We have designed and fabricated infrared filters for use at wavelengths ≳15 microns. Unlike conventional dielectric filters used at the short wavelengths, ours are made from stacked metal grids, spaced at a very small fraction of the performance wavelengths. The individual lattice layers are gold, the spacers are polyimide, and they are assembled using integrated circuit processing techniques; they resemble some metallic photonic band-gap structures. We simulate the filter performance accurately, including the coupling of the propagating, near-field electromagnetic modes, using computer aided design codes. We find no anomalous absorption. The geometrical parameters of the grids are easily altered in practice, allowing for the production of tuned filters with predictable useful transmission characteristics. Although developed for astronomical instrumentation, the filters are broadly applicable in systems across infrared and terahertz bands. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.