nest·ing (noun) – An instinct or urge in pregnant mammals and birds to prepare a home for the soon-to-be newborn(s). ¹ The moment in which a woman who is 38+ weeks pregnant decides to release ten years of creative frustration with the color beige.
The logical thing would have been to clean my baseboards, freeze some extra meals, and put fresh linens on the bed, but did I do that? Um, no. At 38 weeks pregnant I decided to create a 30 pound piece of diy pallet art for my living room. Because, you know, the baby will immediately notice if there is not something between the two windows that look out onto our barn.
Okay, maybe not, but I would! You see, when Daniel and I got hitched nearly ten years ago I was so afraid of making a “mistake” while decorating our new home that I painted everything beige.
As you will see in the videos of Babypotamus’ birth, things are a **little different** in our new home. I love this new addition so much and it was SO EASY I wanted to share it with you!
Oh, and I am washing the linens now.
Step 1: Locate Pallets
Discarded pallets are pretty easy to find if you know where to look. Daniel asked the guy at the tile store what they did with theirs – he said “We wait for people like you to come by or break them down for the dumpster.”
The photo on the right is our haul from the tile store. We’re repurposing that crate into a drink stand for outdoor BBQ’s next year – YAY!
Here are six simple tips for locating quality pallets.
Note: Some have asked whether it’s a good idea to use pallets for indoor projects, because some are treated with chemicals such as fungicides. While this is true, many are now treated with heat rather than chemicals – you can identify them because they will have “HT” branded on the side.
Personally, I am not all that concerned with it when the DIY pallet art is going to hang on the wall because after they’re put together they don’t really come into physical contact with anyone.
Most have been stored outside and therefore have “aired out” more than most pieces of new furniture, which are usually treated in one way or another with equally toxic chemicals. However, if you are concerned you have a few options:
- Look for pallets that have a brand reading “HT” on the side. This means they were treated with heat rather than chemicals to eliminate pests.
- Create your own pallets using new, untreated wood. (Note: Much of the lumber sold at hardware stores is also treated, so you’ll need to ask!)
Step 2: Gather Supplies
Because I already had a bunch of zero VOC paint from my kitchen table chairs – which, yes, are all painted a different color – all I needed to buy were some wooden letters from Hobby Lobby. (Also needed for this project that I had on hand: wood glue, nails and a hammer)
- wood letters/phrases (I got mine from Hobby Lobby, but I also adore these, these and these)
- paint (I prefer low/no VOC. If you are super sensitive to chemicals you can use milk-based paint)
- wood stain, various colors (For projects like this I prefer water-based stains – they contain fewer VOCs)
- paintbrushes – various sizes based on the size of your slats/how many colors you want to use
- nails (see Step 2 for details on selecting the right size)
- sandpaper (optional)
- saw (optional)
Step 3: Prepare Your Pallet
Gently remove slats from the front and back of the pallet by tapping your crowbar with a hammer.
Place the support planks (the pieces of wood in the middle that attach the front and back slats) flat on the ground and arrange the slats on one side. If you have enough slats you may be able to cover the entire length of the support planks. If you don’t have enough slats or prefer not to use them all, saw off excess length from the support planks.
Nail the slats into position on one side, making sure to measure first to determine that they are not so long that they will go through the support planks. (Also make sure they aren’t too short!) It should look like this when you’re done.
If desired, lightly sand the surface to prepare it for stain/paint.
Step 3: Paint Or Stain Your Pallet
Make sure you allow for the drying time your paint/stain calls for before moving on to the next step.
Step 4: Prepare Artwork For Hanging
Daddypotamus used a kit he bought from Home Depot
Step 5: Add Letters Or Symbols
There are soooo many ways to do this: stencils, free-hand, puffy paint (which is a surprisingly awesome technique), or pre-made wood/cardboard lettering. Your DIY pallet art can be whatever you want it to be! I painted a cardboard cutout I found at Hobby Lobby, then superglued it on.
Step 6: Hang It Up!
And be so, so proud of yourself.
Need some more DIY pallet art inspiration?
I pinned several more ideas to this board to get your creativity flowing!