Do-It-Yourself Folding Screen

Folding screens are three- or four-panel movable walls that are often used to divide up a room. Many large retail chains sell folding screens in their furniture departments, often for upwards of $100. Making a folding screen yourself is a simple project that requires few materials and tools and can be completed for a fraction of the pre-made price.

Make Panels

Hand-painted folding screen

Any kind of wood can be used to craft a folding screen, but plywood is both light and easy-to-handle. If you do choose to use another type of wood, try to avoid woods that are too heavy. Cherry, walnut and oak all look good, but they are also extremely dense and weigh a lot. Once you finish with your screen, you will need to be able to set it upright. Make sure you don't use wood that will be too heavy to lift once the boards are attached together.

Begin your folding screen by cutting three or four panels of the same height and width. You can cut your panels at home using a circular saw or have the boards cut at the home improvement store where you buy the wood. If your boards are pre-cut, you will need only basic tools to finish making your folding screen at home.

Decorate the Screen

Besides saving money, the best part of building your own folding screen is the ability to completely customize the screen. Once your panels are cut, you can use a variety of objects and coverings to embellish your folding screen. Paint or stain the panels with the color of your choice, or make them multicolored by painting each panel in a different shade. Create designs by covering the panels in wallpaper, decals, stickers or photos. If you want to incorporate words into your design, add text to your panels with stencils and paint.

Amateur woodworkers may want to get creative with a saber saw or router and cut arches or designs into the edges of the panels. However, remember to follow all safety precautions when using these, including wearing eye protection and being careful of where your hands and fingers are when the saw or router is in operation.

Put It Together

Once you have decorated the panels to your liking, all that is left to do is put the panels together to create the actual screen. Folding screen panels are attached with hinges, so that the screens can be folded up when not in use. Double-action hinges will allow the panels of your screen to fold in either direction. If you use regular hinges, make sure you alternate the side that the hinges are on so that the screen can be folded inward like a fan or an accordion.