In the garbage business, pallets really are a dime a dozen. Except cheaper. They are also so versatile that they frequently masquerade in all kinds of other designs. One difficult thing about pallet furniture, or any rough wood for that matter, is that can be difficult to clean. That’s why sanding, resanding, and thick sealant is always important. So, when I had a giant piece of glass left over from a different piece, I knew I wanted to build a pallet table for it.
Posts in category Nickel and Dime Decor
A few people have asked about the recycled tire ottoman I have featured in the gallery. It is one of my favorite projects because tires are EVERYWHERE and because it is a GREAT beginner project. So, here is a step by step approach to making your own tire ottoman. A note before we begin- the burlap ribbon that I use is generally $6 per roll. I used 2.5. I recently discovered my craft store began selling used coffee bean sacks for $3 a piece. I have not done it yet, but I would like to redo this project again using of of those since it would cut the materials cost.
Next, for the top, you will need a 24″ square of plywood (or similar) at least half inch thick. Trace a large circle on your board. Then cut it out with a jig saw. (If you would like to add a base with legs or casters, do this twice)
Flip your covered circle upside down and place the tire on top of it, centered. Now using a drill and screws, separate the folds in your ribbon and drill through the tire into your board. Do your best not to sink the head of the screw into the tire or to drill all the way through your plywood.
If you don’t wish to add a base, your job is done
As I’ve said before, if you can successfully dismantle a pallet, you basically win a free stack of lumber. Which means, anything you can build with 1×4’s and 2×4’s you can build with the pieces of a pallet. If you already know that you will not be needing the pallet shape for your build, and if you don’t need the full length of the planks, a (sometimes) simpler way to remove them is to just cut them free with a saw.
Now, sand EVERYTHING.
Lastly, place your top planks, and tack them down (I use a nail gun).
Add a sealer coat – And we’re done!
Before I add more in depth pallet projects, here are a couple of super simple ideas that are in use at my house. They all evolve from the same concept: removing the planks, reattaching them side by side, then sanding and painting/staining. They vary in size and function, but they are all very similar in design.
The biggest challenge in working with pallets is often the dismantling. If you can successfully remove the planks without splitting them, you’ve basically earned a free stack of lumber. And! It’s lumber which often has far more character and texture than your standard store bought white woods.
Have you completed any projects by recycling pallets? I’d love to hear about it!
I’m going to be adding a few posts into a series about the versatility of shipping pallets. There is no shortage of pallet projects on the internet, but I hope to go a little more step by step in case you’re actually wondering how to create some of these simple projects on your own. — Firstly, a PSA, if you have not looked into it before, please do a Google search about identifying pallets that have been chemically treated. Please do not use them. Without knowing what a pallet may have been used for, even untreated ones, you should always wear a mask when sanding.
OK- I’ll start off with my most recent- this Kitchen Wall Rack. First find a pallet.
I know you’re all too smart to make the same mistake I did, having fabric seat dining chairs and small children in the same house. But just in case anyone else suffers from similar problems, maybe you’ll appreciate this cheap tip. If you are unsure whether you are one of these people or not, ask yourself this question – Do your dining chairs look anything like this?
We got this set with our house. Which means we’ve had them for just about a year. This will be their 3rd recovering. You know how the government reminds you to change your clock and check your smoke detectors? I have a similar relationship with these chairs. -“Look! it’s almost the summer solstice! Time to cover them chairs again!” “Look! the kids are eating baked beans with a whisk again! Time to cover them–eh, well, it’s brown. We’ll hold out for the winter solstice.”
Anyway, as you can imagine, re-upholstering four chairs 3 times a year adds up to a lot of fabric. And fabric can be pricey. Plus, when you’re just looking at fabric that’s going to get “baked beaned” in the next 72 hours, it’s really hard to justify the cost.
Unless the cost is this
Most second hand shops have a large selection of curtains, sheets, and blankets and such. It is always worth a look if you’re in the market for cheap fabric!
Maybe you’re new to this DIY game, but if you can wrap a present, you can reupholster the fabric seat of a dining chair!
And there you have it- renewing 4 chairs for $3.50. Almost as much as a large can of baked beans!
Have you repurposed any thrifty items recently?
I recently did a few updates in our guest bathroom; Hiding the ATROCIOUSLY pink, grey, green marble floor with a beautiful and cost effective vinyl and making a few decor changes. This project was not really on our home improvement radar, but I have REALLY hated those floors ever since we did our first walk through of the house last year.
Of course, I had more ideas for changes along the way. But the budget was really only for flooring. So, I had to tap into my resources to pull off the look I was going for. First I wanted a large, and decorative towel rack. Those run around $60+ from Target. That was essentially the entire budget. But my husband HAD recently brought me a couple of headboards that he found on the street. (romance at it’s best. no, really). Anyway, I chose the largest one, painted it white and added some hooks.
Super simple, super cheap, and even more of a statement piece than the typical store bought variety.
I am totally kicking myself for not taking a before picture last year when I stripped the aqua speckled wall paper!
This bathroom has a pedestal sink (unfortunately it is seafoam green. As are the toilet and tub, hence the current color choices- At least until a total reno is done in like 5 years). So, there is no vanity or even any surface for guests to set a bag. The only available space is in front of the window, so I didn’t want to bring in a big clunky shelf or table that would block light. But! I remembered that months ago, I snagged this little chair from a friend when they were moving and didn’t want it because it was worn out and cracked. A quick fix and paint job and I’ve got myself a great little accent piece / place to set things! $0 because it was leftover paints.
The other item I was eyeing was a large woven basket at Target. It cost $30. If redoing the floor cost $60, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend half of that on a basket. So, I hit up the nearest Goodwill Store and found this.
-for a savings of-
I have watched a lot of HGTV and DIY network in my time. I have a love/hate relationship with many of the hosts / decorators. Specifically decorators who make people think that spending $300 on a lamp is a good idea or even normal (“but it’s imitation rhino hyde!”. No. it’s hideous, over priced, and you seem to be lacking in street smarts. “But look at the crystal pull chain!” My kids will break it. And how did you get here anyway?!).
Just because you’re working with “normal” budget doesn’t mean you can’t end up with the high end look. Sometimes you just have to pay the difference in elbow grease and ingenuity!
Got any fabulous thrifty flips or ingenious substitutes to share? I’d love to hear about it!
I’m a bit of a thrift shop addict. *begin catchy saxophone jam here* I love everything about them: The hidden gems, the pricing (usually), The quirky and bazaar items, and the fact that my kids can bring along 4 quarters from their piggy banks and buy some 6th hand toy with which they are more delighted than if I bought it new. The thrill of the hunt!
Obviously my eye is usually out for unique furniture pieces. But, another go-to item that I love is books. Yes, it is my custom to buy any used copy of Harry Potter, but also, “decorative books”. I frequently use books when decorating, in various capacities, as features or as filler. So don’t judge a book by it’s cover, I judge it by it’s spine- color, texture, and lettering.
I’m not sure if Levar Burton would love or hate the fact that I drilled holes and mounted brackets onto perfectly good books. And I may or may not have PURPOSEFULLY included The Grapes of Wrath in that line up (I’m sorry Mrs. Nebbia). But $20 to liven up an otherwise boring bathroom was totally worth it to me!
Do you have any specific items you are always on the look out for at 2nd hand stores?