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!

Meaningful Home Series – Kitchen

About the Meaningful Home Series: This fall I am going to share my home with you bit by bit to show you how you too can create a meaningful home full of more than just “stuff” but instead with things that are meaningful to you and your family. In today’s world of big box stores and cheaply made “crap”, I want to inspire you to fill your home with things you have inherited, collected and found over the course of time – not just stuff you went to Target and bought off the shelf in one trip. I hope you enjoy this peak into my personal life and decor! Last week, I shared my bathroom. It’s quite amazing how much meaning I packed into that small, utilitarian space.

This week, I’m sharing my kitchen. It is a great source of pride for me, because of the “renovation” I was able to complete in the spring of 2012. In a nut shell, I completely transformed the dark, ugly and boring kitchen into a bright, warm space for less than $200, and without any help from my husband at all (other than to show me how to run the chop saw). I’ll go through the exact details in a future blog post, but here’s what I did:

• I made the cabinets faux shaker style by glueing flat frame pieces to the doors. Then I painted all of the cabinets white and added new bronze hardware.
• I painted the countertops. Yes, PAINTED them to look like granite. (This is where the bulk of the expense came in for $90 countertop sealer.)
• I created a faux tile backsplash using drywall mud, auto painters tape, paint and sealer.

The reason I point all of this out is because I want to inspire you to make small changes when you can to make your space something you are more happy with. My husband thought I was crazy when I told him what I planned. He said we’d be better off just waiting until we could completely gut the kitchen and replace all of the cabinets and do everything “right”. Well, I knew that it would be 10-15 YEARS before we could ever think about it, and I could not live with the jungle green countertops any longer!

So moving on to how the space is actually decorated.

kitchen1_TYPOGRFXThe first thing you might notice is that it is open, all the way open to the whole living room. This means you see it as soon as you walk in the front door and it is part of the overall 1500+ square foot great room. Overall, the kitchen’s decor is very similar to that of the rest of the house and includes lots of inherited and collected items. My favorite inherited piece is the table, which my mother-in-law saved from the trash when she was just 16 years old. She gave it to us when we moved into this house. Not many kitchens could fit a table this size, plus it has 4 extra leaves so it can seat 12+ people! My favorite found piece is the buffet, which I purchased for $60 off of a swap shop. The gentleman who had it before said he found it in a landfill in the 70’s and had had it ever since. It was badly water damaged, so my husband made a new top for it out of metal, so not only is it beautiful, it’s functional as extra counter space and great for serving large meals on.


The tops of the cabinets include butcher blocks made by my father-in-law and several antique/vintage kitchen gadgets including an ivory soap box and mason jar lid boxes that are in nearly perfect condition. The “J” is a hand-crafted tile hot plate that my husband’s Grandma Jean made. Also, a very small portion of my pop bottle collection is displayed here too. I once saw on Nate Berkus how if you have an obnoxiously large collection of something – like my bottle collection – that you shouldn’t display all of it at once, but instead choose a variety of the more important or unique pieces to display and rotate them out every now and then.

Another one of my favorite pieces in the kitchen is this vintage bread box. It is exactly like the one I remember my Nan having in her kitchen. When she passed, it was one of the few items I requested and it mysteriously “disappeared”. I was thrilled to find this one in great shape on swap shop last spring.

Even though it wasn’t actually hers, it still reminds me of her. And I get a kick out of my husband who claims I “hide” the bread by putting it in the bread box (yeah, just like I “hide” the socks in the sock drawer and the yogurt in the refrigerator).

I hope you enjoyed seeing my kitchen and all of the things in it that are special to us. And if you’re interested in learning more about my kitchen “renovation” I recommend you contact me and bug me about it until I get it written up and posted. Sometimes I need a little extra motivation to get things done.