How to Make a Custom Trellis Porch Rail

Add instant curb appeal with a custom trellis porch rail. Follow these steps to upgrade your front porch.

Instead of a traditional porch rail, this modern design instantly adds to your home's architectural style. The open square design allows for little faces to peek out but also provides privacy. Bonus: The design creates lovely shadows on sunny afternoons and could serve as a trellis. To amp up your curb appeal in just one weekend, check out our instructions for this DIY porch rail below.

Note: This project should be modified per the measurements of your porch. The distance between our porch beams is 96 inches.

Download the porch railing diagram.

What You Need

  • 4x8-foot marine-grade plywood sheets (we used three 3/4-inch-thick sheets, but this will vary by size of porch)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paper grocery bag
  • Scissors
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • 2x4 boards, 96 inches long
  • Drill with drill bit
  • Nails
  • Level

Step 1: Make Stencil

Download the plan and draw the trellis pattern on the paper grocery bag. Use a ruler and pencil to get straight lines. Measurements for the stencil are found in the illustration above, as well as in the project download. 

Cut out L shapes and middle square shape.

Step 2: Trace and Cut Stencil

Line up the stencil 2 inches from the shorter side of the plywood board and 1 inch from the top. Using a pencil, lightly trace the stencil cutouts. Continue tracing the stencil until entire board is covered. 

Use a jigsaw to cut out the L-shape corners and inner square of the pattern. Sand any rough edges.

Step 3: Prep Top and Bottom Rails

Use a router to notch a 1-inch strip through the 2x4s to create rails.

Use drill and screws to attach the rails to the top and bottom of the trellis-cut plywood.

Step 4: Prime and Paint

Prime and paint rails and trellis panels using desired color and a paintbrush. Use an exterior-grade paint and apply one or two coats for best results. Let dry between coats.

Step 5: Attach Board

Use the drill and screws to attach the panels to vertical porch beams. This will require several people to help hold and secure the board. Use a level to make sure board is even before securing panels. Position the board 4 inches above the porch surface. 

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