Have you been considering using wooden pallets for your next crafting project? Perhaps you’ve been putting it off because of the potential expense of getting started?
Here, we outline the essential tools you’ll need to get started, and some tips for that perfect first pallet project.
You may already have a lot of the equipment you need to have a go at most beginner pallet projects. Here are the things we think you’ll need:
- Tape Measure and Pencil: It goes without saying that these are an absolute essential! Many DIY shops sell chunky carpenter pencils that are really sturdy and stand up to woodworking.
- Hammer: There are so many types of hammer out there, but your basic claw hammer is the most useful as the claw can pry and remove nails from old pallets (or help you undo mistakes!)
- Screwdriver: As a beginner, you’ll be fine with a regular Phillip’s screwdriver, but if you’ll be buying one we recommend getting a ratchet screwdriver to make things easier for yourself! There are also powered screwdrivers available if you’re worried about your upper arm strength.
- Saw: Let’s face it, circular saws look absolutely terrifying as a beginner – and they’re hugely expensive to boot. So if you’re happy to put in the hard work, get yourself an old-school handsaw for these first projects – as long as you have a workbench (see below) you’ll be fine. If you’re low on upper body strength, you could instead try a Special Saw (often called sawzalls in the US).
- Worktable: Now you’ve got your handsaw, you need a sturdy workbench that allows you to clamp on planks of wood in order to safely cut them up (if you already have a suitable workspace, simply get yourself a vice and you’re away)
- Drill: If you’ve got a drill, it will come in handy for creating pilot holes, as pallet wood can sometimes crack or split if you drive a nail or screw straight through. A drill will also allow you to create a more polished look, for example drilling out a bigger hole for the screw head so it sits flush or below the surface of the wood.
- Sander: You can get yourself a pack of sanding sheets, or sanding attachments for your drill, at minimum cost. Electric sanders aren’t actually that expensive either, if you’re happy to invest in the equipment and save some elbow grease!
- Safety Equipment: This is DEFINITELY a case of last but not least – you really must look after yourself when woodworking, especially as a beginner. From the start to the finish of the project, wear safety goggles (they’re cheap, some are made to look like sunglasses and even have UV protection) and get yourself some safety gloves to avoid cuts and splinters.
Remember that you can buy loose pallet boards for as little as 50p each through our online shop if you don’t want to dismantle full pallets.
Don’t ever use a discarded pallet for a crafting job unless you know its whole history, as it’s not safe (many will have been chemically treated and can damage your health). Check out our pallet markings guide to find out more.
Here are some ideas for projects that can be done over a weekend: