Shipping pallets are one of the most versatile cast-off items you can get your hands on. You can build just about any piece of furniture with them, assuming you have basic tool knowledge. Through craigslist, I was able to acquire some weathered pallets that had an awesome gray patina and ready-made defects, which was just what I was after, for free - yes!
Speaking of patina, I've got to share with you what my youngest daughter, 5 yrs. old, said to me the other day. We were looking at the cat carrier we were given for our new kitten, which has a rusty door, and she said, "Ooh, I love the rusty look, how pretty!" Ha! She's seeing beauty where most people wouldn't - rust. Love it. Back to story.
So I called up my mom (owner of truck needed to snatch them up) and she happily came over to follow my 5 kids and I on a treasure hunt through a two huge piles of wood, pallets included. (Don't worry, my kids stayed clear of the mess and had fun picking flowers instead). I not only got pallets, but scored an awesome blue chippy ladder, some railroad ties, and a garden trowel. I love treasure hunts!
Okay, back to said project.
Before jumping into pallet disassembly, I do suggest you read this article about pallets found at Funky Junk Interiors. I also have some related pins on my Pinterest pinboard found here.
This time around I just used my hammer, gloves, and safety goggles and got to work. I'm sure my neighbors loved seeing me vent on the pallets. It does take a little elbow grease or a happy-to-please husband to dismantle one of these. (note: gift to self was a Sawzall at later point). You can also find an awesome dismantling tutorial here.
First, you will need the height dimensions of the window you are going to be mounting the shutter next to. I included the trim in my measurement, but you can make it any size you like. My window measured 38" high. So, I cut three pallet slats 38" long for ONE side of my window. You will need to repeat this for the other side of the window. Next, I measured the width of the three pallet slats laying side by side, which gave me 11.25".
Then I cut two pallet slat pieces measuring 11.25", these are the crosspieces to hold the shutter together. Last, lay the longer three pallet slats on the ground and position the two crosspieces 7" in from both ends and attach using a zig-zag screw pattern being sure to catch all three slats.
I left a couple blank screw spots on my shutter so that when I used a longer screw to attach it to the wall there weren't any extra screw heads showing. If you don't like the fresh cut showing at the ends of your slats, just mix up some gray and brown paint with a touch of water to create a "wash", and touch up the ends to make them blend in.
Last, mount your shutters to the wall and stand back in awe!
If you want to do like I did and jazz them up a bit by adding antique barn hinges, just check ebay. Can you believe I found an entire lot that had just the right number of hinges I needed for less than $20?! God is good! You can just screw through the hinge holes into the crosspieces and through the slats, leaving a couple empty for the screws that will attach it to the wall.
Viola! I helped a local merchant clean up an unsightly pile, while creating a lovely rustic touch to my home, and teaching my kids to be resourceful with all that we are given. I am still using some of that pallet wood to build more projects, like my table centerpiece - maybe I'll show you how to do that sometime. Want to see how to make the valance? Go to this post: DIY Barn Wood & Bedskirt Valance.
In the meantime, I'm using the same idea to make some shutters for the exterior of my home, which will be stained or painted and come from newer pallets.