Anyone else love turning trash into treasure? That’s one of my favorite things about working with pallets! Not that all pallets are trash, but the ones I find in the alley outside our apartment definitely are. I love taking something that someone else has thrown out and making it into something useful, functional, and pretty for our home.
Last year I turned a pallet into a bath shelf, and I still use that thing every time I take a bath! So I was super excited to find another pallet, because I had the perfect project in mind for it. I turned a beat up old pallet into a gorgeous shelf!
I know the black stain doesn’t match the rest of the wood in the kitchen, but it was just so gorgeous I couldn’t resist!
In college we kept our bottles of alcohol on top of the fridge (easy access, and we always knew when we were running low!), but now that we’re real adults, I felt like we needed a more “adult” way to store all those bottles. So when I found this pallet out in the alley, I knew it was exactly what we needed!
And transforming it from a pallet into a shelf was really pretty easy! If you have a pallet, a saw, a hammer, and some nails, you have everything you need!
DIY Rustic Pallet Shelf
Here’s what I used:
- a pallet
- 2-1/2″ framing nails
- a hammer
- Minwax Ebony stain
- Mixwax Polyurethane clear satin finish
- a paint brush
- 1-5/8″ screws
- a drill
- a stud finder
- a black Sharpie
I started with a whole pallet I found out in the alley. I have actually found a lot of pallets in the years we’ve lived here, but I had a specific type of pallet in mind for this project. I wanted to find one with rounded cutouts in the bottom of the runners because I thought that rounded cut would be pretty in the finished shelf. But really, any style of pallet will do for this project!
The top deck of your pallet is going to be the back of your shelf. so cut all three runners of your pallet to the desired height, leaving as many top deck boards on as you want. I cut mine sorta close to one end, leaving only the very last three boards attached.
If you have some alcohol bottles handy (or whatever you plan to store in your shelf), try sticking them in the pallet to make sure they are all going to fit. I noticed that skinny bottles (like a standard 750ml size) fit just fine, but odd-shaped bottles like Bailey’s were a bit too wide to fit inside the pallet. So I decided to add a few spacers.
The first thing I did was pull off the board on the underside of the runners (see how the “front” board is missing in the photo above?) Then I made spacers by cutting an extra piece of wood into three skinny strips, about the height of the board I removed from the pallet.
Next, put one skinny strip of wood on top of each runner, and nail the board back onto the shelf, through the skinny strips. This will make your shelf a little bit deeper, and I found it was exactly deep enough to hold all of our bottles!
Now the pallet is basically back to its original shape, with just a few extra spacers in it. The next step is to add a board to the bottom of the shelf so the bottles don’t slip right through the pallet!
I pulled a board from the other half of the pallet that I wasn’t using, and nailed it to the bottom of the shelf. If you use 2-1/2″ nails, you should only need two or three through the board into each runner to hold the bottom on pretty securely.
And you’re done putting the shelf together! If you like the natural look of the pallet wood, hang it on the wall and be finished! If not, it’s super easy to give it a few coats of stain and turn it any color you’d like.
I gave the entire shelf two coats of ebony stain and let it dry between each. Once wood stain dries, it can look very dry and faded.
But a coat of finish will fix that right up! I used polyurethane to seal the wood and give it a bit of shine.
Once the finish coat has dried, hang it up! A shelf the width of a pallet should span at least two studs on any standard construction wall, so get out a stud finder and find a few studs to securely hang your shelf. I used 1-5/8″ screws to hang my shelf, two into the upper board and two into the lower board, about 16″ apart because that’s how far apart our studs are.
The screws I used are a bright gold color, and the heads really clashed with the black wood, but it’s simple enough to fix! Just grab a black Sharpie and color in the screw heads! Nail polish also works great and comes in a bajillion colors.
Fill the shelf with bottles, and enjoy!
JM really loves this shelf because it puts our liquor in an easy-to-reach place and we no longer have to store alcohol on top of the fridge or in the hutch in the living room. The bottles are easy to get to and the shelf with bottles in it is really pretty!
And did you notice the fun pattern on the front board? This isn’t the board I took off the pallet originally. That board was boring and ugly. But this one isn’t! Not only can you see the grain of the wood, but there are these fascinating saw marks across the whole surface. So gorgeous!
Have you ever rescued a pallet and turned it into something awesome? What did you make?
these awesome parties!
The materials section of this post contains affiliate links to the products I used for this project. Any purchases you make through those links help me to keep this blog running!