We’ll show you how to build a pallet wood wall with this step-by-step tutorial.
Mandy Jean Chic shares this tutorial for adding a pallet wall in a small bathroom, but the process is pretty much the same for any wall in any room. Use fence slats, barn wood, pallets, whatever old lumber you can get your hands on! Watch for Mandy’s insider tips (marked in bold) so adding your pallet wood wall will go smoothly and end beautifully.
How to Build a Pallet Wood Wall
Step 1: Take Apart the Pallets
The hardest part of this project, by far, is not breaking the boards when dismantling the pallet. Be sure to use your safety equipment and try to save a few of the old nails to reuse to make your pallet wall look authentic. Gloves and eye protection are a must for this project!
Related Reading: How to Take Apart a Pallet Without Losing Your Mind
Step 2: Measure your wall and wood
Find the square footage of the wall by taking the height and width of the wall in feet (round up to the next foot for simplicity) and multiply the two numbers. Then lay out the boards and measure them to ensure you have enough to cover the needed square footage on your wall. Laying them out also gives you an idea of how they will fit together on your pallet wall.
Step 3: Paint the wall
Paint the wall behind the wood because in this application there will be cracks and gaps that add to the rustic look. For this wood, a blue gray or silver would have enhanced the blues and grays in the sun-bleached weather-exposed wood. Browns would make the wood look more used but not as old. We used black to get the look of emptiness behind the pallet wood wall. No matter the color you go with, it is important to use a flat sheen to limit any shine. It should look like an old wood wall, not a new shiny wall covered by old wood.
Step 4: Start adding boards to the top of the wall, work only part way down
Using a good adhesive (liquid nails) and a few of the old nails, start at the top of your pallet wall and work your way down. Walls are never perfectly square so take length measurements for each row. Stagger some of the boards by cutting at different lengths, being sure to pair up boards of matching heights. Use a few full-length boards to add stability to the random pattern. It is also important to think a few steps ahead and lay out your next few boards to match up the heights. If a board you place is a lot taller or shorter than the one you are pairing it to, you will have a very uneven gap. Small gaps can add to the look, but gaps that are too large will leave your pallet wall looking poorly thought-out.
Step 5: Start adding boards from the bottom up to create space to blend in a short board or two
Chances are your boards will not fit evenly top to bottom on your wall and you will need to cut a board horizontally to match the height of the last gap on the pallet wood wall. As we were working in a bathroom, placing this shorter board behind a fixed object like the toilet helped it be less noticeable. We also cut two boards 2 inches shorter instead of shortening just one board by 4 inches. We spaced out the shorter boards and they don’t catch your eye at all!
And that’s how to build a pallet wood wall! Doesn’t the finished product look great?! No more boring, flat wall and so much added texture and warmth and personality!
Love this look? Click on the links below to check out more reclaimed wood projects we’ve featured.
Originally published 03.23.2013 // Updated 04.13.2019