How to make window grille inserts

Updated February 21, 2017

You can add some wooden window grilles to your home for a hint of Victorian styling. They are easy to make out of thin wood strips using a half-lap joint. You can custom make the size for each window, stain or paint them and install them yourself. You can go with multiple squares, or make them with only a sparse grid pattern. Start out by making a grid for a 24-by-36-inch window.

Turn off the power to your table saw. Install the dado blade on your table saw. Raise the blade to 1/4 inch from the tip of the highest tooth to the point where the blade emerges from the table. Turn the power back on.

Set the fence 12 inches from the blade. Set the table saw mitre gauge on the table saw at 90 degrees. Place the longest strip on the table saw in front of the mitre gauge and slide it to the right until it touches the fence. Turn on the saw.

Push the mitre gauge forward very slowly. Push the strip over the blade to cut a dado across the bottom. Flip the strip end for end and cut another dado. You should now have a stick with two dadoes 12 inches apart, 12 inches from both ends.

Place both short strips together in front of the mitre gauge. Slide them over to touch the fence. Hold onto both of them together and slide them over the blade to cut them both at the same time. You should have two sticks with a dado in the centre.

Squirt a small bead of glue into all the dadoes. Lay the long stick down with the dadoes facing up. Place one short stick on top, and one short stick on the bottom perpendicular with the long stick, mating the corresponding dadoes together to form a grid. Tap the dadoes together with a hammer. Place a small hand clamp across both half-lap joints. Wait 24 hours for the glue to dry.


You may have to trim the ends of the grille to get it to fit snugly inside the window frame. You can drill a small hole in the ends of the grille and insert a tiny brad at an angle to secure it to the window frame.


If the wood splinters when you cut it, go even slower until the saw cuts clean. Always wear safety glasses when working with wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Table saw
  • Dado blade, 1/2 inch
  • Wood strip, 1/2-by-1/2-by-36 inches
  • 2 wood strips, 1/2-by-1/2-by-24 inches
  • Glue
  • Hammer
  • Hand clamps
  • Safety glasses
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About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.