Special Delivery: DIY Pallet Wall

Posted on October 20 2015

Pallet Wall. Image Credit:

What’s manlier than a Lumberjack? I’ll tell you what. Nothing. Nothing is manlier than a Lumberjack. They defeat massive trees and turn the tree-flesh into houses. How do they do that… For a lot of us, time and money gets in the way of even the imagination to take on a building project. We have other responsibilities, or simply aren’t interested in learning the skill it takes.

But should this stop us from the esthetic we want in our home? What are some alternatives to investing more time and money than we can afford? Can we get a rustic cabin image to our Mancave without making the high investment? Let’s examine a fantastic, cheap project you can take on in a day or two to make a room feel like a cabin.

I’m talking about a pallet wall. If you don’t know what a pallet wall is, google it right now. They’re incredible, and remarkably simple to put together.

Things you will need:

Lots of pallets.
Screw-gun and screws, or hammer and nails.
An electric saw that can cut through nails. Like a sawzall.
A sander / sandpaper.
Whatever stain you want.
A wall.

Pallets are everywhere. Large facilities get deliveries regularly, and this means stacks of pallets that are either thrown away or claimed by employees etc. Hospitals, grocery stores, outlets. Disclaimer: don’t be a dick. Ask first. But if you can manage to get a decent stack, then you’re on your way.

Sanding and staining the wood looks great, but both are optional. There are examples of pallet walls done without it, and they’re awesome too, so it’s up to you. It obviously takes much more time, so prepare yourself for what it means if you want to.

Step 1: Cut the planks from the pallets. You could also pry them off with a crowbar or something. But I guarantee it will take way more time. Using a sawzall is much more time-friendly.

Step 1.5: Sand / stain. If you want to, now’s the time. Consider staining the pieces in different shades for a bit of variety if you like the idea. An easy way is to add an extra coat to some of them. Or do what you want and stain them all the same. I’m not your dad. I can’t tell you what to do.

Step 2: Mark off the studs in the wall. Keep in mind this will be pretty messy to remove. So if you’re attached to the idea of being able to take it down, know that the drywall will be in rough shape. A way to make this cleaner is to attach a plywood sheet to the wall first that the planks can then be attached to. But this adds money and an extra step you might not feel like messing with. Either way.

Step 3: Start placing! Begin at the top. When we get to the end of the project, we’ll need to do some finish work and we don’t want to do that on the ceiling. Nail or screw the planks into the studs and go row by row. Cut pieces as you need to when you get to the edges.
Don’t worry about perfection at all. Pallets are not designed for this, and that’s what makes it great. We’re going for rustic imperfection. Try to randomize lengths and colors as you go if you stained in different shades.
When you get to the floor you might need to cut a plank long-ways to equalize the width. Or you can use a baseboard to cover up where the width falls short. It’s up to you.

Step 4: Finish off the edges. Use the leftover pieces from the pallets if you want. Run them along any corners after you stained or painted them.

Step 5: Drink a beer and admire while someone else hangs up pictures and stuff. You practically built a whole cabin just now. You deserve a break.

Something I probably should have said before, power outlets and light switches normally sit flush against the wall. If you add depth to the wall like we’re doing with this project, you’ll need to add depth to these too. A way around this is to use a wall without these, but if that isn't possible, there are liners you can install to add depth to outlets. Be careful with that though. Getting shocked isn’t manly at all. You’ll scream. I know I did…

Pallets are great. They can be used for so many things. From making furniture like desks and chairs, to building an entire deck for your back porch. If you want to get really crazy, google those too.

After the long day of DIY Lumberjacking, hang up your ax and sleep knowing your Mancard earned a hole-punch.


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