You’ll find loads of tutorials for making things out of wood pallets online, but for a thorough walk-through, there’s nothing like a how-to book. I made the birdhouse apartments from Wood Pallet Wonders, and here’s what I did, how I felt about it, and whether or not I liked it!
Dismantling A Wood Pallet SUUUUUUCKS!
I have written before about the different methods of dismantling a pallet, and how much I hate each of them. I may have to find yet another method because this time–perhaps my demolition blade is dulling?–it was nearly unworkable. I made zero progress on my own, and even My Husband of the Big Biceps had a heck of a time, and split so many pieces of wood in the process that we were in danger of having to take apart a second pallet just so I could build one bird house.
If you have a go-to method that works every time for this, let me know in the comments!
Cutting The Pieces Is A Cinch
Once we FINALLY got enough wood free, and I knew where all the nails were, I used my portable workbench and circular saw and made quick work of the cuts. Because the last thing on the planet that I wanted to do was cut up another wood pallet, I did use some pieces that weren’t perfect, but hey–it’s a birdhouse that I’m making, not a coffee table for the Pope, and we Girl Scouts always use resources wisely.
Measuring The Pieces Is A Little Less Of A Cinch
Dealing with wonky wood is just one more adventure that you can expect when you’re working with a wood pallet. Perfectionists might loathe looking at a less than perfect board and having to think how to make it work in a project, but that kind of puzzle solving and on-the-fly figuring out is what I like best! So be warned: for this bird house, in particular, I had to make some adjustments, as a couple of my pallet boards did not quite measure the width that they should, and for the third time, I WAS NOT GOING TO DISMANTLE ANOTHER PALLET!
For these birdhouse apartments, in particular, I’d say you should save your best pieces for the front, back, and bottom of the birdhouse. I wish that I’d chosen a better board for the bottom, but it was dead easy to modify the inside walls and the roof to work with my wonky boards.
Don’t Be Afraid To Let The Wood Look Like Wood!
The how-to in Wood Pallet Wonders includes tips for painting, but I really liked the look of the weathered wood just the way that it was, so I sealed the outside with a polyurethane sealant and called it done!
So here’s the thing: working with wood pallets isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. If the thought of fiddling with a grody wood pallet, provenance unknown, skeezes you out, then it’s fine to simply be the person who only works with new wood.
But if you like saving money, if you like rescuing your craft materials from the waste stream, if you like working with imperfect pieces and puzzling out the design challenges that come with that, then you might find that you really, really, really like crafting with wood pallets.
And if you do, you might want to start with these bird house apartments!
I received a free copy of Wood Pallet Wonders from a publicist because I can’t write about something if I haven’t used it to build a birdhouse first!