Recycled and Up-cycled Fridays!

Fridays are now going to be more fun and fanciful!  I will post articles about recycled or up-cycled projects, unusual structures and things sent by readers, so if you run across something that is a unique recycled or up-cycled product send it to me so I can feature it.

I’ll start this first Friday with up-cycled shipping crates.  During my numerous remodel jobs throughout the years I have had products delivered on those “ugly” wooden shipping crates.  I would always lament about how was I going to get rid of that crate since the garbage people wouldn’t pick it up.  So I would end up hauling it to the local landfill…what a waste!

How easily I had forgotten about my traveling days in the mid 70’s when I built a hanging “locker” and organizer for my Dodge van.  I built the whole piece from discarded shipping crates and discarded redwood (I was in California at the time) and it served its’ purpose well by providing neat and compact storage while I traveled around the US and Canada!  Ah, yes, in those days my creative side melded beautifully with my always empty pocketbook!

When I ran across these 5 uses for shipping crates I smiled and thought about those earlier years and how innovative we all can be when we become aware of all the waste and heaping landfills.  Take a look at these great ideas and who knows, maybe you will like one of these ideas enough to create your own piece of furniture from a shipping crate or two and keep them out of our landfills!  I especially like the hanging shelf uses!

From Natural Home and Garden by Susan Melgren, Web Editor

Shipping pallets are a dime a dozen around the country. Commonly found behind stores (near delivery doors) and occasionally on the side of the road, these versatile and ubiquitous castoffs are a DIYer’s dream material. With a little creativity shipping pallets can be turned into a variety of useful pieces fro the home, from coffee tables to headboards to always-needed storage. Who knew a cheap wooden pallet could be so valuable?

Daybeds and Sofas

Turning shipping pallets into comfortable seating is one of the easiest ways to upcycle pallets. Just sand the pallets down until smooth then top with a comfortable array of cushions, pillows and blankets. To create the longer daybed or sofa look, attach two or more shipping pallets together. For more detailed instructions, check out Ashley Ann Photography’s instructions for DIY Pallet Reading Bed.

Shipping Pallet Daybed Shipping Pallet Sofa
A salvaged door turned headboard completes the look of this nursery room daybed (top), while oversized pillows provide a cushioned back to this living room sofa (bottom). DIY sofas and daybeds fashioned from old shipping pallets have the added benefit of built-in storage for magazines, blankets and other odds and ends. Images (top:bottom) Photo By Ashely Ann PhotographyPhoto By Sveinung Brathen/Courtesy BoligPluss

Coffee Table

Recycled shipping pallets also make great coffee tables. Depending on what kind of look you want, the effort you put in can be minimal. For a patio or outdoor room, sand the shipping pallets down, attach a couple of castors for mobility’s sake, and you’re done! For pieces inside the home, you might want to put a little more care into your work. If the look of weathered wood doesn’t fit your interior décor, slap a coat of low-VOC paint on the pallets. Customize the height of your table by stacking and attaching several pallets together. If you’re feeling a bit fancy, cover the top of the pallets with a slab of recycled glass.

DIY Shipping Pallet Outdoor Coffee Table
Stack two shipping pallets atop each other to create a coffee table of custom height. Castors give this outdoor coffee table added mobility. Photo Courtesy Joy Ever After


Want a rustic-looking wooden headboard? Attach two shipping pallets together side-by-side for a unique headboard at virtually no cost!

Shipping Pallet Headboard
Photo By Nina/Courtesy Stylizimo

For the more ambitious DIYer, dismantled shipping pallets make the perfect building materials for a child’s bed. Attach three pallets side-by-side, then dismantle additional pallets to create the railings and headboard.

Shipping Pallet Toddler Bed
Photo Courtesy Inhabitots

Don’t limit your pallet creativity to just yourself! With a little dismantling, you can create a cozy bed for your dog or cat.


Shelves are probably the most versatile use of old shipping pallets. Depending on the configuration, shipping pallets can make pretty display racks for storing dishes and cute books, or they can form more practical shelving.

Shipping Pallet Dish Shelf Shipping Pallet Shelves
Turn shipping pallets into a display rack for dishes or a hanging shelf. Images (left to right): Photo Courtesy ReadymadePhoto Courtesy Practical Enrichment.

Creativity—and your handiness with a hammer and nails—are your only constraints when it comes to turning old shipping pallets into fun furniture and shelving for your home!

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