Monday, March 5, 2012

Pallet Wood Floating Shelves

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?

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageBurlap and DenimC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Everything Under the MoonGet Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeThe Graphics FairyMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSew Happy GeekSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot Giraffe,  I'm Topsy TurvyJillify ItThe Kurtz CornerMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNatural NestersNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee Crafts,  Sweet Little GalsTales of a Trophy WifeTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingYesterday on TuesdayFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFinding FabulousFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot So Functional HousewifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things


  1. Looks amazing! Great job. Your newest follower.


  2. Those are great ideas, pallets are so easy to find and free. Good job!

  3. Beautiful idea! They look so pretty!

  4. thanks for linking to TAke-A-Look Tuesday - I just featured you on my facebook page! - Mandy, Sugar Bee Crafts

  5. Hey thanks so much for linking up! I love this!! Have you seen my pallet swing I made! check it out, it was easy and fun to make!

  6. So I am just trying to get to know you a little better and by reading your profile I feel like we have a lot in common.

    I am a young and married, live in a college town, working, love DIY and doing things to our new house! And have two wonderful dalmatians! INTERESTING :-) Glad we are new blogger friends Kirsten.

    -Brittany (aka little sis)

  7. Very nice job. I am looking at all kinds of pallet stuff. Think I'm gonna start with a coffee table. Thanks for sharing list is getting too long now!

  8. This is awesome!! I was going to attempt to make my own floating shelves but just gave in to buying them....expensive! You did a great job :) Thanks for linking up to Tuesday Tutorials at The Kurtz Corner, I will be featuring your project next Tuesday at the next link party!!

  9. Love this! Such a great idea! I'd love it if you added this project to the Never-Ending Link Party on my site. Take a look:

  10. WOW! Fabulous! We made some shelve that hung like that but not out of wood pallets! LOVE it. Your bathroom makeover is so pretty! Great project. Also loving your blog and now following! Hoping you like my blog as well :)

  11. I look forward to tackling something like this myself - but hubby saves pallets for bon fires at the cottage - hopefully I'll get my hands on some planks before he notices. lol - Great tutorial - I've pinned it!

  12. Thank you for the tutorial, I love the "perfect imperfections"! In the next months, I wanna make a pallet bed myself :)

  13. What a neat project and tutorial! Very charming! Thank you for sharing at Potpourri Friday! Your participation is apppreciated!

  14. absolutely pinning this! great tutorial !

  15. I love that idea!!! And your bathroom is sooo cute!! :) Have a great weekend!

  16. I love how fearless and creative you are! I hope you link these up on Show Off Saturday!


  17. I'm a fan of upcycled wood pallets too and just completed a small pallet project myself. Your floating shelves look super. Great Ebony color choice too!

  18. This is such a great idea! I love how they look!! I'm featuring you today!!

  19. what a great idea! They look fantastic!
    Thanks for linking up to this week's Catch a Glimpse Party! I included this in my Feature post. :)

  20. These turned out great! I also love pallet projects-thanks for the detailed tutorial-pinning for hopefully a future project-and now following along :)

  21. The makeover is amazing, and I love these floating shelf's! I'm featuring your floating shelf's this week on topsy turvy tuesdays, thanks for linking up!

  22. I featured you today :)

  23. Wow - they look so great!! I love the look of floating shelves and you have a great tutorial too!! I featured you today -

  24. Excellent Tutorial, thanks for linking up at Burlap & Denim! I'm gathering my tools and pallets now :)

  25. We LOVE pallet projects and this one is a true winner! The saw idea is the best way we've found to dismantle those pallets, they're stubborn! Thanks for linking up to the Repurpose-Remodel-Reveal Transformation party!
    Whitney - The Rooster and The Hen

  26. wow it's look beauty for bathroom...

  27. These are amazing! You are so talented. Thanks so much for sharing at Whimsy Wednesdays!

  28. You've showed the right step by step procedure on how to make shelves from pallets. Well, it's better to use those pallets for something, rather than giving it away for nothing. I think, it would look good if you install a silver steel thin pipes as an outline of the wood. It will give a more distinct appeal to it, more of a modern to classic, and vice versa. What yo think?

  29. I am seriously in LOVE! I just posted on Monday about needing inspiration for building floating shelves and here you are. Awesome. :)

  30. very creative! really nice artworks! i like the way you do with that!
    i think you found more pallets to recycle,
    you will be get rich faster..^O^..Awesome!!
    thanks for inspiring me..

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  33. What an AMAZING tutorial!!!

    I have made a post about it on the blog:

    Thank you for sharing this great and inspiring idea!


  34. This is fantastic! I want to do that in my bathroom, great post.


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