Recently there has been an explosion of interest in wooden crates and wooden pallets — both new and used — especially for craft projects. Many people want to get their hands on pallets and crates to make picture frames, planters, shelves, or even furniture. If you’re one of those people, your first thought might be to visit your local craft or hardware store. But did you know there are plenty of places will give you their used wooden crates for free?
In this article, you’ll find all the information you need about where to get wooden crates — and pallets too — for free, as well as places where you can go to buy them. We’ve even thrown in some craft ideas to help inspire you!
In This Article
- Things to Consider When It Comes to Wooden Crates
- Where to Get Wooden Crates and Pallets for Free
- Where to Buy Wooden Crates and Pallets
- Wooden Crate and Wooden Pallet Projects
Things to Consider When It Comes to Wooden Crates
It’s important to remember that not all crates and pallets are created equal. The crates and pallets you purchase from Jo-Ann’s or Michael’s will be a different quality than the ones you receive for free from a grocery store. Be careful to look for nails and screws, and be aware that many used pallets or crates will need to be sanded if you are looking to use them for furniture or other home decor. This is even true for apple crates.
Where to Find Wooden Crates and Pallets for Free
Craigslist is a great resource for pretty much everything, and wooden pallets and crates are no exception. Look into the free section for people who have pallets that they want to get rid of, or check out the for sale section for steals on large quantities of crates or pallets.
2. Construction Sites
Construction companies almost always have pallets and while they may not always be willing to part with the pallets for free, it’s definitely worth asking. Like most things, being polite and helpful will get you a long way when you’re asking for free things. If you develop a friendly rapport with a local construction company, you could reap the benefits whenever they receive pallets.
Smaller local businesses are usually the most likely to share leftover pallets and crates for free. Do a quick Google search for “construction companies [your town here]” — then make a few phone calls and see what you can find.
3. Grocery and Liquor Stores
Grocery stores are a great way to find free supplies for your craft-making endeavors, particularly crates. Wine crates, a great resource for craft projects, can be found at many grocery stores or liquor stores. Walmart, Publix, and many “mom and pop” grocery stores are known to give pallets away for free.
4. Hardware, Furniture, and Gardening Stores
Hardware and furniture are almost always shipped on pallets, so the stores that sell these products are an ideal place to look for free craft supplies. You might even see some of these stores put old pallets near the curb while they are unloading. Don’t assume they’re free, though; always check before you take them.
There are plenty of hardware and furniture stores, both national chains and smaller local stores. Some examples to get you started include:
- Ace Hardware
- Ashley Home Furniture
- The Home Depot
- Royal Furniture
Another great option is to check in at your local gardening store or plant nursery. Gardening centers receive products on pallets on a regular basis, and many customers report that they’re your best bet for finding used wooden crates or pallets. Most nurseries aren’t nationwide chains and only have a few locations. Use this Nurseries and Garden Centers Directory to find a nursery near you.
5. Local Businesses
If you’ve got a choice between a national big-box store and a locally owned and operated business, the local company will probably be your best bet. The next time you’re in a store that you think probably gets shipments on pallets, just ask for the manager or the owner and tell them what you are trying to locate. It always helps to be able to offer something in return — will you come pick it up after hours so you don’t cause a distraction during business hours? Will you haul it away in your vehicle so they don’t have to worry? Are you willing to pay a small fee? Plenty of places in your local area may be willing to offer you pallets or crates for free or a nominal sum.
6. Newspaper Companies
If you have a local, regional, state, or even national newspaper headquartered near your town, this could be the perfect place to go look for pallets. Newspaper and other types of publishing companies deal with very large quantities of paper and printing supplies, so the odds are good that they send and receive shipments with wooden pallets on a regular basis.
7. Pet Supply Stores
In many cases, pet supply stores receive food and grains (as well as other supplies such as toys, etc.) on wooden pallets. People have reported getting free pallets from places including Petco, PetSmart, Hollywood Feed, and Pet Supplies Plus by simply asking a store manager if there were any free pallets available.
8. Recycling Companies
If you live in a major metropolitan area or near a distribution center, you’ll probably be able to find a recycling company nearby. The pallets you find at recycling companies would probably be best for projects where you don’t need a complete pallet in really good shape. If you’re going for a vintage or reclaimed look or are planning on disassembling the pallet to just use component pieces, a wooden pallet recycling company could be ideal.
To determine if you do have a wooden pallet recycling company near you, you can just perform a Google search for “wooden pallet recycling in [your town name].”
Where to Buy Wooden Crates and Pallets
If you have exhausted your options when it comes to trying to find free wooden crates, there is always the option of buying them. There are plenty of places that you can find crates and pallets for sale, with varying degrees of expense.
1. Craft Stores
Another option for buying new crates and pallets is craft stores. Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn’s carry them, and local craft stores near you probably do too. These usually come unfinished and give you the option to finish or paint your own pallet or crate.
To give you an idea of some of the options you have and the prices you can expect to pay, we’ve listed some of the most popular options that these stores sell:
1. Hobby Lobby
- Rectangular wood crate — $7.99
- Wood crate set with cut-out handles — $16
- Wood crate storage set –$37.49
- Antique white wood crate with jute handles — $12.99
- See the full selection of crates that Hobby Lobby offers
- Wooden crate with handles — $6.49
- Small crate with handles — $7.99
- Half crate — $6.99
- See the full selection of crates that Jo-Ann’s offers
- Cedar crate — $7.49
- Half crate — $7.49
- Medium corner post crate — $10.99
- Oversized crate — $10.99
- See the full selection of crates that Michael’s offers
2. Home Improvement Stores
Hardware stores offer pallets and crates for sale. These are brand new and sturdy, so they’re a good choice for projects where you want to have a very solid base or create something with a neat, clean style. For example, The Home Depot offers pallets and crates starting at $10.
You can use eBay to find wooden crates — new and used — that you can pick up near you or have shipped to your house. Unlike shopping at a physical store, you can’t look at the product to be sure of the quality of what you’re getting — but it’s another viable option for your crafts.
One online retailer that consistently offers an array of crates for sale is Houzz. Starting at $15.10 for a half crate, Houzz is a little more expensive than what you’ll typically find at a craft store, but it’s an option if you prefer doing all of your shopping online. See the full selection of crates that Houzz offers.
Wooden Crate and Wooden Pallet Projects
Pinterest showcases enough ideas for wooden crate and pallet projects to keep you occupied for a lifetime. You’re only limited by what you want to attempt, and the number of pallets and crates you have or can get. The projects range from simple tasks that you can do with your kids to much longer projects requiring expert craftsmanship. The great thing about these projects is that you’re not only creating something interesting but also recycling items that may have otherwise gone unused and unappreciated!
Use the correct tools, including gloves and goggles, while working with these wooden pieces. Don’t risk injury, no matter how cute the Pinterest project may be!
You could easily decorate almost your entire house from pallet projects. Some people have even covered an entire accent wall with “pallet wood” or “reclaimed crate wood.” Consider starting your search for what to do with wooden pallets with one of these projects:
- Coat or hat rack
- Coffee tables
- Coffee table trays
- Photo frame or display
- Recycling station or trashcan
Crates also provide a number of great crafting opportunities. You can easily paint or stain them, and then simply hang them on the wall to create shelves and display space. Here are some alternative projects that you could do with crates:
- End tables
- Raised garden beds
- Shoe holders
Suggested Article: Where to Get Pallets for Free or Cheap
Whether you get them for free or pay for them, and whether you decide to paint them, stain them, or simply leave them the be, your options for pallet and crate craft projects are almost endless. Stop buy a (preferably) local business that receives shipments on pallets and ask if they have some extras you could have. Even if they want to charge you, it’ll be cheap. If you can’t find any local stores with extra pallets laying around, try a craft store, like Michael’s or JoAnn Fabrics.