Pallets used to be utilized for large deliveries and then tossed out like old grocery bags. Now, however, industrious DIYers have found numerous ways to incorporate the humble pallet into their homes. From money-saving furniture builds to entire sheds, pallets have found new life in the homes of those with a few tools and the drive to reuse responsibly. Today, we’ll be going past the builds and into the artsy side of pallet repurposing.
So you’ve built a pallet bed, pallet coffee table, and even a couple of pallet chairs, but you’ve still got a couple of pallets left lying around. Let’s face it: you can’t furnish your entire home with these things. You’d better buy your dressers and kitchen appliances the traditional way. So what should you do with your remaining pallets?
One of the easiest options is constructing wall art. By arranging the boards at different angles, you can create some pretty striking designs that are ready for print or paint. By arranging the pallet boards horizontally, you’ll have an easily divisible framework for lettering.
Step 1: The Dry Run
First, do a dry run. Go ahead and cut the pallet boards to the length you need for your particular space. Then pencil in your desired message on the pallet boards to see how many you’ll need to complete the piece. If you don’t have enough words to make the artwork as vertically long as you’d like, you can always write your message on every other board.
Step 2: Sanding
Once you know exactly how many boards you’ll need, take your selected pallet boards and sand them. How much you sand will depend on the finish you want and your art medium, but sanding with #220 grit normally prepares the wood for most applications. You can forgo sanding if you love the look of your raw wood, but you’ll need to use a pretty thick brush or marker to make your lettering stand out. And remember, if you decide to stain, unsanded wood will normally show much more contrast than lumber that’s been evenly sanded.
Step 3: The Frame
For the base frame, cut two additional pallet boards at the same length as the vertical length of your finished project. Keeping those two boards at about 16 inches apart (the average stud width), affix your sanded pieces at a right angle to the frame boards. Feel free to make a few of the pallet boards different lengths or offset them to give your art a more whimsical feel.
Step 4: The Base Coat
Next comes more wood prep. Now’s the time to stain the boards if you’ve selected for that approach. After getting the tint you want, be sure to let the stain cure fully (normally over 24 hours) to prevent bleeding. If you’ve decided to apply a background coat of paint, do that now.
Step 5: Paint!
Once the paint or stain is dry, you can go ahead and begin your lettering. Use bold, confident strokes. The slower you go, the more time you’ll have to let imperfections sneak in. Don’t worry too much about messing up. The whole pallet aesthetic is rustic and unfinished, so relax and have fun! Once the whole project is dry, mount it to studs and enjoy!