To start, I got online to see where I could get some pallets in my community to take apart. That alone was a challenging task. After a few hours on Craigslist and calling around. The good news was that I found a place that offered them free if I picked them up myself. So, I attached my old trailer to my work-wagon and took one of my sons and loaded all I could carry. Once I found enough, I wanted to get started on my pallet wall as soon as possible!
Create a focal area of your room or add rustic style with a Pallet Wall!
Next, I started to take apart the pallets. After ONE pallet and a crowbar, I quickly discovered that there must be a more natural way. Back to the Internet and found a plethora of techniques. The pallet buster looked like the best approach, but on a budget, and with a scrap piece of pipe and a welder, I made my own. That tool is fantastic (it’s not perfect), but for the most part, it works great! So I assigned some of my sons to do that portion of the job for grandma, and the pallets came apart quickly.
Now that the pallets were broken down, it’s time to prep for the wall!
The next step was to do some sanding to remove the imperfections where the nails pulled through the slats and take down any splinters. We lightly sanded each piece on both sides. We removed the nails from the stringer boards and gave them a sanding, too. I thought that a darker, neutral color scheme would make for a better background behind the wood. Due to the irregularities in the pallet wood, there are places where the wall will show through. To begin the wall, I started from floor level and worked my way up. I located the studs to achieve better anchor points for the 2” finishing nails.
I trimmed out the hallway entrance before I began my wall.
Before actually applying the first slats, I prepared the hallway entrance with old, weathered, full-dimensional 2″ x 4″ oak trusses from a tornado-blown chicken coop. We salvaged them from a friend’s property a couple of years earlier. I rabbet-cut a groove on the wall-side of the border material to receive the slats for a more professional finish.
After I was satisfied with that procedure, I started applying the slats one at a time from left-to-right (or right-to-left) right on up the wall. Of course, I made allowances for my pallet wall receptacles and switches. The trick was to try to make each completed level as “level” as possible and with only minimum spacing between the sometimes irregular slats.
We changed the wall up a bit with different directions of wood grains.
At about the 8-foot level, I talked my mother-in-law into a transition to vertical similar to the side of an old barn. She liked the idea, and I proceeded in that fashion. To make the transition, I used a warped & weathered 2″ x 6″. In fact, it was so twisted that I had to use lag screws and fender washers to fasten it to the studs and then removed them in favor of less-obvious 3.5” black drywall screws. In a similar fashion, but from right-to-left, I cut & fastened the various slats across the remainder of the wall. I added a hayloft door on the fly.
The inspiration just came to me as I was working. It worked out great as a location for a beloved bull’s head that Grandma Irma wanted for ornamentation. Additionally, I fabricated a couple of oak shelves for some of her knick-knacks. They fit in rather well in the overall scheme & spirit of this pallet wood accent wall.