Things that (P)inspire me: Wooden Pallet Magic

I have recently been introduced to an amazing thing called Pinterest.  I’m sure many of you are like “Really?  I’ve HAD one of those!  How did you NOT know about that?”  Well listen, Sassy Pants, until very recently I was working approximately 60+ hours a week and had no free time, but now that that has changed — hopefully forever — I have (some) free time for things of that venture (and this venture – this blog I mean).

My lovely friend, Julie first told me about Pinterest and I was all “Wha?? Ooohh…” and I immediately went to the website (by the way, she was not all sassy about my ignorance to the wonders of Pinterest, just to clarify).  Basically, the website lets you create boards — “virtual” boards that is — under whatever category you specify, e.g., “DIY Projects for a Rainy Day,” “Dresses I love,” “Things I would buy if I had a bazillion dollars,” et al.  You can use a bookmarklet that they provide you with to tag something as an image, then it automatically goes to whatever board you select.  You can write a short description if you so desire, and the image is saved with the original website as a link.  If you choose to share your “pins,” then everyone can see them, and “repin” them if they want.  The website is perfect for planning an event like a wedding, especially if you want to see all your inspirational images together in one place (think: colors, materials, flowers, venues, you know).

Ok, at the sake of waxing poetic on the many amazing features and uses of Pinterest, I’ll stop now… and just encourage you to sign up for a FREE account and try it out yourself:  http://www.pinterest.com

There!

So… since I have fallen head over heels for Pinterest, I thought I’d share some of my findings via blog.  This week I am all about the many uses of wooden pallets.  You know?  Wooden pallets, those things you often see on the side of the road or by the dumpsters of most department/ grocery stores?

They are used to transport goods, usually by forklift or a jacking device.  Typically, after they have been used, they are thrown away.  Ugh.  The tree-hugger in me weeps, especially when I think of the lost resources and the clogging of landfills (I recently read that annual wooden pallet production is responsible for the deforestation of an area ten times the size of Manhattan … gross).   Of course, there are more environmentally friendly ways of transporting goods, but because wooden pallets are one of the cheapest options, they continued to be one of the most widely used.

Possessing a yen for upcycling and a love of all free materials, I have begun seeking out ways of reusing these dumpster-bound beauties!  Granted, there are different types of wooden pallets ranging in quality, so some of the wood is super cheap, splinter-tastic and could only be used for certain projects (and of course, I would never make a baby crib or ANY children’s furniture out of wooden pallets).  However, there are still a bevy of options if you’re in the DIY mood – and I hope you are!

DIY Movie theater from pallets

Wooden Pallet Movie Theatre {Source: Treehugger}

Room divider made from old wood pallets

Room divider {Source: unknown}

Paint the pallet white and hang stuff from it.

{Source: unknown}

This reminds me of a xyllophone (sp?)

Rainbow pallet bench {Source: Christina Diaz}

yet another fun pallet idea...

Another hanging wall pallet {Source: Shelterness}

a daybed out of wooden pallets with an old door as the headboard

Wooden Pallet Daybed {Source: Apartment Therapy}

Wooden pallet vertical garden {Source: Design Sponge}

Pallet bar storage

Wooden pallet bar storage {Source: unknown}

4 wooden pallets attached and then hinged together

Wooden pallet room divider {Source: My Friend Staci}

Wooden pallet coffee table with Queen of Hearts painted on top

Queen of Hearts wooden pallet coffee table {Source: Ready Made}Wooden pallet coffee table

Wooden pallet shelves

Wooden pallet shelves {Source: Recyclart}

plate display

wooden pallet dish display {Source: CalFinder}

Important:  There are many folks out there that feel very strongly that bringing wooden pallets into your home is not a good idea.  Because pallets are often treated with chemicals that can be toxic, the concern is that these would emit gases and be harmful inside a home.  Also, pallets are used to transport a wide variety of things, including food and drugs (medical), so of course bacteria or chemicals from these things can get on the wood if there’s a leak.  Honestly, I feel that MANY things in our homes are just as harmful if not more so, but I understand the hesitation.  My suggestion is to look for the “HT” printed on the pallet which means it’s been heat treated and therefore more likely to be protected from these potential problems.  I also encourage anyone using a pallet to seal with a varnish – but you should probably do this anyway to render the wood non-porous and less splintery.  Caveats aside, I still feel this is a worthwhile avenue to explore, and aside from making children’s furniture (splinters, instability, etc), I will one day bring pallets into my home for my own DIY projects. 

There.  Conscience: clear!

Let me know what you think of these ideas, and as always, if you have any ideas of your own, please pass those along in comment form (below)!!!

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