A good prepper is able to use any resources at hand to build the things he needs to stay alive. A well prepared survivalist has versatile materials on hand. Recycled wood pallets are a great source of cheap (read: free) lumber that can be converted into anything from an emergency shelter to a chicken coop or piece of furniture.
There are currently just under 2 billion wooden pallets in circulation in the United States alone, the majority of which are replaced each year. You can pick them up for free from your local garden center or paint store. Here are 10 more creative pallet projects for survival preppers.
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Pallet Project #1: Pallet Tool Chest
To be prepared for anything you need an organized set of tools in addition to raw materials. Broken down pallets make great lumber for building a tool chest. Old bits of chain make the drawer handles, while tool sized holes have been cut into sheets of Styrofoam to hold each tool in its own place.
Image courtesy of palletfurnitureplans.com
Pallet Project #2: Pallet Pool Bar
Is a bar an essential survival item? Well, if the aftermath of disaster lasts for years or even decades, non-essentials like a bar can help you and your community retain a sense of normality in a topsy-turvy world. And a pallet bar is easy and cheap to build.
For this pool bar the builder left the pallets in the original form, simply securing them together and laying a tiled counter on top. Building a bar doesn’t get any easier than this.
Image courtesy of diycozyhome.com
Pallet Project #3: Pallet Porch
An emergency or bug-out shelter may be a small cabin in the woods, a cob house, an Earthship house or even a tiny home. You can use a pallet porch to make any of these habitations feel more like a real home.
This design plays with the natural look of a pallet. You do have to take them apart and re position each board to make a structurally sound porch, but by laying the boards down as though they were still part of the original pallet is a clever touch. Add a few more pallets to make a practical set of steps leading up to the porch.
Image courtesy of pinterest.com
Pallet Project #4: Stenciled Pallet Floor
If you’ve built a pallet shelter, you know that they make great floorboards. But even a survival shelter benefits from a little decoration like these stencils. Stenciling pallets is a great way to get the family involved in your pallet shelter building.
Having trouble finding pallets? Try the grocery store, garden center, tile and flooring shops or masonry workshops. Look for clean pallets without stains or spots. If you ask nicely, most places will be thrilled to give them to you totally free. After all, you’re saving them a trip to the landfill.
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Pallet Project #5: Castle Bunk Bed
Get the kids in on the pallet fun. They can help you build this castle of a bunk bed.
When you are choosing pallets for building, look carefully for any warped or rotten boards. There are enough pallets out there that you should be able to pick and choose. You want the highest quality wood you can find, not something that has been left out in the weather all winter.
Image courtesy of woodenhouz.com
Pallet Project #6: Gardens, Tables and Trellises
You don’t have to dismantle a pallet to make it useful. These pallets have been put together to form a variety of tables, stands and even trellises for the garden. Whole pallets are handy to have around. Adapt them to whichever project you are working on at the moment. They can hold your seedlings as nursery trays, form a sturdy table for drying herbs, butchering a deer or even eating dinner.
Image courtesy of fayrehalefarm.com
Pallet Project #7: Simplest Raised Bed
You’re a survivalist, not a gardener. You are more interested in hunting, fishing and barbecuing than you are in weeding and composting. Unfortunately, you will likely need some gardening skills if an economic disaster wipes out our currency, or an EMP threatens electronic devices.
Pallets can make gardening simpler. They allow you to form automatic raised beds without all the work. They form clear edges and rows. Just a lay a few pallets on top of a flattened cardboard box, add soil and seeds and water. You’ll be impressed by the greenness of your thumbs.
Image courtesy of thefreerangelife.com
Pallet Project #8: Pallet Compost Shed
Part of successful gardening is good compost. If you can’t run down to the garden store and pick up a sack, how will you keep your garden soil fertile after seasons of heavy production?
Compost is a messy project that is best contained. Use whole pallets to build a simple compost pile that won’t blow all over your property. The best part is that this type of compost set-up is easily moved, so you can plant next year’s veggies in the rich soil under last year’s compost pile.
Image courtesy of homesteadredhead.com
Pallet Project #9: Easy Chicken Coop
Three pallets and a sheet of tin or aluminum roofing and you’ve got the world’s easiest chicken coop. It needs a roost, a nest box and shelter from wet weather. Remember, chickens are hardy birds that handle freezing temperatures gracefully if they can stay dry. They’ll weather hot summers just as well as long as you provide shade and water. The only thing standing between you and farm fresh eggs each morning is a few pallets and a couple of nails.
Image courtesy of holdingtheworldinapapercup.wordpressblog.com
Pallet Project #10: Pallet Fence
Keep nosy passerby away from your property. Keep the chickens, goats or dogs contained. Separate your small children from the hazards surrounding your backyard. There are many reasons you may need to build a fence. Most fencing is expensive, labor intensive and requires some special tools or knowledge. Pallets make a simple, sturdy fence. They are easy to install and can be moved or re-purposed later. Where do you need a pallet fence on your property?
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Break Down Pallets Easily
Unless you’re using whole pallets to build a fence or shed, you’ll want to break them apart into boards. This part can be daunting if you lack the proper tools. A pallet tool like the Deck Wrecker makes dismantling pallets a breeze. You can do it with a crowbar and hammer, but it is a lot more work. If you are planning on breaking down a lot of pallets, a good pallet tool is well worth the money.
Make Beautiful Chevron Coffee Table From Old Pallets
Follow these step by step instructions to make a gorgeous coffee table using old pallets.
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