Friday, May 27, 2016

Deadline to Enter PalletPalooza is June 30, 2016

Time flies and I hope you are having fun working with pallets.
June 30th is the last day to have your project finished, entered and photos uploaded.
Here is a link to the website:
This is the link to ENTER (and the rules):
Here is information about PalletPalooza Day:
Questions or Comments?

Since we are talking about time - how about a round up of pallet clocks? Here are a few gems with great tutorials.
_______________________________________________________ is a great blog for finding inspiration for that farmhouse style. She has a very simple and easy to follow tutorial.
____________________________________________________ tutorial for make this pallet clock has a lot of helpful pictures and even walks you though making the stencil. 
____________________________________________________ used regular wood for this clock, but we know it could be done with pallets.

____________________________________________________ has step by step instruction. Change up the color to fit your home.
Questions or Comments about PalletPalooza? Follow this link for our contact information:


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Middle School Pallet Project

The Holy Family Catholic School in Grand Blanc, Michigan recently held a silent auction for their school.

Mrs. Szukhent, the 7th grade teacher, has a connection here at Goodwill and knows about PalletPalooza. So she has kindly shared pictures of three of the items that were auctioned off - made from pallets by the students!
American Flag
Mrs. Szukhent and her 7th grade class made these two patriotic pallet pieces.
I can see them proudly on display on a bookshelf in a classroom or on a front porch.

The Pledge of Allegiance 
Great job students. This is a unique pallet creation! You may be inspired to recreate this piece for Memorial Day and Independence Day.
Mrs. Gonzale's sixth grade students each painted their own flower pot which were then attached to a brightly painted pallet. This is such a great idea to get everyone involved. I am sure there were a lot of bids on this item! 

A big thank you to Holy Family School for sharing your projects!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Picking Perfect Pallets

The title of the blog is a little misleading. A perfect pallet doesn't mean new wood, no splinters, or no bent nails. Perfect means a pallet that perfectly fits your vision for your pallet project.

I will walk through the building here at the Goodwill Alcott street location and spot a pallet and I will be like "Stop...wait a minute... that pallet would be perfect for a coffee table, or that pallet is just the size I need for a garden pallet creation.

I wandered through our pallets that we have for free for Makers ready to get started on their pallet creation to enter PalletPalooza.
 (Entries are due June 30, 2016 - To Enter or to see the rules click HERE. )
With over 2 billion pallets in circulation in the United States you are bound to find the perfect pallet:
These blue pallets are monsters - they are super heavy. But maybe that blue chippy paint is exactly what you are looking for. And if your need a really solid pallet - these are it.
This pallet has really wide boards - unusual for a pallet. And the three cross pieces, stringers, are, I am guessing 4" x 4". If you took this apart you can use them for two different projects.

A smaller pallet with more wide boards - these are good to have in your stash.

Yes - the rare green pallet - perfectly weathered. I will need that forklift driver to swing on over and help me uncover it! 

I am fond of the weathered gray pallets. I think they are beautiful. That isn't strange is it? 

If your perfect pallet is indeed a new pallet - you can still find these ready to be recycled. The standard North American pallet, or GMA pallet, has deckboards of 40 inches and stringers of 48 inches. If a pallet isn't that size, it is often discarded, or set aside. With the boards together like this one - I think this could be cut in half and made into a coffee mug holder. 

Another pallet with the deckboards close together - this would be perfect for a sign.

This is not showing up that great in this picture - but this pallet was so weathered and bleach by the sun - it was almost white. I am going to go pick it this afternoon and do something with it. I am not sure what... Any suggestions?

I spotted this darker gray pallet. When I see that - I see rustic picture frames.

Love the red. These stacks are getting ready to be reused for their intended purposes - shipping. 
But when I found a broken one few weeks ago - it became a piece of art - now hanging in our commercial sorting department. 
I took the back off. These are typically very large and very bulky. I used a pallet buster tool to get the back boards or stringers off, then a big hammer to knock off the fat spacers. that left me with just the deck boards and they already had stringers keeping them all together. I didn't do any sanding because, one, the boards weren't that bad, two, I wanted to keep the weathered look intact, and three, I knew that it was going up high where it wasn't going to give anyone slivers. I hung a giant silver metal star in (almost) the center. Here is a close up.

Find your perfect pallet at one of our Pallet Providers.

And these two Consumers Concrete locations:
East 3809 E. Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI
1505 Burlingame SW, Wyoming, MI
Enter your Pallet Creation in PalletPalooza soon - the deadline is June 30th!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mixing Thrift Store Finds with Pallets

We have a round up of very creative ideas mixing thrift store finds with pallets.
Candle sconces are commonly found at Goodwill - often in black wrought iron.
Follow to see how she put together this wall art and give it a try with recycled pallets.
Basketball fans - you will love this upcycle project. found their hoop in the woods, but keep your eye out for one at Goodwill and other thrift stores.
A found object here, a found object there, never mind a bit of rust and chipped paint... we LOVE it! See all of the different ways to express your love over at
Here are a couple ideas for outdoor play kitchens for the little ones. Fill up the shelves with great deals on pots, pans & utensils at Goodwill.
Calling all artists! Woodworkers! Makers! Enter PalletPalooza - the recycled pallet creation competition. Learn more at

Friday, May 6, 2016

Pallet Mother's Day Gift Ideas

We have a round up of DIY pallet ideas to give to Mom for Mother's Day:
Simply print off the free printable from and add two favorite photos.

Is your Mother far away? Let her know she is close to your heart.
A nice sentiment for your Mother-In-Law:
Serve Mom breakfast in bed with this DIY rustic tray.
It's all about family - help Mom display her favorite family photos with this handmade sign.
Give her flowers that will last and last with this handpainted pallet art.

Happy Mother's Day

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Welcome Consumers Concrete Corporation

We want to welcome Consumers Concrete Corporation to the PalletPalooza Team!

They are joining us as pallet providers. PalletPalooza is all about finding creative ways to repurpose recycled pallets. Consumers Concrete Corporation is setting aside pallets that are not usable anymore for people to take for free. The two locations where they will have pallets available on a first come/first serve basis are:

 East 3809 E. Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI
1505 Burlingame SW, Wyoming, MI
Consumers serves DIYers! Find helpful information on their DIY page
And be sure to check out their gallery for lots of ideas.

About Consumers:
Now in its’ 83rd year of continuous operation, Consumers Concrete Corporation (CCC) began as a sand and gravel operation in 1933. Over the years, CCC has changed and expanded to operate 22 ready mix plants, becoming one of Michigan’s largest suppliers of ready mixed concrete.  CCC manufactures a complete line of concrete block, architectural block and landscape products at plants located in western Michigan.  Septic tanks, retaining wall units, and other precast items are manufactured at two precast plants, while the original sand and gravel location continues to supply aggregates to the Kalamazoo community.
CCC is committed to exceptional customer service using strategically located plants, a laboratory and quality control department, an experienced sales staff, dependable equipment, and a ready mix customer service center dedicated to accurate order taking and on time deliveries.  CCC has long supported the “green initiative” having supplied innovative concrete and architectural block products for LEED certified projects in Michigan and Indiana.

Products such as re-bar, sealers, form tube, expansion joint and other items commonly used by concrete contractors are readily available from most ready mix plants. A complete line of concrete supplies, concrete block, architectural block, manufactured stone, brick, and landscape products are available from our block manufacturing locations and retail stores.
Thank you Consumers for supporting PalletPalooza
PalletPalooza will benefit Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan and the mission to provide employment, education, training, and support services to individuals and families so they can achieve self-sufficiency.
Hmmmm.... what do you get when you google pallet & concrete

How about this:
or this!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Our version of Michigan Pallet Art

As soon as I saw this pallet - I knew it was going to be a piece of Michigan Art.

I have been wanting to give painting Michigan on a pallet a try. I am not an artist, I am one of those people who struggle to draw a recognizable stick figure, but there are so many cool ideas on Pinterest that I was determined to give it a go.
Plain Pallet

It is a fairly large piece - 2 ft x 3 ft. (It is hanging on a wall across from my cubicle - Maybe not the perfect place to have a rustic piece, but this is it's home for now, and it makes me happy looking at it!)
Here are the steps I took to make this finished piece.
This pallet already had the boards close together, so I only had to take off the back pieces. I did nothing else, which sometimes you have to dissemble then reassemble your pallet wood. I wanted a quick project, and it seems taking a pallet apart is the hardest part. Do you see the dark streak of wood across going along the length of the piece? That is my favorite part!
Notice that on the opposite side there is a large piece splintering off:

I cut off the splinters with a hack saw, and then used a wood file to smooth it out, and then sanded the whole piece. I am fortunate to have a lot of tools to use when I make stuff here at Goodwill. When I was looking for a wood file, I found this jackpot in the maintenance department. Just a little intimidating!  
I was worried that the more splinters I cut and peeled, and the more I filed, I was losing a lot of wood, but I actually liked how it looks finished with the wavy edge, it just added more character to the finished piece. 
I am a fan of using what you have, so I found a used can of stain and a foam brush to stain the top and and the sides.
I am always amazed when it comes to the part of adding stain to a pallet project. It instantly takes the pallet from a discarded piece of junk to something beautiful.
I am not an artist, so I definitely needed something to trace out the shape of Michigan. I found a free outline on Google and uploaded the picture to This is a a great website! Since my pallet was so big, I needed a large pattern. I printed the outline on four pieces of paper, then cut it out and taped it together. Voila! I now had a very large pattern. 
With the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, it was a bit of a struggle getting them to line up without the UP falling off, I ended up reducing my pattern on the copier just a smidgen to make it fit.

I traced the pattern with a silver sharpie, because that is what I had on hand, 
and then painted in the lines with a spare can of white Rust-oluem. It was a little thick from being old but that ended up being a good thing. 
When the paint dried, I started roughing up the paint with a wire brush, which was too harsh, then switched to a course grit sandpaper. As it turned out, when I sanded close to the edge of the pattern, a little bit of the silver sharpie showed through, and it looked kind of cool. With that accidental discovery and the thick spots of paint, it gave the piece dimension, and kind of looks like topography. 

Overall I am very pleased, but now I want to try another one, maybe with blue stain all around to reflect the Great Lakes, and then I have another idea.......  
Do you love Michigan Art on Pallets? Make your masterpiece and enter PalletPalooza Today! Go to

UPDATE: Since we put this up for display - someone has added gel hearts to mark their favorite places. 

I am going to be keeping an eye out to see if they get moved around the state!