Introduction: 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
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
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.