DIYdiy projects

diy project: slatted wood map art

by Kate Pruitt

I’ve been seeing a lot of slatted wood lately, mostly in large-scale designs like Morgan Satterfield’s lovely front porch screen or this incredible house that popped up on Desire to Inspire yesterday. I’ve never come across slatted wood as wall art, but after seeing this wall map project from Natalie Gluic, I’m thoroughly convinced that this is a great way to showcase the beauty of the slatted-wood construction.

After giving the strips of wood a rich, deep red oak stain, Natalie traced and painted in a graphic map to add an extra layer of interest. I actually love the abstraction of the map design spanned over the slats, and the subdued paint palette gives the piece sophistication. Constructing the slatted wood is relatively straightforward, and from there you have tons of great options for how to customize it for your own walls. I could also see this looking incredible installed on an outdoor wall with some plants tucked in here and there. Thanks so much for sharing, Natalie! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump!


  • 20 pieces of 1″ x 2″ x 8′ framing lumber for the slats
  • 2 pieces of 1″ x 6″ x 4′ lumber (as the two foundation pieces to hold the slats)
  • Minwax Red Oak wood stain
  • a few handfuls of 1 3/8″ framing nails
  • a variety of acrylic paint colors to paint the map
  • satin finish polyurethane



  • hammer
  • some rags for staining
  • white chalk
  • saw
  • coarse-grit sandpaper
  • a spacing tool
  • paintbrushes



1. Stain the Wood: Start by staining all your wood — lay down a tarp and wipe on the Minwax stain with an old rag, wait 5 minutes for the stain to set and wipe off the excess with a dry rag. Let the stained wood dry overnight.

2. Construct the Slatted Wood Piece: Start by laying out the slats of wood on the two foundational pieces. Space them out to get a sense of the spacing between the pieces. Make sure you calculate the amount of open space between each slat and find a spacer (a piece of wood or something similar; I used a level) that matches that width, and start nailing down your wood. Pay attention to where the ends of the wood sit, but mine ended up a bit uneven, and I actually liked that “rough” look. Nail the first piece flush to the end of the foundational pieces and put your spacer between each subsequent piece of wood until all the wood is nailed in.

3. Trace the Map: You’ll need an image of the map you want to trace with a clear outline. Then “scale” it to a ratio that is similar to your large map. Next, add some stripes over the map, using the same spacing ratio that you selected for your slatted wood piece (for example, my slats were 2″ wide, with 1″ of space between them, so I used a 1″ to 2″ ratio on my scaled map). Then divide the scaled map into lateral “chunks,” almost like a grid. Now transfer the map outline by following the outlines in each grid “chunk” of the scaled map.

4. Paint the Map: Plan out the colors for your map and dilute the acrylic paint with some water to make it a bit washed out. Then simply paint on the slats, following the lines between the provinces/states. Finally, carefully outline the “borders” with a fine brush dipped in light gray paint. This might take some time :) Let the paint dry.

5. Finishing Touches: Lightly sand the dried paint with a coarse-grit sandpaper to make the color seem weathered and rubbed off. Wipe off any excess dust from the sandpaper, and brush on two coats of polyurethane.

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