Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 6, 2015

Do It Yourself

Pallet Bookshelves

One of the first projects my husband and I tackled together was a pallet bookshelf. We purchased the home before we had even one child, and space was beginning to get cramped with each child.

With every child that came into our lives, we found we also added more furniture. Eventually, the Pier One Kids bookshelf I had purchased on clearance no longer had a home, as other furniture took over its spot. I tried to make it work in our hallway between the kids rooms for a couple of years until I had to face the obvious – it no longer fit.

Of course, anything I do to decorate at this point in my life has to be on a budget and has to be worth the task. I now need to create shelves that will hold many books, be sturdy, and of course, fit in with my aesthetic.

Pallet shelves are perfect answer. Pallets are always readily available at my husbands work and the project was fool proof. So, without any further ado, I gathered the supplies for the fabulous new shelves.

Items needed:

• pallet

• hammer

• wood screws

• drywall anchors

• paint or stain

• jigsaw

• 12 inch sawzall blades

• sawzall/ or prybar

• jigsaw/handsaw

Before any magic can happen with the pallets, they will need to be disassembled. There are two ways to go about taking a pallet apart: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way consists of using a sawzall.

The sawzall is an expense if one is not available, but the expense is worth it. Once a sawzall is available, pallets can be disassembled in a matter of a couple of minutes with no damage to the wood!

Using the sawzall, simply go in between the boards and cut the nails. I prefer this way for the ease of it, but also I tend to like the look of the nail heads still in the wood. It adds extra character to any pallet piece.

The free way consists of using a pry bar and hammer. If you have never ventured to take a pallet apart, I will forewarn you that this option is not for the faint of heart! You will get mad, you will get tired, but you will keep going because you want that free wood! Using the pry bar, wedge it into the spaces on the sides and then hammer it into the space as much as possible.

Continue this process on all the nails. As you hammer the pry bar into the spaces the nails will start to back out. I find it easiest to pry the nails out about halfway through the piece of wood instead of taking each nail all the way out. Many times this will loosen the board enough that gently hitting it from behind will pop the board off.

Each end of the pallet will serve as a bookshelf, so each pallet will make two shelves. Technically speaking only two of the middle boards need removal, and any boards that are in the way of cutting ends of the pallet, which will serve as the shelf body.

First, figure out how high the backs of the shelves are going to be. We built ours a little taller since they were holding children’s books. Using a handsaw or jigsaw simply cut through the sides and middle to release the ends of the pallet.

Once the pallet ends are cut, the shelf is almost complete. Screw the two loose boards into the bottoms of the shelves. Now the shelves are complete minus the paint or stain chosen to adorn the new shelves.

These shelves hold quite a few books. They have worked great in my home until recently. With three children now and homeschooling, we have books occupying my kitchen and drawers in my son’s dresser. However, the pallets are great for everyday décor pieces as well. Let your imagination run wild on filling them.

April Sherrill is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald. Contact her at april@dailydata.com.