I created this pair of bookshelves from the Kids Storage Leg Desk plan for my two older children to help relieve their book clutter. I used the larger boards from a pallet and a couple of boards I scored at the local ReStore that had been abandoned from a bed frame for $4. With stains I had on hand, I think we did this for around $5. The pallet wood was shorter than the lengths given in the plan, so these book shelves were made at the height of 1/2 of a pallet board or about 22". They work great for what we need and when the kids outgrow these, I have one kid still under the age of two that can use it as a desk and all we'll need is to add the desktop.
2. One coat of Minwax provincial stain with a couple of coats of quick drying Minwax polyurethane.
The pallet wood really soaks in the stain so wiping it off didn't do much to lighten it up.