Pallets can be used for a wide variety of projects , here I am gonna show you how I turned regular shipping pallets into the biggest part of a garden shed. I hope this will in turn spark some ideas into some people and maybe save some good lumber from just being burned up or thrown out. let's see if we can't make a garden shed.
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Step 1: Plans and Materials
First thing you want to do is make a plan based on the size of building you would like to have. From there you can figure the amount of pallets you will need to complete the job, or you could do like I did and look at how many pallets you are able to get and then go into the planning process from there.
I was lucky enough to be able to go to the local recycling center to pick up a trailer load of pallets. After getting your pallets find you a good location in your yard, gather your, materials and get to it. here is a list of the materials that I used to get this garden shed built, and I may accidentally leave a few out but i'll list as many as I can recall that I used.
- Nails, screws, other various fasteners
- Hammer, Drill
- Chop saw, circular saw,
- shovel or something to dig into the ground a little.
- Leftover lumber from other projects
- concrete blocks
- string level
- tar paper
- tape measure
- 4' level
- hinges, handle, and lock for door
- Generator and extension cords
- Water.....need to stay hydrated
- Most importantly help from some friends.
Now that we covered most everything you will need let's see if we can't give some instruction on how I went about building this shed.
Step 2: Preparing the Ground for the Floor.
The first step that we took in the process of getting this shed started was to prepare an area on the ground to start to building our floor on. The spot I chose to put this was right next to where we put our yearly garden, unfortunately the ground wasn't completely level so we had to begin by leveling out our area with some concrete blocks. The floor was built on top of these blocks to keep it off the ground in hopes to keep it from rotting the wood.
To do this we took and set the blocks in the shape and size that the building was going to be, we then tied a string around the outer blocks to make a rectangle all the way around it. After tying the string around the blocks we placed a string levels on each side of the string about halfway between the corners. Now you can look at these levels and see how far you need to dig into the ground to level up the outer blocks so that all the tops of the blocks are sitting at the same height of the string. When you get finished leveling the outer blocks you can then place the rest of the blocks throughout the middle and check the levelness of them in reference to the outer blocks with a four foot level as you go.
Now we are ready to build the floor.
Step 3: Building the Floor
After you get your ground leveled where you want to have your floor you can begin to put the floor together. I believe my floor ended up being roughly 10' wide by 14' long. The floor ended up consisting of 12 pallets of different sizes laid onto the bricks and then fastened together. After fastening the pallets together some plywood was attached to the top to make the floor of the building. It is also always good to have help when doing these things not only to make it easier but more enjoyable as well.
Step 4: Wall Construction
The wall was probably the most difficult part of this project, for me anyways. For the walls I cut some pallets in half so that there would not be a single line running around the middle of the building giving it one massive weak point. If this actually helped I am not sure, but seemed like a good idea at the time. I used just a regular circular saw to cut the pallets in half. I attached the pallets to the floor using a mixture of nails and screws, really just whatever I had ( trying to keep it as affordable as possible).
The whole time when putting up the walls you want to make sure to keep the walls upright and level. Supports weren't need for this size building but they surely wouldn't have hurt anything to use some to help keep the wall up. I made the walls two pallets high (8') all around leaving a 4'x8' section open for my door. After getting all of the walls up I ran some 2x4's around the top to help get ready for the trusses by leveling and helping sturdy up the walls.
Step 5: Making and Installing the Trusses.
After getting the walls up I went on to making the trusses for the roof. Luckily there was a bunch of wood left over from a porch and ramp that had just been built for my parents house that I was able to use to make the trusses with. 2x6's and 2x8's were used to construct the trusses along with scraps of plywood and osb board used to joint them together. Unfortunately I do not remember the exact size or pitch of the roof, I kind of got a wild hair and built those fairly quickly one day without documenting too much of anything really(could be why they didn't turn out too good).I did make them so that there was at least a 6" overhang on each side of the building to help protect the sidewalls from the weather. I spaced the trusses 2' apart from each other.
A few days after making the trusses I was able to get some help from my brother in getting these heavy guys up on the building. For the most part long screws along with some joiners were used in securing the trusses. After getting all of them up we took a scrap 2x2 and used it to space the trusses correctly and secure them evenly spaced and stable. We also framed up the door right before starting to put the trusses up. For a step like this you will definitely want to have at least one person helping you out but more than one person would be ideal.
Step 6: Roof and Siding
On to the roof now. I just used osb board for the roof and then covered with tar paper followed by shingles. I must advise not to make the mistake we did and do this in the middle of a hot summer's day. I got burned something ridiculous that day. Of course use caution when working on the top of any building and be sure that it is able to withstand your weight on the top of it. This was my first time ever completely making a roof of this magnitude so it does have its flaws, nonetheless it does its job.
When we got finished with the roof we began putting the siding up on all of the walls, again osb was used for this step as well. At this point in my little building project I was starting to feel half way accomplished with what we had done so far. Putting up the siding was pretty straight forward seeing that the wall was 8' high so minimal to no cutting was required on most of the 4x8 sheets of osb board.
Step 7: Finishing Touches to the Outside
Finally we have made it to the final steps of this little fella. Now that we got all the walls and the roof up all that was left on the outside was to build a door, a ramp, and throw some paint on the walls. The door was made out of one sheet of osb panel board with a frame built around the inside of it. The ramp was made so that a garden tiller could me easily rolled in and out of the shed, the ramp was also made so that it was a foot long for every inch it was high(made from scrap plywood). after getting the door and ramp made the walls were painted with valspar duramax paint(two coats) to help protect from the weather. We went with a greyish/blue color to match the house.
On the front and the back I added two vents so that there would be no problem with circulation and also just to add some cosmetics to the otherwise extremely plain looking building. The door eventually got painted as well the top triangles of the front and back of the shed. At this point the building is practically finished on the outside and ready to fill with whatever you might want to store in it. This particular shed was built as a garden shed to hold tools and such.
Step 8: Adding a Workbench to the Inside
Now that the outside was finished I decided that the inside needed a nice little workbench area. I built this using left over 2x4's, pallets, and plywood. I made these about 36" high and approximately 4' long by about 6' on the tops. The hard part here is getting your tops leveled with the plywood covered pallet tops. If you just take your time and not get in a rush with your cutting it should be no problem getting it all level. I just attached the legs straight to the pallet framed walls and directly to the floor using spare nails and screws.
As you can see the pallet framed walls really don't need to be paneled on the inside unless you just want it to look really nice inside. The way the pallets are give you plenty of space for hanging tools and also little shelves as you can see with a couple of the pictures holding some of my paint cans and torch. Overall this project took me a while to finish due to only being able to work on it from time to time and not everyday. A project like this is fairly time consuming but the finish product is well worth the time and effort put into it. This building took about 40 pallets to complete ( messed a few up beyond repair).
Just a few reminders
1. I am not a professional carpenter, probably couldn't even be consider an amateur
2. This was my first ever garden shed that I have built
3. I know this building is not without its faults
4. Being that it was made primarily of pallets a lot of measurements were not exact, but hey it worked
With that being said I really enjoyed the whole process of making this building. Hopefully this will spark some ideas for some people with real skills and they will be able to make something far superior to this little shed. If you happen come across this Instructable and do decide on making one of these bad boys feel free to shoot me a picture of it( or better yet make an Instructable), would love to see. Thanks to anyone that read through this whole process here(I am not very good at explaining) and of course all criticism is not only welcome but desired. Hope you have enjoyed checking this out, also feel free to ask any questions you might have and I will do the best in my limited knowledge/ability to answer you. Don't forget to always think twice before ditching something, who knows what those things could be used for/turned into. Thanks to the world of Instructables.