Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Cheapskates Guide to Building OR the Pallet Shed

So much to do here on the not-so-urban farm. Juggling school, single parenting, and farming is never easy but it's a little more difficult with all the rebuilding to do after this summer's drought. Technically, we're still in drought as the soil moisture is dangerously depleted. We calculated yesterday that it will take 15 inches of rainfall to get the soil back in good shape to grow food.

I want to share with you a project that was long overdue. We've needed another shed to store hay and feed but the expense kept delaying building it. Then a friend told me about building with pallets. I googled the phrase and found a wealth of information that I modified for my particular site. I decided to build this one right next to the one I built last spring. The plan is to let the back wall of the sheds function as part of the fence. That way I don't have to pony up for more fence than absolutely necessary and I make the most use of my small lot because I'm not wasting space between the shed and the fence.

Locals call this area Swampeast Missouri. Although we're in a drought right now, next year we could be flooded (like last year when the Corps dynamited a levee to save the town of Cairo). So I wanted my shed up off the ground with a floor of pressure treated wood.

I used pressure treated 2 X 4 to create a 4' X 8' frame on 16" centers. The cinder blocks were leveled before placing the flooring on them.

Then I placed the first course of pallets. I used 31" X 31" and 53" X 31" pallets that I picked up for free at a local business. Free is good, we like free.

The floor is exterior grade plywood. The first course was screwed into the joists with long deck screws. It looks a little wonky, doesn't it? At this point the chickens decided I'd built them a jungle gym so I couldn't leave it like this overnight.

Here's the second course. This course is attached to the previous one with carriage bolts. I drilled a hole, placed the carriage bolt in it and tapped it in with a mallet. If I had made this a freestanding shed with four walls it would have been more stable as I was building it bit I was trying to maximize my space and my materials.

Next time, third course, hanging the rafters and the final result.


  1. What a fantastic idea! Recyclable pre-fab walls. Love it!

  2. I am impressed. If you ever need to do something else, I think you qualify as a carpenter. It would never have occurred to me to use pallet. Great idea.