Do-It-Yourself

DIY: How to Build a Pallet Wall

Pallet walls have been trending big time in the Project Nursery Gallery, which had me dreaming of endless design possibilities the moment my eye caught this eclectic wood-paneled inspired nursery.

So when it came time to create a big boy room for my little man Chase, I showed my husband Josh a few samples of pallet walls created by adventurous parents. Part of me thought there was no way Josh was going to agree to this. To my surprise, he took it as a challenge and jumped at the chance to make his own pallet wall. After two weekends of some serious elbow grease, we made it happen.

How to Make a Pallet Wall

It starts with the hunt for pallets. I’ve gotta admit that it was kind of a thrill driving around town and throwing abandoned pallets from the back of stores into the car. Some places charged five bucks per pallet while others said, please take them away!

Building a pallet wall

The beauty of this cabin-inspired look is that the more distressed and wrecked the boards, the better. My father was in town one weekend and helped with sanding down each board after Josh used a crowbar to disassemble each pallet slat and remove its many nails. I am not going to kid you—this part was crazy time consuming. We filled an 11 x 8 foot wall and required approximately seventeen (17) pallets to make it happen. You must remember to account for waste because some slats will inevitably get damaged in the process.

Once the slats are stripped and sanded, it’s time to prep the wall for installation. Adhere thin pieces of plywood to the wall by attaching them with wood screws directly into the studs.

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Place the first pallet slat at the top, in the center of the wall. Using a drill, screw each end of the slats to the wall with two to three screws. Repeat, working from the center out, staggering each piece of wood.

Due to the unevenness of the pallet wood, not all pieces will perfectly match one another. To avoid seeing random gaps in trouble areas, simply stain the plywood behind the seams before securing a wood slat over it to disguise the gaps. The results are seamless, promise.

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I think it’s important to note that we did not lay out the boards and plan in advance. I’ve seen other DIYers lay the boards out perfectly and number each one prior to assembly. Quite frankly, we didn’t have the patience for something like that.

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And in the end, my pallet wall dream became a reality in the form of an industrial-chic growing boy’s room.

Boys Pallet Wall Room

Check out our roundup to see how wood accent walls look in a variety styles.

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22 Comments

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    Cute…but not very safe. Used pallets are dangerous to use. Those that have been heat treated are generally used for food. They may contain food based diseases. I worked in a grocery store and saw everything from meat juice to rotten produce leaked on the pallets. Then there are pallets that are treated with chemicals. I know a woman who got arsenic poisoning from using these. Cutting and sanding bring all the bad that might be in used pallets into the air. I love the idea of reusing pallets but would never do it…especially in a child’s room. Not safe!

  3. 4

    sorry to burst your bubble….
    pallet wood is NOT free….it belongs to various companies that pay to have it made, use it to move their products….and someone steals it and
    then makes a profit by selling it as their own. The result is that ALL consumers pay more for products because of the thief.

  4. 5

    If you go on craigslist there are lots of people giving palettes away– they actually want people to come haul them away. Look under ‘free stuff’!

  5. 7

    I would highly recommend pressure washing the pallet boards before installing them. Yes, chemical residue may be on them. I would think that a person would be smart enough to check what material was being stored on them before just throwing them on a wall. Use common sense people. Pallet ideas are great, and very cost friendly and universal. You just need to be aware….. Happy building!!!

  6. 8

    And as far as stealing pallets, no one really does that. I have maybe 200 pallets lying around from shipping seed and grain. If someone wants any, I just charge what the seed company charges me for them. Its definitely not free, but I would rather someone put them to good use than burn them because the company wouldn’t buy them back…. Repurposing them is awesome.

  7. 10

    Hi! I LOVE your wall! I am currently in the process of putting up my own pallet wall. I just finished the sheet rock and realized that I did not bring out my outlets far enough so that they would be flush with the finished wall. I noticed you have an outlet on your wall. Did you have to use some sort of spacers to nudge it out a bit? Thanks, and love your wall again!

  8. 11

    Hi Andrea,

    Truthfully, we got lucky and didn’t have to use a spacer to bring out the outlet. Outlet extenders found at your local hardware store are however really inexpensive and easy to use. Good luck with the wall and I hope you show us how it turns out!

    Best,
    Melisa

  9. 12

    Hi!! I love the wall! I am currently planning on doing this for one of the walls in our half bathroom. Did you stain the wood at all? What color would you recommend for the other walls for a 3.5 ft x 8 ft bathroom with no window. I was able to score 7 pallets today from Craigslist and can’t wait to get started! : ) Thanks!

  10. 13

    Hi Tara, We did not stain the pallets at all. One they were sanded down with an electric sander, the color was perfectly natural and rustic. For a small bathroom with no windows I would keep your paint color light and use a pale gray or beige.

    We have two great colors in our shop that could work nicely –
    Canyon Tan – http://shop.projectnursery.com/collections/baby-safe-paint/products/canyon-tan-wall-paint
    Touch of Gray – http://shop.projectnursery.com/collections/baby-safe-paint/products/canyon-tan-wall-paint

    Best of luck!
    Melisa

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    Lot of silly comments. There are a lot of FREE pallets because a lot of the time the damaged or very old ones are not worth sending back. Sometimes they wont even take them. Your best bet is to go to a pallet yard. They have mountains of old pallets that are junk. They will probably let you take them. I went to concrete companies and other places that have old broke pallets. I just picked up 19 of them in 30 mins. All legitimate. No stealing.

    As for health concerns. Get construction used pallets. Not ones used for food. Plus the construction ones will have a more rustic used and worn look to them. Buy a filter mask. $30 or so. Small price to pay for a fantastic product in the end. Sand outside. When you are done seal the wood with a clear matte finish. This will be safer and contains any potential “diseases” inside. Yes, if you build this wall you will turn into a zombie. Dun dun dun

  13. 18

    You mentioned using a pry bar to take the pallets apart and that it damaged several of the boards. An easier way to separate the boards would have been to use a saws-all (otherwise known as a reciprocating saw) to cut the boards away from the 2x4s. Saves a lot of time, headaches, frustration, and wasted wood. If you’re worried about the nail heads that are left in the boards, use a small punch to knock them out.

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    The comments here are crazy….but other then that the wall looks amazing! We did this as the focal point in our living room and using them to reface kitchen cabinets. Now some palettes are unsafe those that are unmarked use with caution and those with MB do not ever use! If they are marked HT they are completely safe to use but you must be cautious about where you are getting them from….washing palettes should always be done regargless.

  16. 22

    Do you need to aply the ply wood behind them or can you just nail them to the sheetrock?

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