Here's a fun project! It's essentially a spice rack, but with a twist!
I recently got a job where I have infinite access to free wooden pallets, so my mind began soaring at the potential. The things to build, the wonders I could craft; the world is at my splinter-filled fingertips! Looking at the counter covered with my friends medicine she takes on a daily basis, inspiration struck and I took to the drawing board.
The concept: create a spice rack where she could keep all of her medication, but large enough it will fit on one rack. As she takes them during the day, she can move it down to the second rack, until all of them have been moved, signifying she's been properly medicated for the day. Both racks will have a removeable sign, so once the day is done, instead of moving all the bottles to the top again, the signs can be swapped and the "Taken" rack will now be on top for the day.
Easy enough; clear the countertop, use some of my free lumber, and help a friend with their pain killers all in one go. Shouldn't be too difficult.
In total, this project took around 5-6 hours, but it might've been faster without needing to move the camera around for the video X)
Step 1: Blueprints and Supplies
I designed the rack at about 3 in the morning, and I didn't know the actual dimensions of the wood at the time, but for the most part it's right. All the black sharpie marks are the measurements I took later on.
When it comes to pallets, you never know what size pieces you'll get. I was lucky to have enough combinations of 2.5 and 2.75 inch pieces, along with a 5 inch piece to use for the bed of the two levels. This did mean that the back of the rack wouldn't have slots in it like I wanted (kind of a picket-fence style is what I wanted, but I didn't have any wood thin enough) but I still like the final product.
On the right was my design for the hang-able signs, and the style used for the text was to make it look more old fashioned looking. I went to the calligraphy section of dafont.com for inspiration, and took it from two different fonts. Most of it was from "Wolf in the City", and the M in Medicine was from "Mademoiselle Camille".
Other than the pallets, I needed a half-inch wooden dowel, some black, white, and brown craft paint, small nails, twine, sandpaper, and two hooks and eyes which I got out of a large box from the dollar store.
Excluding the gas to get the pallets home from work, this project cost less than 5 dollars.
Step 2: Select and Pry
Find the pieces you need, and mark em with a marker. I decided to paint after, so I went with a trusty sharpie. If you want to stain, you may choose to use a pencil.
I found the best way to remove the wood from a pallet is to dual-wield hammers. Put one hammer under neath a board (as best you can) then beat the top of it with another hammer, or a mallet in my case. I had six boards to pull up and I got them all in around 10 minutes.
You may choose to remove the nails, and this can be done by hammering them out from the bottom. I measured it out and had enough room to just cut around them.
Step 3: Nameing Convention (NameCon 2016)
With all these pieces I had to cut, and many being the same size wood, it helped to write on each what they were. The large being the racks of course, but the 2.5 and 2.75 inches were so similar looking, a trusty red sharpie helped tell what they were intended for at a glance. Again, pencil here if you need it.
Step 4: Measure, Chop, Mark, Repeat
This one is pretty self explanatory. Nearly everything in this project was 14-10 inches long being taken out of 40 inch boards, so plenty of measuring and chopping.
After I sliced off a piece (Use gloves. The Splinters are real) I pulled out the marker and wrote what it was for, and how long it was if needed. The back layers had 12, 13, and 14 inch pieces, so writing the length became helpful.
Step 5: Sanding
Beware of doing this indoors. I wish I had someone to tell me that before I started. I'm still cleaning my computer keyboard days later.
The next step is to sand all the pieces down. The pile is hefty, but my friend has an electric sander I was able to break out for this.
I also threw on an old leftover piece of fabric from another project as a face-mask for all the sawdust in the air, but a handkerchief will work well too.
And you might need to re-write your labels on the wood depending on how well you sand them. Just pay attention to what piece your holding.
Step 6: Assembly
Now comes the fun part! Assembling all the pieces into a working spice rack!
Starting with the lower level, I added the sides and backs, measuring where I could and eyeballing everything else. Again, since all of these came from a wooden pallet, the pieces range in size and shape, so who knows what the final product will look like!
...unique? Yeah, that sounds positive.
I hammered small nails in, halfway just to hold the boards in place, then stood it up to see if I liked the look. If not, I could easily pull it out and try again. By the end it was standing fairly level, at least from where I was standing, so I hammered the nails in all the way and moved on.
Step 7: Finishing Construction
Last step of building the racks main form: adding the bar in front to keep the pill bottles from sliding off.
I measured a half inch away from the top and side on the side piece and drilled the hole for the dowel. After sliding it through I mark how long it needed to be, then sliced off the rest with my dremel cutting tool.
I did this again for the top level, and cleaned the edges a little with some sandpaper. I was going to use some wood glue to hold the bars in, but they were fairly jammed and certainly not going anywhere anytime soon.
And with that, basic construction is finished! Now on to...
Step 8: ...Painting!
Where we take the plain, and make it spectacular!
I mixed up a puddle of black and brown, to give it more of a dusty-rustic kind of vibe. It needed quite a bit, but I was able to get it all in one coat.
The signs went the same route, but I also added a white box made of, you guessed it, white and brown paint, and added a little black into the leftover paint to paint the text later.
Using my blueprints as a reference, I drew on a simple version of the text with a pencil, then painted over it with the grey. It required a fairly fine pointed brush, but I made it work pretty well.
The same thing was done for the medicine sign, and after both dried, I added some faint shadow-outlines to really make the text pop. Again, super thin paintbrush was required.
Step 9: Final Attatchments
All that's left now is to add two eye-holes on the dowels (I measured out the exact center, marked with a pencil, then screwed them in) and two hooks on the signs (see procedure used on dowels)
I had a little leftover white paint from the signs, and since the hooks and eyes were shiny brass colored, I added a layer to them to make them fit better.
Lastly was to add a few screws to the back and a very well tied piece of twine to make it hang-able. This could also be used just sitting on a counter, but since we're trying to save space...
Step 10: Hang and Enjoy!
For hanging it, you can use a nail or screw in a wall, but since I'm hanging it on kitchen tile, well...
I opted for the "Command Hook" which can hold, according to its box, up to 30 pounds. So in theory I should be okay.
The hook made it stick out of the wall an inch and a half, but only at the top. To compensate for this, I added two screws in the lower back, and taped some old plastic drink lids to it, just so it wouldn't scratch up the wall. It worked pretty well for a last minute fix, but I might replace it with something more official later, like a black painted plank of wood.
Just add the finished signs and all of my friends medicine, and we're done! (She has since exclaimed several times how much she loves it and how perfect it is, both to me and to social media, so that's a pretty good recommendation)
In the future we want to replace all the pill bottles with small glass mason jars that we can write on, just to add better to the style. As I'm writing this we found a 36 pack at Michaels for a great price, so I may be adding one more photo to this sometime soon.
Other than that, thanks for checking out my project, and my short video I made alongside it! It certainly was a blast, and I look forward to whatever I can make next with my endless supply of lumber! So long for now :D