How to DIY a Vertical Wood Slat Wall

Materials Needed





Orbital Sander

Table Saw

– Wood Slats- (4) 4 x 8 sheets of MDF

Miter Saw

Materials Needed 






Tape Measure


Liquid Nails 

Materials Needed 





Laser Level 

Trim Nailer

Wood Filler

Tile Spacers

Plan Out The Design

First, you need to plan out your overall design for where you will place your wood slat wall. It could be in a living room as an accent wall, behind your headboard, in a cozy nook, down your hallway, the options are endless. Make sure you know the full overall design of whichever space you're putting this in before you get started on the slat wall. As you can tell, if you want to avoid a lot of unnecessary work, doing a lot of the design elements you may be incorporating first, before installing the wood slat wall, will help avoid additional work, costs, and mistakes. 

Cut Down Strips of Wood

Once you know your design and have gathered your materials, it's time to get to work!  Using our table saw, we cut down (4) 4x 8' sheets of MDF, we cut 1/2" strips and placed them 3/4" wide apart on the wall. If you don't have a table saw, you can also buy this pre-cut, but it does cost more.  Note: Jamie said if we did this again, he would use real wood. The MDF wood grains are hard to paint, and it absorbs the paint fast, so additional coats of paint were needed. However, it would have cost 4-5x more than the MDF. So we saved a ton by using MDF over real wood.

Paint Strips of Wood/MDF

From those four sheets of 4x8 MDF boards, we got around 250 (ish) slats of wood for our wood slat wall. And then it was painting time!  We created a little DIY paint booth in our shop and sprayed three sides of the boards. We didn't do all four sides because Jamie knew he would have to nail the boards up, fill the nail holes, and repaint them, so he avoided an unnecessary step. 

Paint Strips of Wood/MDF

We used Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams for our accent wall in their Emerald Urethane Enamel. We painted all of our doors and trim in this color and finish, so we had leftovers on hand; otherwise, you probably wouldn't necessarily need to invest in the Emerald line of paint.  Once painted, we popped them up our ladder to let them dry on. Who would have known this would make such a handy drying rack! 

Install Slat Plants

Once all the boards were dry, we got to installing the boards. One by one, Jamie measured the wall, cut down each piece with his miter saw to fit the height of the wall needed, applied liquid nails adhesive, secured to the wall, and nailed it into place with his nail gun.

Install Slat Plants

Install Slat Plants

To ensure each slat plank was the same width as the other, Jamie used 3/4" tile spacers as well as his laser level to ensure each plank was perfectly straight.

Install Slat Plants