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Overview

Unassuming at first glance, dressed timber battens can be the basis for room-changing projects. Try this dividing screen if you have an open-plan space.

Steps

1Make the slats and rails

To make the vertical slats, measure and mark eight lengths of 65mm DAR oak to 2.1m, cutting to length with a mitre saw. To make the top and base horizontal rails, cut the remaining 65mm piece into two 751mm lengths. For the middle horizontal rails, cut the 40mm DAR oak into three lengths of 751mm.

Tip: While you could make the cuts using a mitre box with a hand saw, a mitre saw will result in much faster, more accurate assembly.

Close-up of a measuring tape and pine timber with a mark at 751 millimetres

2Position the slats

Position a length of painter's masking tape along the top, base and middle rails to mark out the position of the slats, measuring along the top rail first, marking 65mm from the edge, then 33mm, and repeating to the end. Transfer the measurements to the other rails using the combination square.

Tip: The room divider is designed to be 2.1m high and exactly 751mm wide, which allows for the vertical slats to be placed 33mm apart.

Two lengths of timber with measurements marked on masking tape

3Drill holes into the slats

Mark a centre line along the top and base rails (32.5mm from the edges), and along the middle rails (20mm from the edges). Use a 2.5mm bit to drill pilot holes along the lines, evenly spacing two holes into each slat.

Close-up of timber with markings on masking tape and drill bit

4Secure to the top and base rail

Working on a large, flat surface, set out the slats under the top and base rails, lining them up with the marks. Begin at one end, checking the first slat is flush and square with the top rail, and secure with two 20mm screws using a drill with a driver bit. Check the slat is flush with the base rail and secure, then repeat with the remaining rails.

Close-up of timbers joined at right angle using screws

5Centre and secure a middle rail

On the slats at either end, measure and mark 1050mm from the base to centre a middle rail, securing with screws. Mark the end slats 40mm either side of the first middle rail and secure remaining rails.

A slatted timber structure lying on carpet

6Fill, sand and paint

Use a spatula to fill screw heads with timber filler, leave to dry. Sand all over, wipe with a damp cloth, then finish with primer and two coats of paint using a mini roller, leaving to dry between coats.

Tip: To hide the brackets, spray-paint them in a matching colour before attaching.

A slatted timber structure lying on carpet

7Lock it in

Mark out where the divider will stand. Position one bracket on the floor against the wall, secure into both with anchors and screws. At the top, attach a bracket so one arm is against the wall and the other is over the top of the divider, secure with screws. Secure a third bracket halfway up the divider, against the wall. Attach the fourth bracket to the floor with one arm facing upwards so the divider sits inside it, securing from the outside with a screw.

A black painted slatted room divider in a living area

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.