For the past six months or so, I’ve been reading about a lot of pallet wood projects. I loved the unique look and feel that the pallets brought to each and every room! When my friend mentioned that her husband’s engineering plant discarded dozens of pallets every week, I knew that I had to take advantage of such a great opportunity for rustic (and free) lumber.
I wanted to incorporate the pallets into my master bathroom makeover, but wasn’t quite sure how. One morning, I realized that I needed to add some interest to two large, bleak walls of the bathroom — one above the garden tub and the other above the toilet in the adjacent room. I immediately thought, floating shelves! And that’s how the pallets came to mind.
After an embarrassing and feeble attempt to pry off the boards from the pallet with a hammer (I may or may not have bent the hammer in half), I puppy-faced my husband into helping me out. At his suggestion, we bought a metal cutting blade for our reciprocating saw, which carved through the thick, rusty nails like butter. Evan dismantled two pallets for me, and we sorted the wood by what was usable and what wasn’t.
I then went to town sanding the heck out of all of the boards with a random orbital sander.
This was my first time building anything on my own, so I had fun with it! I played around with the boards to see what worked better than others. I finally settled on a simple box design, in which I framed a thin pallet board with two longer ones and bookcased them at each end to create a long, narrow box.
I used a thin line of wood glue and our brad nailer and air compressor to piece the boards together.
As you can tell from the picture below, my measurements weren’t exact. These pallets had been through a lot, and were often warped, cracked, or knotty. Therefore, I just “made them fit.” I figured that the imperfections of each shelf would enhance the rustic feel to them.
Now, floating shelves are exactly that… they float — with no visible brackets. As depicted below, I had the first half of the shelf created, and needed to build the “base,” which would be attached to the wall.
I started this by cutting a piece of pallet board — utilizing a combination of the miter saw, jigsaw, and table saw — so that it would fit exactly into the open end of the box shelf. I then drilled five holes, equidistant from each other, along the length of one edge of the board.
Once the holes were made, I placed wood screws into each.
Meanwhile, I had bought long dowels from Lowe’s. Utilizing the miter saw, I sliced them up to approximately five inches in length each so that they would fit inside the box. These dowels, which attached the base, would serve as extra support for the entire length of the shelf.
Once the dowels were ready, I drilled one hole into the end of each piece, making sure that it was off center.
I then used the drill to screw the dowels firmly into the base.
And repeated this process so that the base had five dowels to provide support.
Time to stain! I used Cabot’s “Ebony” Penetrating Wood Stain, the same that I had used for the bathroom’s vanity, and applied two coats to each floating shelf box.
The stain really enhanced the pallets and made them appear rich.
Cabot takes a lot longer to dry than Rustoleum’s Ultimate Wood Stain, so I left the shelves in the garage to dry for a good six to eight hours.
The moment of truth! We located the studs in the wall, made sure everything was level, and attached the base of each shelf with a 2 1/2″ wood screw. Once it was secure, we slid the box directly onto the base and finished the shelf with three additional screws through the top of the shelf, directly into the base.
There you go! Easy, DIY pallet wood floating shelves. We hung two shelves above the garden tub in the main part of the bathroom…
And we also installed three shelves above the toilet in the adjacent room.
These shelves are my favorite things about the bathroom! What do you think?
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