DIY Pallet Wall

My wife and I decided that we would start working on one room at a time in our home. We wanted to to update the look and just make it look nicer in each room. Here is a record of my pallet wall project for our bathroom. I will tell you how we did it and what we learned on each step. This is a fairly easy project and I think that almost anyone could do this on their own.

You will need a saw, hammer, and something to drill with. There are also a few other tools you may need depending on your light fixture and mirror mounts if you are replacing a similar wall in your bathroom. List of supplies: liquid nails, vinegar, polyurethane, glass jar, and steel wool.

Before:

To start off, you need to collect pallets of course! I dismantled about four pallets to make this wall. The wall measured to just about 13 square feet. After I took apart the pallets I choose which boards were in the best shape though I did make sure to keep some variety between the patterns in the wood and the types of wood.

We decided to buy vinegar and steel wool to make stain and just buy regular polyurethane at our home supply store. To make our stain, we put two pads of fine steel wool in an old jar (spaghetti jars are a good size for this) and put 1.5 cups of white distilled vinegar per a pad (3 cups). Place the lid on the jar but don't tighten it. The mixture needs some air to create the stain. Let this sit for 24 hours then tighten the lid, shake the jar up, and it should make a brown or dark brown mixture.

If your stain isn't a brown mixture, take the steel wool out (don't use your hands). The steel wool should start rusting once you take it out. Let it sit for a few minutes then place it back in the jar for another day. We let ours sit for a few days and every day took the wool out for a few minutes, put it back in, and shook it. The longer you do this the darker it will become and the darker it will make your wood.

I prepared a small project area by laying down a large piece of cardboard and tracing out the size of the wall on it. Here I laid the boards down in the area, drew lines where to cut the wood, then cut and sanded the pieces and placed them back on the cardboard.

I found that it helped to have a measured area on the ground so we wouldn't have to keep measuring or checking boards on the wall. After all the boards were cut and sanded, we stained them using a foam brush and the mixture of steel wool and vinegar.

After they sat for a while and dried, we used the polyurethane on the tops and sides. The stain will change the color completely in a few hours and the polyurethane will also change the color. The stain tends to make the wood gray and the polyurethane depends on what kind you used (we used clear glossy).

After the polyurethane dried we put a coat on the back, waited, then did another coat on the front.

Once all the boards were prepared we removed the mirror and light fixture from the wall. There was a hole in the wall behind the mirror so we installed some sheetrock and patched over it. We painted the wall black, waited for that to dry, then used liquid nails to place the boards on the wall. The black paint helps the feel of the wall as you will be able to see parts of the wall between the boards and through holes. Remember to drill holes through the boards where the light fixture will be so the wires can pass through the wall.

I forgot to take pictures of the black painted wall. So, just imagine that if you will! Once all the boards were up we screwed the ones in behind the light fixture and mirror as both of these items will be attached to the pallet wall.

I also cut two other boards (went through the same stain and polyurethane process with them) to hold the mirror in place. I cut slits along the edge of the boards to hold the mirror from the top and bottom. I also screwed these boards over the background ones so the mirror would be easier to remove if needed

Voila! A new pallet wall! A few things to note. Make sure you stain the edges of the boards which is something I forgot to do. I need to go back and sand some of the edges that weren't stained and reapply stain and polyurethane. Also, while placing the boards on the wall, I found that some sections didn't fit correctly so I had to cut them. I wanted it tight so I did use a hammer to force them into place as well.

This is a fairly simple project and I believe almost anyone can get this done in an afternoon!