How to Make Decorative Privacy Screens

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A privacy screen can be used to easily divide a room. Many varieties are available for purchase, but you can get exactly what you want by making your own, using a basic frame made of wood and some artistic materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden frame Curtains Plexiglas, frosted or clear Roll-on stained glass window film Hinges Tools Rollers for easy moving

Building the Frame

  • Build a basic frame. You need two long pieces for the sides, cut to the height you wish your screen to be. You also need three cross braces, for the top, middle and bottom. This constitutes one section of the privacy screen. The number of sections and their width depend on the size of the screen you want to create. The finished screen pictured here has four sections, each 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide; the uprights are constructed with 2-by-2 boards, and the cross braces are 2-by-3s.

  • Stain or paint your frame pieces before assembly. If you choose to paint the wood, use a primer before painting and a sealer after applying your color coat.

  • Assemble the frame. Depending upon the finishing option you choose, there may be some additional assembly required. Basic assembly starts with laying out 2 long pieces. Place the top cross brace between the 2 long pieces. Confirm that the 3 pieces are straight and level. Apply a small amount of wood glue to the ends of the cross brace and put it into place, again confirming that pieces are level. Once in place, nail the 3 pieces together. This can be done by dovetailing (coming in from the bottom at an angle) or straight through from the long piece into the cross brace. Continue with the 2 remaining cross braces. Proceed to Finishing Options before moving ahead to Step 4.

  • Attach hinges to your frames to connect the screens. Full-size, 7-foot hinges were used for this project, but a large variety of hinges are available. They should be coordinated with the style of your screen. Remember when attaching the hinges that the screen should fold flat for storage. Finally, attach the rollers to the bottom of the frame, spacing them appropriately for each section.

Finishing Options

  • Attach a simple curtain rod holder to the top and middle cross braces. Each section of frame will need 2 curtains sized to fit the openings in your screen. Slide the curtains onto a curtain rod and hang in place.

  • Alternatively, you can add fabric to your frame in much the same way as you would curtains. Attach a curtain rod holder to the top cross brace, then attach a bottom holder to the top of the middle cross brace. Place an additional rod holder on the bottom of the middle cross brace and a bottom holder on the top of the last brace. Cut and hem the material you have chosen to fit the openings, making sure to create a "pocket" on both the top and bottom of the material piece. Place a curtain rod in both pockets and attach them to the top and bottom holders on the frame. This will stretch the material tight between the 2 holders.

  • Another idea is to add Plexiglas to your frame. Frosted Plexiglas will provide the privacy required from the room divider while adding an extra measure of stability to the project. While building the frame, cut and attach some small molding on the front side of each frame "window." Cut additional molding pieces to finish the back side once the Plexiglas is in place. Before attaching the molding, be sure to paint or stain it to match your frame. Add a small amount of wood glue to the molding and put in place, securing with finishing nails. Think of it as assembling a "picture frame." The molding will create a "ledge" that will hold the Plexiglas in place. Turn the frame upside down. Pre-cut the Plexiglas to size and place into the frame "window," allowing it to rest on the back of the molding pieces. Finish the back by attaching the additional molding on the other side of the Plexiglas, securing it in place.

  • If frosted glass is not your taste, window film can give the Plexiglas a stained glass look. In this case, use clear Plexiglas. Apply the window film to the Plexiglas before placing it into the frame. Continue with all instructions in Step 3 of Finishing Options before proceeding to Step 4 of Basic Frame Construction.

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