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Made from recycled pallets, this display can be used for any objects you would like to set out to be seen by others.

This was my wife's idea. She wanted to use this for cupcakes at our daughter's graduation party. However, it didn't get finished in time and the weather didn't cooperate, so we'll find another use for it.

Step 1: Getting Started

I laid out the materials I wanted to use. I picked through my supply of pallets to get boards that were in good condition, roughly the size I needed, and were the same thickness to give me even shelves.

Make sure you are using good clean pallets, ones that have not had chemicals on them or were treated with chemicals. Pallets stamped with HT were heat treated and this is what I used.

Step 2: Gather Tools

This is a list of the tools I used. What you use could be different based on the tools available to you.

miter saw
tape measure & pencil
air stapler with compressor & staples
wood glue
cordless drill
cordless drill driver
screws
clamps
table saw & accessories
sander
sandpaper
safety glasses
hearing protection

Always use safety gear properly to prevent injury to yourself or others.

Step 3: Measure and Cut

My stand measures 16" square for the base, 14" square for the middle shelf, and 12" square for the top shelf. I used these lengths based on the pallet wood which was available to me. I used the miter saw to cut the pallet boards to the same length for each shelf.

I used my table saw to cut some pallet boards into thin strips, about an inch wide. These will be used to hold each shelf together. You will need two for each shelf cut to the length of each shelf.

Next I used the runners from a pallet to make the risers. I cut six equal pieces to make square blocks. Be sure to watch for nails in this part. If possible, make your cuts so you can avoid the nails.

Step 4: Sanding

Take the time now to sand all of your boards before assembly. It will be much easier to sand now than after assembly. Sand to your satisfaction, rounding over the edges if you like. Start with a lower grit sandpaper and work your way up to a higher grit. I used 100 grit first and then finished with 150 grit. This can vary depending on what you have on hand.

I used a power sander, but hand sanding will produce the same results. The board in the picture is my template for cutting full sheets of sandpaper into smaller sheets for my sander.

Step 5: Begin Assembly

I started assembly by laying out the boards for the largest shelf, good side up, orienting them for best look and function. I then flipped the boards over maintaining the layout.

Then I used one of the small strips, applied glue to one side and placed it on the bottom shelf, which currently has the top facing down. I used the air stapler to put at least two staples into each board through the narrow strip, this will hold them together while the glue dries. If any glue squeezes out wipe it up with a damp rag, it will be easier to clean up now than after it dries.

I repeated the same steps for the remaining two shelves.

Next I moved on to the square riser blocks. I glued three blocks together using clamps to hold them in place while the glue dries. You could also use screws for this. This was repeated for the second riser as well.


Step 6: Continue Assembly

I determined the center of the shelf with the riser in place. I held the two together while flipping them over, resting them on the table upside down. I remeasured them for accuracy then pre-drilled before screwing through the bottom of the shelf up into the riser.

I repeated this process for the middle shelf. The top shelf will be done differently.

Step 7: Attach the Two Lower Shelves Together

Attaching the middle shelf to the bottom one is a little more complex. I decided to drill holes down into the riser of the middle shelf. These holes were almost the length of the riser and large enough for a screw and drill driver to fit down into. I put a piece of tape on the drill bit to mark the distance I needed to drill down.

These holes would allow me to attach the two shelves, but not see the screws later. Make sure to use screws which are long enough to sink into the lower riser to hold the two shelves together firmly.

Step 8: Attach the Top Shelf

I centered the top shelf on the riser of the middle shelf, then used screws to hold it together.

Now there are screws visible, which I did not want. I cut one piece of pallet wood square and just large enough to cover the exposed screw heads. I then glued it over the screws.

To hold it down while the glue dries, I used a long scrap piece of wood to span the distance and clamp it down on the outer edges of the shelf. This worked well since I don't have a clamp to reach back far enough. Just don't overtighten the clamps since too much pressure will pull the corners of the shelf up.

Step 9: Finished Display

I used a spray clear coat for a finish. Let it dry and add additional coats if necessary. You could finish it with other finishes or paint it if you like.

Now find different items to display.

You could also attach a lazy susan spinner to allow your display to spin around.

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Bio: I like making things without spending very much money. I try to get my materials free (pallets), if possible. If at all possible, I'd ... More »
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