Hands up if you’ve heard of a music wall? I’ve been gushing over pictures on pinterest for months now and finally decided to give it a go myself. Our daughter loves playing outside and after months of doing big paint jobs etc on the house, I was desperate to do a simple project that I could crack out in a weekend.
- 3 Pallets (please read up on pallet safety)
- A few small blocks of wood
- 1 length of skinnier wood for the xylophone (could cut pallet)
- Tester paint pots
- Pots, pans and other bits and bobs for instruments
- Cable ties
- Outdoor yacht varnish
- Vinyl /paint for music notes (optional)
You’ll also need a pallet breaker, hammer, sander, drill, screwdriver, saw and paint brushes
I started off by collecting pallets and we were lucky enough that out local gym had a massive pile and were willing to let us nab them. PLEASE CHECK PALLETS BEFORE TAKING THEM HOME. There are only certain types of pallets you can work with depending on how they’ve been treated etc so please, please Google before you go to collect any.
I made the mistake in thinking it would be really easy to take the pallets apart but it was a bit tricker that I thought, given I didn’t want to break the boards so we bought a pallet breaker, which lets you lift them with ease. We got ours with Amazon Prime so it arrived quickly I took the top boards off of two pallets and then rearranged them on one of the pallets so that there was very little gaps between the boards. I hammered them in using the existing nails but used a few screws as well to help secure them. I also took another full pallet and sawed it in half to use as the base (don’t put them together yet). I then sanded down the main pallet and the stand to take as many of the rough bits off as I could and give them a better finish.
Next I assembled the two together by using small blocks of wood on the back and some longer piece on the side. Screwing into the top and bottom piece, I secured it all the way along. I also laid it flat on its face and screwed from the bottom into the bot piece, as when kids are jumping about, you can never have enough support.
Now for the fun bit - out to the shops to get all the bits and pieces. I went to B&M for the paint and varnish, using Johnstones for both. I picked 4 different colour tester pots of normal emulsion wall paint for the shapes and then their outdoor yacht varnish for over the top. I also had endless fun in Poundland, banging on all their pans to see which made the best noise (the staff must have hated me). Here’s what I came out with - a pan, pizza tray, cake tin, expanding wooden trellis, 2 sets of different size spanners, 2 waste paper bins, 4 rubber spatulas, and a pack of cable ties PHEW!
Once I came home, I started decorating the pallets. I held my instruments up against the structure and drew pinpoints around them. Then with a ruler, I drew my shapes and tried to space them out evenly across the pallet but you could go for any style you wanted. It took 2 coats of paint and then I left it to dry overnight. The next day I did 1 coat of varnish in the morning and another in the evening and then again left it overnight.
Whilst the first coat of paint was drying, I got on with my spanner xylophone. I cut wood into a triangle space, checking that the spanners could all fit on with enough room to screw them into the wood. I screwed the wood to the pallet stand, then painted & varnished the wood, before holding up one spanner at a time and screwing the top and bottom of each.
Also in between coats of varnish, I added my music notes. I cut these out of vinyl using my Cricut but you could just paint them on or leave them out if you don’t have this kind of machine available.
Once the varnish is dry, I attached all the others by drilling through the wood (and metal when necessary) to create guide holes for the cable ties to go through. It needed 2 holes for each cable tie so you could go in through the back and then double back so you could tie it.
The bins were a little different. I screwed on blocks of wood to the bottom of the pallet which were the same width as the opening of the bins, so that you could put them over the top and they are held in position, yet still removable for drumming around the garden. I used a thicker wood for this but you could just layer up the pallet wood.
The spatulas were my drumsticks of choice as they make a slightly quieter sound but I did have some left over spanners we could bring out when we wanted to get crazy!!!!
I’m so excited for some jamming session fun out in the garden this Autumn, this is step 1 in my master plan of turning my child into a world famous musician.