While bringing natural and rustic elements indoors is by no means a new fad, we do think that its a lasting aesthetic that brings authentic warmth into any environment. Chances are you’ve seen dozens of reclaimed wood projects in the last couple of years, but have you ever tried one!? We took a stab at building a pallet wood wall in the office last month and while it was quite the task, seeing the outcome of our handy work has brought a lot of meaning to our space. Check out our DIY guide complete with tips, tricks and advice for creating your own DIY pallet wood wall.
Circular Saw, Jigsaw or hand saw needed at times.
STEP 1: LOCATE WOOD.
Wooden pallets can be found (for free) in a number of places. If you like the thrill of dumpster diving, check behind grocery stores, print shops, warehouses and consider anything near the street or trash fair game. If you are seeking convenience, we would suggest going the Craigslist route. Typically you can find a handful of locals giving away pallets in the “free” section as we did – in a one stop shop.
You’ll want to look for pallets labeled HT (heat treated). We ended up with a hodgepodge of heat treated, chemically treated and not treated – so we tossed the CT and NT ones and worked primarily with HT wood.
NOTE: You’ll need more than you think. Verifying that you have multiple of the same widths is important. We collected strategy-free – not knowing how we were going to assemble the wall and ended up needing to retrieve more pallets.
STEP 2: DISASSEMBLE.
So, you should mentally prepare yourself now that these guys are not intended to be taken apart. You may curse. You may cry. But in the end you will feel strong, powerful and accomplished (or bitter and angry). We recommend a crowbar and heavy hammer. If you don’t care about keeping a rustic look and losing a few inches of wood – sawing the boards off is a decent option as well.
STEP 3: SAND AND STAIN.
Electric sander is probably ideal. We used a hand-sanding sponge – shading down just enough to get rid of any rough edges, but careful not to lose the “cool” distressed look. As each board was rough sanded, we laid them on a large tarp and went back over with stain.
You can use no stain, light stain, dark stain – whatever you like. We chose “Golden Oak” and really love that it pulled the richness of the wood without changing the coloring too drastically. Once all wood was stained, we covered with a tarp and allowed to dry outside, overnight. Make sure you keep wood covered as not to get dirty or damp.
STEP 4: ATTACH PLYWOOD TO WALL
Technically, this step is optional. From our research we gathered that while you are definitely able to nail/drill directly into your wall, you will likely have to the replace with new drywall should you ever decide you don’t want a wall covered in wood. Since we rent our office space, we thought it best to protect the wall, and would consider this step a must do.
To do so, we purchased 1/2 inch thick plywood to cover the walls. This required 4 panels and 1 trimmed down using a circular saw. There was a small gap at both the top and the bottom as the length was a tad short. If this happens to you, just make sure to attach your boards accordingly when doing these rows.
STEP 5: ATTACH BOARDS TO PLYWOOD
So, many blogs and tutorials recommended a nail gun. A nail gun would be a lovely addition to the supply list – should you have one on hand. We, however, being Samurai and all, decided that we needed nothing more than the arm of a strong man (or sometimes woman) and a hammer.
We randomized the widths of the boards throughout the wall, but kept the same width boards per row. There is some randomosity occurring but also some logic and reason. Several others decided on the puzzle effect – but that seemed stressful both mentally and visually. Don’t worry, your wall wont appear symmetrical and perfect unless you work really hard to make it that way (but most people are striving for the rustic vibe).
STEP 6: CLEAN UP
Everyones process and mess is going to look different. If you were very strategic in planning, tosses junk wood along the way, pickup up lost nails as you went – bravo(!) clean up is going to be a breeze. We on the other hand, built the majority of this wall on our second story balcony of out office, moving amongst desks, team members and Christmas party prep to complete the task. We began with seperating the left over wood and pallet brackets into piles. We lugged all of the “unusable” scraps to the dumpster and neatly organized all remaining pieces to use for shelving and other future projects. We then cleaned all of the saw dust, wood chips, etc off of the balcony – marking the outside area as finished!
Since we were working in tight quarters, we tracked a lot of sawdust in to the office carpet. And since we were hammering each plank into the wall, we found ourselves too exhausted to pick up dropped nails along the way. So, once the outside was spick and span, we scoured the black carpet for black nails and pickup any wood pieces that might hurt the final step of clean up – vacuuming! Once you finish cleaning up your space, we highly recommend stepping back to admire your work and then heading to a full body massage appointment… unless you took your pallets apart with a saw and used a nail gun to put them up, in which case we have little pity on you.