Customized Stenciled Deck Railing

Customized Stenciled Deck Railing

Use carpenter Amy Devers’ instructions to customize existing deck railing with a unique cutout.

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Give deck railing a custom cutout that’s sure to give your home curb appeal. This project relies on you having a deck with existing railings and posts.

2”x10” pine boards (2 per railing)
1”x6”x8’ pine planks (the number of planks will be determined by the size of your existing deck)
#8 x 2 1⁄2 exterior coated deck screws
Counter sinking drill bits
Impact driver drill
Nail gun with 2” galvanized nails
Wood glue
Carpenter’s level
Safety glasses
150-grit sandpaper
220-grit sandpaper
Exterior deck paint
Paint roller
Paint pan


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  1. At your local hardware store, have the 1”x6”x8’ pine planks cut to the height of your existing railing. The size of the deck will determine the number of planks you’ll need. Also have the 2”x10” boards cut to the length between each upright existing post of the railing. These 2x10 boards will later be the boards that you will attach the 1x6x8’ planks to.
  2. Decide what shape you’d like to adorn your railings with. You will create a template from the first 1”x6”x8’ board and then recreate it on each of the following boards.
  3. With the pencil, draw the pattern on the first board. You have the freedom to create whatever shape you desire. We used a half-violin shape.
  4. Using the jigsaw, carefully cut out the shape you drew with the pencil.
  5. Using the first cutout as your template, trace the shape onto half of the pine boards with the pencil. Once these have been drawn, flip the template over and trace the reverse of the image onto the remainder of the pine boards. Make sure you have an equal number of the image and of it’s reverse. Cut out all of the shapes on the board using the jigsaw. When positioned side-by-side, the complete image of the violin will be visible.
  6. Using the 150-grit sandpaper, sand and smooth down all of the 1”x6”x8’ violin cut boards.
  7. Install the upper 2”x10” boards under the existing railing, using the impact driver drill and driving the deck screws through the boards and into the railing. Place the screws about 2” apart. Also prepare to install the lower 2”x10” boards to the deck floor, directly below the ones you installed under the existing railing
  8. Use the carpenter’s level to ensure the two sets of 2x10 boards are lined up perfectly. When the level is place vertically in between the two boards it should read perfectly vertical or ‘plumb’. Install these floor boards by driving the deck screws through the boards into the deck floor, placing the screws about 2” apart.
  9. Take the violin-cut boards, one at a time, and position them so that the top of the violin-cut rests flat against the top 2”x10” board and the bottom of the violin-cut board rests flat against the bottom 2”x10” board. Install each violin-cut board by driving the 2” nails through them and into the 2x10 boards. Position the violin-cut boards about 1⁄2” apart, alternating between the positive and negative images, completing the violin shape.
  10. Once you have assembled all of the boards, prepare to paint the railing. Sand the existing railing and the 2”x10” boards with the 220-grit sandpaper before painting to remove any old paint and splinters that exist, which will prevent the paint from adhering to the railing.
  11. Using the paint roller and paintbrush, paint the railing and the violin cut boards with the exterior deck paint. Allow time for the paint to dry completely before following with a second coat. Allow this second coat time to completely dry as well. 

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