Not quite a fan of the unsustainable design clones that fight for elbow room in today's furniture and big box stores? Anyone with a crafty bone in their body knows full well that entirely original household staples and all around practical lifestyle accessories with major wow factor can be cobbled together with minimal budgetary impact, all thanks to humble yet highly customizable wooden shipping pallets. Even if you've never before dabbled in the fine art of design via DIY, a little elbow grease and repurposing inspiration is really all you need to get your eco-design train in motion. Allllll aboard!
No-Sweat Shoe Rack Ensures Fanciful Footwork!
(Image via: junk+ion)
Here is a phenomenal way to launch into DIY territory without chewing up a whole day attempting to make sense of hammers, nails or any of the other traditional accoutrements fitting of a craft enthusiast. Simply knock on the door of any major tile retailer and offer to take one or several wooden pallets off their hands (which will surely make them smile from ear to ear since they normally have to pay a fee for proper disposal). Upon returning home with your freebie treasure, merely prop it up against a wall and tah-dah — behold an instant shoe holder which should easily accommodate 8+ pairs of footwear depending on its size and construction. Those who are itching to customize it should definitely bear in mind that the wooden surface is instantly ripe for paint, decoupage or whatever additional decorative concepts can be conjured up.
Put Glitzy Dishware Out On Pallet-Parade
(Images via: re-nest)
This "why didn't I think of that?" organizational project makes good use of the simplistic features of a garden variety pallet without requiring that the DIYer exercise any real fuss or muss. Merely swinging a hammer will take a pallet from yawn to yowza, imparting an edgy, urban feel to a kitchen or dining room that will have even well-heeled admirers scurrying off to the home improvement store in search of a jumbo pack of nails. If you think dishware looks good in a vertical pallet arrangement, the same concept could easily apply to cookbooks, tchotchkes or spices (with the addition of a few strategically placed planks of recycled pallet wood).
Sled Your Winter Cares Away On a Modified No Frills Pallet
(Images via: Instructables & stiffey)
How about another minimal effort project for the DIY newbies out there? Requiring slightly more elbow grease than the previous two ideas above, this wooden pallet sled makes child's play out of snowy hills and dales with the addition of curved rails on the underside of the craft. If you don't already have a sledgehammer, claw hammer, chisel and saw in your arsenal, rather than purchasing them (which will definitely hurt when you saddle up at the cash register), borrow them from friends or neighbors who fancy working with their hands and sweeten the deal by letting them in on your cheap snow-worthy secret!
Green Your Pedaling With a Carbon-Free Bike Trailer!
(Images via: Instructables & cmachia)
Tooling around town via bicycle to square away groceries as well as other shopping pit stops can end up being a whole lot easier and greener with this clever and relatively simple wooden pallet scavenging project. In three simple steps, one pallet can be disassembled using either a circular saw, a hammer or pry bar, a recycled wheel assembly as well as a hitch assembly can be created using a total of $7 of hardware and the whole kit-n-kaboodle can be attached to a separate fully intact pallet. The final result is a dandy looking DIY trailer, enabling any biking greenie to once and for all be able to carry more than a few carefully selected purchases home. Finally, welt-free arms are within reach!
Sit Pretty On a Mini Adirondack-Style Pallet Chair!
(Images via: Inhabitat, flickr, Nina Tolstrup of StudioMama)
Are you one of those people who longingly eyeballs the latest patio furniture offerings but never quite gets around to plunking down the necessary ka-ching? Aside from enjoying the view outside by sitting on a curb — which is free, but not so comfy — taking a load off shouldn't require shelling out a small fortune. Fortunately, shooting the breeze with a friend, enjoying the fruits of your organic gardening labors or indulging in a thirst-quenching libation can now be done with a relatively minimal 4 hour DIY investment by following this straightforward pallet chair tutorial courtesy of Mikey Sklar.
Cool Your Heels On an Outdoor Sectional Pallet Couch
(Images via: Craftzine & Wendy Tremayne)
Repurposing guru Wendy Tremayne offers up a seriously hardcore DIY project that, while requiring a great deal of time, patience and creativity, will take the heat off your wallet since the majority of the materials are reclaimed. Involving a framework of industrial pallets supporting reupholstered foam cushions rescued from someone's curb, the result of her efforts is a seating arrangement that is both utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing.
Accent Your Rooms With Whimsical Pallet Furniture
(Images via: Pallet Art & Mark Dabelstein)
Co-creator of Recycle Santa Fe…a Festival of Recycling, Vermont-based repurposing artisan Mark Dabelstein constructs uniquely designed pallet wood furniture and household decor pieces accented with organic paints. From flags and picture frames to clocks and cabinets, the artist has proudly been diverting landfill waste since 1998! You could easily pay homage to his resourceful style by following suit or tinkering with the arrangement of your pallet planks to devise entirely original designs.
Harness Your Unruly Belongings With an Earthy Yet Stylish Shelving System
(Images via: Design Sponge & Claire Terry)
One of the greatest inventions known to mankind, a simple multi-tiered organizational rack can beat books and random knick-knacks into submission, but the price tag can often be hard to digest. Claire Terry from New Zealand's Madame Fancy Pants has conjured up a spectacular DIY recipe for a pallet shelf is both tasty and oh-so-doable with its perfect melding of style, structure and simplicity. Do you know anyone who doesn't need an extra handy-dandy shelving system for the wonderful price of practically free?!? Didn't think so!
Scare the Living Bejeezus Out Of Trick-or-Treaters!
(Images via: Virtual Placebo)
Why spend full retail price on seasonal Halloween props that aren't designed to last beyond the next full moon when you can whip weathered pallets into shape by making this creepy semi-buried coffin instead? You'll definitely get the desired reaction from neighborhood kiddies who happen to saunter on by this piston-activated crypt that springs to life (or death, as the case may be) with its perpetually restless skeletal resident. Perhaps it could also double as an organic root cellar for the remainder of the year?!?
Deck The Halls With Palletized X-Mas Decor Ideas!
(Images via: Apartment Therapy)
Visual merchandiser Dann Boyles teamed up with Nashville's Nouveau Classics to brainstorm these crafty yuletide treats using slabs of reclaimed and artfully arranged pallet wood. Aware of the challenges that consumers face in a continually depressed economy, they devised this festive yet frugal decor duo consisting of a rustic wreath and a 13 foot Christmas tree using nothing more than a brad nailer, proving that cheap can still be chic when you add an ample dose of creativity to the formula. Who knew that hunks of wood could be so easy on the eyes?
Bring Music To Your Ears With a Finger-Pickin' Good Pallet Guitar!
(Images via: Sarah Archer & LA Guitar Sales)
While difficult to imagine, several enterprising individuals have taken on the seemingly full-blown challenge of transforming typical softwood spruce and pine pallets into musical instruments that can genuinely hold a tune. John S. Sargent's smooth, knotted pine wood version — riddled with nail holes and an S-shaped pallet nail insignia emblazoned on its peg head apparently possesses a mellow sound as does Bob Taylor's limited run of weathered pallet oak and pine guitars. The latter craftsman initially embraced the project to prove to naysayers that truly fine musical instruments can be created with any conceivable material and today, with just a handful of them floating around, collectors snap them up at several thousand dollars a pop.
Green Thumbs Rejoice: 4 Outdoor Decor Projects Ripe For The Picking!
(Images via: Instructables, Makezine, Woodworker's Woodshop, RootSimple)
From a quick-n-easy flower/veggie planter using two pallets to a latched, four-walled pallet compost bin, there are several surprisingly slick outdoor helpers that can assist the green warrior within all of us. Fancy crafting a potting station that won't cost you an arm and a leg? Homegrown Evolution's graduated design is practical while also being stylish, and with plenty of built-in tiers, you can stash gardening implements with the greatest of ease. Interested in encouraging the fine feathered friends flittering about to make a feast of excessively hungry insects that continue to plow through tender shoots and buds? Truly chemical-free gardening can be achieved by setting up various bird-worthy accommodations using recycled pallet wood, and the best part is that they can then feast to their heart's content and keep returning to the scene of the crime day after day!
Bring Out Your Inner Child With a Painted Pallet Playhouse
(Images via: Instructables & jkratman)
Whether you have a family of your own or neighborhood children tend to habitually flock to your property in search of entertainment, this repurposed pallet playhouse will definitely hit the spot. It's safe to say that this comprehensive project is best suited to the intermediate to expert DIY enthusiast, but as newbies acquire experience, it's definitely something worthwhile to aspire to. With its use of impressive craftsman-like details such as framed windows, a built-in porch and customized roofing, children lucky enough to call this their home away from home might not ever leave!
…Or Construct a Very Adult-Friendly Reclaimed Pallet Abode
(Images via: I-Beam Design, Michael Jantzen, Inhabitat)
Architectural firm I-Beam creates emergency or transitional structures for war/climate refugees as well as other individuals who through unforeseen circumstances are faced without the prospect of shelter. What makes their 16 x 16 $3000 concept particularly brilliant is that — in addition to being erected in just one week — it can be adapted to become more permanent when concrete, plaster, stone or other substantial materials are incorporated. Michael Jantzen, on the other hand, is the brainchild behind the Tiny Free House, which is a 100% pallet-constructed abode fitted with modern amenities, proving that we can all achieve the American Dream with a little resourcefulness and DIY action. Interested in making one of your very own mini Thoreau-like pallet dwellings? The designer sells plans on his website! Last but certainly not least, the multi-award winning Paletten Haus is reportedly simple to erect, energy efficient and could conceivably become a viable, low-income housing structure for individuals with compromised financial backgrounds. In fact, its designers Andreas Claus Schnetzer and Gregor Pils are currently in the process of modifying the structure as an 80 square foot home for a Johannesburg, South African social building project at a cost of just $11 per square foot. Still want more? Here is a whole house made of old pallets, 10 more pieces of recycled-pallet furniture, and an architectural pallet installation artist who works with cargo container too.