Buying a brand-new house with an unfinished backyard has led me to look into cheap DIY projects. So far, I’ve installed a sprinkler system for 1/6 the cost a contractor quoted, and started gathering ideas involving pallets, which you can get for free or for just a few dollars, and reclaimed wood – usually local and cheap. Originally, the projects were just for the backyard, but a few have crept inside. Let’s look at a few of the projects, some using pallets, some using reclaimed wood, that I’ve been gathering.
First, an important note: With all reclaimed wood, including pallets, be sure to clean and sanitize the wood. We don’t want to carry germs into your house on, say, pallets used in the food industry. Once dried, you are ready to start your projects.The next step to nearly all of the pallet projects is disassembling. Thankfully, it’s a matter of just a few minutes’ work.
1. Pallet garden walkway
Let’s start off with something that, after the above steps, is almost finished. Once you have disassembled a pallet, use sealant to treat the boards. Optionally, stain the wood before using the sealant. Next, artfully arrange the boards, forming a pallet path. That’s it; you’re done.
Source: Donna at Funky Junk Interiors.
2. Wall ruler
My wife and I are looking to start a family soon. For those with young children, here’s another undemanding project: a wall ruler. Sand down the reclaimed wood, mark off measurements and numbers using paint or a marker, use wax to seal the wood. I suggest using saw-tooth hangers and nails to hang the ruler, securing it to a wall easily. All that’s left is to line the kiddos up and measure their heights.
3. Garden planter
This is likely my next project, once the grass finishes growing in. Making a raised planter from scratch shouldn’t take more than a few hours. Using pallets and reclaimed wood brings the already low cost down more. To give a planter the pallet look, leave gaps in between boards. Use planter lining, or, as with the strawberry planter at the link, you can let bark and the plant fill in the gaps.
Along with a new house, we upgraded our bed. But, we don’t have a headboard, and a Cal King in our style at a reasonable price is hard to find. I’ve settled on two major options for a DIY reclaimed wood headboard: A natural look that uses driftwood or any reclaimed wood without perfectly straight lines, or squared-off, such as a pallet or old fence boards, giving a cleaner look. Lumber strips will hold the boards together.
Source: Flickr user Jaclyn Miller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
5. Hanging bed
For anyone with a sturdy tree in their yard or a roof over their back porch, what’s better than a pallet swing bed? This will be great for when it rains but I want to be outside, or if I feel like reading in comfort in the great outdoors. The straightforward project little more than attaching two pallets together to form a platform with a backrest, and hanging it with rope. I prefer a four-point hanging system, which will keep the bed level.
We’re going to modify the instructions for this loveseat, using reclaimed wood instead of plain plywood. The first step, and probably hardest, is to cut a template for the seat portion. Compare the curve of the seat to a couch, taking note of how the seat and backrest fit together. You will have to judge if the angles and curves look comfortable. Once cut, stain and seal the wood, and finally glue or nail all the pieces together.
7. Swings around a fire pit
The final, most ambitious project a chair swing set around a fire pit. Will this even fit in my backyard? Who knows, but I want one, and it’s not a complicated build, despite what it might look like. The project is merely time-consuming. The swings are comparable to making the loveseat (or you can even use the loveseat as the swing). A third option is the swinging bed. Buying a single chair swing could cost at least $140, but using reclaimed wood and putting in some hard work, you can significantly reduce the cost.
This article was written by Cole Mayer. A former professional journalist covering crime, court and fire stories, Cole spends his free time freelance writing, playing video games, doing yard work, and slowly writing a crime novel. He can be reached on Twitter or Facebook.