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How To Make A DIY Privacy Screen From Salvaged Fence Pickets

Have you ever thought “what can I make with an old picket fence?” Read on to see how we made a privacy screen with a reclaimed wood fence.

I didn’t start this project thinking how I could repurpose an old picket fence. I wanted a privacy screen for our small front yard patio that would eventually be transformed into a trellis screen to block a huge rain water capture tank we have. When I thought up the idea, lumber prices had sky rocketed and I did not want to buy new, crazy expensive wood! This is how How To Make A DIY Privacy Screen From Salvaged Fence Pickets came to be.

Necessity (ahem, cheapness ha ha) is the mother of invention!

So I started to look around on Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace. I was looking for something already made or something that I could repurpose. I found a free listing for some very unique fence panels. I hesitated, thinking how will I get these huge panels home, how can the panels be fashioned into a screen, and how will my husband kill me for adding another project to his list!

By the time I thought of transportation, came up with a concept and got over hubby’s possible reactions, I missed out! I was kicking myself for a few days. Then I saw a listing for salvaged fence pickets. The location was closer than the listing I lost out on and the fence was deconstructed and therefore easier for me to pick up on my own and easier to fit in our car. I messaged the seller right away and got them!

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Deconstructed picket fence awaiting it’s glow up.

Deconstructed picket fence on ground with tools.

With the pickets already deconstructed, it was easier to envision how the privacy screen would come together. With a quick sketch shared with my husband, he understood the concept and got the materials together.


  • 3″ gripe tite screws
  • 2″ 16 gauge brad or finishing nails
  • Nail gun and compressor (or cordless nail gun)
  • Drill
  • Circular saw
  • Sander
  • 15 salvaged fence pickets
  • 4 2×4’s

Our DIY privacy screen doubles as a plant hanger!

Click on images below the photo to shop the look.

Instructions to make your DIY privacy screen

  1. Lay out the pickets or other salvaged wood pieces to determine spacing.
  2. Start by measuring the area where you want to place the privacy screen. This will give you an idea of how many fence pickets and 2×4 lumber pieces you will need.
  3. Then cut pickets or other salvaged wood to desired length using a circular saw. The pickets I purchased were 5 ft and I left them as-is. I wanted them horizontal to make for easy hanging of decorations.
  4. Next, cut the 2×4 lumber pieces to the desired length of your privacy screen. These will serve as the posts that will hold the fence pickets in place.
  5. Build base that consists of one horizontal 2×4 cut to 4 foot 6 inches (or to your desired size) screwed to two perpendicular 2×4’s cut to 42 inches.
  6. Screw two vertical 2×4’s that each measure 6 foot 4 inches to the base.
  7. Screw a 2×4 cut to 4 feet 6 inches along the top to connect the two vertical posts.
  8. Using brad nails and nail gun, secure the pickets to the frame of 2×4’s. When we were laying out the pickets to visualize the screen, we forgot to take into account the height of the wood frame base. To compensate, my DIY guy started to attach the pickets at the top. This left a larger gap at the bottom, which we were fine with since furniture will cover the bottom.
  9. Continue attaching fence pickets to the posts until the privacy screen is complete.
  10. If desired, paint or stain the privacy screen to protect the wood and add some color to your outdoor space.

Note: lightly sand all pieces. I like the shabbiness of the pickets I bought, so I left them alone. Always use caution and wear a proper mask and PPE when sanding or cutting old painted wood.

Man holding circular saw and cutting 2x4.
Man holding 2x4's to make diy privacy screen.
Man using nail gun to make diy privacy screen.

Privacy screen diagram

Diagram of DIY privacy screen parts.

Your DIY privacy screen from salvaged fence pickets is now complete! It is a great way to repurpose old materials and add some charm and privacy to your outdoor space.

Cut list for How To Make A DIY Privacy Screen From Salvaged Fence Pickets

KeyQuantityPartCut fromLength
12Top of Frame2×44′ 6″
22Bottom of frame2×44′ 6″
42Vertical sides2×46′ 4″

Pin How To Make A DIY Privacy Screen From Salvaged Fence Pickets!

DIY privacy screen with planters hanging on it. Outdoor sofa in front of screen and fire pit table lit.

Get the look without the DIY!

Thanks for reading How To Make A DIY Privacy Screen From Salvaged Fence Pickets!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I appreciate your visit to our casa. Make sure to follow me over on Instagram for stories and videos. You can follow us on Pinterest too!

For another fun diy project, you can see how I upcycled thrift store finds to make our living gallery wall.

Cindy at Reinvented Delaware is the queen of reupurposing and upcycling. Check out how she re-uses fence pickets.

And here are a few more fun posts:

5 Tips for Staining a Fence

And tips to stain IKEA furniture

How To Make A DIY Privacy Screen From Salvaged Fence Pickets

36 thoughts on “How To Make A DIY Privacy Screen From Salvaged Fence Pickets”

  1. I love it! I’ve been struggling to come up with privacy screen ideas (I need a few in our garden) but now this has given me some ideas. I’m going to be trawling through the eBay small ads to see if I can get something second-hand in our area. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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  5. Thanks for dropping by “Happiness is Homemade” to link your privacy fence screen. I’ve posted it as my weekly bonus feature, so hop over to my blog to read your description! (I always include my own bonus feature no matter who the monthly co-host is.)

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