diy project: claire’s pallet shelf

designer claire terry from madame fancy pants sent in this full diy idea. the other day her mom decided to reclaim the bookcase she’d let claire borrow, so quick replacement shelving was claire’s goal. she happened to have a few wooden pallets around her house (“people always asked ‘why do you have pallets lying around’ and i always replied ‘they will come in handy one day’ “) so she came up with these fun shelves crafted together from pallets and a few pieces of extra wood. claire’s been kind enough to share her how-to instructions with us below, so be sure to check out the full project after the jump. thanks, claire!

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!

You will need:

-Wooden Pallets
-Hollow wall anchors (depending on your walls)
-thick timber

1. Gather some pieces of thick wood (mine were about 1.5 inches) the desired length of your shelves and paint them the color you fancy. (These will act as the actual shelf portion of your pallet- unless you pallet wood is wide enough to use as actual shelves)

2. Using the bottom of the pallets, balance your painted wood pieces on the long end of the pallet (where you would like the shelves to go) and then add a few screws in the back so they don’t shift.

(The shelves will now be secured and balancing on the long bits of the palate so they should hold a good amount of weight.)

3. I put my larger pallet on the bottom and the smaller one sitting on the top. Once you have the pallets in the formation you would like them to stay in, grab your drill and drill into the pallet and wall (if you can find a stud to screw into that would be super secure!). I put in 3 long screws into hollow wall anchors.

4. The weight and the tension of the top pallet holds the bottom one up so you shouldn’t need any screws in the bottom pallet. Then..viola!…….put your books and trinkets up!

  1. Sara says:

    “CLICK HERE” button takes you to the wrong link :) (palate instead of pallet)

    1. grace says:


      i’ll fix that link, sorry about that :)


  2. Stephanie May* says:

    LOVE this! Taking something ugly and turning it into some cute and usable in the home is great! The extra pieces of wood are almost like floating shelves.

    Thanks for this idea!

  3. Alexis says:

    Great project! Any chance I could find out where the chair came from? I love it!

  4. Eugénie says:

    what a nice and cheap project, i always wanted to make a coffee table with a palette… will see in my new apartement. and always pleased too reconize harry potter books on a bookshelf !

  5. Angie says:

    Genious! It drives me nuts when my husband keeps seemingly useless old stuff but he manages to make use of them somehow, this just totally reminded me of what he does. I love the instant rustic feel it gives to the room.

  6. James Allen says:

    Very nice. Myself and Elliot Hammer done something similar last year at university, we created a bookshelf to act as a book co-op for our typographic class, see more on the project here –


    1. grace says:

      james- that’s gorgeous! thanks for sharing :)


  7. Winna says:

    Lovely! And for those in the DC area, Community Forklift would be a great source for the pallets or extra wood for cheap.

  8. caroline says:

    Great idea. And I love that green chair!

  9. Tanya says:

    I never knew pallets could be so gorgeous. Fantastic idea!

  10. kari says:

    Winna! Thanks for posting the community forklift link. I was just wondering what alley I could traipse down to find some pallets, and there you go!

  11. Erika says:

    I think it is “pallet”. I want to go scavenge for some so I can make this :D

  12. Claire says:

    glad y’all enjoyed it…seriously make it…it took no time at all!

    JAMES: ohh that is nice work..some good skill/jig/saw action going on there!

    The chair is part of a 3 piece set with a fold down couch to bed by a New Zealand company called “airest” manufactured mid century I think…The coverings are original and in super condition…..I cherish it!

  13. Sandra says:

    I love this! It would be perfect for my craft space–thanks for such a great idea.

  14. This is so cool. I love it. I am featuring it at

  15. erin says:

    love the shelf, and where did the little white house shaped shelves come from?

  16. Claire says:

    @ ERIN…
    I got them from Trademe (nzs version of ebay..) Im sure if you keep an eye out at thrift stores you should be able to pick them up…
    they were just plain wood and i painted them white..

  17. Abby says:

    I live in New Jersey and do not know where to find pallets? Should I go to the local ACE Hardware store? Or where should I go to get these pallets? It’s a wonderful idea


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