A warm summer evening, a pitcher of sangria, a little soft music--and the neighbour's kids watching you through the fence. Think of all the times and all the places you've been when you wished you could have just a little privacy, not a soundproof room but a little "alone" space. It would be great to have a portable, free-standing privacy fence that you can throw up at a moment's notice to give you a little protection from prying eyes.
Decide how much privacy you need, and draw a picture of the ideal fence. Consider building your privacy fence in panels that you can join together with hinges, unfold easily and store flat. Three or four panels 2 by 4 feet each will be just right.
To build one panel, cut pieces of 1 by 1 inches, 4 feet in length, to make 24 4-foot pieces. Lay them on a flat surface, side by side so that their long edges touch and they make a "panel" approximately 24 inches wide.
Measure the exact width of your 1-by-1 "panel." Mark and cut two pieces of 1 by 1 to extend the entire width of the 24-piece panel (it should be approximately 2 feet wide). Run a bead of wood glue on the flat side of one 2-foot piece. Gently lay it across the bottom of the "panel," taking care not to disturb the 24 pieces. Repeat the process with the second 2-foot length of 1 by 1, and lay it across the top of the "panel." Let the glue dry.
When the glue has dried, turn the panel over and repeat the process with two more 2-foot lengths of 1 by 1, gluing one to the top and one to the bottom edges of your panel. You may choose to add a 2-foot piece to both sides across the centre of your panel for added strength.
Use an electric drill or screwdriver to drive a wood screw through all three layers of 1 by 1 at the top and bottom of each long piece in your panel.
Build two or three more panels, according to your plans. Stand the panels side by side against a wall or other flat surface and decide how to attach your hinges; you must install them so that the panels will fold into one neat stack, so pay attention to the direction each hinge opens and closes. Attach one edge of a hinge at the top and at the bottom of two panels where three layers come together. Reverse the hinges for the next two panels.
Paint or stain your freestanding privacy fence, or use wood preservative to prevent it from warping.
Things you need
- 1-by-1 inch lumber or lath
- Brass wood screws, 2 1/2 inches
- 6 or 8 hinges, depending on the plan
- Measuring tape
- Wood glue
- Screwdriver or electric drill
- Paint or stain