Friday, August 10, 2012

Feature Friday: Pallet Signs

Hi Everyone!

Sorry no Wednesday post.  I was traveling back home.  A layover and a baby does not a blogpost make.

I wanted to share with you one of the projects we're doing for the upcoming Astoria Craft Party.

Oregon is a very eco-conscious state.  We recycle a lot, try to make do with less, and try to reuse what we can.  So when we were in the planning phase of the Craft Party, it was suggested that I use pallets as my medium for stenciling.

I'd never worked with a pallet before.  It seemed easy enough.  I was just sort of baffled.  How do you take it apart.  How do you assemble it?  So I did what any normal person would do, went to Pinterest and spent 3 hours drooling over amazing things people have made.

I found this really nice how to guide here.  Just wanted to plop that there so people don't think I'm some pallet disassembling genius.

Here's what I started with.  Slightly dusty, unloved pallets.

(Please don't judge my dirty garage!)

The deconstruction was simple.  Put your pallet on the floor, get a pry bar or a hammer and pry every board off.  For the purposes of my project, I completely disassembled pallets.  If you look at Kelly Simon's blogpost I linked above, she only disassembled one side.  Both ideas are rockin.  But I wanted to make several smaller signs, so a complete disassemble was the way to go for me.  If your pallets are like mine, they will split a bit and break at the edges.  Don't worry, it's no big thing.

So the bones of a pallet are these thicker 2x4 type brackets you see here.  In a normal pallet, they are standing up vertical.  What I did is lay two of them on the floor and they became the bracing for my sign assembly.  Same concept as cleats.  I wanted to make a 12x18 sign out of this pallet wood, so I just did the bracing 18 inches apart.

Then I started laying the wood perpendicular, two or three slats depending on width to make 12 inches.  

When I had everything laid out, I was ready to fasten the slats to the bracing.  I could have used a drill and screws for this, but we had a collated screwdriver.  This is one of those tools my husband wanted to buy where I fought him and said, "When are you ever going to use that thing again?"  We bought it when we drywalled our basement.  (You can see who won that little battle!)  In any event, it is awesome.  The screws are on a strip and you just press down and the screws go in instantly.

This is what I ended up with.  3 groupings of slats that are 12 or so inches wide.  I drew some straight lines to make them conform to 18 inches in height and then my husband went back and cut them with the circular saw.  Then he cut the signs off the bracing.

He painted one for me while I was in So Cal, and this is what we ended up with.  The paint is just leftover satin finish paint from one of our bedrooms.  I'm very flexible about what I use for base coats.  The sign's a bit rough and the boards aren't perfectly even, but that's the whole point!  So here it is with the stencil on top.  Always secured with blue painter's tape.

The stencil, if you're wondering, is all sorts of famous things in Astoria.  The Old 300 is our trolley, the George Flavel House is this fantastic Victorian (featured in The Goonies), the Peter Iredale is a shipwreck.  I digress!

I used Folk Art paint for the lettering.  12x18 signs take some time to stencil, I think this was every bit of 45 minutes.  That's one of the concerns I have for the show, so I'm bringing a bunch of 6x12 signs too.  Those go quick.

Here it is all done without the breaks filled.  Really, it looked nice just like this.

And one with the breaks filled.  I love the way this turned out.  We're also going to put this stencil on market totes.

I bought a bunch of burlap bags to bring to the Craft Party as well, and I did a little Swedish Dala Horse on one of them.  Stenciling on burlap is so forgiving.  The weave is wide and it absorbs paint really well.  Just make sure you always put some sort of flat filler in between when you're stenciling otherwise your paint might leak through to the other side of the bag.

This was a fun project.  Just for an FYI, one pallet yields 3 12x18 signs.  I have not done the math on how many 6x12s it will yield.

We have a few AMAZING features in the upcoming weeks, stay tuned because you are going to be blown away.

We also have some very fancy news to share with you as well, but we want to have all our ducks in a row before we do so.

I'll be back on Wednesday as regularly scheduled.  Have a great weekend!


  1. I love your pallet project. I might have to try one soon.

  2. I love stenciling pallets. I usually make sign on strips. Sometimes I do a very light stencil then go back and freehand an outline and fill it in with a brush. I have to admit I have a better pry bar than my husband does just for my pallet projects.

  3. Love this! You are so talented. I'm excited to be working on the Astoria Craft Party with you! - Meg @ Revamp Homegoods