How to Recycle Wooden Pallets

classic wooden palletClassic Wooden Pallet

Most of us have seen wooden pallets stacked outside a store or warehouse with a big, enticing FREE sign attached to them. Millions of wooden pallets are used around the world for storage in factories, warehouses, and retail outlets and, of course, to transport goods between these facilities. At some point, many of these pallets become redundant or unusable for their original purpose – thus the need for someone to come take them away and reuse or recycle them.

Here are some great make and do ideas for recycling those cast-off wooden pallets …

wooden pallet benchMake a Wooden Pallet Bench

Readymade Magazine issued a Curbside Pallet Challenge, and you can read the story behind the winning entry of an Industrial Pallet Bench submitted by San Francisco chef Mike Yakura.

DIY instructions to make your own version are included on the page.

Make a Wooden Pallet Fence

Keep out critters and prying eyes when you Make Your Own Wooden Pallet Fence, with instructions from Clay Sawyer for Backwoods Home Magazine.

pallet planter
Make A Rustic Pallet Planter or Country-Style Pallet Deck

Also for the gardening enthusiast are these appealing plans and instructions from esprit cabane to make a Rustic Pallet Planter or, for the truly ambitious recycler with access to lots of pallets, a Rustic Wooden Pallet Deck.

wooden pallet coffee tableMake a Wooden Pallet Coffee Table

Available on the same great site are DIY instructions to Make a Wooden Pallet Coffee Table. This clever design uses mortar to fill gaps between slats; you can leave the mortar as is, or paint it for a more dramatic contrast with the wood grain.

Make Money from Recycled Pallet Birdhouses

Entrepreneurs should read this article on Backwoods Magazine which discusses how to make Wooden Pallet Bird Houses that are suitable for sale at local retail outlets such as hardware stores, feed stores, garden centers or craft stores.

pallet computer deskrustic pallet tableBuild a Wooden Pallet Computer Desk

Starving students can expand their horizons beyond plank-and-brick bookshelves with these detailed instructions by Tom Riley, for Woodware Designs, showing How to Make a Computer Desk from Wooden Pallets.

Rustic Pallet Side Table

For a straightforward, objective view on recycling pallets, including the pitfalls and benefits of working with this source of wood stock, check out Palatable Woodworking.

This site includes personal experience plans and photos, together with explanations on how the author made such impressive projects as the Rustic Pallet Table, shown at left.

Build It With Pallets

build it with pallets bookYou’ll get the same “rough” plans that the author used, plus major construction tips to inspire your own resourceful creativity with wooden pallets.

In Build It! With Pallets, available from Amazon, author Joe Jacobs describes how to break down pallets into timber and refashion them into useful objects. The book includes over 20 plans for tables, fences, chairs, planters and other items of indoor and outdoor furniture. chairs, tables, fences, gates, chicken arks, planters, sheds, decking, cladding and many other items. interlocking pallet planks

The author suggests notching the ends of eight pallet planks, as shown at left, to build a free-standing raised garden bed, or a run for a pet guinea pig or rabbit.

Dismantling Wooden Pallets and Skids
One problem with reclaiming wooden pallets is the difficulty in prying them apart. But there are many shortcuts, hints and tips from the creative people commenting on this Instructables page, offering Plans for a Planter from Pallets using a No-Nail Pull Method.

wooden pallet compost binYou could also check out How to Dismantle a Pallet.raised garden bed made from pallets

Raised Gardens from Pallets

Over at, you’ll find DIY instructions for Raised Garden Beds Made From Pallets.

EHow also has two separate projects showing How to Make a Compost Bin from Wooden Skids or Make a Compost Bin from Free Wooden Pallets.

Finally, see what you can do with 80 reclaimed wooden pallets plus a few other reclaimed materials – Make a Pallet Playhouse. The author provides tons of photos and great advice, but you’ll learn a great deal from the commentary as well.
wooden pallet playhouse