Hi Everyone! This is Allie Bloyd with another awesome how-to for you – wood pallet shelves! As most of us know, wood pallets are pretty incredible. You can make just about anything your heart desires with these versatile boards (and for cheap!). With the holidays coming up, I thought this would be a good project to share. I have made these shelves for gifts, and they were a big hit! The construction is pretty standard, but the fun part is decorating the insides to reflect your personality or there personality of the person you’re giving them too. Lets get started!

Wood Pallet Shelves Materials:

For this project, you will need

  • A wood pallet
  • A hand or circular saw
  • Your stain of choice
  • Wet wipes or disinfectant spray and rag
  • Sponge for your stain
  • Screws
  • A drill
  • 1/8 bit
  • Measuring tape
  • Knobs of choice (optional)
  • 1 yard of burlap
  • At least 4 decorations. I go for 2 picture frames and 2 other objects.
  • Safety Glasses

Wood Pallet Shelves

How to build your Wood Pallet Shelves:

Step 1: Cutting your wood pallet

First of all, you need to select a wood pallet that has some character but is still in pretty good shape. We can sell them at Builders Surplus for $9.99 if you’re looking for one. You are then going to need to use a saw to cut it. If you are not comfortable using a saw, I recommend that you find someone who is to help you. Safety first. If you are using the saw yourself, get your safety glasses on. You are just going to make a straight cut right above the second board from the top and bottom.

Step 2: Cleaning your Wood Pallet

After successfully cutting your pallet, you will need to clean it to make sure there is not dirt, grime or cobwebs on it (depending where you get it, you never know what you might find!)
I used some simple disinfecting wipes. I brushed off all the big stuff first and went back and got the smaller particles. It is not going to mess things up if you have a bit left on there like it would if you were painting, which is nice. Stain is much more forgiving, and with a rustic look, old dirt can sometimes work for you!

Step 3: Staining your Wood Pallet

I used Minwax ‘Weathered Oak’ for my stain. It is a nice compliment to the natural color of the distressed wood pallet. I took my sponge, and went over both pieces of my pallet. You don’t have to do this perfectly, the imperfections make it beautiful. The stain is to give it a more uniform look all over, but it is not required, just my personal preference!

Step 4: Cutting your Bottom Boards

This next step also requires a saw, so again, use safety and your best judgement. Take your measuring tap and measure the full width of your wood pallet as well as the width of the bottom opening. One side of my pallet was cracked and missing (which I love!) so I opted to do two separate pieces on the bottom, to make sure I lined it up in the right spot, but most of the time you can just use one solid piece. Outline on your plywood the length and width that you need (2) times, for both of your shelves. Cut them out stain the edges of them with the sponge you used on your wood pallet.


Other versions of wood pallet shelves


Step 5: Securing the Plywood To The Wood Pallet

Now, you will attach your plywood to turn this wood pallet into shelves! Take your drill & screws and secure all 4 corners of your board or boards onto the bottom opening. If you need to touch up any stain, now is the time to do it.

Step 6: Adding Decorative Knobs & Decorations

After step 5, your wood pallet shelves are technically complete, but not in my mind. These shelves are about more than storage, they are about charm and character. I love old rustic knobs, so I took some that I found and spread them out evenly over the front of one of my shelves. Three to the left of the center board and three to the right. I took a sharpie and measured the spaces, and then marked the spots that would make it a proper distribution. Switch your drill to your 1/8 bit and pre-drill all 6 holes. Then, take your knobs and screw them through the holes. Attached your washer & bolt to the back to secure it.
Now, I will position my decorations in my shelves. I like having 2 picture frames to help with the personalization, but you can choose whatever works best for you or your home! I also chose two other decorations, and for these shelves, that was a burlap flower bouquet and a cardboard & sign that I painted with white acrylic paint.  I think one large item in each of the “pockets” works well, but again, you can mix it up how ever you like!
After I’ve positioned my wood pallet shelf decorations, I will break out my burlap. I my yard into 4 strips of my desired width. I like to place the burlap behind the items and spread it out to give it a more cozy look.
Below is another set of shelves that I created, where I took wooden letters and used hot glue to cover them in moss. I decorated with some flowers and an old door knob. The options are unlimited!
For more amazing wood pallet projects, check out our Pinterest board, Wood Pallet Wonders!
That’s all on our How-To Tutorial For DIY Wood Pallet Shelves! I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Please check back to see more how-to’s on decorating, installation, crafting, and more! To see how to build a leaning shelf set out of an old door, check out this tutorial!
Builders Surplus is a full service remodeling company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, which comes as a free service to our clients. We sell building supplies ranging from unused surplus, to first quality in stock, to high end custom order and everything in between. We also provide measurement and full installation services (in our Louisville Location, partial in our Newport Location). Our core products consist of kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities (single vanities and double vanities), interior doors, exterior doors, sinks, faucets, granite countertops, quartz countertops, laminate countertops, windows, and more! If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. Happy Remodeling!
Written By: Allie Bloyd