In my wedding décor post, I mentioned that my husband and I had made a card/gift box out of old pallets. Now that its wedding duties are over, it works as a plant shelf, storage box, and cat fur collector!
There are some really cool things you can do with pallets. Just do a Google image search for “reclaimed pallet wood” and you’ll get tons of ideas. Another pallet project that I have in the (very early) planning stages is making a coffee table with one of my friends, kinda like this one
(from KSwoodcrafters on Etsy)
or this one
(from house updated).
To make our storage box, we more or less followed this Instructable tutorial with a few modifications. The tutorial doesn’t include measurements, so you can decide how large you want to make it. I can’t remember the exact dimensions that we used… I think we decided on the size by lining up the boards and seeing what worked so that we could minimize the number of cuts we had to make.
Here is how you can make your own:
1) Find yourself some pallets! Check your local hardware/home improvement store or any transportation hub, like a trainyard. They are usually free to a good home. Now that I know where to look, I see pallets all. the. time. And I’m always talking myself out of picking more up, like a crazy cat lady who can’t stop adopting stray cats. Except with scrap wood.
2) Disassemble the pallets using a crow bar, and discard any broken boards. For a box around this size, you probably want 2-3 pallets depending on how many boards you have to discard.
3) Remove any nails/staples from the boards. Make sure you wear work gloves and be careful, they are probably old and rusty!
4) Choose the straightest, sturdiest pieces for your frame. Measure and mark your cuts with a pencil.
5) Cut your frame pieces to size. After we did this, we also ripped the frame pieces in half lengthwise so they would be narrower than the rest of the boards.
6) Now you’re ready to assemble your frame! Make sure that everything at this step is straight and squared off, otherwise you might find that the boards are not straight when you assemble the sides of the box. Our frame does not look square, but the floors were actually just uneven. You will need 2 pieces like this, one for the top and one for the bottom.
7) Choose pieces for the sides of the box. Play around with the layout, since the boards will have slightly different colours/weathering. Measure and mark with a pencil, then cut to size.
8) Attach the corner boards of the box to the frame first.
9) Attach the rest of the boards to fill in the gaps. You may have to trim one or two boards to get them to fit.
10) Attach the corner trim from the inside. We also used narrower pieces for this step.
11) Cut triangles from some of the scrap pieces for the feet of the base, and attach to the bottom edges of the boards.
12) Drop in the base and attach to the feet. We used a scrap piece of pine board we had lying around for the base, but you could also make the base the same way the top is made below (then you wouldn’t need the triangle feet).
13) All you need now is a lid! Lay out pieces lengthwise and then use perpendicular boards on either side to screw them together (from the underside).
14) Attach trim pieces to finish off the top edges of the box. Use hinges to attach the lid to the back of the box. Before attaching the trim, you could also line the box with some fabric, which I’m thinking of doing eventually so that we can put throw blankets and such inside without worrying about snagging. My husband also attached some leather strapping so the lid could be held open.
15) Once your lid is attached, you can have some fun with different styles of handles and clasps. We just went with el cheapo nickel finish ones from Canadian Tire but you can play around with some different ones to get the look you want (the Instructables tutorial above did some neat stuff with adding a rusty finish to the hardware).
So there you have it! And to think that wood was just going in the garbage. I’d love to hear if anyone else has tried something similar… Have you ever repurposed something that was going to meet its maker? If you’re my husband, that time you rescued an oscilloscope from the dumpster and gave it a new power supply doesn’t count.