center are transformed into a
folding screen with a stencil,
paint, and imagination.
As a room divider or an attractive vertical element in a living space, folding screens can't be beat. This one, which is made out of hollow-core bifold doors, imparts serenity to its setting thanks to a soothing color scheme and fresh design.
A simple folding screen can block light, divide space, or just spice up a dull corner. Follow our design, or customize one to fit your space.
- Two sets of bifold doors, such as those used for closets (1-1/2Dx18Wx72H), available at hardware stores and home centers
- Six hinges
- Screws (for hinges and feet)
- Wood glue
- Paint in various colors (we used bright blue, blue-gray, bone, white, and golden yellow)
- Wax or varnish (optional)
- Wood furniture feet (optional, from home centers)
You'll need only basic tools to put the screen together. Painting may take a little practice first.
Grab Your Gear
- Stencil brush
- Clear polyester film, such as Mylar (for stencil), or a ready-made stencil (both available at crafts stores)
- Scissors or crafts knife
- Drop cloth
- Paint roller
- Small artist's brush
- Clean rags
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Quick-release tape
Create your own stencil by sketching your design (we used a leaf motif) on a sheet of clear polyester film and cutting it out within the design's outline with scissors or a crafts knife.
Protect the floor with drop cloth. Begin painting by rolling a coat of latex primer onto doors; let dry. Coat with latex paint in the color of your choice (we used bright blue).
Step 1. "Antique" the screen by scrunching cheesecloth, dipping it into blue-gray paint diluted with water, and dabbing it onto the panels side by side as they'll be hinged. If desired, glue and screw wooden feet to bottoms of doors. Using your stencil, create the design you want with chalk before you begin painting. Nothings permanent, so play with the design until it looks right. Draw in details, such as the stems with chalk, too.
Step 2. Once you're happy with the design, tape and release the stencil as needed to start painting. Dip your stencil brush into paint (we used bone), and dab brush into the stencil, which will impart a variegated, mottled look. (You can paint right on top of the chalk.) Blot off any excess paint immediately because it dries quickly. Paint in details with a small artist's brush, and add some highlights (we used white and golden yellow on our leaves to add interest and warmth). Once the paint is dry, attach the doors with hinges and screws.
Step 3. Lightly sand the folding screen with fine-grit sandpaper to reveal undercoats and bring out a patina. Wipe dust off with a damp cloth. Then seal with wax or varnish, if desired.