How can I use pallets to make kitchen cabinets?

My home was rehab by the federal government over 20 years ago. Like kitchen cabinets doors are falling apart and the front of the drawers have came off because wear and tear and water damage. I have seen pictures of people that have made fences end tables out of wooden pallets. So I thought I could try to make my own cabinets using the same materials.

  17 answers
  • Lisa L Hall Lisa L Hall on Jan 05, 2019

    That sounds like a great idea. Just make sure you have one of the other drawer fronts to use as a template for size. You will want to use something stronger than glue to hold two pieces together as I don't know if one pallet board would be wide enough. They make really inexpensive metal strips just for this purpose and that would add some strength to the front.

    Please post a photo of your results.

  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Jan 05, 2019

    Hi Lillian,

    I'm Linda and I found a project where someone did make cabinets from pallets. Your design would be different but this might help with basic information and inspiration. Wishing you the best.

  • Linda Linda on Jan 05, 2019

    Yes but I would take a drawer to home

    depot and have someone help you cute a piece of wood the same size as a current drawer then take it home and stain it and screw it to the drawer.

  • Tom Tom on Jan 06, 2019

    If you have the time and tools you could use them

  • Roxaneg Roxaneg on Jan 06, 2019

    It can be done, but keep in mind that pallets are often made up of a variety of hardwoods and are rough sawn. Unless you know or can identify the species of wood,the one sure way to ensure uniformity in the color is to paint. To handle the roughness of the wood, you either have to sand or plane the wood.

    If the boxes of the cabinets are in decent shape and the exterior is bad, you can create a face frame out of dimensional lumber at your bid box store. You could make cabinets out of plywood and use the pallet wood as the face frame.

  • Annie Annie on Jan 06, 2019

    I think it would be an enormous amount of work with very uncertain results. It would require serious carpentry skills.

  • Linda Linda on Jan 06, 2019

    With the internet, you could find some very nice inexpensive cabinets and save yourself work. Might look better. If you decide to go the pallet route, good luck.

  • Marjjorie Lipsey Marjjorie Lipsey on Jan 06, 2019

    It depends upon your skill level and available tools. Otherwise anything is possible. Good Luck!

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Jan 06, 2019

    As previously noted, pallets are not only rough-sawn, which is impossible to clean in a kitchen environment & therefore quite unsanitary,

    they are often junk wood, both soft & hard woods and multiple species.

    Analyze what went wrong with the failed hardware & construction there, currently.

    These are oak veneered face frame cabinets. They’re “builders grade” and in-stock at every DIY store, if you want to go look and see how those are made.

    Is there particle board under the wood veneer or plywood? Particle board will always have the screws pull-out over time, unless it has a full plastic glued insert.

    New Oak Veneered plywood is the cheapest way repair what you have in a Serviceable Finish.

    Are the current screws too short?

    Were there clips used instead of screws?

    One last suggestion, remove the failing door hinge & the door, completely before the racking-action destroys the other hinge and the door frame. Likewise, tighten remaining screws before the racking makes things harder to repair.

  • Zard Pocleeb Zard Pocleeb on Jan 06, 2019

    Lots of excellent advice here and I would like to add one more consideration. I have built and continue to build cabinets on a regular basis. Pallet wood has two considerable limitations...1-the wood is normally only 1/2” thick and 2-because it is thin it tends to cup. About the rough texture... I like that look and have used it many times. I normally use it without stain and topcoat it. If you buy contractor grade cabinets such as those sold in home improvement centers they are only 1/2” thick but they are not wood. They are an inexpensive option though. Custom cabinets are expensive but you can get exactly what you want. I charge $300 per foot plus materials. This means if you need a 6’ run of cabinets it will cost $1800 plus materials.

  • Twyla J Boyer Twyla J Boyer on Jan 06, 2019

    Unless you really know what the pallets were used for, I would recommend against it. I know that pallet wood is all the rage these days, but think about where it's been - in a truck that might have carried hazardous chemicals, in a warehouse with critters running around (and worse) on it, supporting loads of stuff you would never, even for a second, think of putting in your kitchen. And that's before you get to the quality of the wood, the work involved in preparing it for use, and thinking about breathing whatever it had on it while you sand it down.

    You can look for inexpensive used cabinets online through Craigslist or eBay, you can find them locally at an architectural salvage store, you could even build your own from plywood if you have excellent carpentry skills. You might even get really lucky if you are friendly with a local person who remodels kitchens and you might be able to get him/her to get you a deal on whatever cabinets they are removing from someone's home. But pallet wood just really isn't a safe or effective idea.

    I don't want to burst your bubble and I love your creative thinking and initiative, but safety - especially in an area where you prepare food - is key.

  • Barb Barb on Jan 07, 2019

    Watch the marketplace on Facebook and neighborhood sales/swap boards. People remodeling their kitchens will sell there old cabinets for pennies on the dollar. You can get an entire kitchen for couple hundred dollars. In that line of thinking you could use just the doors and drawer facing or entire cabinet. You could then paint everything and have a cohesive look with a lot less work than building with pallets. Not saying it's a bad idea, but man the work involved in that? Respect goes out to you!

  • Terri Guenthner Terri Guenthner on Jan 08, 2019

    A lot of pallets are treated with pesticides and the like. You would want sure the ones you use weren't treated.

  • Daniilvegas Daniilvegas on Oct 04, 2022

    A wooden pallet is considered an environmentally friendly material that can be used to create a stylish and modern furniture. Therefore, almost all the furniture in my house is made of shipping pallets. First, you must choose the right building material and prepare it. Pallets should be without cracks or chips. They must be carefully considered, and remove unnecessary fasteners or other elements.

    It is also worth paying attention to the length and other parameters.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 22, 2023

    Hi Lilian, Did you use pallet boards or something else to redo your kitchen cabinets? We'd love to see the outcome after you received so many suggestions. Thanks!

  • Betsy Betsy on Oct 21, 2023

    Hello Lillian: When you use pallets, make sure that they are non-toxic. Check these sites before you use them.

    How to Determine If a Wood Pallet Is Safe for Use : 3 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables

    Reclaiming Pallets - Which ones are safe? How to identify and find pallets. - YouTube

    Wood Skid Crafts | Anderson Pallet and Crate

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 22, 2023