Thursday, November 13, 2008

That’s Pallet-able

It is amazing what kinds of products can be created out of material that was once thought of as a one time use object; take for example pallets. Pallets are used in almost every shipping industry as a riser for products to rest on and due to their open underside, a forklift can scoot in and move thousands of pounds of material in one smooth movement with virtually no effort. Those pallets full of merchandise are placed on trucks and sent off to their final destinations, such as retail establishments. While the merchandise is placed out on the floor for sale, the pallet is most often discarded. A large number of people and companies have decided to make great use of this often overlooked resource creating everything from furniture to home goods to entire homes out of the recycled wood.

In researching this unique building material I came across so many products, people and companies it would be impossible to showcase all of them so here is a random sampling of designs built out of shipping pallets. Clearly they can be used for anything the imagination can conceive! Click on the photos to go directly to the website.

Now who wants splinters in their butt? I think the answer would be no one so after constructing this funky chair it is time to rip up those old bed sheets that were getting tossed and cover a cushion to provide maximum comfort. Old bed pillows no longer sufficient to sleep on are a fabulous resource for back and bum cushions!

Mark Dabelstein of creates many functional and decorative pieces out of old pallets or barn boards. Show your patriotism with this baby!

Want to build a house for free? It may take some time collecting, constructing and outfitting the home but how worth it will it be when it is complete? Michael at Tiny Free House is telling us all about his journey doing this very thing. Back in September he had about half of the walls up and he posts regular updates. I am truly inspired!

As a side note, Matt and I are sorely lacking in functional, space saving, storage solutions, most notably an entertainment center. We have a lot of media (some of which is “dark ages” kind of stuff like VHS tapes) that has nowhere to go but on our mismatched conglomerate of furnishings. In doing the research for this post it hit me that we too could make great use of free shipping pallets and then would not have to wait until the turn of the century to create our already planned out entertainment center!

Here is a before photo of our current set up showcasing everything but the bookshelf and in the design Matt has created at least 90% of this stuff as well as about 20% of the items in the bookshelf, will find a new home behind clutter free doors.

He is excited to start a new plan with pallets but here is the original concept.

I will post updates on where we are acquiring our pallets, how much (if any) resistance we encounter, challenges we are facing in using them in construction and any other fun tidbits of hilarity along the way so stay tuned!


mary jane said...

i love how the pallets look! those chairs are awesome and your plans looks super functional! yey for function!

High Desert Diva said...

This is going to be fun to track... can't wait!

Bridgete said...

Ooh. I'm thinking bed frame. I'll be looking forward to finding out where you're getting pallets and what kind of resistance you're experiencing.

draagonfly said...

Too bad you're not out here in SD already - I see those things advertised for free on craigslist all the time. Most people here pick them up for bonfires on the beach.

Jenn said...

Matt looked into it at lunch yesterday and discovered about a billion people offering multiple varieties (large, small, heavy duty, really thin, etc) on craigslist Boston as well. While I'm selling upcycled bags at the craft fair tomorrow he's going to be off collecting & disassembling pallets!

I can not WAIT to build this thing :) And if you think I'm excited, talk to a kid who just discovered that the candy is free. He's already talking about building multiple solutions for our home office, bedroom & kitchen. Guess I better start selling some craigslist stuff so I can afford to buy all that hardware lol!

artjewl said...

Very, very cool.

But good grief, there's no doubt you don't live with munchkins. My boys (ok, just the 2 yr old) would have all those dvds pulled off their shelves in 2.5 seconds flat. And, with kids, I would be nervous about an entertainment center built out of pallets -- because of the splinters.

Regardless, I can't wait to see the finished product! And if you think painting the wood might help with the splinter factor, I might have to consider it for some shelving we desperately need in our family room.

Good luck!

(Oh, is a good place to look for pallets too.)