Introduction: RUSTIC PALLET SHELVES - With Remote Control LED Lighting

About: Don't take the world to seriously relax a little and enjoy the ride.

Living in our first house my Fiance and I didn't have a ton of room in our kitchen for a table other then a small 2 seater' making family get together's or having friends over somewhat difficult. Adjacent to out kitchen was a bedroom and we decided to remove the door of the room and turn it into our dining room. In the dinning room had a closet which was dark and took away from the ambiance of the space so I decided I would remove the existing clothing bar and shelf and add nice new Rustic selves entirely made from reclaimed wood from pallets. Because our dining room only has 1 window shadows cast into the room and I wanted to brighten it up. This is how I came up with the idea for Rustic Pallet Shelves - With Remote Control LED Lighting

We wanted to create a dining room open display shelf setup that we could showcase some of our more interesting artworks and dishes that would provide a rustic farm house feel well being bight and professional looking. I created a 4 shelf system with the lowest shelf being deeper and made of typical pallet or skid material and the 3 upper shelves being shallower made from a pine pallet that held a large industrial piece of steel.

This type of dining room closet renovation can be done in any house and for relatively cheap if you can find some wood rather then buying it. Using left over paint is another way to keep cost down. If you follow these steps and tailor them to your situation, you will have a beautifully renovated closet that is impressive and bright with no wires or electrical work needed.

Materials and Tools Needed:


Pallets - Your typical wood pallets at least 3-4

Pine Board x 3 - 11.5" x 6' (72") ** I got mine from an industrial site I just asked for it**

Pressure Treated (Brown) 2" x 2" x 6' - 4 Pieces

Wood Crate for under the main shelf. 4 pieces

Wood Screws at least 3" in length and Drywall Plugs.

LED remote lighting pack ( I got this at home depot for $30.00 ) you can find this at most home renovation stores the pack I bought came with 3 lights and 1 remote. = $ 10 per fixture

Paint - I used a White paint with a premier in it

Stain - I used " Minwax" Early American 230 - Minwax

Tools Needed

Power Drill - with drill bits etc

Skill Saw

Power Palm Sander



Finishing Nails 2" long

Paint Brush

Paint roller

Hammer for removing nails or staples

Wall Filler

Putty Trowel

Drywall Sander (hand held)

Step 1: Demo & Paint

This part is self explanatory for the most part but basically remove the existing shelves or clothing bars as well as any trim and screws or nails left behind. Once you have removed all existing materials you can prep for paint.

***If the area your are adding shelves to has any existing shelves be sure to keep them as a landmark measurement to follow making sure your new shelves will fit perfectly.***

Paint Prep involves filling the holes in the wall where the old shelves may have been placed with a drywall filler using a putty trowel. Allow the filler to dry as described on the tub of filler then using a drywall sander sand the filler so its smooth. make sure all holes are filled and sanded before painting. Its good to make sure you clean up all sanding dust to insure the best looking paint finish.

After your holes are filled and sanded you can begin painting. I was covering a dark grey so this process involved 4 thick coats over about 2 days to allow for dry time.

*** Make sure to place a drip sheet on the floor to avoid getting paint on the ground. ALSO in between coats of paints you can start work on your selves while your paint is drying to help the entire process move along quicker and smoother plus avoiding the whole "Waiting for Paint to Dry" boredom.***

Step 2: Shallow Top 3 Selves Preperation and Stain

Cleaning up and Cutting

For the Top 3 shelves I used Pine Board which I got from and industrial skid used to hold a large piece of steel. The pallet had a bunch of cuts and deep groves in it which was perfect for what I wanted. Along with the cuts and scrapes already in the wood there was multiple staples which had to be removed. After removing the staples I cut the boards down to the finished size which for me was 63 and 1/4 inch. I used the same measurement as the existing shelf which I removed from the closet earlier.

I used a skill saw to cut the wood and a hammer to pound and pull out the staples.


Using a minwax penetrating stain (Early American) I stained each piece of wood on both sides as well as all edges and allowed them to dry in the sun and overnight while I worked on the lower deeper shelf.

Step 3: Main Pallet Shelf

For a focal point the lower shelf of the shelf system needed to be larger and more complex in texture to provide the rustic look I wanted. To achieve this I broke down a few skids ranging in size and removed the top boards. I then built a frame for the planks to be attached to and cut them to fit on top perfectly. I then secured them with finishing nails before I sanded and stained the shelf. Here are the steps explained in depth:

1 - Cut the 2" x 2" x 6' pieces of pressure treated to length that will fit your needed space. I cut 2 pieces to 63-1/4" (same as my shelves) then I wanted my bottom shelf to fit in about 3" inches from the outside edge of the closet wall so I made the shelf 21". which means 21" - 3" = 18" so I cut 3 support pieces at 18" to attach the frame together.

2 - Once you have your wood pieces laid out make a pilot hole in the wood and then screw with a 3" wood screw. The pilot hole will ensure the wood does not split when screwing.

3 - Grab the skids you have and your skill saw and cut the skids where you can which will make taking the skids apart much easier. then using a hammer pound off the boards or planks and remove the nails.

4 - Once you have enough wood to cover the frame of the shelf you can begin laying out the pieces. ** Pay attention to the colour of the wood and what will look best and organize them how you want them.**

5- Line up 1 straight edge of all the skid boards so you only have to cut 1 side of the boards.

6 -Secure the 1 straight edge you just lined up with finishing nails so the boards will not move when you cut them.

7 - Lay out a piece of wood across the boards to make a guide line to make cutting easier. carefully using a skill saw cut the ends off the boards to make them all equal and to the correct length.

8 - Secure the rest of the boards with finishing nails so that all the boards are properly secured to the frame

9 - Using a Power Palm Sander sand the now constructed pallet shelf in preparation for stain.

10 - Stain the shelf with a generous amount of stain and allow to dry overnight minimum.

Step 4: Instaling the Supports

These shelves will be sitting on mounted supports made from the left over 2" x 2" pressure treated pieces of wood. I installed them from the lowest shelf and up.

Bottom Shelf

1 - Cut 2 pieces of the 2x2 so it is the same depth as your bottom shelf and then 1 extra piece about 24" long which will be the back support.

2 - Pre-drill some screws into the supports so you can easily attach them to the wall.

3 - Determine the height you would like your bottom shelf to be at, mine is about 2' off the ground but its really personal preference. Now using a level mark the height of where the supports need to be in order to have the shelf at 2' tall. So mark the wall at 22" from the floor so when the shelf is sitting on the support it will be 24" off the ground.

4 - To properly secure the supports to the wall, hold a support on the wall and drill through the wood just enough to mark the wall so you know where the screws will be. Next drill a hole in the drywall and place a drywall plug into the wall making the support strong. Repeat this process for all the supports and then secure them with screws.

*** Use 3 screws and plugs for each of the bottom shelf supports***

Top 3 Shelves

The process for the top 3 shelves is the exact same but we will only be using 2 supports per self. Because these supports will be visible I cut the ends a on a 45 degree angle to add a little design style to the support. I cut the supports slightly shorter then the 11.5" shelf so around 10.5" in depth.

Secure these supports in the same manor as the bottom shelf with the drywall plugs and screws. Again the height of each shelf will depend on personal preference but I made my shelves;

***Use 2 Screws and plugs for each of the upper shelves supports***

Starting from the distance from the bottom large shelf to the first of the three top shelves - 18" then 15" gaps until the top shelf.

Step 5: Adding Trim

The area where the floor meats the wall was in very rough shape from ripping out the existing items that were in the closet. I wanted to make my own Trim that was tall and stained the same colour as the shelves.

Using an extra piece of Pine Board I ripped in down the middle creating two strips of wood just over 5" in height.

I cut them to fit the area and stained them.

Because these trim pieces are not load bearing you can just screw these right into the drywall with out having to add drywall plugs.

The large dark trim adds some nice character to the space.

Step 6: Staining the Crates & Adding Extras

This is the time to add any fun extra items that will create a better sense of deign style. Because we wanted a farm house feel we added these wooden crates we picked up for $9.00 each from a craft store then stained them to match.

Once you have your items in its time to add lighting to finish off the project.

Step 7: Remote LED Lighting

I looked at many different ways I could light this space but decided on a low energy battery option with remote control. The battery LED lights are wonder and so simple to install as well as have a long lasting battery life. This pack cost me $30.00 and came with everything including the batteries. I placed the lights where I thought would look the best and not to over power the area. I wanted to create a sense of feeling and not just light the entire thing up to be overwhelming

I placed 2 LED lights on the sides 46" up from the floor which were hidden by the walls and a 3rd LED on the ceiling to cast light downward and also out of sight.

All the lights are controlled by a remote and turn on and off at the same time.

Step 8: Finished

Now with the lights installed and all of our items on display our dining room display shelves are complete.

Total Cost - $80

Total time - 4 Days ( Because of drying times for paint and stain)

Level of difficulty - Beginner

We have had my parents for dinner and a few fiends over now and everyone loves the shelves.

Being able to just tap a button and light up the shelves is always fun to do and makes you look like a total professional to friends and family.

Shelving Contest

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Shelving Contest