Faux Pallet Wall Tutorial

Ryker spent most of last week at my parents’ house, so I spent every waking minute working on things for the truck, especially knowing that I had to have surgery on Friday to remove skin cancer from my arm and would be unable to work on the truck for a while after that. I managed to knock out 2 major projects as well as tackle many other odds and ends, like ordering flooring and sanding on the exterior.

One of my most anticipated projects for the TYPO truck has been the faux pallet wall that I included on my dream board, because I had been dying to do something like this, but had never found a space in my home that I could test it out. After lots of research on Pinterest, I was certain that the truck would be the perfect space to do an accent wall like this. Plus, I wanted to incorporate a rustic vibe to offset the modern, clean feel of the bright white metal walls. I knew from my research that I didn’t want to mess with using actual pallets because they are A) hard to come by any more B) even harder to disassemble and C) who knows what kinds of chemicals they could have on them?! (Scary stuff!) I found a really great blog post about how to create a faux pallet wall, so I used it as a starting point, but of course I tweaked it to work for my needs.

Blogger Wendy James accomplished what I’m sure would have taken me forever – she found the perfect, affordable and easy to work with material to use for the pallet boards, and best of all, it is available at my local Lowes store (she had to order it online from Lowes). After taking measurements and doing the math, I estimated that I had around 30 square feet to cover, so I picked up 3 packages that each covered 9.33 square feet for around $11. I have to be as cheap frugal as possible with this truck project! (I did end up being short by two rows, so I had to go back and get another package. Darn!)

EverTrue Edge V-Groove unfinished pine paneling

EverTrue Edge V-Groove unfinished pine paneling

So here’s the biggest difference between the way I did my pallet wall and every other tutorial I saw on Pinterest….. I cut my boards first, then applied stain. Let me explain. I knew I had to be super efficient with my boards to minimize waste. I also knew that I would be super picky about the pattern of the various colors of stain I intended to use. So I set up two folding tables that happen to be almost the same width of the accent walls I needed to create 35.25″ wide (boy that number will be forever stuck in my head after doing the math on the calculator so many times).

The whole boards were 32″ long, so not quite long enough to reach end to end, which was fine, because I wanted a more “reclaimed” look anyways. I arbitrarily cut the first board to a length that would reach approximately half way across the width – let’s say 17″ for the sake of this tutorial. Then I took 35.25 – 17 = 18.25, so I measured out 18.25 on a whole new board and cut it. Then I laid the two pieces together face down (I also did all of my pencil marks on the backside so I wouldn’t have to worry about them showing up.) Row one was complete. And now I had two other shorter pieces to work with. I basically moved the cut pieces around until I liked where they lined up with the row above them, then I would cut a piece to the right length if there was any shortage. If two pieces together were much longer than 35.25, I saved one of them for the next row instead of cutting it down and wasting any. I continued working my way down row by row, and I randomly varied between two and three pieces per row. After every thing was said and done, I ended up with three scrap pieces each less than 1″ wide (and 3/4 of a whole package that can be used for another project) so I’d say I did great on minimizing waste.


Laying out the cut boards in their rows

All of the cut boards arranged.

All of the cut boards arranged.

When I finally had enough rows to fill the space top to bottom, I labeled each one with a sharpie. I started at the top right corner with P1A – which meant passenger side (because I’m doing an accent wall on each side of the truck and their heights are different), row 1, piece A. The next piece was labeled P1B (passenger, row 1, piece B). Now I did the ABC labeling from right to left because this is the back side of the whole thing so it will be reversed when looking at it from the front. The other side was labeled D1A, D1B, etc (for driver’s side). But feel free to use whatever labeling system works for you, but I would HIGHLY recommend doing some kind of labeling since every piece has a specific place it needs to fit so the line spacing all works out right. Another note, I had originally thought that I wanted to have this side face outwards because it was more rough looking like a true pallet board, but after a quick test on one board, I realized that the rough side did not stain well at all, so I nixed that idea.

Pallet boards labeled

Pallet boards labeled

After I labeled every board, I flipped each row over, making sure that each piece stayed in the same spot it was supposed to be in (so that it would go up like A, B, C). Then came the fun part of staining the boards! I’m still relatively new to using stain – I’m more of a paint everything gal – so I was going purely on Pinterest advice and luck. I started with three colors of stain: english chestnut, natural and weathered gray (which was the only one I had to purchase since I already had the other two on hand). I cut up an old t-shirt into 5 different rags, one for each color of stain, one for blending and one just in case. Working with rubber gloves on, I started on the top row with the dark stain. Dab the rag in the stain and rub, rub, rub into the board! I did make sure to lightly stain the end of the board that would be exposed, but I didn’t take too much care to get into the v-groove completely because it wouldn’t show when the panels were together. I noticed right away that the dark stain was not nearly dark enough for the darkest dark I had in mind, so I hit it another time with the stain, still not dark enough, but I moved on. The next board I used the weathered gray, which at first went on almost as opaque as paint and freaked me out! So I quickly grabbed one of the clean rags and wiped and wiped and the wood grain showed through as anticipated. I also noted that the gray was much bluer than I was going for, but I figured I could fix that later if needed.

Using the natural stain was completely new for me. Having read Wendy’s tutorial, she suggested layering the natural with the dark stain or the gray or both for a completely new color, so I did just that, experimenting and blending as I went. I discovered that the stains blended a lot like oil paints do when painting a picture. As long as one layer is still wet, the next layer will blend into it with a bit of work.

Deciding what color would come next was a process almost identical to the way I pick colors for words on a TYPOGRFX. It’s hard to explain, but it’s just a process that exists in my head. Not an exact pattern, but not exactly random either. These stain colors are almost exactly like the colors of the ever-popular Ward color scheme.

I decided to see just how dark I could get since the board in the top row was not nearly dark enough, so I laid down the dark stain thick and I left it sit for a few minutes. I wiped it down with the extra rag, then did it again. Finally, it was getting dark enough. Ultimately, the boards I did that to ended up having a slight sheen to them, but I don’t mind.

Stained panels

Stained panels

After all of the boards were cut and stained for both walls, I brought out one of my greige slipcovered chairs for color comparison. As I had previously thought, the gray was a bit too blue, so I went back to my stain stash and pulled out the dreaded “golden oak” (gasp! the horror! I guess I should be honest here, this really is my husband’s stash of stain so he can be blamed for this atrocity). So I grabbed up one of the shorter blue/gray boards and lightly layered the golden oak over it (you can close your eyes for this part if it’s too scary) and it actually did the trick! It toned down the blue just enough to greige up the gray to just the right amount. Whew! Crisis averted! Unfortunately, I did not get a pic of this very last step of adding the golden oak layer because I had to gather up all of the boards because the shed roof was leaking/dripping during a very heavy rainstorm and I didn’t want any of the boards to get wet, so here’s what they looked like pre-golden oak layer:

All boards cut and stained

All boards cut and stained

And of course, I was so proud of my two pallet walls that I had to take a selfie! Stay tuned for the final reveal when the pallet wall gets installed in the truck, which will be AFTER all of the exterior work and paint is done.


Although the doctor said I can’t be sanding or painting on the truck (or anything for that matter) for at least two weeks, Jackson is picking up the slack and working tirelessly on the exterior body work as well as the mechanical things that needed fixed (no more oil pressure issues – yay!). This project would be a complete loss if it weren’t for his help and expertise!

Update – September 2015!

The truck is now completely done! You can see how I installed the pallet wall boards here and you can see the full reveal here! The pallet wall is probably my favorite part of the whole truck!

TYPO Truck Dream Board

On demo day the bench seat and cabinet were removed from the truck, meaning I could take more precise measurements and make exact plans for finishing out the interior of the truck. Building on the plans I laid out earlier this week, I put together scale drawings of each side. Overall, I am pleased with the plan. The feel will be modern and clean, yet inviting. The pallet wall will be the perfect rustic accent to compliment the barn wood and burlap samples. Plus, my shopping list is relatively short:

• one can of Rust-oleum gloss sand (already purchased for $10 to make the perfect greige using paint I already had on hand)
• 3-4 packages of pine planking to make the pallet wall (Lowes – $10 each)
• one small can of gray stain (I already have every other color of stain imaginable)
• 5 linear feet of vinyl flooring (probably Home Depot – around $144)
• greige fabric for cushions
• free/cheap couch cushions that can be recovered
• curtain material (maybe a drop cloth, repurposed sheet, etc) to separate cab from the back of the truck – at least until I can save up enough to revamp the front interior of the truck

The only thing I have to build from scratch is the table, and I already have many of the materials on hand to do so. I also have tons of scrap trim that came out of our neighbor’s burn pile that can be used to finish out the cabinet bookcase. I already have most of the other decor and accent items I will use from my TYPOGRFX show booth. Also, it will be great to keep all of my samples in the truck now, instead stored of my office!



Demo Day!

I’m now a full week and half into this truck project, and it’s a wonder I have made it this far with all of the hurdles and hoops I have had to jump through just to get this project going. Inspections, insurance, licensing – all of the noncreative, no-fun stuff that has to be done before moving forward with my creative vision. I think we’re on the home stretch with the boring stuff, so now comes more fun things – like demo! Jackson got rained out from work this week and since it was unusually cold for July, I figured it would be a good day to work on the interior of the truck. So after some begging persuasion, Jackson drug out the grinder, sawzall, sledge hammer and pry bars and got to work removing the driver side bench and cabinet. I helped when I could, but really I was just supervising most of the time.

Safety first

Safety first

Jackson assessing the situation

Jackson assessing the situation

Finally loose!

Finally loose!


All clear!

All clear!

The next step will be sanding all of the wall surface so it can be primed and painted. Speaking of paint, I recently discovered that you cannot have Rust-oleum oil based paint tinted like you can regular interior paint. Not being one to let that stop me, I set about experimenting with mixing my own paint using the standard colors available and most importantly using up the multiple gallons of “gloss white” and “smoke gray” I already had on hand (because, hey, we’re on a tight budget here!). I picked up one $10 can of “gloss sand” at Westlake which proved to be the key ingredient for making the perfect warmer shade of white and greige. I did a test patch on the cabinet that came out of the truck and it covered well. Unfortunately, before I can begin painting the interior, the exterior  has to be painted first, and I’m still debating on how that will get done (DIY vs paid professional). So wish me luck with figuring that out!

A successful experiment!

A successful experiment!

Creative Stuff

During the time Jackson worked on the mechanical side of the truck, I spent my time doing what I do best – being creative! I knew from the success of my show booth being designed to look like a living room that that was what I wanted to recreate in the back of the truck. After hitting a dead end in searching through all of the fashion trucks I could find on Pinterest and Google, I figure out a new key word to search for to find the right inspiration for my project – “tiny house”. Tiny houses rely on a well thought out use of very limited space, and with just 70 square feet to work with in my truck, I’m going to have to be efficient in whatever I do in the space to make the most visual impact. Pin after pin, I saved images of lovely little living room spaces. Here’s my tentative plan for the interior:

I’m going to remove the driver’s side tool box and cabinet (really Jackson is going to be the one doing all of the work, they are welded into the truck). The passenger side will stay, but the door on the cabinet will go.


Hopefully the walls will be clean enough to just paint bright white. If they are too banged up/damaged, then I will figure out a way to install some sort of paneling or bead board over them. I’m toying with the idea of doing a reclaimed wood feature wall where the side wall juts out just a bit, but that will depend on materials I can find and time.


I love this pallet wall!

I would like to cover the ceiling with something that looks like pressed tin ceilings even if it is faux and will probably paint it white. Tin ceilings is one of the things I loved most about some of the retail spaces I have looked at before.

(source unknown)

(source unknown)

The bench will be dressed up to look like a couch. I will use the existing carpet/plywood boards and will add thicker cushions (hopefully I can get some free couch cushions) and will upholster it in a greige fabric. I will make/find/purchase some pretty pillows to add pops of TYPOGRFX green. The storage space under the couch will house the generator and anything else that I want to keep out of sight.


The bench will become a couch like this with greige fabric.


The banged up metal cabinet will be transformed into a bookcase like this. I will cover up the interior with paneling, paint the back TYPOGRFX green and add shelves and trim to make it look polished.


Love the pop of color in the back!

I really, really want to do a reclaimed style wood floor, but as Jackson pointed out it would be expensive to purchase, would add weight and would not stand up to moisture well (think people coming in and out of the weather). So I am searching for some sort of linoleum or vinyl floor covering that looks like dark wood floors. It will be easier to install and will be easier to clean/maintain. I found this vinyl flooring at Lowes, but hopefully can find something similar for a lower price.


Believe it or not, this is linoleum!

Above and across from the “couch” I will create a gallery wall of TYPOGRFX artwork. I would like to find a narrow furniture piece like this or a table cut in half to add interest along the bottom half of the open side. This will all depend on what furniture or materials I can find free or super cheap.


Super narrow furniture piece would be ideal.


This mobile boutique installed tables cut in half in their truck.


Overall, I want it to feel bright and modern, and not too cluttered since the space is so small. My theory is that a white interior will be a stark comparison to the exterior of the truck that I intend to paint TYPOGRFX green. From top to bottom, front to back. Lime green meets olive green.


I had originally thought that I wanted to wrap the truck with really eye-catching graphics, but after getting quotes that cost two to three times what I paid for the entire truck, I decided that painting it TYPOGRFX green with some simpler logo and URL graphics on the sides will suffice. Although cheaper than a wrap, a complete professional paint job was also looking way out of my budget, but after a few calls to my uncle, I think we can do it ourselves. Jackson can teach me how to sand the paint and repair the dings with bondo, then we’ll paint it with the equipment my uncle has. Sounds easy, right? Remind me that I said that in a few months when I’m covered head to toe in navy paint dust and/or TYPOGRFX green paint.

Who knows how the truck will turn out at this point, but I’m excited for this journey and I can’t wait to take you with me, so buckle up.. It’s going to be a wild ride!

Mechanical Stuff (that’s the technical term, right?)

Did you know that oil pressure is crucial for a vehicle to run right? Yeah, me either. We weren’t but a few miles down the interstate following Jackson in the truck that he pulled off at an exit. He had mentioned that I didn’t have follow him and that I should get Ryker back in time for his tee ball game after my big purchase, so we went on down the road. After 20 minutes of being home and no sign of Jackson I began to worry. Please, lord don’t let him be broke down somewhere. And please lord, if he is, please let him have his cell phone with him! (Jackson is notorious for not having his phone on him.)

A few minutes later, I saw the navy beast coming down to the driveway much to my relief! Jackson pulled up and I cautiously asked if it ran alright. He said he initially pulled over because the dog house (the box covering the engine inside of the cab) wasn’t latched and when he started down the highway, it was flapping up, so he stopped to latch it. Then he mentioned that the oil pressure dropped, he lost power and ended up crawling along the shoulder of I-35 the rest of the way home. I asked, “Is that bad? Is it something you can fix?” to which he replied, “It could be bad. You might need a new motor…” My heart sank and it must have shown in my face, because he said, “But even if you need a new motor, it is still a good truck and well worth the money.” Gee that’s just what I wanted to hear! I think he must enjoy seeing the roller coaster of my emotions!


The next few days I tried my hardest not to bug him about the truck fearing that it would just irritate him and further prove his point that I hadn’t thought this project through. Each day after work though, he went about working on the engine and all of the mechanical stuff underneath the truck. Taking things apart, putting them back together. Tossing aside parts that “weren’t necessary” (what?!). He spent what seemed like hours laying in the gravel underneath it, tweaking, working. Eventually he informed me that he couldn’t find anything major wrong with it and that I could go ahead and get it inspected and licensed. What a relief (for now).