It's the Cinderella story of the DIY world: Shipping pallets are being turned into showpieces by thrifty upcyclers who use them to create furnishings.
- To DIY safely, find pallets at family-owned nurseries, printing shops, or groceries, but ask a manager before helping yourself.
- Skip big-box retailers, which probably have pallet recycling programs (read: no freebies). Look for an "HT" stamp, indicating that the wood was heat-treated during construction to kill microorganisms.
- Pass on any pallet that's stained or smells. At home, wear a mask and goggles when dismantling the pallet and sanding the wood.
- Disinfect planks with equal parts bleach and water. (The sanding allows the solution to really soak in.)