Japanese folding screens originated in China and date back to the eighth century, according to the Smithsonian Institute. Although, there are many varieties of room dividers that fit into the Japanese category, one common style is the shoji. A shoji screen is a lattice frame with translucent paper over the back. The rice paper, often found on screens, tends to be fragile. A tear in a Japanese folding screen is not tragic. Rice paper is readily available at most craft stores and will work to repair the damage.
Turn the screen so the back is facing you. The back is the side with one continues piece of paper across it.
Run a utility knife loosely around the square grid that contains the tear to score the paper. Shoji screens have a wood or bamboo lattice for the frame. This lattice has a grid like pattern. The goal is to mark the square in the grid that surrounds the torn section, but not cut out the paper.
Dampen the paper around the square, using the scoring from the utility knife as a guide. The paper should be saturated enough that it softens, but do not let water run down the rest of the paper. Keep the sponge pointing toward the torn section, or inward, to avoid wetting the rest of the paper with the end. Water softens the rice paper so it will tear off.
Slide the utility knife under one corner of the damp square. The purpose is to remove the paper square in one piece without tearing the undamaged paper. If you slide the knife under the wet rice paper, it should peel it off following the scoring. Once the corner loosens, grab the free section and pull gently toward you.
Measure the empty square. Start at one side and pull the measuring tape horizontally across to the other side of the empty square. Write this number down as the width. Repeat the process vertically to determine the height of the square.
Cut out a piece of rice paper to cover the empty square. Use the measurements you took, but add at least 1/4 inch on each side for the margin. For example, if the square is 6 inches wide, cut the replacement square at least 6 1/2 inches, adding 1/4 inch for each side.
Apply white glue around the exposed square on the screen frame. Use glue that brushes on as opposed to one with an applicator tip. Gently press the replacement paper over the glue.
Add a piece of transparent plastic tape at the top of the new paper square to secure it to the frame while the glue dries. Position the tape so the majority rests on the wood and only a thin edge touches the paper. Add a second piece to the bottom using the same method. Leave the tape in place to add additional support to the replacement piece.
Things you need
- Utility knife
- Measuring tape
- Rice paper
- White glue with a brush applicator
- Transparent plastic tape