DIY Projects

I am soo excited to finally be posting my first DIY project.  I am a complete do it yourself type person and I am appalled at myself for letting it take this long to post up a project. My first project’s inspiration came from the need to display some of my favorite decorating pieces and the fact that my budget was around $0 dollars.  That’s right…ZERO dollars!  For me, this project was completely 100% free.  For someone who doesn’t have all the supplies lying around I imagine it can still be done for less than $10.

The Project:  Pallet Wood Floating Shelf
·         1 fairly worn wood pallet
·         Around twenty 1.5” wood screws
·         six 3” deck screws
·         Drill
·         Drill bit slightly smaller than the shaft of your screw (optional but highly recommended)
·         Hammer
·         Circular Saw (optional but highly recommended)

Step One: 

Find a pallet.  I suggest looking around tile suppliers in an industrial area of your city.  Tile suppliers receive all of their tile on pallets and you will probably find some hanging out by the dumpster behind the building.

Disassemble the pallet.  Methodology can vary but I found the easiest way to disassemble was to use my saw.  I cut at the outside edge of the pallet and then used leverage to loosen the connection at the center nails.  Use your hammer to pry the boards loose. See picture below for my method:

Step 3:

Once all the boards are disassembled trim the freshly cut edges with your saw to make sure they are as square as possible.

Step 4:

Now choose the length you want to make your shelf.  My shelf is 32” long and it is made from varying length pieces of pallet wood.  The longest piece I used is 22”.    Once you have decided the appropriate lengths you will need to pair your boards together and cut them to the appropriate lengths to give you the total length you are looking for.  The shelf will be two boards wide on both top and bottom and one board tall.  This means you will need 4 sets of 2 boards to take care of the top and bottom.  In addition to the top and bottom boards, you will need a front face board and two side boards which will be discussed in the next step.  See the diagram below for a better idea.  Actual lengths of each section will vary from shelf to shelf as every pallet is a little different.

Step 5:

Cut your front and side boards.  To do this you should split one of your boards length wise.  I recommend splitting it down the middle so that you ensure you have enough length to make both your front and side boards from just one piece.  I suggest using a table saw for this step but a circular saw will also suffice.

Step 6:

Now it is time to secure your boards together.  I recommend predrilling your holes rather than just forcefully screwing the boards together.  This will help prevent the boards from cracking which can be a real problem with pallet wood…. Trust me, my shelf is split everywhere as I have broken all of my smallest drill bits. 

You should begin by screwing (with your 1.5” screws) the front face board to the “Set 2” boards in the diagram above.  Next you can move on to the side panels, “Set 1” boards, and then the bottom boards. Do not use too many screws of you will definitely cause splitting.  At the same time, you DO want the shelf to be sturdy.   

One interesting problem I ran into was securing my “Set 1” boards.  As my design takes two boards to make the full length, I found that there was nothing to secure the middle joints to on the back boards.  I solved this problem by temporarily only securing them to the side panels.  Once you move onto mounting the shelf to the wall you will see that you will be able to fully secure the “Set 1” boards.

Step 7:

Create your interior wall support.  To do this you will need to take the 2”x4” piece of wood that ran down the middle of the pallet, perpendicular to the rest of the pallet boards.  Once you have the board you will need to split it in half lengthwise, making it a 2”x2” board.

Step 8:

Cut support arms from any scrap materials you have left over.  The support arms will attach to the piece you cut in Step 7 above.  They will help keep your shelf from sagging.  Go ahead and attach them with your screws as shown in the picture below.

Step 9:

Mount your interior support pictured in Step 8 to the wall.  You will use the 3” deck screws to do this.  Make sure that you locate studs in your wall and anchor into them.  You can locate studs by nailing a small thin nail into the wall.  When you hit a stud you will feel much more resistance than merely punching through drywall.  Studs will always be located on one side of a junction box. 

Make sure to use a level or accurate measuring to ensure that the shelf will be level.

Step 9:

Slide your shelf over the interior support system you have created.  At this point you will be able to screw the “Set 1” boards to the interior support which will make them fully supported and functional.  Secure the shelf to the interior support at 4  to 6 inch intervals depending on the length of your shelf.  And Whaallaaa… Your shelf is complete!


  1. That looks awesome! Now I need to go find a pallet! thanks for posting this.

  2. Love your how-to explanation and the idea is fantastic. My only comment is on the style of the items you're displaying on the shelf. They don't match style-wise. If the frame was worn paint and the flowers in mason jars, it would work better. Still -- very well done!

  3. Thanks for the comments! I see your point about the display not being the right style but I actually like it that way. I always like to mix textures and styles and make things unexpected. I do think I'll opt for a mason jar vase though. That would tie the display items back to the rustic shelf a little bit.

    Thanks again!