now that is good info. I have been using pallets for the past 5 years around my property and it is almost impossible to dismantle them without breaking a few pieces. I just count the breakage in and really, in the end have resorted to using pallets in their entirety for this very reason. They make great flooring for the chicken coops and other structures that require a hardy base. I must say, pallets are quite well made for the most part and are the handiest shortcut for construction around the garden and backyard.

GabrielA122 (author)2016-05-21

Hi, you painted different shades of wood or simply went by the old state of wood?

coolguy891 (author)GabrielA1222016-05-24

There was no painting or finishing of any kind in this project. I just put the wood up as I found it. I just alternated the weathering and wood types.

DIYwithCaitlin (author)2016-05-23

This is beautiful! I really love it. Nice job!!! :D <3

Also, voted!

Thank you for the compliment and the vote, I really apprecitate it

roger b (author)2016-05-23

All pallets have a stamp, check to see if it's been treated with pesticides before using in a living space.

Stonewall Craftworks (author)2016-05-23

Beautiful work!

Maggs♍️ (author)2016-05-22

It is true! What was the fashion of the times (in this case 1970's to 1982) come back to fashion again! We did this to one wall in our bathroom ,bedroom and back entry in 1980, using reclaimed wood. Your wall looks good though , I Like the horizontal rather than the vertical .

FloridaJo (author)2016-05-22

Nice job. I also find and dismantle pallets from behind our industrial park warehouse. If you look on craigslist, someone is always giving them away. Try to get the ones marked HT for heat treated instead of some other chemical treated. Also, to dismantle, HomeDepot sells an 'indexing head wrecking bar' that works great on pallets. If you do a lot, the $78 for it is not bad. Saves your back.

ronjohnstone (author)2016-05-22

I did something similar years ago using redwood "bender board", which is common here in California and intended for edging around gardens. It is about 1/8-1/4" thick by 4" by about 8 feet long and fairly inexpensive. It gives a nice warm look to a wall and looks quite good when finished.

yrralguthrie (author)2016-05-22

In my part of the world, the only way I could get enough pallets to do that would be to steal them. Here pallets are reclaimed by the original users and reused. By the time they are surplus they are broken and generally unusable for anything other than starting a fire.

ingridholmes (author)2016-05-22

Love it!

HollyMann (author)2016-05-20

I LOVE THIS SOOOOO much. I want to make my kitchen cabinets like this...saw it on a show...amazing! I will vote for you! Please make me one! :)

Carpenter Guy (author)2016-05-20

wow! Nice job!

Lovetra (author)2016-05-20

Love it and reminds me of our "Old barn wood" room some did but they did not

do a good job-- I still love it. This gives me thoughts for a bedroom that I have to tackle next year.

deenmohee (author)2016-05-19

very goood

PardoByNight (author)2016-05-19

Man that looks so good! :)

flyingpuppy (author)2016-05-18

How's the texture on the surface of this accent wall? I love the look of it, but I fear splinters. Did you sand these?

Thanks also for the outlet extender tip. Nice work!

coolguy891 (author)flyingpuppy2016-05-19

The texture really isn't all that rough. I did not sand it at all since I wanted to keep the rough sawn look of it. It would be rather difficult to get a splinter from it.

jimmytvf (author)2016-05-19

i always thought in doing something like this in my mind! Thanks for sharing the result! Awesome work!

0xffff (author)2016-05-18

Superb :)

Just an advice before grabbing any pallet for indoor use: check the IPCC/NPPO markings and confirm it was not treated with Methyl Bromide or other toxics

more info:

djdannyvan (author)2016-05-18

Looks Fantastic!

ClenseYourPallet (author)2016-05-17

Wow!! That looks really awesome

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-05-17

Great looking wall design. And if you ever need to make repairs, all you need is a couple more pallets.

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