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How to build a shoji screen

Updated February 21, 2017

Shoji screens are a form of room divider made of rice paper and bamboo. They are used for walls and doors in traditional Japanese households. They have elegant, clean lines and translucent, white paper which allows light to pass through but provides a bit of privacy. Shoji screens are a great way to divide up a room, and are easy to adjust to try different design ideas.

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  1. Make a wooden frame. Nail 4 rectangular pieces of wood together to make a frame about 7 feet high and 5 feet wide.

  2. Add some vertical pieces. Nail on thinner, smaller pieces of wood to the frame about every 4 inches. Attach them to the top and bottom of the frame.

  3. Add thin horizontal strips on to the frame. Nail thin strips of bamboo or some other wood to the back of the vertical members about every 5 inches. You should have a grid-shaped lattice by the time you are done.

  4. Make 5 more screens like in step 1-3. Be sure to make them all the same size. When you are done, paint the screen.

  5. Attach two screens back to back with rice paper sandwiched between them. Use glue to make the connection. Repeat until you have 3 screen panels.

  6. Tighten the rice paper. After the glue has dried, lightly spray each screen with water. Blow warm air on it from the blow dryer until it tightens.

  7. Attach the screen together. Screw hinges between each pair of screens. Use three hinges for each connection.

  8. Tip

    To stand up, the panels of the Shoji screen need to be folded at an angle. If you want a flat, free-standing screen, you will have to add a base.

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Things You'll Need

  • Wood
  • Nails
  • Rice paper
  • Glue
  • Spray bottle
  • Hair dryer
  • Paint
  • Hinges
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Paintbrush

About the Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

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