View Full Version : SLAT HALLWAY Questions? Please help!

Dr Spooktakular
02-20-2008, 09:18 PM
We are adding a slat hallway in our mansion and I have a couple questions:
1. An economical way to make the slats? Type of wood?
2. Best way to light hallway or slats?
3. Coloring or distressing of the wood?
The more that chime in the merrier, all suggestions welcome.

Jim Warfield
02-21-2008, 08:43 AM
I just didn't throw away the lath boards as I ripped them out of the wall here, ....and there they were!
In 1870 laths were thicker than usual maybe 3/8 of an inch ? Tough spruce.
I didn't make a slat hallway, I sharpened points on them and positioned them to rake the customer's eyes and faces as they walked passed them........
I nailed them on a backing board so the points would NOT get anyone , shaped it like a doorway/arch and created my "Pointless Hallway", dipping the points in "real" red blood! hahahha!

damon carson
02-21-2008, 10:45 AM
Jims right try to come up with old wood laths out of an old house being gutted for dryway. Pick out the best ones longest and not broken. Ask anyone who is remolding an old house. They will give them to you for free im sure. Go to Halloween Productions website. Look at the detail of there slat walls and how they aged them. They make the best looking ones in the industry I think.

02-21-2008, 10:57 AM
We build a lot of Lath Halls in Terror on the Fox, you can buy bundles from Home Depot or Lowes. We buy the bundles that are banged up (you know, the ugly bundles) We build 4 x 8 frames out of 2 x 2's and staple the lath to the frames, we than cover the frames with luan that has had holes cut or broken through. We stain or dirty water wash the lath once installed under scene light.

Hope this helps,


Jim Warfield
02-21-2008, 12:53 PM
when my Dad was a kid there was a man in town who was a "Lather", that's all he did for a living, tok a mouthfull of those nasty little nails and his little hammer that had an ax blade on one end and went like crazy spitting, nailing nails erecting lath boards.
One day his phone stopped ringing, nobody did lath anymore.
He just sat around waiting for work until he died.......

Gas is $3.19 a gallon, I hope I'n not sitting around waiting for business this year...
"Who are you, ghostly one?"
"I was Joe, Joe the "lather",pull up a seat, Jim."

02-21-2008, 02:29 PM
i love the way that terror on the fox made this hallway
i was trying to think of some scares you could do in this hallway but with how narrow it appears i would worry how safe have any scares would be.
If your willing to share what scarres
you used Terr on the fox it would be greatly appreciated

Jim Warfield
02-21-2008, 02:58 PM
Ah! but a narrow hallway can be much safer because :
A) The customer has less distance to get a "run" at banging into the opposing wall if you scare them that badly.
B) If you scare them real badly the narrow hallway might sort of hold them up , keeping them from falling and hurting themselves if they went weak in the knees.

Any surface the customers are rubbing shoulders against (potentially) has to be smooth, no nail heads(use screws) no splinters, no hard edgs/angles. Use screws, bury their head below the surface, fill in the surface divot with Elmer's wood putty, smooth it over. When you are done run Your bare hand over it all, fix anything that "catches"
Of course if you are too cheap and don't put enough screws in a board to hold up against the customer's banging then the screws can break and open up such problems too..

02-21-2008, 07:18 PM
If you are doing slats for the entire wall. I would rip strips of luan. It is longer and less likely to split compared to lath. Less likely to break and cause a splinter hazard. It also gives you the option of having wider slats, or various widths. It will hold up better in storage too.

For color, just water down some brown or gray paint and use it like a stain. You can add shading, stains and whatever else you want.

02-21-2008, 07:46 PM
I make my own by ripping 3/8" thick plywood into strips.


02-21-2008, 11:20 PM
One way is to get the wood snow fencing in a roll and frame them. It has the wire already attached and with the proper lighting you'll never see it. Here's a link so you can see what it looks like: http://www.discountfence.com/snowfence/wooden_sand_snow_fence.htm

Home Depot also carries them but its not always in stock.

Good luck.


Dr Spooktakular
02-22-2008, 01:50 PM
I'm in Texas, I wish I could get that snow fencing, we've had only 3 or so days in the 30's this winter.

02-23-2008, 11:48 AM
I make my own by ripping 3/8" thick plywood into strips. I always like the "make my own" way of doing things -- especially if I already have what I need to make it. I'm gonna use your method and rip it...rip it real good! :D

02-23-2008, 11:54 AM
So, will we see a video when you Devo... I mean demo that?

02-23-2008, 11:55 AM
So, will we see a video when you Devo... I mean demo that? You're so funny, hunny. :D

The Mad Hatter
02-24-2008, 01:12 AM
These slats are made from 2x4's that I ripped down a few times. I used roofing nails when i attached them to give the panel more detail Then I used one of those weed sprayers and sprayed a washed down Walnut stain in random places. After that I sprayed it with a watered down Black. Then I splashed white pain on it with a brush. For the Insulation I used Cotton batting from a quilting store which i then stained with brown and black. (Lots safer to use then fiber glass insulation.) I tacked the batting down with staples on the back of the slats.


Theses panels are not done yet. When done they will look like falling apart walls. I will also post a how to on my website.
Not bad for an 18 year old eh?

02-24-2008, 07:36 AM
Theses panels are not done yet. When done they will look like falling apart walls. I will also post a how to on my website.
Not bad for an 18 year old eh?
An 18 year old? Honey, you young people are our future in the Haunted Industry. I look forward to hearing ideas from young haunters like Tyler, Pumpkinhead and a few others. You have your pulse on the scares of today! :)

Jim Warfield
02-24-2008, 10:44 AM
Impressive "Youngster"! Just allow me to possibly enlighten you and expand your knowledge base, will you?
Why fake insulation in your wall?
Any insulation is a relativly "New" thing, old haunted houses didn't have insulation so putting it there sort of detracts from the overall look.
Sort of like putting vynl graphics on Greatgrandpa's rusted out Model A Ford that is crumbing in the barn, covered in seventeen layers of crusted chicken poop.
Most would probably agree that the spiffy-looking vynl graphis should go under the chicken poop!
(Nobody else would have anything like it!)

02-28-2008, 09:00 AM
Here are a few more photos from Terror on the Fox where we have scenes that called for lath work.




To answer your question about the scare in the lath hall, a lot of our scenes tie into other scenes. A lot of the holes in the walls lead into other scenes, our customers always see movement (sometimes getting scared by other customers) at the end of the lath hallway is a break away door. These doors are disguised as part of the scene and swing open violently at the last second to send the group screaming!

Hope this helps.

Take care,


Jim Warfield
02-28-2008, 05:39 PM
..or is that screaming coming from the haunt-actor who wasn't supposed to be hiding behind That door?
My "Medieval Door" looks scary and sort of violent and relentless as it closes but it's really a "pussycat" and is barely making use of slight gravitational differences to open and close and that amount of gravity is easily overcome by the human hand, if need be.
Power failure? Air fails? No problem. Nobody "trapped".

08-19-2009, 01:47 AM
I know this is an old thread but there have been lots of requests over the years for help on building slat/lath walls and this thread has lots of posts so it seems the logical place to post this.

On another board someone used vinyl shelving paper over drywall (or any other material, I suppose) for the look of cracked plaster/exposed slats. It looks like they did a pretty good job with it, and you won't be able to do it any faster, simpler or cheaper using real wood.


Hundred Acres Manor
09-01-2009, 09:44 PM
Hey there, Ethan from Hundred Acres Manor here. I use a few lath halls in my haunt and have played around with a few different methods to get it to look just right. What I have found to be the best method is to build a 4x8 maze panel frame and leave the ply totally out of the equation (at first, it will come in later). Build out your entire hall before attempting to install any lath, this stuff seems to want to come off the frame when you try to move it but as long as it remains in place until fully assembled you will be in good shape. The lath comes in 4 foot sections from any local lumber yard so you are pretty much ready to go right off the bundle. Staple or pneumatic nail lath pieces on the backs of the frame. Next break the lath in a few choice places to get that broken and tattered look (break it from the back, you don't want to pound the lath off the frame). I next covered the back with drywall compound so you could see the compound coming through the cracks (this gets kinda messy). Let this dry for a day or two then wash down the lath with diluted black or brown paint in a spray bottle. Let this dry for a few hours then attach a sheet of luan (or ply) to the back of the lath and screw it in. At this point it is safe to move. The ply acts as a sandwich for the lath. Now you have a nice surface to do what ever you want on the back of this panel as well. Ok, now back to the inside of the lath hallway, black airbrush where you have broken pieces and your ply backing is showing and now you are ready to go. To add some finishing touches to this hall, use pallets as a ceiling and drape some jute cloth down from the drop ceiling. You can now light from above the pallets and get some awesome shadow effects. I recommend yellow and orange minispots or for a quick and easy fix, a yellow and or orange party bulb will do.

Best Wishes,


09-02-2009, 09:40 AM
I have always been on a low budget and have found that if you can get a hold of a ton of pallets it works very well. You can put your lights between the slats and they will stay protected from the victims!