How to build a folding privacy screen

Written by katherine harder
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How to build a folding privacy screen
Connect your panels with hinges. (OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA image by S. from

Privacy screens are often constructed from three panels linked by hinges and screws. These panelled dividers are able to stand because the hinges connecting each panel are joined to alternating sides, allowing the screen to stand in an accordion style or fold up completely for storage or moving. Build your own professional looking DIY folding screen, using fabric which matches your existing decor.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 3 painter’s canvases, 36 inches by 5 feet
  • 6 yards of fabric
  • 6 yards of plain fabric
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Fabric scissors
  • Tacks
  • Staple gun
  • Tape measure
  • Upholstery staples
  • Fabric glue
  • Long straight edge
  • 4 brass hinges
  • Marker
  • Drill

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  1. 1

    Iron both of your fabrics. Set aside the plain fabric and lay out the other screen fabric onto a broad, flat work surface, faced down. Place a canvas on top of the fabric, a few inches away from the fabric’s edges, also faced-down.

  2. 2

    Cut the fabric around the edges of the canvas, leaving a 6-inch border of fabric around all edges. Fold the fabric over the canvas’ edges, onto the wood frame; tack down the fabric all around the edges.

  3. 3

    Staple once in the centre of each edge, pulling the fabric taut before stapling. Staple around the edges of the frame, always pulling the fabric taut but not tight and stapling on opposite sides. Remove tacks as you go.

  4. 4

    Cut out a panel of plain fabric which measures 35 inches by 59 inches. Glue around the frame and attach the fabric panel to the back, covering the exposed canvas back and stapled frame.

  5. 5

    Repeat this process with the other two canvases and remaining fabric.

  6. 6

    Set out two of the covered panels in a row, good side faced up. Check that the bottoms of the panels are even with a long straight edge.

  7. 7

    Measure a foot from the top and a foot from the bottom; place hinges at these points between the two panels. Lightly mark where the screw holes lay.

  8. 8

    Remove the hinges. Drill pilot holes matching the size of the attached screws into the spots you marked. Attach the hinges to the panels with the hardware included with your hinges.

  9. 9

    Flip over the connected panels and lay the remaining panel next to them, checking that all the panels are even by using your long straight edge. Connect your hinges on the back side of the unattached panel which is closest to an attached panel; put them in the same location as the hinges on the front side.

  10. 10

    Complete the project by standing up the screens in a folded arrangement.

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