Few things are better in life than crafting personalized creations, and utilizing pallets and upcycled wood give you a chance to express yourself artistically in myriad ways. From custom signage for your living room and made-to-fit coat racks for your entryway to floral wall art to hallway and shiplap feature walls in your bedroom, pallets and upcycled wood provide a plethora of possibilities for your most innovative designs. Once you have your concept down, you can begin painting upcycled wood art and pallet crafts. However, you may be wondering just how to paint and what paint to use. Fortunately, Real Milk Paint comes through for you with 56 beautiful shades that run the gamut from basic to brilliant.

Creating Art with Wood Palettes

Wood pallets are typically available free or on the cheap from a variety of sources. To find what you need, consider checking with small businesses in your area, looking on local sales websites or browsing through marketplace listings on social media. Before you start gathering supplies, however, it helps to understand just what you need and how to make it work in your wood projects.

Recognizing Pallet Potential

Wood pallets make a great choice for creating wall art to custom specifications or crafting unique shiplap designs due to uniform board sizing. Obvious things to look for when choosing pallets for wood projects are stains, odors and chemical spills on the surfaces, which mean you should avoid that particular pallet. Likewise, not all pallets are created equally, and some don’t handle the breakdown process well. In general, look for pallets with 3/4- to 1-inch board thickness that are held together with 2-inch twist nails, as those with thinner boards and more aggressive nails tend to split too easily during breakdown.

Breaking Down Pallets

It’s quick and easy to break down pallets if you don’t care if you bust a few boards, but keeping everything intact and usable takes a bit more grace and precision — plus some basic safety gear! For this task you need personal protective equipment, including goggles or safety glasses, gloves, an N95 mask, boots and clothing that covers your entire body. Once you’re geared up, evaluate the size of the pallet, the lumber used in its construction and the size of the nails holding it together, then grab a hammer and pry bar. Pallets with thicker boards tend to come apart easily by inserting the pry bar under nailed sections, then smacking the hammer across the prybar a few times to separate the pieces. Once they’re apart, simply remove the nail with the hammer.

Arranging Diverse Pieces

Once you have your pallet broken down, the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can make with your reclaimed wood. For example, boards with irregular lengths nailed together from the back work well for rustic signage or shiplap feature walls, especially if the wood comes from older pallets with a naturally distressed look. Combine pieces with contrasting coloration to bring depth and character to your one-of-a-kind creation, or choose pieces that complement each other for a more balanced and sedate design. Keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to basic shapes for your upcycled wood art — you can arrange diverse pieces any way you like! You can also use hand and power saws to trim boards down to unique shapes to suit your creative vision or to help them fit with other media such as old trays and picture frames.

Painting Upcycled Wood Art

Once you have your reclaimed wood table or wall design put together, it’s time to paint your upcycled wood art. While many types of paint work well on pallet and upcycled wood art, milk paints like Real Milk Paint aid you in creating a design that complements the rustic aesthetic of reclaimed wood. Made from all-natural, organic and nontoxic ingredients, Real Milk Paint lets you easily mix any of its 56 colors at a 1:1 ratio with water for quick, easy color you can add to wall art in unventilated spaces thanks to the powdered formulation having no volatile organic compounds. 

Decorating with Real Milk Paint

When you’re ready for painting upcycled wood art with Real Milk Paint, simply mix up the colors you require at a 1:1 ratio with water, allow the foam to settle or use Anti-Foaming Agent for immediate use, then brush the milk paint on the surface. Let the first coat dry and add another coat as needed, or blend in a slightly darker hue around the outer edges to give your piece a timeworn feel. After your base coat dries, stencil on lettering with a contrasting or complementary Real Milk Paint color or freehand designs onto the surface, including flowers, geometric shapes or objects that accentuate your home’s overall aesthetic.

Creating Wood Projects That Last

Sealing the color you use when painting upcycled wood art ensures your wood canvas or sign stands the test of time. For instance, Wood Wax and Zero VOC’s Wax from the Real Milk Paint Co. work great over Real Milk Paint covered pieces to seal and add some patina. . If you want to add a hint of tint to give your project an aged patina, however, select our Soft Wax, which comes in clear, ebony, white, gray and dark brown. If you intend to display your upcycled wood art outdoors, use our Outdoor Defense Oil and Real Milk Paint augmented with Outdoor Additive instead to seal your project and add protection against the elements and UV rays.


JohnH Review milkpaint oil

Review photo from John H. | Navy Blue, Flag Red, Soft White sealed with Pure Tung Oil.


Mixed Media Pallet Wall Art

To improve the depth and beauty of your pallet wall art, augment your painted art with mixed media elements. For instance, affix a sheer yellow ribbon to the back of a sunflower study to brighten up your kitchen, attach a metal candleholder to a narrow hallway hanging to illuminate darker spaces with an auto-timed LED candle or glue on scraps of lace to bring attractive texture to shabby-chic design themes. Screwing in hooks to doubly joined boards lets you fashion customized wall space for mounting coffee cups, while gluing on wood cutouts in contrasting colors draws eyes to your original wall art.

Painting upcycled wood art you create yourself helps you bring a personalized feel to your home and aids you in expanding your creative horizons. Whether you’re experimenting with color for the first time in your home decor or an old pro at crafting unique pieces for resale, Real Milk Paint and finishing products from the Real Milk Paint Co. help you fashion wood wall art that grabs attention and endures time and display with aplomb.

Contact us here: (800) 339-9748 to help you get started on your masterpiece.