Pallet projects are all the rage – and why not? They’re easily accessible, cheap or free and a great way to go green! No doubt you’ve noticed these projects all over the internet, but did you know that not all pallets are created equal? Potential problems arise when using pressure treated wood – which forces harmful chemicals, formaldehyde, and or pesticides into the pallet to protect it from decay. You can read more information about possible risks when using pallets here - as well as learn how to identify “safe” pallets. So, should you stay away from the pallet craze? Far from it! Aside from taking certain precautions, you can avoid bringing pallets into your home by creating fabulous outdoor pallet projects.
Outdoor Pallet Projects
1. Inspect your pallet completely before bringing it home. Just because it’s cheap or free doesn’t mean you can overlook certain issues. Pay attention to how it smells, looks and feels. Are there many dark stains? Does it smell of mildew or mold? Is it oily feeling? Extra heavy? What you don’t want is pressure treated pallets, so search for an “HT” stamp that indicates it has been heat treated.
2. Even if your pallet project is going in the yard and not your living room, you’ll likely want to thoroughly clean it. Wear gloves. Use a mixture of bleach and water to scrub the wood, then let it dry in the sun. Then use soapy water and rinse it completely. Let it dry thoroughly before sanding it. If you’re still worried about irritants, treat the wood with at least two solid coats of clear coat to seal it completely after you’ve finished painting it. Try a spray shellac, or even mold and mildew resistant deck-grade sealer.
3. There are easy ways to disassemble a pallet and maximize the good wood still available to you. Check out the tips at the link above.
1. Spice it up. Lean it against the house or fence and use it as a vertical planter box for an herb garden.
2. Inside the box. Cut them apart and make planter boxes for your porch or patio.
4. Benches aren’t just for sitting. With some modifications, pallet wood is perfect for a work bench in the garage, or a potting bench in the yard.
5. Table it. Every seating area needs a table, even those outside. Give yourself a place to relax with a drink or chat over appetizers with an outdoor table on wheels.
6. Get in the swing of things. There’s nothing like a porch swing to take you back to the carefree days of childhood!
8. Consider the children. Use pallets to make a rustic treehouse complete with planks nailed to the tree for a ladder.
Check out this post on The Micro Gardener for lots of ideas about using pallets for vertical gardens, green houses, window box gardens, combination gardens and more!
Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on facebook, pinterest, bloglovin’ and instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(@)yahoo.com