DIY: How To Make a Decorative Folding Screen

by Diane Henkler on 07/06/2012

I have an obsession with DIY decorating, but one decorating item in particular truly excites me when I choose items for a room.  It is an item that is so useful and versatile when decorating a home that no home should be without one.    It can be easily found at furniture stores as well as yard sales, thrift stores, and best of all it is very easy to make one on your own.

My decorating obsession – the decorative folding screen.

How to make a Reversible-Folding-Screen

A decorative screen can change an entire room in an instant. It provides decoration as well as multiple functions since it can be easily moved from room to room wherever you may need it.

A Decorative Folding Screen Can be Used In Many Ways:

  • Stand one behind a bed to fill in for a headboard.
  • Fill an awkward or empty corner.
  • Divide two rooms that are open to each other.
  • Hide unsightly views.
  • To provide privacy
  • They are portable and one screen can perform different functions wherever you need it.
  • A decorative screen no matter what its styling will add instant impact to any room. 

I have four – I feel like I should say that in shame, but I know all you collectors understand – it is hard for me to pass one up.  I just made a new reversible one using 3 bi-fold doors I found at my local ReStore.  The one on the left below was a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law, the one on the right I found at a yard sale.

Decoratie Folding-Screens

I will probably paint them someday, but for now – they will stay as they are.

I bought my very first folding screen at a yard sale when I lived in New Jersey. I wish I had a before photo of it, but I do have the after’s – two of them. The first makeover I did was published in a Martin Senour Paint company magazine.  The second makeover of this screen was for my bedroom where it has lived for many years until last week when I moved it to make way for my DIY version.

Decorative-Folding-Screen Ideas

Since bi-fold doors are identical on both sides I figured I should paint each side a different color so I could change the look of my room by the seasons or on a whim.  Here is the screen shown with the white side facing the room.


Turn it around and PRESTO- CHANGE-O a pop of color.

Bedroom-Decorative-Folding Screen-i

I chose to paint it pink since I accessorize the room with pink accents and pink just makes me happy.


How to Make a Decorative Folding Screen:




Supplies Needed:

3 Bi-Fold Doors
6 Hinges
Primer and Paint
Paint Brush



1. Wash and dry the doors to make sure to remove all dirt and grease. Let dry.

How to make a decorative folding screen

2. To assemble the screen – attach two doors together first with three hinges along the long sides.  Then add the third door with 3 more hinges.  Make sure that the doors are lined up and the bottom of each door is level with the other two before attaching the hinges.  If your doors are not exactly the same height – it is OK  if the tops are not level. My doors were all the same height, but the center door has a different panel design than the other two.


Hinge Placement:

1.  I had these hinges on hand. They are small, but work fine.  Larger hinges should be used so that the metal plate is almost as wide as the edge of the door. If you use larger hinges – two may be all you need on each side.

2.  Line up two doors and place 3 hinges evenly along the length of the door. Use a screwdriver to attach the hinges.

3.  Turn the two doors around that are attached so the hinges are facing the floor.  Add the third door the same way you did the first two – but adding the hinges to  the opposite edge of the second door.  Place the hinges so that the joint bump is face up and there is space between the doors as wide as that hinge joint is.

Hinge-placement for a folding screen


To paint the folding screen:

1. I used gripping primer first since the doors had dark stains on them and a slick finish.


2. I used a 2” angled brush to paint the recessed areas of the doors and a roller to paint the flat sections.

To paint each side a different color and not see the other side’s color – paint only the right side edge on the first and third door with the second color. (See photo below) Paint only the left edge of the center door the second color. When you turn the screen around placed in the same position you won’t see the pink color.

How-to-paint a door

Fun and colorful!


Turn it around – neutral and serene.



This was a very easy project.  ReStore sells hundreds of door in all shapes, styles, and sizes. I paid $5.00 for each of my doors.  If I add in the cost of the paint and hinges, the door cost around $30.00 to make.    Right now it is going to decorate the corner of my bedroom, but the colors will also go in my studioffice so you may see it hanging out in there someday.

I am heading out to my local ReStore tomorrow to join other bloggers and thrifters around the country for I <3Thrifting Day.  I will share the day with you next week along with what goodies we found.

Happy weekend!!




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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Suzan July 6, 2012 at 8:42 am

I swear, if I was anywhere near you I would hug you! This is, by far, the best tutorial for making a room divider that I have seen. I bought antique shutters to make one but decided they were just too tall and imposing for that purpose (10′ shutters are BIG!) but had no idea how to really put them together. Off to find 3 bi-fold doors at Restore!


2 Johanna July 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

This is an excellent idea! Especially the color change! Now I only need to find “raw materials” for this!


3 Sandra Licher July 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

You are so right! I only have 1 of them that was such a deal I couldn’t pass it up and now I could use about 40 of them in my house. Okay, so maybe that’s a bit many but it’s so true. They are wonderful…let me count the ways….no, you already did that! Thank you for the DIY because I may be making some!


4 Carolyn July 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

Your room is absolutely gorgeous, and your pink phone? To die for!


5 Shauna@ Satori Design for Living July 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

Great tutorial Diane. This would look fantastic with salvage doors as well.


6 Furniture Stores Akron July 6, 2012 at 10:59 am

I absolutely love the folding screen door! The different colors make a huge difference in the feel of the room. It’s a wonderful way to fill up a corner which could have otherwise looked barren. A perfect accent piece!


7 Sue DeChant July 6, 2012 at 11:22 am

I hope to be moving into a new home soon, and have lots of improvement/decorating “opportunities”, one of which is the utility/laundry room. Folding screens would be perfect to essentially close off the furnace, water heater, sump pump end yet still make them fully accessible. My question is whether you think it would be feasible to connect more than 3 doors, say 5, or would it be better to make a 2nd or even 3rd set to make my faux wall?


8 Juliane July 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I love the reversible suggestion! That way you get the classy white AND a more exciting, risky color. Ease and possibilities of switching up a room are super important to me, which is why I like to be able to also swap in and out wall art. This is another way I can change things around!!


9 gail July 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Love your room! I’ve made a few of these myself! :)

ps have a great weekend!


10 Nan @ Playful Decor July 6, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Hi Diane! Nice job on the screens! I recently visited my mom and she was pushing me to take things (my stuff, her old stuff, grandmother’s things) and this post reminds me of 2 old screens with fabric. One I updated about 25 yrs ago (!) but don’t know where I’d put it now. Maybe I should re-think and get it anyway just in case! btw, love the pink phone!! :)


11 Bettsi July 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm

That screen looks great! I LOVE the pink!


12 Alicia S July 7, 2012 at 1:09 am

Love it. What color pink is that? It’s perfect!


13 Diane July 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

Hi Alicia -

It is Glidden Flower Girl. I had a few different companies pinks chosen. You may want to check out Behr- Pink Chintz, Sherwin Williams- Childlike, and/or Ben Moore- Sweet Taffy. They are all very similar.


14 Athena at Minerva's Garden July 7, 2012 at 2:05 am

Hi Diane: What a great project this is–thank you so much for sharing the very clear tutorial with us. Have a wonderful weekend!


15 Jean July 7, 2012 at 8:14 am

I just had an “aha” moment. I have 3 screens and just realized I should be using them for staging my furniture for photos. Doh! Thanks again for such relative info!


16 Diane July 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Hi Jean – they make great backdrops. Perfect! Happy to know that I am not the only person with more than one :)


17 Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage July 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Nothing wrong with a little gold old fashioned screen obsession! Love the two colors – and that pink! And love your pink phone!


18 Diane July 7, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Hi Kelly -

My pink Princess phone is one of my favorite things. It is getting a bit faded, but I still love it.


19 Merri Jo July 8, 2012 at 9:33 am

Diane, another fabulous idea & tutorial. I am currently on the hunt for bi-fold shutters to repurpose as a door on the bottom half of my potting bench. I think I need to head to a Restore! Your nightstand vignettes are magazine-worthy!! I LOVE your pink Princess phone!


20 Jessica July 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Hi Diane! Thanks so much for this post. I really appreciate that you talked a little bit about ReStore. I’d never heard of it before and although I liked the idea of using bi-fold doors as a screen, at home depot they run between 20-40 dollars, each. That was waaaayyyy outside my budget. After reading your post I looked up ReStore and found that not only is there a store in my area, but that it is run by the Habitat for Humanity! So, I can get my doors *and* help people. Thanks again for the wonderful post and all of the great ideas that you share with us


21 Debra July 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I love these screens. I am always looking for old doors at estate sales. But seriously have never thought about painting the back a different color. You are brilliant!!


22 katie July 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

LOVE this simple and inexpensive idea!!!


23 Sandra O July 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Thank you so much for this tutorial. Great explanations and photos for a lovely screen…


24 Benjamin August 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm

This is very interesting. I launched a website featuring over 100 different room dividers( ). You said you only paid $30 for the doors. Is that for real? So how much is it per panel? or is it for all three.


25 Diane August 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Hi Benjamin – $10 per panel. $30 for all three. It was a great deal. I love Habitat For Humanity Thrift Stores – they have 100′s of doors all very inexpensive.


26 Benjamin August 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm

So you’re saying you can go to this thrift store, I live in NYC, and they just sell door panels individually? I’m really interested because I would make these myself to sell on my website. Or if you are interested, maybe I could outsource that to you….


27 Bifolding Doors January 3, 2013 at 5:37 am

I used them as a changing area in my bed room :). Can I share some photos?.


28 Tee February 25, 2013 at 2:28 am

I just found your blog and I love it! I have been look around here for the last 24 hours. I just got to this page and held my breath a little…
Your bedroom is my Dream Room. :-)


29 Kat April 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Wow I am so excited…found there is a restore store less than 10 minutes from my home….can’t wait to go and discover some great finds and make one of these beautiful screens for my bedroom and one for my living room to hide the monster in the room (my treadmill) I am so blessed for blogs like this that teach us we can make something beautiful and repurpose items giving them more life and feeling so proud of the fact we did it and we are helping the enviroment by upcycling!!! Thank you!!!!!


30 Nancy March 7, 2014 at 10:01 am

I have an old screen that is structurally sound and very pretty with the exception of the old burlap fabric that needs replacing. The fabric seems to be in between two sides of the wooden frame or at least inset into a groove around the inside perimeter of the frame. I’m sure I could get the old fabric out, but am not sure how I’d secure the new fabric. Any insight or suggestions! Thanks so much in advance. Love your post!


31 Diane Henkler March 10, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Hi Nancy -

Without seeing the actual screen, I can only make an educated guess on how to attach the new fabric. One way would be to use a staple gun to secure the fabric, then cut and paint wood molding the same color as the screen and attach the molding over the staples to cover them.

If the fabric is in a channel like the way an old-fashioned window screen is attached, then you could simply remove the cord that is holding it in and re-use it to hold in the new fabric.

When you are removing the fabric it will probably become clear as to how it was attached and you could just add the new fabric in the same way.


32 Jeannie March 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Thank you for the tutorial. I just completed the project but mine doesn’t look as good as yours!


33 Diane Henkler March 22, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Hi Jeannie -I bet it looks just fine! We are always are own worst critics. :-)


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