Build Your Own Pet Gate Or Japanese Screen

If you have a very large hallway opening, you may not be able to find a pet gate that is wide enough to fit that open space. If you have a large room and that ‘corner’ needs a little something to help tie in all your colors, then have you thought about a Japanese Screen?

Listed below are steps to create your own pet gate with a few simple items from a home and garden store plus one item from a fabric store. The Japanese Screen is a variation and you can find that information at the bottom of this article.

What you will need:

3 wood garden trellises

1″ hinges – amount needed will depend on the trellis style – one hinge per ‘arm’ on the trellis

2 wooden hangers for the feet

screen door replacement screening sold by the roll – amount needed will vary based on contents of the package and the measurements you have taken

staple gun and staples

Stain and polyurethane

Or you can paint

1 quart primer paint – oil or latex

1 gallon semi-gloss, high gloss or enamel paint for topcoat

Note if you use a latex primer you must use a latex paint. If you use an oil primer you may use latex OR oil based paint.

2 paint brushes – one for primer and one for topcoat or one for stain and one for polyurethane

1/2″ to 1″ decorative fabric binding to finish off the rough edges of the screening – amount needed will vary based on contents of the package and the measurements you have taken

1 tube clear silicone and caulking gun

2 1″ L brackets

wood screws – one or two 2″ length for each hanger – to go through the hanger and into the trellis and four 1/2″ length – for the ‘L’ Brackets



sand paper


tape measure

an old rag

Garden trellises vary in size. When shopping for your garden trellises, take along a tape measure so you can measure and figure out how much screening and fabric binding you will need.

Begin by sawing off the legs of the trellis that would go into the ground making them even with the decorative portions of the trellis. These ‘legs’ are usually 1 foot longer than the trellis.

Using sand paper, go over the surface where you removed the trellis ‘legs’ and lightly sand down the remaining surfaces of the trellises. Be sure to remove any dust particles before you start painting or staining.

Always paint or stain in a well ventilated area.

Prime all surfaces of the trellises and the wooden hangers then let them dry completely. Usually 24 hours to let the paint cure is best.

Once the primer has dried, begin applying your first coat of paint making sure to cover all surfaces of the trellises and hangers. Let it dry completely or overnight then apply a second coat. Tip – use plastic wrap to keep the brush safe from drying out and place the wrapped brush into a plastic zipper bag. When you are ready for the next coat just unzip and unwrap and you are ready to go.

If you are staining, apply a coat of stain with a brush and then use an old rag to wipe off any excess stain. Let the stain dry for at least 24 hours before you put a coat of polyurethane on. When disposing of any rags or brushes, remember that some of these products are combustible and you should dispose of them properly.

Assembling the Pet Gate

On a clean dry flat surface, lay one trellis down so that you are looking at the back side. Roll the screening over the surface of the trellis to measure the amount you need and cut wish scissors. Repeat two more times or use the first cut screen as a template for the remaining two. *Note: leave enough overhang of screening so that you can use the staple gun to attach the screening to the trellis. In addition, if this gate is for a ‘small animal’ make sure that you carry the screen all the way down to the very bottom so they cannot sneak through any ‘holes.’

Position the screen evenly over the open areas of the trellis and begin anchoring the screen down using the staple gun. Try to keep the screen pulled tight so you do not create ‘wrinkles’. Each staple should be about 6-8″ apart.

Putting it all together

Lay two trellis panel’s side-by-side and screen side down so that you can begin to attach the hinges on the front of your new gate. You will be installing one hinge on each ‘arm’ of these panels. Repeat this step with the remaining hinges. Lay your last trellis panel down and repeat the whole process until all three trellises are attached.

To install the ‘feet’ you may need to have someone help you. Stand the 3 hinged panels upright. The wooden hangers will be anchored to the middle panel. Using a drill and wood screws, attach the hanger to the panel on a 45 degree angle. This will help avoid splitting the wood on the trellis or having the screw come popping out the other side. Secure the hanger to the trellis with an ‘L Bracket’ on the outside of the hanger. One on each side should be sufficient.

Final Touches

Measure the length and width where the screen rests. Measure out the length of your fabric binding, you will have four strips of fabric binding for each panel. You will be using the fabric binding as an overlay to hide the staples and finish off the edges. Place one long bead of silicone over the staples and screening. Place your first strip of fabric binding over the silicone and press down smoothing out the silicone underneath. Repeat this step on all the panels then let the silicone dry completely.

Your pet gate is complete and ready to use. The hinges will allow the outside trellis panels to function as a door which will allow people to ‘get to the other side’. Having the screen will allow air flow and will still let your pet see you when you need to leave the room.

This homemade pet gate should not be used as a safety gate for infants and toddlers. Depending on what type of pet you own will depend on how you position the gate so that the animal can not get out.


If you want to create your own ‘Japanese Screen’, then instead of using ‘screening’ use fabrics of your choice to compliment your room décor. Stretch the fabric over each opening of the trellis in a random pattern of fixed if that is what you like. Follow the same steps above to anchor the fabric to the trellises as well as the fabric binding complete your Japanese Screen.