DIY gifts for dad workshop table with tools

Upcycled gifts for Dad: 6 thoughtful DIY ideas

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Father’s Day is almost here! If you’re in need of some inspiration check out these 6 upcycled gifts for Dad. These DIY gifts are ones he will not only love but are also low waste and won’t break the bank! Build your gift ahead of time or create these projects alongside him.

You’ll notice that many of these projects are made from up-cycled wood pallets. Did you know pallets are essential to the operation of our recycling program? They play a key role in the transport of the small appliances and power tools we collect for recycling. From cordless drills to microwaves, our recyclables are placed directly on top of pallets or in “mega bags” on top of pallets. These wooden pallets enable products to be easily loaded into trucks bound for recycling processors. Pallets are used by many industries for transportation, so you shouldn’t have to look too far.

Small Appliances and Power tools on pallets


Using Pallets For DIY Projects 101

Pallet wood is a great eco-friendly material for DIY projects and you can usually find pallets for free! Small businesses typically pay to dispose of their pallets. Thus, there is likely a business near you willing to give away pallets at no cost or for a small fee. Further tips on where to find pallets can be found in this blog post.

Pallet with HT code – indicating safe to use. Image source: matthiasboeckel –

Notably, not all pallets are safe to use for home projects. Some pallets have wood that is treated with harsh chemicals. Be sure to check the pallet’s markings before you take pallets home and realize you can’t use them. Home and Garden Blogger, Ananda, has compiled an in-depth guide on using pallets for DIY projects. Ananda says to look for pallets with the HT stamp, as this indicates that the pallets are heat-treated and safe to use.

Keep these treatment codes in mind:

  • HT: Heat Treatment – safe to use
  • DB: Debarked – safe to use
  • MB: Methyl Bromide – not safe to use

If a pallet has an MB code, it means it is chemically treated and not safe to use under any circumstances. Find out more about pallet safety from Preparedness Mama.

For more essential info on upcycling pallets for a DIY project, read these 17 Helpful Tips Before Painting Wood Pallets or search YouTube for videos on the best way to deconstruct a pallet.


Gift for Dad #1 – Bottle Opener

This gift is sure to be used for many years by Dad! Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to make a bottle opener from pallet wood or other scrap wood. The tools needed for this project include a drill, nail gun, and an electric sander. Remember, if any of those power tools break – all 3 can be recycled at one of our 200+ collection sites across BC!


Gift for Dad #2 – Upcycled Hockey Stick Chair, Bench, Clock, and More!

There are lots of ways to repurpose old hockey sticks and create a unique piece sure to be treasured by Dad! Check out designs and tips on how to build different items at, follow these free instructions on How To Build a Hockey Stick Chair from Cottage Life, or purchase these affordable Plans for a Muskoka Hockey Stick Chair from Etsy.


Gift for Dad #3 – Gardening Box

If your Dad has a small yard or is looking to have a convenient planter on his patio, this gardening box from Blessed Beyond Crazy could do the trick! The pallet wood can be sanded, painted, and primed to match existing outdoor decor. This project uses a drill and a circular or table saw (we accept many types of electric saws for recycling too!).


Gift for Dad #4 – Pallet Bar

You can be quite creative with this project and make a bar for inside or outside using as few as two pallets, or as many as 12! Our own DIY abilities would probably max out at this Simple & Easy Outdoor Bar. According to the tutorial it takes about two hours to make and the only power tool you need is a drill (although an electric sander will make the work easier). If you have more time, space, and power tool skills, go all out and make this awesome tiki bar, or this BBQ Master Bar with your Dad! Need some further inspiration? 1001 Pallets has compiled more than 60 pallet bar ideas from around the world.


Gift for Dad #5 – Outdoor Pallet Sofa

Like the bar project, there are many options for sofas made from pallets – from love seats and day beds, to large sectionals. Instead of purchasing expensive outdoor furniture, custom fit a pallet sofa to your Dad’s space. It can be a perfect afternoon napping nook for him!


Gift for Dad #6 – BBQ Sign With Hooks

Now, this BBQ Sign doesn’t have to be made from pallet wood but we’re sure you can find a creative way to do so! Another option to keep this project low waste would be to use wood off-cuts from a past wood-working project. This particular project uses a wood-burning tool to create the sign’s text, but otherwise only requires a simple screwdriver. Keep in mind that our recycling program accepts wood burning tools such as pens, sanders, and carvers as well! Personalize the sign with a #1 Dad message, or your Dad’s favorite cheesy joke!

We’re sure your Dad will appreciate your thoughtful efforts to make one of these projects and you may even learn some new skills in the process! Looking for more pallet or scrap wood project ideas? Check out our Pinterest boards. With the right tools, there are tons of creative scrap wood projects to make affordably.

If your upcycled gift for Dad happens to be the downfall of your power tool, remember that ElectroRecycle accepts small and large power tools at our recycling collection sites across British Columbia! We even accept large bench-top and free-standing power tools including:

  • tables saws
  • scroll saws
  • jointers
  • drill presses

To check if your other broken power tools are recyclable through our program – use our search tool!

Author: Leah Coulter

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