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How to Build a Garden Shed Out of Pallet Wood

Rural Canadian shares how to build a garden shed with unconventional building plans and recycled pallet wood.

Courtesy Farm Show Magazine
September/October 2013

Dave Mathia made his shed two pallets wide by three pallets long, with 2-by-4s around the perimeter and lengthwise down the center. Inspired by other Farm Show Magazine readers, Mathia built an 8-by-12-foot shed mostly out of pallets and other recycled materials. His total cost was less than $100.


He used 47 pallets, as well as siding and oriented strand board from salvage jobs.


It was enough to “alarm the neighbors.” Local officers stopped in to see what he was up to in his Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, neighborhood, which has strict regulations about building sheds no more than 107 square feet in size. Since his shed is built on skids, he was not required to have a building permit.


“We had to make our plan fit the guidelines for ‘shed protocol,’” Mathia says.


He made the deck two pallets wide by three pallets long with 2-by-4s around the perimeter and down the center lengthwise. He screwed 2 1/2 sheets of OSB on the pallets for the floor. End walls had two rows of two pallets, and side walls had two rows of three pallets.


“I put the pallets with the slats horizontal and the 2-by-4s vertical, which is opposite to what I’ve seen on the Internet. It seemed more logical to me, and is similar to house framing,” Mathia says. It provides good side strength, he adds — along with plenty of 4-inch and longer screws.


For the roof, he ran 10-foot 2-by-4s from the front to the back with an 8-inch drop at the back for a 1/12 pitch. He topped it with 12 pallets, upside down for more places to screw down the roof. Each truss is held down with three screws on each end and a supporting cross member along the walls under the trusses.


The roof has 18-inch eaves and small overhangs on the front and back. If he were to do it again, he says he would use 12-foot 2-by-4s for a bigger overhang.


Mathia removed slats off one corner for a 42-inch-wide door and built a door out of 8-inch-wide wood from some of the nicest pallets. He used nice-looking thin slats from newspaper flyer pallets for the soffit and fascia.

“Inside I placed two shelves of pallets two wide and one in the front corner for my vice and drill press. These also help with the rigid strength of the building,” Mathia says. “The siding and roofing material is the basic 9/36 ribbed metal, and also acts as a stabilizer.”


Though the pallet shed was cheap, it took about twice as much time to build.

“The pallets often don’t match exactly in size, and it just takes extra work to assemble,” he says. “But it’s about saving money. And doing it this way gave me the feeling that I outwitted the system.”


Total cost: less than $100
Total cost retail: $1500 — $2000


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