Introduction: Wood Slat Wall Art

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

Every woodworker ends up with odd pieces of scrap that are just too nice to burn. I had a project that left me with a number of pieces the same width but of different types of wood, lengths and thicknesses. We've probably all seen slat wall art but didn't know how easy it is to create. I used salvaged wood but this project can also be done using stops and mouldings from the lumberyard or DIY store.


Table saw

Rasp or sandpaper

Woods slats (all the same width or a variety of different widths)

1/2" plywood backer board to glue the slats to

Rectangular stock for the frame around the piece

Wood glue

Bar clamps

Assorted weights (bricks, cans of paint, etc.)

Assorted stains

Picture hanger (your choice of styles)

*NOTE: don't get too large as weight can be a problem.

Step 1: Finishing and Assembly

Cut the slats into random lengths. Mine were 1-1/4" wide and between 5" and 15" long. As you cut, lay the pieces on your plywood backer. Plan on trimming off a little of the backer and of the overhanging slats later. This is just a preliminary layout which you can change later. Cut enough slats so you have a few extras. Remove the roughness from the cut ends with a rasp or sandpaper. Cut the perimeter frame material to size at this time.

Decide which side of each slat will be exposed and stain it, the sides, and the ends. A smooth, cut surface is nice but you may prefer a rough, unfinished look for some or all of the slats. Don't get stain or other finish on the side to be glued to the backer. I used a variety of stains and ended up with a wide variety of colors and hues since I also used a variety of woods. Stain the frame pieces now also.

When the finish is dry, lay out the slats on the backer how you want the final to look. The ends of the slats can overhang the backer since these will be cut off later. Set the slats aside just as you will glue them down. Glue the first row to the backer and weight it down until the glue dries. Continue gluing slats to the backer, weighing them down as you go.

After the glue has dried overnight carefully cut off the excess backer and overhanging slats on the table saw. Glue and clamp the end frame pieces in place and let the glue dry. Glue and clamp the frame pieces to the long sides and let the glue dry. You could use wire nails instead of glue to attach the frame. Sign and date your project. My finished product is 8" x 23". Attach your choice of picture hangers to the back and hang.

The last picture above is of a small project I did many years ago using random shapes, woods, and thicknesses. Many of the pieces were cut to fit with the others as part of the random, jigsaw pattern.

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