If you're looking for a do-it-yourself paper window treatment, resist the urge to break out the brown craft paper and tape. Instead, consider creating a simple shoji shade. Shoji shades can be customized to fit most window shapes and sizes. This easy window treatment provides privacy without blocking light. Shoji window treatments add style and tranquility to any room.
Narrow wood trim purchased from a home improvement center creates the perfect shoji frame. Mitered corner cuts give your frame a professional look, but flush cuts work just as well. Wood glue and L-brackets make assembly a snap, or use one of a number of artist frame fasteners for an invisible corner joint connection. Apply a clear sealer to the frame for a more natural appearance or paint with a high-gloss black to give this paper do-it-yourself window treatment a truly Asian aesthetic.
To make an authentic shoji paper shade, the choice of paper is important. Papers made from rice or the more widely available mulberry fibers are typically used to make shoji window treatments. Paper made specifically for shoji will hold up to years of sun and everyday wear. Contemporary versions of shoji paper are laminated with a layer of PVC or polypropylene for easy cleaning and longer life. If shoji paper is not readily available, choose your favorite handmade paper. Be aware that handmade papers are fragile, prone to fading and require more care when applying to the frame. These specialty papers come in a wide variety of colors and textures to coordinate with the existing room decor.
Nori or rice glue is the adhesive of choice for attaching the rice paper to the shoji frame. While not commonly known, nori glue can be found through a number of specialized online sources. Wallpaper glue, glue sticks or ordinary white craft glue serve as suitable substitutes for traditional rice glue. The glue is applied in a thin coat along the front surface of the shoji frame. The decorative paper is placed over the frame and secured in place by applying light pressure around the perimeter. Glue can also be used to bond multiple sheets of paper to accommodate a wide frame. Conceal the paper seams by constructing a kumiko, or wooden grid. The kumiko resembles the mullions of a glass window.
Your shoji shade can be precisely measured to fit perfectly within a window opening. For less exacting measurements, hang the shoji frame with small metal hooks and eyelets that screw into the top shade frame and along the upper edge of the window opening. Try attaching the shoji frame directly to the outside of the window opening with finishing nails. Countersink the nails, fill the holes with wood filler and touch up the paint for a seamless installation. For larger windows, install shoji shades on tracks to mimic the look of actual Japanese shoji doors.
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