5 DIY Recycled Wood Projects You Can Make at Home

By Erica Loop in Thinking Sustainably

If you're looking to mix up your home decor and make a positive environmental impact, why not try some DIY recycled wood projects? Whether you're a Pinterest-ingly awesome artist already or this is your first time getting crafty in an eco-friendly way, these easy DIY wood projects are sure to get your creative juices flowing!

Where to Find Reclaimed Wood

You might not think of wood as an often-discarded item. But, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, 12.1 million tons of wood ended up in American landfills in 2017 alone. Not only can wood make its way to garbage bins and landfills, but constant deforestation has a devastating effect on the environment. As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Clearing forests releases the carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas. Therefore, the fewer trees we cut down, the better!

For these DIY recycled wood projects, you can reclaim the material from:

  • Old furniture
  • Floors
  • Doors
  • Pallets
  • Fencing
  • Fallen timber from your yard

If you don't have any reclaimed wood on hand, ask friends for leftover construction items, or ask a local farm if they have barn or other wood to reclaim. You could also find pallets to reuse from construction companies or retailers that get large deliveries—however, make sure they haven't been contaminated by spills or chemically treated. According to 1001Pallets, it's best to use clean pallets and check the pallet for a stamp that indicates whether or not it's undergone chemical treatment.

5 DIY Reclaimed Wood Crafts

Now that you have plenty of wood ready for crafting, it's time to get artsy!

1. Easy Wood Planters

If you aren't comfortable with a hammer, nails, or a circular saw, don't worry—you won't need any of these tools for this project! If you have old wooden drawers taking up space in your basement, why keep them sitting in storage? Instead, pull each drawer out to create individual planters. Remove the hardware from the front or leave it as-is to create an artsy aesthetic. Bring the drawer or drawers outside, fill it three-fourths of the way with gardening soil and plant flowers or veggies.


2. Hanging Picture Frame

Turn the twigs, sticks, and other timber debris in your yard into a rustic photo frame. Start with an upcycled cardboard base. Reuse the side of a large cardboard box, cutting it into a rectangle, and draw a smaller rectangle in the center. Then, cut the smaller rectangle out to create a border for the frame. Punch or poke two holes at the top of the frame and thread a piece of yarn or a reused fabric strip through the hole. Tie the yarn or fabric at the ends to make a hanger. Glue the twigs and other pieces of wood to the cardboard, covering the front side completely.

3. Fab Fence Post Sign

Use a reclaimed fence post to mark the veggie section of your garden, add style to your yard, or craft a birthday sign for friends and family. Reclaim an old fence post and decorate it with eco-friendly craft paint. You can paint freehand or use stencils for shapes, letters, or other simple designs. If you're planning to keep it outside, you'll need to cover the design with a wood sealant to make the fence post more durable against the elements. After the sealant dries, dig a small hole and either hammer or push the post into the ground.


4. Low Coffee Table

Make a new coffee table with coffee stain—coffee all around! Start by mixing a batch of super-strong coffee and painting it onto the wood. After you've stained the wood pallet with coffee grounds, turn it over and add plenty of pillows nearby for cozy low seating. You can also mix one-quarter cup of instant brewed coffee with two or more cups of vinegar to make a suitable stain. The more coffee you use, the darker the color will be.

5. Door Photo Wall

Reuse old doors or shutters to create a mobile photo collage. This easy upcycled craft allows you to create a gallery style wall that you can move based on your redecoration needs. This is ideal for renters who can't nail picture frame hangers into walls. First, stain the wood with a plant-based or tea-based dye. Then, once the wood is dry, use craft glue to secure your favorite family photos to the wood. You can prop the doors or shutters up against walls as creative picture displays—just make sure to angle the door or shutter so it doesn't fall or tip over.

Now that you know how to craft with reclaimed wood, it's time to pick the projects that make the most sense for your creative needs. If you think one person can't make a difference—think again! Even though one reclaimed wood project may not seem like much, every small step helps protect the health of our planet.

Looking for more ways to get crafty while being Earth-conscious? Check out more eco-friendly project ideas on the @tomsofmaine DIY Naturally board on Pinterest!

Image Sources: Pexels | Pixabay | Pexels

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Why It's Good

Don't let your scrap wood end up in a landfill. DIY recycled wood projects provide you with a creative outlet, all while reducing the need to discard wood and cut down more trees. Every small step and project helps our planet!