Hello, thanks for stopping by! We finished the pallet accent wall in my husband’s office this week and it turned out better than I imagined. I love it when that happens! But I think my favorite thing about this project is that it was absolutely free. My husband owns a landscape company so he always has an abundance of old pallets laying around. So it was kind of fitting to put them on the wall in his office because they are such a big part of what he does for a living.
Today I wanted to show you how we went from a bunch of old pallets at his yard to a beautiful accent wall. I’ll also tell you where you can find your own free pallets. Just a quick note, if you decide to do a pallet accent wall, plan on it taking 2-3 weeks because it takes a while for the wood to dry and acclimate to your home before hanging on the wall. You also may want to paint the wall black first. There will be visible gaps and having a black background will highlight the wood more than the gaps. In our case the wall was already painted a charcoal gray so we left it this color because it was so dark.
1.) We started with old weathered pallets like these. I have no idea how long these pallets have been outside, but they looked weathered and worn and the nails were already rusted. The more weathered the better, however they should still be intact and definitely MOLD-FREE!! We used approximately 30 pallets for a 17′ x 11′ wall. Keep in mind that some boards may be unusable so you’ll want extra pallets on hand. It’s ok if the boards are different widths. It’s also ok if the boards are cracked. They can be nailed together on the wall.
2.) Once we gathered our pallets, we cut the nails of flat slats off of the 2×4’s using a reciprocating saw with a long blade. This is quicker than pulling the nails and it also preserves the rusted nail heads in the slats, giving the wall a more rustic look. We did not use the 2×4’s. We only used the thin slats.
3.) We wanted to keep rustic natural look so we left the boards unfinished and unsanded. However, we knocked off the dirt and filed them down a little by scrubbing all 6 sides with a wire brush. Don’t worry about damaging them with the wire brush, it only adds to the rustic charm! (for a more refined look you can sand them, however you may have to stain them to get a more weathered look)
4.) After they’ve all been wire brushed we layed them all out outside and hosed them down with mold and mildew remover just to ensure they were clean and mold and mildew free. Then we rinsed them with the hose, flipped them over and repeated the process.
5.) Next is the drying process. This is probably the most important step. It takes a while for wood to dry completely and it is super important that the wood is completely dry before putting it on the wall. It is also important that the wood dries flat or it will bow, making it impossible to put on the wall.
We stacked the boards in a square pattern, which kept them flat and allowed for airflow. We started outside, but then had to move re-stack them in the garage due to the threat of rain, so I would suggest doing this in the garage or a covered area. It took about a week for them to dry, even then they weren’t completely dry.
6.) Next we moved the boards into the house and let them finish drying and acclimate to room temperature. This took another week.
7.) Once the boards were dry and acclimated we sorted them. We looked for straight boards with straight edges on both sides. We used these for the long pieces and we used the crooked boards for the cut edges.
8.) Using a stud finder, we found the studs on the wall and drew a straight line the length of the wall for each stud. Then we found the level line at the base of the wall, using a long level, and drew a line the length of the wall for our starting point.
9.) Using a finish nail gun we hung the first row on the level line, nailing only on the stud lines. We hung all boards nailhead side up.
10.) We hung the rest of the boards, making sure the seams were staggered and the rows were level all the way up. If you have boards that are different widths like we did, just make sure each row of boards is the same width to keep lines level. Create a random pattern with the widths. Keep in mind that these boards are imperfect. For the most part you want to have straight lines, but they are not perfectly straight and there will be gaps. It just adds to the rustic charm. The most important thing is that you want to keep the lines level the entire way up the wall.
11.) For the ends of the wall we cut off the straight ends of the crooked boards and used those so they wouldn’t go to waste.
12.) We finished the wall with baseboard and window trim. Then we put the outlet covers back on the wall and rehung the floating shelves and we were done!
If you’re looking for free pallets a local landscaper or stone mason is a great place to start. They should have an abundance of pallets to choose from. Give them a call and ask if you could take them off their hands. I’m sure they would be happy give them to you for free if you pick them up. Don’t shy away from them if they are in a dirty pile out back. Those are the best kind because they are probably well weathered. The most important thing to look for is straight slats and NO MOLD! And get a few more than you think you’ll need. If you don’t have any luck there you can probably find them on Craigslist for a few bucks a pallet.
I hope you get the chance to try this fun project. It really does make a statement. I would love to see pictures of your completed wall! I’m so happy that we are one step closer to having this office complete. I can’t wait to show you what’s next for the ceiling!