Introduction: Wood Slat Frame

About: Steward to about 20,000 trees on 40 acres.

When I look at home and garden magazines or at photos in on-line sites, I scan the background for interesting things I could make. This project comes from a wall hanging I saw in a photo of a rustic family room. I have access to pallets and used the wood from one of them for much of my wood slat frame. Board dimensions shown below are for boards you buy at the lumber yard.


1" x 4" x 4' board

1" x 4" x 6' board

1/8" or 1/4" hardboard (or plywood) at least 14" X 14"

Stains etc.


Wood glue

Picture hanger bracket & small screws or wire nails


Table saw is recommended

Yardstick or tape measure


Speed square or protractor

Step 1: Cutting the Pieces

This is how I did the job using these dimensions for my pieces. Adapt to your space, taste and materials.

  1. Cut a piece of hardboard 14" x 14".
  2. From the 4' board rip two slats 1-1/2" wide.
  3. From the 6' board rip a slat 1-1/2" wide. Also rip a strip 3/4" wide.
  4. Using a 1-1/2" slat from Step 2, measure and cut four (4) pieces that are square on one end and have a 45 degree cut on the other. One side should be 4-1/2" long and the other 3" long.
  5. Also using the 1-1/2" slat from Step 2, measure and cut four (4) pieces that are square on one end and have a 45 degree cut on the other. One side should be 3" long and the other 1-1/2" long.
  6. Cut the 3/4" piece from Step 3 into two (2) pieces 10-1/2" long and two (2) pieces 11-3/4" long. These are "narrow" pieces.
  7. Cut the 1-1/2" piece from Step 3 into two (2) pieces 12" long and two (2) pieces 15" long. These are "wide" pieces.

Now it gets a little more tricky. All of the pieces from Steps 6 and 7 may need to be trimmed so that they fit each other. The Step 6 pieces form a square inside a square made up of the pieces from Step 7. Start with the narrow Step 6 pieces and form a square with the 11-3/4" pieces as the top and bottom sides and the 10-1/2" pieces as the sides. Trim as needed. Once you have them so they form a square, label them on the back T for top etc.

Use the wide Step 7 pieces and form a square with the 15" pieces as the top and bottom parts and the 12" pieces as the sides. This square must fit just outside the inside, narrow frame. Trim as needed and mark each piece on the back T for top etc.

Use the pieces from Steps 4 and 5 to form the star pattern. Trim or sand so the pieces fit together. Either mark them on the back or set them off to the side so they stay in their correct locations for later use.

Step 2: Finishing and Assembly

The hardboard base of my frame was simply spray painted flat black. Sand all the wood pieces to smooth out any rough places. The interior pieces and the outer frame was oak so I gave it an oak stain finish. The narrow inner frame was pine which I gave a coat of clear sanding sealer.

While the stain was drying I marked the center of the base with horizontal and vertical guidelines. These will be needed to help with alignment when the center pieces are glued to the base.

When all the stain etc. is dry, lay out the inner and outer squares again to make sure everything is ready to glue in place. Lightly mark the base to indicate edge of each inner frame piece. Put a narrow bead of glue along the center of each inner frame piece and put it in place using the lines on the base. Make sure you have each piece in the location T,B,L R, that you marked them. With each piece in place and each piece aligned, carefully add some weight to hold them secure while the glue dries. Glue the outer frame pieces in place, weight down, and wait for the glue to dry.

Start gluing down the inner pieces, two at a time. Make sure you have each piece in its correct location within the pattern. Use the guidelines and a narrow bead of glue for each piece. Continue to add two at a time, going clockwise around the center. Add some weight to lightly press the pieces to the back.

When the glue has dried overnight, locate the left-right center on the upper back and carefully attach a picture hanger bracket. Drill shallow pilot holes and use short screws or wire nails to attach the hanger. Shorten wire nails to prevent them from coming through the front of the frame, if necessary.

Be sure to sign and date your finished project. I make anyone mildly skilled at woodworking stand back at least 6' when viewing my project but I like it.

Homemade Gifts Contest 2015

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2015