Turn Shipping Pallets Into Bathroom Storage Shelves

Add rustic style to a bathroom by repurposing wooden shipping pallets as an open storage solution to house toiletries and other essentials.

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Materials Needed:

  • discarded wooden shipping pallet
  • mini crowbar
  • hammer
  • nails
  • drill
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • 1-inch paddle bit
  • precut 1-inch black iron pipe
  • 1-inch black iron pipe cap
  • circular saw with miter setting
  • orbital sander
  • sanding pads
  • can of spray sealant
  • measuring tape
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • picture hangers

Choose the Right Pallet

Shipping pallets are readily available either for free or for a small price through salvage yards, big-box retail stores and supermarkets. Since the pallets will be used as decorative shelving, it's important to choose pallets with intact wood, avoiding those with severe splits and/or cracks (Image 1). In addition to choosing the right pallet, it's also important to measure the wall along which the shelving will be installed (Image 2). These measurements will come in handy when deciding on the overall intended height and width for the shelf unit.

Dismantle Pallet

In order to cut each strip of wood to size, the pallet will need to be disassembled. To do this, use mini crowbar to loosen nails from each strip of wood, continually adding pressure until the nail is pulled completely from the wood. Note: Most pallets are made up of two types of wood: thin planks used as the top and bottom surfaces, and structural lumber used to create the frame. Thin planks tend to be more decorative and are a better fit as shelf fronts while structural lumber is a better fit for creating vertical supports and shelf bottoms.

Measure, Mark + Cut Structural Lumber

Referring to measurements taken with measuring tape, measure, mark and cut structural lumber for use as vertical supports and the top shelf's bottom surface with circular saw (Image 1). For proper top shelf bottom-surface sizing, deduct the width of each structural support from the overall intended width of the shelf unit, mark with pencil, then cut to size using circular saw. Next, use circular saw to cut two pieces of structural lumber to size, then use miter setting to add 45-degree angles to three of the four corners of each piece (Image 2). One corner along each piece will remain flat and be used as the top surface of the shelf unit. This flat surface is essential for the proper fitting of back support panels (made from the thin planks of the pallet), which will fasten directly to the wall.

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