This DIY folding screen tutorial is exactly what you need if you’re looking for a classy artistic way to separate or create a focal point in your living room, or just use it to hide that pile of stuff you’ve been meaning to go through… hey, we don’t judge 😁 😁!
Ever seen one of those boring old white folding office screens and thought “That would be so much better if it were pretty to look at” Well, me too…I will be walking you through with mine; it is made out of ordinary materials and wait til you see what else!
So you too can have a really dope looking piece of decor for your home that is also practical, too. Now you can make one yourself for your home or office!
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I used art canvases to put this baby together…yep you heard right, canvases! After all, what better object to work with, since they are already framed and stretched?
(Disclaimer: I am not an experienced carpenter per-se; all this info comes from what I know about canvases – their strength and adaptability overall)
DIY Folding Screen Materials
- At least four metal door hinges (six for a four panel screen)
- Small metal braces
- Measuring tape
- A leveler
- Equal amounts of wood panel frames – two longer and two shorter for each panel
- Fabric to be used for the frames – it should have at least 2″ of overhang to wrap around and secure to the frames
The length and width of the panels is entirely up to you; I think a good height would be somewhere between 65″-75″, and as far as the width, about 24″, or two feet exactly would be good. just make sure that each panel will have the exact same dimensions!
Save time and get my FREE cheatsheet – It will give you a good blueprint to follow when you go to put together your very own folding privacy screen. To access it from my password-protected resource library, fill out the form below:
How Many Panels Do You Need?
When I looked at most folding decorative screens up close, they usually have between three and five panels, which is what you should strive for. Obviously, with more panels will come more work….but also consider how wide and tall you are wanting them to be as well.
If your goal is, like me, just to have a decorative “conversation piece” I think you can accomplish that with just three panels. If you are looking to have something closer to what they call a “room divider”, you may need four or five for the “coverage” end of things.
Choosing a Good Fabric For Your Panels
For the individual panels, you will need a good quality type of fabric with a little bit of stretch to it (but not so stretchy it runs the risk of being torn easily).
Linen and canvas by the yard are good choices for the fabric type. I think you could take something like a drop cloth and use it for this successfully. You may also want to consider a pretty pattern that strikes your fancy as well.
Another type of fabric that could work well – and I need to give credit where credit is due – the use of shower curtains! Fabric -NOT vinyl; I don’t think vinyl would be a good choice as it could tear easily. I found this out from a contributor on instructables dot com…I tell more in the next few paragraphs.
Making the Framework
To put together the wood framework ideally you need pieces of wood that are in the neighborhood of three-fourths of an inch thick and wide, at least, to provide enough stability. For each panel, you need to have two vertical pieces and two horizontal pieces of equal sizes.
This tutorial I ran across recently shows another maker who had a slam-dunk design for his folding screen…Go to “Step 2” to see what a good, solid screen framework should look like! You’ll notice that unlike me, he worked from scratch with wood lumber planks. Also, the cloth part is fabric shower curtains! Pretty clever huh?
You can attach the wood pieces via the method you’re most comfortable with, such as the use of carpenter’s glue, port screws or metal brackets. You can also leave it unfinished, or apply a wood stain. I applied a stain to the exposed sides.
I used some metal brackets which worked great at keeping the canvases from bowing out. but what really helped was the addition of some extra wood bars I found – I nailed them down on the canvases’ frame backs.
Canvases that are like really big usually have these supplementing stretcher bars in the middle for added support so I borrowed my idea from that observation.
I used six canvases in all, each one measuring 22″ by 28″. (it’s 56″ high and 66″ wide combined) It might of been a tad easier if I’d had some panoramic-sized canvases turned vertically …I’d only have needed 3 😁.
Attaching the Fabric
Attaching the fabric to the wood frames is a lot like stretching a canvas – you will need special tools; a staple gun will be a big assist here in tacking down the edges of each side securely. Although if you have a pretty strong material, you could very well use something like hot glue or e6000.
If you use glue be sure to let it dry for a few days before proceeding.
Attaching the Screen Panels
I worked on the floor; you’ll need a flat surface, or use a couple of workhorses, to make sure your panels are going to be even with each other. You will be attaching door hinges from panel to panel. The hinges also need to be on the inside/back of the frames.
Using a tape measure, make a mark on one side of the frame and be sure there will be a fair amount of space between this panel and the second one next to it, so there will be adequate room for the panels to open and fold easily.
As you can see, I have about 1″ of space between my panels. That’s a pretty good ballpark to strive for.
Most door hinge parts include small screws. I got the holes started with a small drill bit first.
Repeat this process with another set of door hinges further down on each panel. One set of hinges should be near the top (about 5 or 6″ give or take) and the next set can have 5-6″ from the bottom; the hinges do not need to be close together.
Here’s my screen from the back view showing all the hinges and their placement:
Next, “rinse and repeat” with the next panel, and any subsequent panels. It’s going to be more of a matter of making sure you will have all the hinges in the right places and that they will easily open and close with a certain amount of slack.
Here is a full view picture of my diy folding privacy screen – in all its orange glory. I wanted it to look just like the three-panel sofa painting I used in my previous post: How To Hang a Canvas Without Nails.
Like the example I cited above, if you build your folding screen from scratch and lumber, you see the part where there are bottom supports so the framed panels are a few inches off the ground. I might do that with mine and I might not – I’ll have to figure out what I can use to do that.
You Did It!
Congrats, you did it! A beautiful diy folding privacy screen that you made yourself that is one of a kind. You can use it to draw attention to part of a room, a conversation piece, or heck, it would make a nice backdrop for something like your video channel if you have one.
There’s always a way to put a decorative screen like this to use…my cats as you can see here like using it as a hideaway. As I painted the canvases, one of them kept bopping it with his paw on the other side with the rhythm of my brush movements – cats do the darndest things 🙂
Oh, and don’t forget you can download the free screen cheatsheet with all the dimensions in place., from my resource library…to access, you’ll need to fill out the form below: