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If you’ve ever browsed DIY projects on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen a million beautiful ideas for pallet furniture. Pallets are ubiquitous, easy to find and often make for easy projects and beautiful results—from tables and beds to wall art and garden tool organizers. But not all pallets are created equal! Here’s a handy guide to choosing the perfect pallet for your next piece.

pallet-project2Many pallets are treated with chemicals like formaldehyde in order to prevent pests and decay; which makes those pallets less than ideal for indoor furniture. Locate the IPPC logo found on most pallets. If you see “HT” nearby, the pallet was likely “heat treated” with chemicals, and an “MB” mark means the wood was treated with methyl bromide, which is toxic. Methyl bromide is an older technique that is rarely used nowadays.

Finally, you’ll want to consider where your pallets are coming from. If you’re going through a dumpster behind a business, be careful of pests, water, mold and bacteria. The safest option is to clean pallets before working on them, and be sure to use sealant before presenting the final product of your crafting!