My up-cycled workshop stage 1 – The frame

/My up-cycled workshop stage 1 – The frame

My up-cycled workshop stage 1 – The frame

The Frame for my up cycled workshop is made out of pallets and fence posts.

I chose pallets because they are strong, durable and easily found for free. I found mine in industrial sites all over Brighton, Hove & Shoreham. I was also given loads by my local wood recycling centre – and found many on Freegle & Freecycle. In short – pallets are easy to come by, there are probably some sat outside a house or business in your street as we speak! The other great thing about pallets is they have a recess, this is the pocket I used to fill with insulation – it’s like a cavity in a normal building wall.

As well as the pallets I also used six fence posts & offcuts of timber to strengthen the structure.

IMG_2272           IMG_2100

As you can imagine I quickly covered every available floor space in my front and back garden with an array of pallets! The neighbours did wonder what I was on, although thankfully (probably due to their curiosity) they let me carry on!

Now, the thing you have to remember about collecting free pallets is – you are going to get lots of different sizes and types, some will be 120cm by 120cm, some are 100cm x 80cm, some are 100cm x 64cm, then you have different depths too! Basically you’re going to need to collect a lot to make sure you have enough of the right size to use together to make your life easier when constructing your workshop. Don’t worry because you will need lots off cuts from the pallets you’re not using for the frame for strengthening joints and cladding the exterior etc. Plus, if you have neighbours like mine they’ll want to try some up-cycling themselves so they’ll be asking if you have any spare by the time you’re finished!

I decided to use 120cm high for the first layer of the build all the way around – that way when I came to the next layer I didn’t have lots of different heights to cut around – saving yourself time. I used free paving slabs under the pallet floor to raise it off my concrete base so I wouldn’t end up with a damp problem. I saw the paving slabs outside a house that was having their patio updated, I knocked on the door and asked if they were going begging… they were!

The double glazed windows came from a building site’s Portacabin – a bit grubby but just the job for my workshop.

IMG_2274            IMG_2115


I spent a lot of time playing with pallets in the garden, laying them out to get the floor space right – I wanted as much space as possible inside to work, but the size of the workshop had to come within planning guidelines to be seen as a ‘permitted development’ – meaning you don’t need to spend time and money gaining planning permission. Among other criteria your new outhouse needs to be under 2.5 meters in height, at least 1 meter within the boundary of your property, and have no sleeping accommodation – please check the guidelines before you start here;

floor plan pallets            strapping etc


I used heavy duty metal strapping to link the floor pallets together and 20cm decking screws. Once the floor was put together I started building the first layer of wall pallets onto the floor.

IMG_2370             lower layer


I used coach bolts where possible to go through the thick corners of the pallet and join to the next one, I also used long decking screws & more of that lovely metal strapping! I figured it’s worth spending a bit of cash on the fixings – as I’m getting everything else for free!

On completion of the first layer I added six 10cm x 10cm fence posts – one at either side & either end plus one in the middle at either side. This was to make sure the building didn’t fold in half with a strong gust of wind! With my fence posts in situ I added my joists. I researched the building regulations guide and built my roof to their guidelines. I think research is key when tackling a new project – it’s always better to be safe than sorry, you don’t want anyone getting hurt!

The amount of joists depends upon the thickness of the wood you are using & the span they must cross. You will also need noggins to make sure your joists don’t twist. Make sure you research this properly or get an experts advice. I used 8 6×2 joists centred at 600mm  and then used the same wood to add noggins down the centre. Bear in mind if your using thinner wood you’ll need more joists.

adding top layer            side view top layer

This is when the build really started coming together & I could start seeing the structure. I worked on putting the top layer of pallets up and cutting around the joists that jut out. I also put my double glazed windows in – man that’s a pain to do on your own!

My finished frame looks like this…

IMG_2522            IMG_2470 copy


Come back in a week for the next step of my up-cycled work shop! Happy Salvaging 😀






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