Building a wood pallet accent wall in our living room was not difficult. In fact, the hardest part was prepping the pallets with the color scheme I desired. I was looking for cooler shades – grays, white, driftwood. I still wanted the wood to appear natural though – not painted.
- Zinsser 300451 Wood Bleach
- HOMAX PRODUCTS TV713206 #0000 Steel Wool Pad (12 Pack)
- Minwax 221264444 Wood Finish Penetrating Interior Wood Stain, 1/2 pint, Driftwood
- Rust-Oleum 1990730 Painters Touch Latex, 1/2-Pint, Flat White
- US Art Supply 24 Pack of 2 inch Paint and Chip Paint Brushes for Paint, Stains, Varnishes, Glues, and Gesso
- 120 to 3000 Assorted Grit Sandpaper for Wood Furniture Finishing, Metal Sanding and Automotive Polishing, Dry or Wet Sanding, 9 x 3.6 Inch, 36-Sheet
- Distilled White Vinegar, 1 Gallon (Available at local food store)
- Pallets (Make sure they are heat treated – not pressure treated. You can often find them for free on craigslist.) – I needed roughly 80 boards
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- Disassemble the pallets with a reciprocating saw or any tools you have on hand. Clean the wood by wiping down with a rag or gently sanding.
- Gray Weathered Look: Place one steel wool pad in a glass jar. Pour distilled white vinegar into jar until pad is fully covered. Do not cover jar. Wait between 2-24 hours before using (the longer, the darker the color). Do not use after 24 hours or the color will turn to a rust/brown stain. Using chip brush, cover your selected wood pieces with the liquid. The liquid will still appear clear going on; however, after a few minutes, you should see the wood begin to darken. It will continue to darken until dry. Different types of wood will react in different ways (depends on the tannin content in the wood).
- White Sun Bleached Look: In order to bleach wood, you need to purchase a specific two-part wood bleach kit. (Zinsser Wood Bleach – see in material list above. Follow instructions on the box.) I could only find this kit on Amazon. This actually lightens the natural color of the wood. (Regular bleach will only remove stains – not lighten the wood color itself.) The kit covered about 15 boards but that was enough for that specific “effect” on my wall. I used this mainly on wood that was already light but had yellow tones. The bleach kit removed those tones leaving a beautiful white blonde color.
- Driftwood Look: For the tan driftwood effect, I simply used the driftwood stain listed in the materials above. Apply with a chip brush and immediately wipe off with a rag. To further distress, use sandpaper on select spots after stain has fully dried.
- Whitewash Wood Look: Mix 1 part water to 2 parts white latex paint (see in materials list above). Apply on wood with brush and lightly wipe off with rag (always wipe in same direction as grain). Alternative Method: Apply white paint (not mixed with water) to wood with brush. With wet rag, “sand” the paint into wood (cleaning rag whenever it becomes too saturated with paint). This look is forgiving and really depends on how pronounced you want your whitewash effect to be. Experiment with different types of wood and different ratios. If you find that it looks too painted, simply grab your sandpaper and distress it! **This effect can be used with any color paint!**
- Combo Look: Try layering several of the methods above. For instance, stain wood and let dry. Then, apply whitewash look. Let dry and sand to distress.
- After you have completed your wood effects, it is time to assemble your wall! (I did not put polyurethane on my wood pieces because I wanted them very rustic. You may apply this if you would prefer added protection to the wood. It also makes it easier to clean!) Easiest method to assemble: Start at top and work your way down. We used a level, miter saw (or circular saw), table saw, and 18ga brad nailer. Saws were used to stagger boards and make cuts around our fireplace mantel. You do not want the boards to line up so it’s important to alternate different lengths and colors. After the wall was up, I decided it wasn’t quite as “cool” in the color scheme as I wanted. Therefore, I added a final whitewash to the boards (after they were up – we didn’t take them down!) and then they were perfect!