Pallet Fest: Using Old Pallets in a New Way

What’s the best material for building a solid stage, a kids’ maze, and an array of sculptures? The creative minds behind the first Upcycle Event in Denver, Colorado might suggest discarded pallets. They’re promoting the idea of giving these used shipping materials new life at the inaugural Denver Pallet Fest, running Oct. 11th and 12th.

For two days, Pallet Fest will overtake Denver Sculpture Park for the city’s first-ever “upcycle” festival. A relatively new trend – and similar to recycling – upcycing involves artistic improvement of the reclaimed materials in question. Whereas recycling turns paper into new paper, or plastic to new plastic, upcycling might see newspaper turning into a dress, or pallets into a bedframe.

Discovering The Upcycling Trend

As landfills pile up with trash, people are becoming more conscious about what must be thrown out and what can be reused. Consider publications like Upcycle That and Upcycle Magazine, which detail upcycling projects from around the world with photos, guides, and project ideas.

Plastic bottles, tin cans, and newspaper have had their 15 minutes of fame, and now the lens has turned to pallets.

DIY enthusiasts have long loved the pallet for its versatility. After all, pallets have been the centerpiece of the “shabby chic” design movement for years. Creating a sofa is as easy as hinging pallets together and adding cushions on top, and many young families are seeing the value of reclaiming pallets for patio furniture.

While pallet companies always encourage repairing pallets whenever possible (and turning them into mulch when it’s not), everyday citizens can do a tremendous amount by picking up old pallets and upcycling them.

The Perfect Poise of Pallets

Pallets are an ideal material for upcycling: they’re an inexpensive, durable and abundant source of reclaimable wood. It makes sense that an inaugural upcycling festival would revolve around them.

Pallet Fest goers will have access to:

  • A pallet stage, on which an upcycle fashion show will take place;
  • A two-day pallet build-off competition, where DIY enthusiasts will compete to create the most remarkable pallet art and furniture;
  • A pallet parkour pavilion, like a jungle gym for daring teenagers;
  • A pallet family maze; and
  • A full-blown pallet artscape.

Public Support For Pallet Upcycling

Attracting people from all walks of life – from environmental enthusiasts to do-it-yourselfers – Pallet Fest receives a gracious amount of public support. The festival was crowd-funded on Kickstarter, raising over $8,600 from the general public, in addition to the $20,000 of private funding driving the event.

The organizers behind Pallet Fest have eyes to take the concept nationally. With any luck, within a few years, there’ll be a Pallet Fest near you, too.

If you’re interested in regular updates on the event this week, and into the future, check out Upcycle Events on Twitter @PalletFest