DIY Upcycled Pallet Rainbow Flower Garden

11 Materials
2 Hours

Turn your backyard patio into a colorful oasis with this bright and colorful DIY Upcycled Pallet Rainbow Flower Garden. This is a super fun weekend project that the kids can help out with! Use colorful acrylic paints that you already own to make this an inexpensive backyard DIY.
DIY Upcycled Pallet Rainbow Flower Garden
How to Make A DIY Upcycled Rainbow Pallet Flower Garden Planter
-1 heat treated pallet (mine has 8 slats)
-Sand paper
-Acrylic paints in every color of the rainbow (red, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange and blue… and a few shades in between!)
-Acrylic varnish, optional (I used Americana DuraClear Varnish in Satin and went through approximately 3 ounces)
-Paint brushes
-Drop cloth (or a section of grass you don’t mind getting paint on!)
-Drill and drill bits
-Flat head screw driver
-Worm clamps (These are the round pieces that will wrap around your mason jars and be attached to the pallet. Available at your local Home Depot, I found them in the section with heating ducts. I used 4″ worm clamps for my large mason jars and 3″ worm clamps for my small mason jars.)
-Zinc machine bolts and wing nuts (We used 1/4″ -20 which ended up being a great size for this project)
-Terra cotta flower pots (I got mine at the dollar store)
-Potting soil
First things first… a note on pallets. When using pallets for garden or home projects you want to look for heat treated pallets (vs. chemically treated pallets). Chemically treated pallets are getting harder to find, but they are still out there. To determine if a pallet is heat treated, look for a stamp on the wood that says “HT” like the stamp above. You will usually find this stamp on the side of the pallet or on the back. If you see the HT stamp you are good to go!
Always look for the Heat Treated Stamp
Step 1- Gather together your materials and sand your pallet to remove any pieces that will sliver. I left my pallet fairly rough but at the same time didn’t want the kids getting slivers if touching it.
Collect your supplies
Step 2- Paint your pallet with your favorite rainbow colors. Since rainbows are nice and bright, I put two coats of paint on each slat of my project. Acrylic dries pretty quickly, and it was warm outside when we were working on ours, so by the time I got around to finishing painting the 8th slat, the 1st was dry and ready for a second coat.
Paint your pallet with your favorite colors
Step 3- Apply a layer of varnish to your project. This step is optional but I decided to try it. I told the associate at Michael’s about my project and asked her what she would recommend. I thought that I would end up with a spray varnish, but she advised that I use the liquid varnish that is sold right along with the acrylic paints next to the speciality paints like sparkle, chalkboard and glow in the dark. Her reasoning was that the liquid would go on thicker and more evenly than the spray and offer better protection
Step 4: Plant your flowers in your terra cotta flower pots.
Step 5- Drill holes in each of your worm clamps. (Don’t worry if your worm clamp gets slightly flattened when drilling. As soon as you tighten it around your flower pot it will re-shape into a circle.)
Drill holes in your worm clamps
Visit Hello Creative Family to get the details on how to finish this fun weekend project!
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

6 questions
  • Sherry H.
    on Nov 22, 2015

    My husband brought home 5 pallets last night. My question is why are they painted blue? Does the color mean something, and what could it be. I wanted Heat Treated pallets. Thank you for your reply.

    • Pat1259011
      on Feb 21, 2016

      I do not advise to use them, especially for indoor use. You may find traces of formaldehyde and other resins used in the composite blocks. Also, there a lot of chances they have been used to transport chemicals.

    • Jlawless
      on Mar 12, 2016

      Blue means they are rental pallets and belong to a company, they are usually not free and belong to a company that rents them out.

    • B
      on Mar 23, 2016

      The blue pallets actually is a way companies track their pallets, I think the name is allied? I work in a warehouse and the come and pick up their pallets and give us a credit. We give away pallets but will be fired if we take or give away any of the blue ones.

    • Quentin
      on Apr 20, 2016

      There are four main pallet pool companies in the world that you could differentiate with the color:Red pallets: pool LPR (La Palette Rouge from Europe)Red pallets: pool PECO (The Pallet Exchange Company from the USA)Blue pallets: pool CHEP (Commonwealth Handling Equipment Pool from Australia)Brown pallets: pool IPP (IPP Logipal from Europe)More info here:

    • Cah6752077
      on Sep 28, 2016

      Yellow pallets are quikrete pallets. Not free and home improvement centers have to return them as they are offloaded because each pallet costs 15.00 each if not returned.

    • Jessi G.
      on Feb 6, 2017

      I was able to get a free pallet from a food warehouse. I thought that would be safe but I will look for the stamp on the back.

    • Chr4787838
      on Apr 13, 2017

      The company that I used to work for had two types of pallets blue painted ones that could only be used for products going to Aldi's and plain unpainted wood for every other company. The blue pallets were also smaller.
  • LuAnn LaFogg
    on Feb 2, 2016

    Why heat treated?

    • Kimberly J
      on Jul 26, 2016

      Chemically treated pallets contain dangerous chemicals like arsenic, formaldyhide, etc. that can leach into soil. The splinters you might get from these pallets can also make you sick, or get infected easily.

  • Mim15112533
    on Feb 2, 2017

    You mentioned Mason jars when you were describing the worm clamps but I don't see them being used in the directions. What are the Mason jars used for or did I miss something?

    • Susan
      on Feb 2, 2017

      I didn't see it either.

    • Gladys Adriaanse
      on Apr 11, 2017

      I think her point was that you can use mason jars if you want to.
    • Marti Lou
      on Apr 12, 2017

      Mason jars would be cool with some led candles in them
    • Kelli Nicole Newhart
      on Feb 6, 2018

      I think she personally used mason jars on hers but she used someone else’s photos for the project, so the photos here probably aren’t actually hers, theyre probably from pinterest and that person used pots instead of jars.
    • Barb in Texas
      on Feb 6, 2018

      She used terra cotta pots instead.
    • Deb Jaeger
      on Feb 6, 2018

      In another comment below she says she made an Herb garden and probably reused the instructions.

  • Mar14176411
    on Jun 7, 2017

    looks so fun...but what is the difference between Heat Treated and Chemical?
    Is one 'safer' to use for plants etc/furniture
  • Jan25301665
    on Jul 6, 2017

    Am I missing somethin? I don't see mason jars.
  • Lorrie
    on Feb 6, 2018

    Why can’t you use chem treated pallets?
    • Marra
      on Feb 6, 2018

      The chemical that they treat the wood with is a very nasty pesticide which can be inhaled when working or near the wood. Soon after inhalation of large doses, symptoms may include headache, dizziness, nausea, chest and abdominal pain, and a dry throat. Three to 12 hours after vapor inhalation, symptoms include slurred speech, blurred vision, temporary blindness, mental confusion, and sweating. More severe symptoms may include lung swelling; congestion; hemorrhaging of the brain, heart, and spleen; severe kidney damage; and numbness. Death may occur within 1-30 hours, usually from respiratory failure. (source:
    • David walesby
      on Feb 6, 2018

      The chemical wears off .I wouldn't worry about.
    • Jeannie.mcquaid
      on Feb 8, 2018

      Perhaps if you were sawing up the pallet and inhaling the sawdust. These pallets are used by people in warehouses all the time to no ill effect. Since this project only requires screwing on 7 rad hose clamps AFTER the wood has been painted, the risk would be extremely minimal.

Join the conversation

2 of 92 comments
  • Betsy
    on Feb 7, 2018

    I have all of this stuff, including 2 pallets that came with a snow blower I bought 2 years ago. I've been tripping over these pallets ever since then. I refuse to throw out wood:) Now I see a wonderful use for them. Thanks. I think I'll hang them on a privacy fence and do this! Thanks for the idea.
  • Sunny
    on Jan 19, 2019

    Love this!!! Going to make this for sure! I guess the secret is the titanium drill bits for the clamps! Thanks!

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