Custom lattice made from thin wood slats. Privacy Screen:

Building Custom Lattice
From Thin Wood Slats

In This Article:

Thin strips of treated lumber are miter-cut and laid out on a piece of foam. The overlap points are stapled and the staple points are flattened out.

Related Articles:
Skill Level: 2-3 (Basic to Intermediate) Time Taken: About An Hour

By , Editor


While building a backyard privacy screen recently, I needed a small section of lattice, about 2 feet by 1½ feet. It didn't make sense to buy a whole 4x8 sheet of pre-made lattice, so I bought some thin strips of treated wood "lath" or lattice slats and built my own lattice.

I started by placing a piece of ½ inch foam insulation on a worktable.


Using a marker, I drew the outline of the shape of the section of lattice that I wanted to build.


I cut one of the longest pieces of wood and placed it on the foam base at a 45 degree angle.


I laid another piece of wood lath on the base, and used a piece of 1x4 as a spacing guide, which gave me a spacing close to the original "high privacy" lattice from Lowes.


I marked where the new piece of lath intersected with the red perimeter  marks


In a few minutes I had all of the slats cut and positioned for one half of the lattice. I had to be careful not to bump the pieces.


I placed the first cross-piece over the bottom layer of slats.


I fastened the first cross-piece with a pneumatic stapler.

I used the shortest staples I had, which were 5/8" long. The ends of the staples poked through the other side of the wood, which I expected. That is why I used a piece of foam as a work surface.


I marked the outer line of the next piece.


I positioned and fastened the second piece of lath.


This is what the project looked like as it was nearing completion.

It seemed best to work from the middle outward, alternately fastening a couple of boards on each side.


The assembly after all the slats had been stapled together.

The final small pieces were tricky because they tended to split when stapled.


Next, I lifted the assembly from the foam backer. You can see how the far the staples protruded out the back side.


I turned over the assembly and...


Uncle Fester's bed!


I bent the staple legs with the tip of a screwdriver.


This was kinda time-consuming, because I put two staples at most intersection points.

The store-bought lattice fastens every other connection point with one staple.


I placed the sheet of lattice on the garage floor and hammered the bent staples flat.


I slid the lattice into the slots in the frame. However, this custom-made piece of lattice was a bit thicker that the store-bought lattice, so it didn't fit into the grooves.

I used a belt sander to sand down the wood at the edges until the panel would fit into the groove.


The final product. The larger piece of lattice is one-half of a 4'x8' sheet bought from Lowes. The smaller section is what I built from thin pieces of treated wood "lath", also purchased at Lowes.


Material Coverage:

I used almost 7 pieces of 6-foot long  treated "lath" strips for this small section of lattice, which measures about 19 inches by 23 inches. That's about 3 square feet, so I used about 2.33 pieces of 6' long lath per square foot of lattice panel.

Viewed another way, that works out to around 0.43 square feet of lattice per strip of lath.

I figure that if I had no waste I could get just about one square foot of lattice for each 6-foot strip of lath. But there will always be some waste, as the ends need to be cut on a 45-degree angle.

A bundle of 10 pieces of this lath cost $4.55, so for my little section of lattice the cost works out to just over a dollar per square foot. Given that a sheet of high-privacy lattice costs less than 12 bucks, if I needed to build a section of lattice that was bigger than 12 square feet, it would be cheaper to buy a pre-made panel.







Tools Used:

  • Miter Saw
  • Pneumatic Stapler
  • Basic Carpentry Tools
  • Piece of Foam Insulation

Materials Used:

  • Treated "Lath" or Lattice Slats,
    6' long
  • 5/8" Staples

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Written September 6, 2005