DIY Rustic Star Decoration from Reclaimed Pallet Wood

Today it’s rainy and gross outside.  Storms are brewing, we’re under tornado watch – in short, it’s wet and windy.  In my opinion, the only things these kinds of days are good for (besides nourishing Mother Earth) are fun projects, deep cleaning, and organizing.  It’s been awhile since I did any of the latter, and I thought I’d start with my blog.  I’ve chosen a new layout, which I am MUCH happier with, and while looking through some of my old posts, I realized that I had never posted this project that I did last fall.  It was so much fun, and it’s so cute, I can’t believe I never shared it with you all.

The store where I worked at the time had a bunch of pallets they were ready to throw out, so I brought a couple home.  One is in pieces; the other is still taking up space in our garage.   Nonetheless, I did get this project done pretty much right off the bat, but I haven’t had the opportunity to find somewhere to display it yet – that’s a plan for this weekend.

What I made was a rustic star out of bits and pieces of the pallet, some wood glue, and some nuts and bolts.  Very simple, very easy – once you’ve gotten the pallet apart.  If you’re looking for new ways to add to your outdoor decor this spring and summer, this is the perfect project.  It’s quick and easy, and you can have it out before the daffodils are blooming!

Materials

  • 5 pieces pallet wood, or any reclaimed wood, all about the same length and width.  Mine measure approximately 30″ x 3-1/2″ x 1/2″.  You could also use new boards for this and paint them.
  • 10 coordinating nuts and bolts.  I used 1-1/2″ bolts that are treated so they won’t rust outside.  You can find these in the bins at your local hardware store.  Ask an associate if you’re not sure – the one at my store was very helpful.  Note that if you’re using thicker boards, you’re going to need longer screws.  Mine stick out about a half-inch from the back of the boards, and I’m fine with that.  However, if you’re worried about it scratching something, you need to either use shorter bolts or remove the ends after you’ve put it together (my husband’s suggestion).
  • Drill and bit, coordinating with the size of your bolts
  • Wood glue – optional
  • Clamps
  • Permanent marker
  • Gloves and eye protection  - please, please, please make sure you wear these – very important!

1.  Let’s get started!  Put on your gloves and eye protection – I am a stickler for this!  Pallets can carry harmful bacteria, and we don’t want any splinters turning into something nasty, or any bits of sawdust flying into your eyes.  I prefer to douse my pallets with a potent mix of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water and leave them to set in the sun until dry.  This will help to remove any odors as well as kill bacteria.  I know there are mixed opinions about the use of pallets for decorating.  I am very picky when choosing my pallets, and I advise you to be too.  I would never put pallet wood inside my home because of the potential hazards –  I prefer to use them to cheer things up in the garden.

2.  Once you’ve prepped, you’ll need to take your pallet apart.  This is time-consuming, but it will be worth it, I promise!  A hammer and crowbar are your best friends for this job.

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Make sure to remove all nails from the wood – if any are stubborn and won’t come out, make sure to either saw off the back of the nail or bend it with a hammer so that it lies flush with the board.

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3.  Once you’ve gotten the five pieces that you need, you’re ready to begin.  It’s really quite simple.  Remember how you drew stars without lifting your pencil when you were a kid (or, if you’re like me, still do)?  You’re simply going to do the same thing to lay out your boards, arranging and rearranging them until you’ve got them laying well.  The most important part here is to make sure that the top board at each point of the star lays pretty flush with the bottom board at each point.  You don’t want any big gaps.

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4.  Now you’re ready to clamp.  Place clamps at strategic points on the star so as to keep everything from moving.  It needs to be held together very well so that when you drill, nothing moves.

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Take a permanent marker and mark two spots on the top board of each point of the star – these are the spots where you will drill.  Make sure they are in far enough from the edge.  Just wing it.   It’s rustic – if all the bolts aren’t positioned exactly the same, it just adds charm.

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Now get your drill and drill a hole at each of the spots you marked – there should be 10 total.  Drill all the way through both boards.

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5.  Thread a bolt through each of the 10 drilled holes and secure with a nut on the back of each.  If you’d like, you can loosen the clamps in small areas at a time to squeeze some wood glue between the boards before you secure them with the nuts and bolts.  This is not necessary but may make the end result hold up better, should the wood begin to rot, or the bolt strip through at some point.

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6.  If you used glue, leave the clamps on overnight to allow the glue to dry.  If not, remove the clamps – you’re done!

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Where will you hang yours?

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