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!

Tutorial: Vintage “BOY” Hand Painted Sign

Last week I showed you the Pinterest-inspired ruler growth chart I made. But this week, I want to show off one of my favorite DIY projects I’ve ever done, and this one is my original design. I had been working on my son’s room for quite some time which is vintage farm themed, and I wanted to create an old looking advertisement-style sign to hang on his wall. After some research, I decided I wanted it to read ‘Genuine, 100% All American, Country Raised “BOY”.

I started by digging through my stash of boards that I pulled out of my neighbor’s burn pile (seriously, I cannot even begin to list the things I have “reclaimed” from this man’s burn pile. He can’t say anything since HIS burn pile burned OUR entire back field and nearly a trailer and tractor two summers back). Anyways, I found the perfect sized board – a 1×12 approximately 3 feet long.

Salvaged board

Salvaged board

Using a container of craft paint that I mixed up a few years ago, I painted the majority of the board. I left some of the bare board showing through on around the edges. (I did not prime the board for this reason. Plus, I’m lazy – er, efficient – like that.)

Painted green (dark spots are just where it's still wet)

Painted green (dark spots are just where it’s still wet)

Then I added black to the green paint and used a stiff dry brush (aka a brush I didn’t clean properly the last time I used it) to add some aging to the edges of the board. I also painted the sides of the board with the darker green, again leaving some bare board showing.


For the wording, I designed the layout in InDesign, converted it to outlines (to save on ink) and printed it out on the back side of scrap paper. Then I cut, taped and arranged it on the board like so.

No fancy stencils here!

No fancy stencils here!

I traced over the printouts with an ink pen using a lot of pressure. It’s hard to make it out in this photo, but I was left with a very easy to see outline of the design.


Outline of text visible

Outline of text visible

All of the words were painted white. I purposely left the paint thick and somewhat uneven so when I sanded it, the high spots would rub off making it look worn and aged.


I wanted more detail and depth to the design, so I outline “Genuine” and did a drop shadow on “BOY” in a John Deere Green color, then did a drop shadow on “Country Raised” in a warm brown color. I also added a little corner decoration.


After some light and random sanding on the whole surface and lots around the edges, I very lightly covered the whole sign in a walnut stain using a couple of old socks. I would barely apply it using one sock, then use a clean sock to wipe it off right away.  I had to work very quickly and use a very light touch so it didn’t get too dark. More sanding and heavier staining around the edges left it done as show here:


Of course, no vintage sign is complete without a vintage-esque way to hang it. I wanted it to look like an old sign that hung on a general store, so I searched and searched for the right type of bracket. I ended up with a pair of plant hangers from Westlake Hardware and a little length of chain. The brackets and chain were the only thing I had to purchase for this project, so I spent around $8. It’s not quite as rustic as I was going for, but standing 7 feet below it, you don’t notice the hanging hardware. You just see the one-of-a-kind sign!

Completed sign hung

Completed sign in my son’s bedroom


Be sure to check back in next week when I reveal my son’s room in it’s entirety. You’ll see how I’ve managed to create a vintage farm-themed bedroom with more examples of typography than I can count!




Tutorial: Ruler Growth Chart

Ok, so I’m sure by now you’ve seen the ruler-inspired growth charts on Pinterest, on facebook, in magazines, just about everywhere you look! I usually try to avoid such overdone trends, but as I was working on my son’s vintage farm-themed bedroom, I knew I wanted a way to mark his growth. I did a lot of research (ok, so I was just killing time on Pinterest!) trying to find inspiration for a growth chart that would fit his room’s theme, but not be too childish. One of the things I was drawn to the most was vintage advertisement rulers (I know it’s real shocking that I would like advertisement designs). My husband’s grandparents owned a hardware and general store for decades in our hometown, so I thought I might try to create something that said “Ryker’s Hardware Store” or “Jackson Hardware.” After looking through my pile of salvaged boards, I decided to use a 1×4 painted trim board which turned out to be too narrow for much of a design. I gave in and decided to go with something very similar to all of the ones on Pinterest.

Here’s the board I started out with. It was painted white and the paint itself was crackling (or is it cracking? I can’t decide). Anyways, it was dirty, dented and full of imperfections.


But not quite enough imperfections for my taste. So I set it out in the grass and Ryker and I beat on it with a hammer, screwdriver and whatever other tools we could find. Then came the experimentation. Like I said, the board was painted, but I wanted something that looked more like wood. Not being one to do any extra work, I decided to see what would happen if I simply applied stain on top of the paint. Bring out the old sock rags! I rubbed and rubbed the stain into the board, making sure to get into all of the little nooks and crannies left by the beating. (Poor board!) The effect was exactly what I was going for!


After letting it dry a few days, I used my tried and true method of tracing the numbers onto the board, filling them in with a sharpie marker. (More detailed instructions coming next week when I post another sign tutorial!)


Couple of really IMPORTANT NOTES: I placed the 1-foot mark six inches from the bottom of the board, because I had already determined that the board would hang six inches off of the floor. I didn’t want it to hang in front of the baseboard trim. I also made the mistake of marking the sections between the 1-foot marks into eighths, just like a standard ruler. In hindsight, I would have marked twelfths instead so it would have represented inches, instead of eights of a foot. Make sense?

Despite spending a few more days in the shed drying, the entire board was still somewhat tacky. I’m guessing it’s because you aren’t supposed to stain paint? So I let it sit another week or so, then took it out in the yard and coated it (I mean really coated it!) with a matte finish spray sealer. Another few days of drying and it was ready to hang! I used a rusty wire and a couple of short screws to make a hanger along the top. Then I put a screw into a stud making sure that when it hung down it would be exactly six inches off of the floor. And just to make sure it didn’t go anywhere, I applied a couple velcro-type picture hangers to the middle and bottom of it and pressed it firmly onto the wall. Since Ryker was almost 2 when I made the growth chart, I used his baby well-check records to go back and mark his height from birth up. So there you have it, one bonafide ruler growth chart – straight from Pinterest!