We needed a stable for our nativity set and had access to some pallets. With some tools and time, this was a simple project.
For those who prefer wood projects where every piece comes together perfectly, then you won't want to use pallet boards for this project. Expect some of your boards to be a little warped or have minor variations in size.
- Measuring tape and pencil
- Miter saw
- Brad nailer (18 gauge)
- 3/4" brad nails
- Wood glue
- Approx 5 pallet boards
- Sander or Angle grinder with sanding disk
- Pine colored wood filler
UPDATE: Be sure to give your boards time to dry out. I thought mine had finished shrinking, but I now have some gaps in my finished project. Lesson learned!
Step 1: Cut Your Pieces
The pallets I used had deck boards that were 3.5" wide and 3/8" deep.
Using your miter saw, cut the following lengths for each section.
Bottom: 2 pieces of 10.5" length, three pieces of 7"
Walls: 4 pieces of 5.5"
Top: 4 pieces of 8.5"
Back: Wait to cut these until later
Be sure to keep your scrap pieces, as they will be used
Step 2: Assemble the Base
To provide some additional stability, I made the base from two layers, in opposing directions.
Trim your pieces as needed, based on the size of wood you use.
In order to nail the wall pieces from two the side and bottom, I trimmed the top layer of the base, as shown in the image. I'm sure there is a name for this joint, but I don't know what it's called.
Once everything fits appropriately, use wood glue to join the base.
Use your brad nailer and 3/4" nails to join the pieces. I only nailed from the bottom so there would be no visible holes inside the completed stable.
Step 3: Trim Sides/Top
NOTE: Determine what sides you want facing inward vs outward before making the following cuts...
In order to have an angled roof, you need to prepare your side and top pieces.
I selected 22.5 degrees since it gave a nice slant to the roof, without it being too steep. Also, this is a standard setting on most miter saws.
You need to cut the following pieces, as described:
- Roof Pieces: cut each of the four pieces, where they will join at the peak of the roof
- Wall Pieces: cut each of the four pieces where they will connect with the roof
Step 4: Attach Walls
Place wood glue in the joint where your wall will sit in the base.
Using your brad nailer, secure each piece from the side and bottom.
Step 5: Attach Roof
Place wood glue along the top of each wall piece, then attach the roof sections so the peak is centered.
Remember those scrap pieces I told you to keep? Use one of them to cut a small triangle for the front of the roof, as shown in the photo. You can use the same 22.5 degree setting on your miter saw, to get the 157.5 degrees you need for each side of the triangle. Be safe with this cut as the piece is very small!!! I taped the small piece onto a larger piece so I didn't have to keep my fingers near the blade.
Use wood glue and your brad nailer to secure the piece in place, as shown in the picture.
OPTIONAL: I used a scrap piece to cut a long support that hid behind the triangle piece, and along the under side of the roof line.
Step 6: Prepare the Back Pieces
I chose to not trim the back pieces until the rest of the stable was assembled. Since pallet boards are rarely perfectly square and can have some warping, I knew some unplanned angles and measurements could come into play.
NOTE: I wanted my back pieces to sit inside the stable so the back was flush, but you could also cut them to fit across the whole back.
Lay the pieces for the back on the ground and lay your stable on top of them. Trace the pieces so you can cut to fit.
Use your miter saw for the initial cuts, then dry fit each piece to make sure it fits. I used an angle grinder with a 50 grit sanding disk for any small adjustments needed.
With your wood glue and brad nailer, secure the back pieces to the stable.
Step 7: Touch Up
I'm not a fan of the brad nail holes showing. So I used some pine colored wood filler to fill the holes on the top and side of the nativity set.
Only use enough to fill the hole. Use the back of your thumb nail to push it into place and scratch any excess with the edge of your finger nail. Sounds like an odd method, but it works.
Step 8: Decorate and Enjoy!
Add your nativity pieces and enjoy!