Monday, May 4, 2015

Part 2: Pallets to Picture Perfect

Read on for how to put your pallet wood together to create cute AND awesome, and rustic, and chic, and (well you get the idea) projects.
If you still have an intact pallet and don't know how to dismantle it and get a TON of great usable wood with a TON of character, please read my Part 1 of this post here.

Now you have all of this weathered wood and you want to know what you can do with it. Pinterest has thousands (if not millions) of ideas that use pallet wood to create everything from art to furniture and even homes! If you want to see some of my favorite ideas, (because I truly have scoured pallet projects on Pinterest and have only pinned the best), check out my "Projects" board on Pinterest. I also will share some of my favorites (below) that I have made with this FREE wood, as well as how you can put it together first.

For pallet art that you will be hanging in your home, you have a few options. I will include my top 2 options since they seem to work the best.

Option 1: Screwdriver
Cut your pallet wood pieces to the length you want and cut a smaller piece(s) to go perpendicular to the other pieces for the back. Use a little bit of wood glue and apply it to the one or two pieces of wood that you will be putting on the back for support, and then drive in your screws. Screw in either eye hooks (with one or two screw holes--depending on your art's weight), a rope suspended between two screws, or for smaller pieces I like to use soda can tops that I just nail in, and then use the other hole for hanging on the wall. The back of your piece will look something like this:
Since this is a smaller art piece (about 11"x8") I used a nail gun to secure the wood to the back. Nail guns work great for small pieces, but I have had a hard time when using them with really heavy pieces.

Option 2: K5 Kreg Jig
If you are lucky to have a kreg jig then you will be able to create a truly flat piece of art that will not need the wood support pieces in the back. Follow the instructions on your Kreg Jig and drill your holes into the sides of your wood that will connect to the other parallel pieces. Since the joinery is so strong, you will not need to use wood glue. The back should look something like this:
If you notice on the bottom piece of wood that there are two holes pointing to the left? Well I wasn't thinking and drilled those first. If I wanted the wood pieces to be connected end to end I would want the holes there, but I wanted them opposite. Notice the middle piece of wood does not need to have pocket holes drilled in it? The other two pieces are screwed into it. This will work for much larger pieces as well. If your art will be wider, drill holes throughout the length of the piece.

I forgot to mention that you should sand your wood prior to joining the wood together. That way you can get rid of any rough pieces on the edges as well. I use my Makita palm sander and first use 60 grit, then 100 and then sometimes 150. I like to keep the wood's character though, so I don't sand that all away.

Now is my favorite part, making fun things! Here are some projects that I have made with pallet wood, and if there is anything you would like to make and want more steps on how to do so, please comment below! Thanks!
 I found this poster on of a painting that was done in the 1960s of a beach that my husband used to surf at when he was growing up. I made the frame using pallet wood and gave it to him as a birthday gift.
 I made these 3 frames using scrap pieces of pallet wood, MDF board (I think that is what it is called) and wrapped cheap mats with burlap.
 After dismantling several pallets, I had several of these "skinny" pieces of wood that I didn't know what to do with. I decided to put them all together and paint a family of birds that resembled our family's size.
 I stained the wood, sanded the edges a little bit after the stain dried, and then painted "be happy" :)
 I found that I had several of this odd shape of wood from another pallet and hammered it all together, drilled some holes and rested empty baby food jars in each. Then I added some tea light candles and instant rustic centerpiece!
 Some wood doesn't have as much character in it's natural coloring, and for pieces that I am going to paint entirely I pick those scraps. I made this for a baby gift since the little boy's room was gray and yellow. The quote comes from the book "The Help"

 Scrabble inspired rustic sign
 I got some plywood pallets before I knew what plywood even was (I know, dumb huh?) Since plywood acts a little differently than typical wood I wasn't sure what to do with it. I decided to stain it and then paint a fun snowboard scene for a teen's bedroom.

 Another "The Help" inspired piece, this time for a little girl's room. 
I painted whimsical watercolor flowers over the white latex base.
 I made this picture extra big so you can see the awesome character in this wood. This was one of my favorite pieces because I love rustic! I used a sharpie for the numbering, and bought the clock mechanisms at Woodcraft for a couple dollars. Pretty simple actually!
Last but not least was my pallet herringbone coffee table. I found a hideous coffee table on the side of the road on trash day and turned it into this. Check out the transformation here.

Pallets can be a little more work, but they sure can be used to make all sorts of awesome things. What are some things that you have made with pallet wood? Or have any of you ever had access to barn wood? I have always wanted to try out barn wood too. If you have please comment below because I love seeing your creations as well as hear about your experiences!


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