How To Make a Decorative Folding Screen With Bifold Doors
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I have an obsession with DIY decorative folding screen, it is a decorating item that 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.
A decorative folding screen 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.
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 a few – it is hard for me to pass one up. I just made a new reversible decorative screen using 3 bi-fold doors I found at my local ReStore.
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.
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:
1. Wash and dry the doors to make sure to remove all dirt and grease. Let dry.
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.
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.
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.
Fun and colorful!
Turn it around – neutral and serene.
This was a very easy project. Habitat for Humanity ReStore sells hundreds of door in all shapes, styles, and sizes. I paid $7.00 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.
Any chance you might have a suggestion for me? Working on a canvas-covered folding screen and painted on first coat with regular Sherwin Williams interior latex paint, which is cracking.
Delicate, time-intensive details already painted and too late to restart??
Hi Ruth – The best way to fix the surface is to sand it and try to crack off all the loose paint. Then use the same paint, but add fabric medium to it. This will make the paint more pliable and it won’t crack off the canvas. You can read about it in this post: https://bit.ly/3f5pGsK
Hi, these are great! Are the doors hollow core?
Hi Devra – Only two were hollow, the others were solid and very heavy. When we moved from the house where I used the screen, we took the screen apart and made a headboard out of them.
I like my window blinds open to enhance the cat’s view. People are staring in. I need privacy. Hope this helps.
Hi Pat – A screen should. Hope it works out for you and keeps your kitty happy. :-)
The screen doors for the three entrances of my house were replaced by the previous owners years ago. I was delighted to find the original screen doors from 1928 in the basement after I moved in. I love these doors (I wish I could post a picture of them) and have thought about how I could use them as decor. One idea was to make a folding screen, and here you have a post about how to do that!
I wonder though, since they are screen doors, if they might be too wide for a folding screen since they are wider than bi-fold doors.
I never thought about using them as a headboard – that might be an option too!
Thank you for sharing your ideas and tips. I envy your creativity. :)
Hi Tonya –
I think the screens would make a wonderful folding screen if you have enough room. They would be quite unique as would a headboard. You could even hang them on a wall behind a sofa and use as art. Depending on the styling, you could even attach an art gallery wall to them. I am sure you will come up with a clever and decorative idea on how to use them.
Googling around and found your DIY for folding screens. I need to get over to the Restore. I am lucky I live in the D.C. area and there are several stores! Woot! Woot! Iplan to make two screens for our patio glass doors. Since my hubby and I can’t agree on a window covering this will do until we do! lol
Hi Beverly – Happy to have inspired you. When you are out shopping at Restore, some of the doors you may find may be solid. Two of mine were. They were very heavy. When you are looking for the doors, getting lighter doors will be easier to pick up and move around. I hope your Restore has a bunch.
Do the bifold doors need legs or feet attached to stand without falling?
Hi Judy – No legs needed. The doors are hung on top, middle and bottom hinges on one side of the door frame. These hinges and the wheels hold up the door.
Hi. Have you ever added wheels to the bottom of them toast them easier to move around? I am thinking of making these but need them more portable and wondered if they would still be stable on wheels
Hi Emma – The doors are too tall and thin for wheels and would become unbalanced and fall down. If you doubled up the doors to give it a wider base, wheels may work. In my previous house I did add wheels to bifold doors to make a unique rolling door. It may give you some ideas. You can read about it in this post: https://inmyownstyle.com/2013/12/high-gloss-rolling-doors-for-my-studioffice.html
I just checked out my local habitat resell store and the cheapest doors I saw were $20 :(:(
Hi Bradley – That is a lot for a door. I have never seen the size I used for more than $10. The ReStore near me has sales quite often so they can clear out old merchandise. I would call and find out when the store near you will have a sale. You may be able to get them as inexpensive as I did then.
This looks quite doable! I’m looking to make one as a “background set” for shooting Youtube videos!
Thank you for the tutorial. I just completed the project but mine doesn’t look as good as yours!
Hi Jeannie -I bet it looks just fine! We are always are own worst critics. :-)
I have one room house and it would beautiful if its well partitioned.
Kindly advice how best can i subdivide my bedroom from the sitting room?
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!
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.
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!!!!!
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. :-)
I used them as a changing area in my bed room :). Can I share some photos?.
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….
This is very interesting. I launched a website featuring over 100 different room dividers(http://UrbanAccentsNY.com ). 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.
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.
Thank you so much for this tutorial. Great explanations and photos for a lovely screen…
LOVE this simple and inexpensive idea!!!
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!!
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
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!
Nothing wrong with a little gold old fashioned screen obsession! Love the two colors – and that pink! And love your pink phone!
Hi Kelly –
My pink Princess phone is one of my favorite things. It is getting a bit faded, but I still love it.
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!
Hi Jean – they make great backdrops. Perfect! Happy to know that I am not the only person with more than one :)
Hi Diane: What a great project this is–thank you so much for sharing the very clear tutorial with us. Have a wonderful weekend!
Love it. What color pink is that? It’s perfect!
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.
That screen looks great! I LOVE the pink!
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!! :)
Love your room! I’ve made a few of these myself! :)
ps have a great weekend!
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!!
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?
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!
Great tutorial Diane. This would look fantastic with salvage doors as well.
Your room is absolutely gorgeous, and your pink phone? To die for!
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!
This is an excellent idea! Especially the color change! Now I only need to find “raw materials” for this!
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!