San Francisco Food Photographer

Making Pallet Surfaces

Lately I have taken on the hobby of creating surfaces for my food photography. I collect pallets, of all sorts, I generally prefer them in pretty bad shape I guess they have more character.

Taking them apart is a lot of work, I choose to remove the nails as I want to feature all the imperfections in my final product. 

Using proper protective gear is very important and gloves, trust me I learned the hard way. Since I use damaged pallets I keep wood glue and clams handy. I finish my surfaces with the glue and a nail gun. I prefer to use brad nails since they pretty much disappear into the wood and the paint I use cover any nail heads that may have been left exposed. 

Here is a surface I created recently:

1. I removed all the nails in the early morning under the soon listening to some house music, surely my neighbors were not happy I started this project at 7am on a Saturday. After I removed all the nails and selected the pieces I wanted to use, I laid them on the ground and numbered them in the back.


2. I glued the broken pieces I wanted to use and marked my desired width and height for my backdrop.


3. I cut to size with a handsaw and sand all edges and any sharp areas. Also I sand taking into consideration how much wear and tear I want to leave or remove or how much of the original wood I want to reveal. 

4. I select my base paint. This is something I plan in advance. I wanted this particular one to be a 3 tone backdrop with a rich dark base and bright color accents.

I decided to go with an almost stain I bought from Home Depot. I applied it with a rag, nice and heavy only on one side and left it out to dry.

5. The next day, after the stain was completely dried I selected my accent color. I got the small container from the sample sale bin at Home Depot for a buck! 

6. Applying accent color. Again, I used a small rag and focused on the edges of the wood and creating an uneven application. Areas where I felt I had applied a little too much I went back and wiped off. After I was happy with the application, I left out to dry.

My intention was to apply a white wash overcoat and do some very light sanding to finish it off but after it had dried I decided I loved the richness of the colors and they way it photographed so I decided to stop here. 

Here is sample of an images using the pallet: