Crate and pallet boards after disassembly
Our crate and pallet board pieces after disassembling a pallet and a shipping crate

Over the last 6 months or so – it seems that we always have a comment or two to the blog on our canning cabinet that we built out of old shipping crates and pallets – to the point that after so many asked – we finally put detailed plans on how to build it on our Etsy store  (see: Canning Pantry Plans)

So we thought for today’s post we would go through the how 2’s of building with pallets and shipping crates – with a little extra information on the canning pantry.  It’s a great project – with very little cost involved – and lets you store over 200 jars of canned goods!

Our Canning Cabinet made from pallets and shipping crates
Our Canning Cabinet made from old pallets and shipping crates.  We tilted the top shelf forward a touch for a better display, and added a lip to keep jars from coming off the other shelves.

We have actually made two of them – the first we built from pallets – the second from some old shipping crates and pallets.  But for both – the only tools we used were a Sawzall, Nail Gun, Construction Adhesive (liquid nails heavy – duty), 3″ coarse drywall screws and a drill with a Phillips #2 screw bit (for drywall screws)

For the canning cupboard, we started by tearing apart about 4 pallets to use for the sides and shelving boards.   We learned early on to not waste time trying to pull the nails from  boards and remove every little speck of everything.  You end up damaging way too many boards and it takes forever!

Canning pantry shelves are made from pallet boards nailed into 2 x4 frames.

We use a reciprocating saw with a long demolition construction blade and simply slice through the nails. Leave all of the remnant flat nails in the boards, not only does it add lots of  character – its super quick.  If you place the pallet up on end you can slice through all of the nails in about 15 seconds.  Just repeat the process until you have cut them all and you end up with 15 to 25 single boards to work with for every pallet. (depending on pallet size and make-up – you usually get boards about 3 to 5″ wide by 30 to 48″ long).  With shipping creates – we just disassemble the sides with the sawzall and then you have ready-made building panels to work with.  Whatever you use – pallets, shipping crates or old barn wood – the important thing is to have simple straight boards to build with.

Buffet Hutch made with pallet panels and shipping crate remnants.  Same concept – just a little bit bigger than the canning cabinet.

Anytime we make anything with pallets – whether it’s the canning cupboard or the buffet hutch – we will then use the left over 2 x 4’s that make up the pallet’s inside rails to build the carcass structure. They are durable – and although heavy – they are free and make the structure strong.  Speaking of the structure – we always use coarse drywall screws and heavy-duty construction adhesive to assemble. The screws hold tight and the adhesive holds forever. Don’t worry about anything other than the framing being straight.  Once again if there are some left over bits of nail that have been sawed off smooth – let it be – it just makes for a great patina when stained or painted over.

Our canning pantry cabinet is made from untreated pallets and shipping crate wood.
Our canning pantry cabinet is made from untreated pallets and shipping crate wood.

Once we have the structures carcass built – we just simply use all of the straight boards cut from the pallets to cover.  For this we will use the nail gun for speed and looks – but you could just as easily use a hammer and nails.  Once you have trimmed it out to your liking – you can paint, stain or leave natural – and you have a unique conversation piece.

The biggest piece of advice – don’t sweat the details! The biggest mistake people make when using reclaimed lumber or pallets is trying to make it too perfect.  It’s far better to not try to sand everything super smooth  – or take out every little crack or dent in the wood.  Let them be  – it just makes it look that much better.

The real key is – whatever you build – make it yours and have fun with it!

Jim and Mary

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Front view of the cabinet
Front view of the cabinet
Canning Pantry made from pallets
Canning Pantry made from pallets

45 thoughts on “Using Pallets to Build A Canning Pantry Cupboard

  • January 1, 2015 at 4:19 pm
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    I sure wish pallet boards around my area looked anything close to what this was built out of. In Mississippi most are rough cut and rough quality oak.

    Reply
  • January 1, 2015 at 11:42 am
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    I work for a big box retailer and built displays for several years. They outlawed using drywall screws for displays because they were too fragile and snapped off too easily if the item was torqued or twisted in any way. I only use either deck screws or “tek” screws. They are stronger and won’t snap off.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2013 at 9:47 am
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    I love it. Very rustic. Thanks for the idea. Looks like we’ll be collecting pallets too, although I think the wood in our pallets isn’t quite as good as that looks.

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  • July 5, 2013 at 9:35 am
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    You should consider using the newer Torx-style screws. More expensive, but MUCH easier to install without having to be so perfectly on the mark with the bit. Stars fit tighter and are easier to control!! Contractor! Hope to soon be a pallet entrepreneur!! Thanks for the site!

    Reply
  • April 18, 2013 at 6:37 am
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    Nice idea. Pallets can be used to make these types of creative work. It can also be used to create tables, furniture because wooden pallets ensure good strength and durability.

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  • December 30, 2012 at 11:59 am
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    Absolutely love the idea for the canning shelf, but is there any way to get a bit more detailed instructions? Pretty plz.

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    • July 30, 2013 at 11:21 pm
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      they state in the article that they are selling the plans on etsy.com

      Reply
  • November 3, 2012 at 11:09 am
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    I just love your pantry cupboard! Now if I can talk the hubby into making me one. 😉

    Reply
  • Pingback: Welcome to Inspiration Friday No. 87!

  • October 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm
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    wow those are beautiful! And out of pallets!

    Reply
  • Pingback: 15 Cool Things to Make with Pallets {tutorials}

  • October 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm
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    Very creative and useful. Thank you for sharing your wonderful posts at the Thursday favorite things hop. Big hugs!

    Reply
  • October 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm
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    Hello! Just stopping by from thursday favorite things blog hop! I am now following! Would love to have you visit!

    sarahseay92.blogspot.com

    Reply
  • October 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm
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    What a perfect way to add rustic charm, I love the idea of using pallets, and everything looks great!

    Reply
  • September 23, 2012 at 8:51 am
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    Love it, I recently built a new chicken tractor out of a shipping crate we got at work. I ended up getting 4 full sheets of 7/16 osb, and 8 7′ 2×4’s out of it.

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  • September 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm
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    I need step by step instructions, but I love the idea!

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  • August 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm
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    This is great! I love anything that uses old pallets, but my husband sure does hate when I enlist his services in pulling them apart: That hutch is just gorgeous!

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  • August 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm
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    We don’t can as heavily as we used to or I definitely would send this pic to my hubby. Great job!

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  • July 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm
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    I love this! Great recycle of old pallets and crates! Wonderful job. Thanks for sharing at the All Star Block Party!

    Reply
  • July 28, 2012 at 10:24 am
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    Love this project. You guys really did a great job. It looks like a store display for home canning!

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  • July 26, 2012 at 11:10 pm
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    GOSH! Your buffet hutch is EXACTLY what I have been looking for! Do you think you could give details on how you made this, please?????

    Reply
  • July 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm
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    What a GREAT idea! Hi! I found you on the I Gotta Try That Linky Party – I hope you’ll come visit me at jugglingactmama.blogspot.com

    Reply
  • July 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm
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    I am showing this to my husband. Something like this would go great in the small space we have for canning. Thanks!

    Reply
  • July 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm
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    How do you hold up the extremely heavy shelves? Also, I’ve used pallets for compost bins and the wood is always chipped,rough and full knot holes. How do smooth them out without going broke buying sandpaper?

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    • July 24, 2012 at 6:04 am
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      We just used a 2 x 3 drilled into the side of the cabinet side and sat the slat wood on top. It holds up well using the slats as shelving boards.

      Reply
    • September 29, 2012 at 7:41 pm
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      I feel the same. Chipped, rough,full knot holes chunks missing and usually mold stained all over.
      Where did you find such nice looking pallets That wood looks better than most boards in my local building supply stores.If local pallets looked anywhere close to what these look like they would be hard to find.

      Reply
  • July 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm
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    how about some dimensions and the angle of the shelves? I would love to make this to hold my canned goods, its awesome.

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  • July 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm
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    AH! Cutting the nails would have saved my wrists and a ton of time last week! HAHA! Thanks for the idea! I made a rabbit hutch this past week with an old pallet!

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  • July 23, 2012 at 5:14 am
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    Everyone always makes such great things with pallets! I have no idea where to get them though. I do frequently see them behind the hardware store…maybe I should just ask if I can have them.

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    • June 2, 2013 at 9:39 am
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      Me either. I almost got some the other day. I bought some hay bales from the Menonites and asked if they sold their pallets and they said no, they turn them back in for cash but maybe I could have a couple but then never gave them up.. 🙁

      Reply
      • July 3, 2013 at 7:27 am
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        Have you tried craigslist? I see them all the time and they are free if you pick them up.

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    • July 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm
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      Go to your local builders merchant and ask them. They usually have to pay to have them removed. You will be doing them a favour. I called in at my local merchant and came away with a dozen.

      Reply
  • July 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm
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    Whoo, I certainly need more pantry space. I have linked in a post about some rhubarb and banana jam I just made. Have a super week.

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    • July 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm
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      Rhubarb and BANANA??? I make rhubarb and Cherry YUM!!!

      Reply
  • July 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm
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    Thanks so much, that’s really helpful!!! We found a place yesterday with beautiful long crate boards! And cutting the nails, that’s a relief 🙂

    Reply

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