Anyone built a shed from pallets?

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  • Figuring on building a cheap shed from used pallets. To go on the allotment eventually, but to be built in the yard for now, because there is power available, if required. Then dismantle it, and take over to its permanent site.

    I have watched a number of YouTube vids, and looked over a few marvellous web sites, where folks built everything from furniture to barns from pallets, so I'm about ready to go. The pallets arrive next week, apart from some broken ones I've been repairing already, to get my hand in.

    Anyone done this, and got any tips?

    For those who don't know, a standard pallet looks like this:

  • Yes, have done this, many years ago.

    Used Pallets and scaffold poles.

    Stripped a pallet down to its bits.
    Then used the bits to fill in the gaps on twelve pallets!!!

    Untouched pallet on floor.
    Solid pallet on one side.
    Poles hammered in to inside of pallet to hold it upright.
    Second solid pallet slid over the poles to form the upper half of the wall.
    Second pallet on floor.
    Second wall next to first.
    Third wall on the end
    Then fourth and fifth walls on opposite side to first panels.
    Two pallets across the top for the roof.

    Heck of a lot of work,
    but a very substantial shed.

    If I was doing it again I would buy fencing panels and use them.

    But good luck with your construction.


  • I've been thinking of doing this! I've seen instructions online for a chicken coop built from pallets, with a shed built the same way. I have free access to as many pallets as I want at work. I'm currently collecting them to repair my fence!

  • Thanks for the hints and tips so far:thumbup:

    It won't be a big shed, because regs on the allotment only allow up to max of 8' x 8' x 7'high. So will be using four standard pallets as the base, and building the walls on top of those, about two pallets high, the back ones cut down a bit to allow for a sloping pent roof.
    The base will stand on five wooden bearers, laid sideways to line up with the blocks on the base pallets.

    Apparently an important point is to get most of the pallets approx. the same size, as this saves cutting and forming during the build.

    Another important point - for me, anyway - is not to make anything too big or heavy to lift onto the roof of a small estate car, because that's what we'll be using to take the bits over to the allotment. So we'll be using 'standard' pallets rather than heavy duty pallets. (The difference in price, where bought, is standard at £3 each, heavy duty £5 each. So a good saving if you buy standard).

    If not many people on here have done this, it might be helpful if I took a few photos at various stages of the build, together with a few notes. It will be a learning process for me too, as although I've put up sheds from kits before, and reinforced wonky ones, I've never built one from pallets or just totally recycled materials.

    We have to put in a simple planning application for the shed to the local council, so I've kept this to outline drawings and finished side views; looks very orthodox:whistle:

  • A bit more progress. Stage One, getting the base ready.
    First we made the soil fairly level beneath the five X 2M wooden bearers, which were lengths of 3” X 3” and 2" X 3" hardwood picked up as waste from building demolition. These were either nailed together, or had blocks nailed on to make them wider. On the now-level bearers we lay the four thickest (6”) pallets in a square.

    These were closed up as tightly as possible by tapping with a mallet, then joined in two rows, back of front one to front of back one, by drilling through the blocks and tightening up. You can use 8mm coach bolts washers and nuts for this, or lengths of 8mm rod with washers and nuts on, if you don’t mind cutting them to size. About 9” bolts or lengths of rod are required to go through both blocks and leave a bit sticking out for the nuts to go on.

    Shed Building 2.jpg

    Here you see a length of rod holding two pallet blocks together. Bolts of this size are expensive, so we used 8 mm rod through each of the three adjoining blocks on each base pallet. The little bracket is temporary, just to hold the pallet upright while drilling it.
    A 3/8” chuck small drill is nice to use, in order to get between the pallet blocks more easily. A drill bit at least 7” (180mm) long is needed to go through one block and mark the one alongside. They are then moved apart and the second one drilled through the marked hole. A 10” (250mm) drill bit generally goes through both and makes the job easier. Drill slowly and try to keep as straight as possible. When your holes are made you can tap your bolts or rods through, then gradually tighten them up.

    You don’t have to use bolts or rods, you can nail or screw flat battens along the sides of the base as shown later. I worked in engineering and still like metal fixings, is all.
    Note the temporary twist-wrap tying the pallets nice and tight for drilling. I like these, I even take them along when hiking. Great to tie roadkill or other unexpected finds to your rucksack frame.

  • Here's the next bit of the shed build. Had to stop for a day or two because some relatives are trying to flog their house and wanted some little irritating jobs doing. (Jeez, don't you just love fiddling with B&Q shitty little modern kitchen units that fall apart when you look at them, but they must look nice because prospective buyers have to be impressed).
    Shed Building 3.jpg

  • Before we put the sides onto the base, a bit about taking pallets apart.
    There are some YouTube videos about this, using different methods and some quite complex contraptions. As I don’t take pallets apart for a living, I kept to the simple stuff. A pry-bar or jemmy is quite useful, plus a mallet, a bolster chisel, and some scrap pieces of block wood. A hacksaw with a flexible blade is another must-have piece of kit.

    It’s how you use these simple tools that often determines whether you make a good job of de-assembly or not. Use them comparatively gently to start with, wiggling the pry-bar to and fro, not leaning hard on it. The chisel is only used for opening up really tight joints so you can get the pry-bar or the hacksaw in. The mallet is used for gently whacking the wood apart, and the hacksaw is ace for cutting nails that are deeply embedded between adjoining bits of wood. The spare blocks, as you might guess, are used for putting under your top section of wood to support it while you use the mallet on the bottom section to tap them apart.

    Broken pallets often yield lengths of good wood; well worth keeping for closing gaps, boxing in, strengthening struts, repairs to other pallets, etc. Also blocks that come in for a number of uses, including taking other pallets apart, as above.

    While we are mentioning blocks, take a look at the one in the picture below. This is not really a wooden block, it is composed of sawdust, wood-chips, and various glues, all compressed together. Some pallets come with these instead of real wood blocks. They do the job they are intended for, taking compression forces, but aren’t much good for anything else. If they get wet for long they tend to fall apart, and when you try to prise them off with a pry-bar they sometimes break into bits, like this one. The easiest way to remove them from a scrap pallet is to whack them sideways with the mallet; first one way and then the other until they are loose, then use your pry-bar or jemmy.
    I would not use pallets with these sort of blocks anywhere there is a remote chance of them getting wet, or even damp over a longer period of time. You don’t want your shed falling down around you in a wet winter, or when the snow-melt has penetrated through the building.

  • I find that the quality of pallets varies a lot, and so does the ease of dismantling. Some you can just about pull apart by hand, then I've had others that just won't come apart without breaking a good proportion of them.

    I love making things out of pallet wood :) I have access to lots of pallets at work, non-standard sizes and some really heavy duty ones originally for steel parts, all of which get burnt if no-one takes them.

    Here's a gate I made from dismantling some light duty packing material. You can still see the original nails :D

    Earlier in the year, the cheap plastic compost bin at Mum's allotment blew away, so I volunteered to make a new one out of pallet wood. This was made from heavy duty pallets, and weighed so much I could hardly move it. If it blows away we will have bigger problems!

    It looked pretty rough when I'd finished...

    Really rough :D

    I find that the wood is usually quite good quality though, and it looks fine after giving it a couple of coats of fence paint. The gate lives on, it's about 2 years old in the pic above. I love making stuff out of junk!

  • They have some beautiful pallets at work, there just a bit bigger than say a 1/3 of a full pallet but would fit together perfectly. I'm wanting a small shed for an allotment so have to see if I can get some.

  • I was thinking with the chair there it was going to be a posh shed with a verander built on it, I've always wanted an house with a verander on but may build one onto the shed i'll build at my allotment.

  • That's interesting, Clayman, because the missus would like a verandah as well. We talked about it, as a verandah would take up a good third of the size of the shed, and of course would be fixed to the front, back, or one of the sides only.

    So we figured a movable verandah would be best. Basically a pallet platform wide enough to take seats, but lightweight enough to be moved easily around, to follow the sun or, on a hot day, follow the shade!
    A small tarp from the roof to the verandah uprights would provide the shade as required, and like the platform could be easily moved around.

    We have some folks on an allotment near ours, and they have a fixed verandah, facing dead South. Nice till the sun gets hot and blinding. Then they have to go home or retreat inside the sweltering shed. (Our slope faces SW). One of the reasons we figured movable might be best.

    Anyways, I've got the bottom row of pallets on mine now, so just putting up a diagram for folks who might be building their own shed from pallets, concerning the cutting angle for the sloping top of the pallet sides that help support the roof. Of course this can be any angle, but needs to be enough to let the rain run off easy into the water butt.
    Shed Building 9.jpg