How to make your own wood panels

Upcycling, going for the retro look or putting down some new floors, wood panelling is versatile, effective and easy to do yourself.


What is wood panelling?

Wood panelling can be used for a number of different purposes. It creates a retro look to walls and floors, whilst it can also be used for painting and other art forms. Wood panelling could be added to furniture if you want to upcycle something old into something which looks brand new. Before you can decide what you want to do with wood panels, though, you need to know how to make them in the first place.


You will need:

Hardboard - you can choose how thick you want this, how much you need and what type of hardboard is best based on what you will be using your panels for.

A long piece of timber - the longer you can get, the better; you want to be able to have room to manoeuvre when cutting.

  • A mitre box and wood saw
  • Flat headed pins
  • Wood glue


Step 1: Size

Choose how large you want your panels to be. It is best to divide your hardboard as evenly as possible so that you can use as much of the wood as you are able to without wasting anything, but make sure that the size of the panels will match whatever you are using them for. Mark out the size of the panel and then use a wood saw to cut these as neatly as possible.


Step 2: Cutting

Cut your timber into pieces which fit the length and width of your panels. Cut the vertical pieces first as these will stretch the full length of the wood panel. You should then measure the horizontal length, deducting the depth of the timber so that the horizontal bars can fit neatly inside the vertical ones without any overlap.

Alternatively, you can create mitred ends to your timber which will allow it all to slot together neatly. It is up to you and your skill level as to which of these methods you find easiest and are happiest to attempt. If you are happy to attempt to mitre the ends of your timber then you should use 45 degree angles for the ends of each piece of timber.


Step 3: Set the panels

Take the first panel and place the vertical and horizontal bars along the edges. You will use fast setting wood glue to run along the edges of the timber and press into place along the edge of the panel. Once this is set enough to hold the panel into place, flat ended pins can be hammered into the wood to ensure that it is held together firmly.

Try not to use too many pins and instead rely on a good quality wood glue to hold these together as firmly as possible, as this creates a neater outline overall and means that you will be able to use these for a wide variety of projects.


Step 4: The Finish

Once the panels are dry and fixed then they can be prepared in a number of ways to make them suitable for whatever purpose you have for them. They can be painted, varnished, Gessoed or have things stuck to them to complete the look that you are going for.