Pallet mania

Pallets are cool, hyper trendy and highly upcyclable material. Star designers and DIY beginners alike, all love pallets. These humble transport and storage structures are an upcycler’s best friend. They are free or cheap, readily available and made from a versatile material with thousands of practical uses. Transforming or customizing them into awesome pieces has become a huge trend. 

Hardware, furniture and equipment stores, newspaper companies, garden and nursery shops are good places to ask for them. If they agree, choose single-use pallets, from dry goods industries, and stamp-less. They are lighter and haven’t been chemically treated. Those with stamps have been treated. Choose pallets with an HT stamp – Heat treated: non-chemical thermal treatment. Forget those with MB – Methyl bromide – highly toxic. Ditto for blue, red and brown coloured pallets. Painted pallets usually have a deposit or reimbursement fee associated to them. They are not for grabs.

Without taking them apart, you can make a splendid slatted bed base. 

Just wash them, sand them and give them a lick of varnish or paint before putting your mattress on it. Ditto for a fabulous settee. Give the same treatment to two or three pallets before spraying them with bright colours or gold, like the Italian designer Seletti, before stacking them up to make a handy coffee table with shelves for books, magazines or whatever takes your fancy. Create a cosy nook by stacking two pallets on top of each other, add one or two mattresses and cover then with some pretty fabric. Throw a few cushions on top and you have a garden sofa fit for a queen.

Sand, paint or varnish 5 palettes. Attach four big swivel wheels, two of them with brakes, to the bottom pallet. Stack the other four on top, secure them together and you have a handy barbecue side-table that will leave your neighbour green with envy.

Hide your compost behind these super screens. 

As a bonus, they’ll welcome your rakes, spades, shovels and other tools in the summer. You need 4 same size pallets. Join 2 pallets securely together, at the top and bottom corners, with bailing wire or nylon rope ties, making a right angle. Repeat on the other side. Attach the front pallet on one side only to act as a hinged door, allowing you to access you compost easily by undoing the ties on one side and swinging it open if you need to turn it or to remove some of the precious organic matter.

Real DIYers take pallets apart, with a hammer and crowbar or a pallet breaker, before having a ball making almost anything. From shelves to garden sheds, gardening containers to pergolas, tables and benches to a bar, like Timothy, Alexander and Barnaby did. They even fitted it with a sink.


For other stunning upcycling ideas

Récupération et recyclage à tout faire