ONALASKA, WIS — An Onalaska man has taken pallet projects to an epic level by constructing an entirely new planet out of pallets this past weekend. The new celestial body called “Rustic Planet” was constructed and launched into orbit Monday morning.
This past spring, Bill Stanton was driving home from the YMCA in Onalaska when he came across a stack of free pallets in front of a business on Mason Street. He wasn’t really sure what compelled him to stop and take one home with him, but that decision changed his life.
“With that first pallet, I built a small garden box,” Stanton explained. “It was pretty simple and easy to build. Best of all, I needed one, and building it was quick, easy, and free!”
Like most people this spring, Stanton was battling the boredom that came with the stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent state shutdown. Stanton found himself falling into a habit of watching TV all day or sitting on his phone for mindless hours at a time. The pallet projects helped him break this downward spiral.
Along with the exercise and being outside in the fresh air, Stanton loved how the boards had an aged, weathered look while also cutting easily like “soft butter.” That small garden box led to Stanton building a larger garden box, which led to a small fence, which led to a garden walkway, which led to a compost bin.
Eventually Stanton’s projects ramped-up in size, detail, and intricacy as he started constructing beautiful clocks, wall-mounted coat racks, and an old-fashioned cooler.
“I couldn’t believe how the projects just started coming together so quickly and easily with almost no cost involved,” Stanton continued. “I just wanted to get bigger and more creative with each project idea.”
Finally, Stanton decided to build his opus: a new planet for our solar system.
Stanton admits that when he started the project, he did not intend on building a planet per se, but he just wanted to see where inspiration would lead him.
“Honestly, it started out as some bookshelves,” Stanton added, “but I just kept adding and adding to it until eventually it started taking shape.”
Collecting enough pallets was easy enough for Stanton as he would simply drive through the local industrial parks and throw a couple into his minivan.
“The challenge early on was trying to keep the core to hold together,” Stanton finished, “but once I got to the mantle, its sheer mass started generating its own gravitational pull strong enough to just place each additional pallet on without nails or screws.”
Stanton said that putting on the final layer, or crust, ended up being the most satisfying part.
“I love how it looks,” Stanton concluded, “though it’s only a couple days old, it looks like it has been aging and revolving around the sun for several years.”
Stanton has no plans to sell Rustic Planet as he wants it for him and his wife to enjoy, but said he has not ruled out making one in the future. He claims he would “probably sell on the Facebook Marketplace for like $10.”
Reporter Dr. Jonathan H. Dong contributed to this article.