Remember this little picture I teased you with a few weeks ago?
Grant made about 4-5 trips to a warehouse to pick up some leftover pallets for this project. They were a great deal – FREE! And we did get permission from a friend who worked there before we “stole” them.
As you remember, we’ve been working on updating our bedroom. Well, on one of the walls we wanted an accent wall. So this post will give you the ins and outs of our PALLET WALL!
If you decide to go out and find pallets, all pallets have a stamp on them. Make sure you only pick the pallets that are stamped “HT” and not the ones marked “CT.” “HT” stands for Heat Treated, meaning there were no harsh chemicals used on them. The “CT” stands for Chemically Treated, and could have had potentially dangerous chemicals used to clean or protect the wood. I would highly recommend getting the pallets from an industrial-type of business instead of something like a grocery store. Who knows what kind of yuck could rot onto the pallets used at the market!
After we collected all the pallets and filled half of our garage with them, it was time to take them apart. This was quite the job, and after breaking a few boards (and muscles) trying to pry them apart with a crowbar, we decided to borrow a Sawzall from a friend. That was the key. Grant + power tool + something to use power tool on = 1 willing-to-help-me-with-a-project husband!
Next it was time to sand. Thank goodness for power sanders, because that’s a lot of wood! I didn’t sand them too much. I didn’t want them too smooth, but I did want all the splinters out because let me tell you, pallet wood has a lot of loose wood fragments! Then I cleaned them off and wiped them down with towel/water.
After that was all done, we laid the wood out to get an idea of what it would look like:
After we got it laid out, I thought a lot of the wood looked too “new” and tan/brownish. I wanted more of a gray feel. So in came the steel wool and vinegar again like I used on my industrial end tables (go over to that post to learn how to use the steel wool). I did a little more research on the weathering technique, and read that painting black tea onto the wood first adds tannins into the wood causing the aging process to be more dramatic. So I bought a box of black tea to try it.
If you know me at all, you know that I’m not real good at following recipes or measuring ingredients. So I basically filled an old plastic yogurt container with hot water and put about 6 tea bags in the water. I probably used 2 cups of water to 6 tea bags. After the tea dried (it won’t change the color of your wood), we then painted all the wood with the vinegar/steel wool mixture.
I love this new way that I learned to naturally age wood. The vinegar is a little stinky, but it doesn’t stain and is a breeze to clean up!
Just to make you go “wow!” here’s a picture of what the little concoction does:
These boards were all the exact same color and type of wood before I started. The one on the left I didn’t do anything to. The one in the middle I just used the vinegar solution. The one on the right I used the black tea and then the vinegar solution. Ovbiously, the black tea works great – what an awesome natural stain!
After we got done with that, we were ready to go! We picked a day where we could pawn off the kiddos for a day so we could work like dogs to get it done. And we were able to put the wall up in just a few hours. So here we go:
We cut a few of the boards so that we had all different lengths to work with to make sure the seams ended up in random areas. We also separated the boards into same widths to make sure the gaps on the wall would be minimized. Piece of advice here: your wall underneath the boards should be a very dark color. I picked a darker hue of gray for our accent wall vs. the other walls, but I now realize I could have gone even darker – almost black and it would probably make our gaps a little less noticeable.
We did mark all the studs in our wall so that we could run brads down the stud and make sure the boards were extra secure.
So then we took our (sweet!) brad gun that we borrowed from a friend and got to work. We just started with a regular board in the upper corner and started nailing them up.
You can see if you look closely that we have some gaps going on. This made us nervous at first, but by the end it really blended pretty well and you can hardly notice them. Again, would have probably been better if our paint color was darker. Either way, it doesn’t have to be exact. This project was meant to be a little sloppy and have that rustic feel.
When we got to the bottom of the window, we just had to cut around it to get the right fit. Not too big of a deal.
Finally when we were nearing the bottom, we didn’t know if we wanted to keep the white trim or tear it out and bring the boards all the way to the floor. When we got there, we realized that it would end up working perfectly width-wise if we tore out the baseboards and took the pallet boards to the floor.
Finally, we fit in that last row with literally 5 minutes before we had to pick up the kids. Whew!
And here she is, in all her rustic, beautiful glory:
The wood really darkened with the tea/vinegar, and I think it is continuing to darken with time. You can see that some of the wood turned almost black! When the whole wall is done, you really can’t tell that there are many gaps between the boards. You can see that we didn’t stain all of the pieces of wood, as there are a few lighter brown ones throughout. We wanted to make sure there was plenty of variety, but overall it has a nice gray tone. I love how cozy it makes this room feel! It’ll be even better when I get some curtains up over that window.
Now, if you do this, I’ve read that a lot of people will seal the wood with polyurethane, but we decided not to. We didn’t want to make it glossy looking at all, and keep it as natural as possible.
This was a really fun project, and not that hard. And best of all, practically dimes in cost!
Cost Breakdown for our Pallet Wall:
Pallets: absolutely free!
Vinegar/steel wool: already owned
Power tools: already owned or borrowed from friends
Brads for the Brad gun: $10.00
GRAND TOTAL: a whoppin’ $17.00!!!
Hope you like it and attempt this project yourself! If you do, I’d love to see what you come up with! I can’t wait to do some more projects with pallets, because free wood is too good to pass up!