How to make a decorative room divider - Version2

Room divider screen

Room divider materials

Here's our second tutorial on how to make your own room divider/screen for a relatively low cost. We are using the amazing patterns and images found on wallpapers to decorate our divider and using a different hinging method than in our previous tutorial.

What you will need...
1. Wallpaper x 2 (i.e. a different wallpaper for each side of the divider)
2. Wallpaper glue and bucket
3. Hardboard: 4ft x 8ft and 1/4" thickness (or 6mm x 2400mm x 1200mm)
4. Drill
5. Sponge
6. Approx 6 yards (or 5.5 meters) trim
7. Jigsaw (to shape arch and cut panels)
8. Strong yarn (for hinges)
9. Crochet hook (for knotting hinges)
10. Safety gear: gloves and eye protection
11. Scissors
12. Measuring tape
13. Pencil and string (for marking hardboard)

A few pics followed by the write-up

Sheet of hardboard Marking curve on panel Panel curve markings

Step 1: Measure and mark your panels
On your sheet of thin 4ft x 8ft (2400mm x 1200mm) hardboard, measure and mark out your panels so you will know where to cut.

We decided we wanted five panels for our room divider, so we divided the sheet up evenly into five 19" x 48" (480mm x 1200mm) pieces.

We designed this particular room divider specifically to tidily close off a laundry area in a shower room. Remember, though, you can use as few as three panels and you can also buy different size sheets to make taller panels.

Mark your chosen increments across the top, bottom and middle of the sheet. By measuring and marking it three times, you can use these three marks to align your ruler/stick and draw an accurate, straight cutting line.

Now you need to mark the curves for the top of each panel. Rule a line vertically through the center of each marked-out panel. On this line you need to mark a spot about a quarter the distance of the panel's height, down from the top.

Tie a pencil to a piece of string. With one hand, hold the pencil at the top edge of the panel on the center line, and then pull the string tight towards the mark you have made earlier. Now, hold down the string firmly at that spot and move the pencil to mark the curve. You should see a perfect curve emerging.

Experiment by drawing a light line first and adjusting the spot where you hold the string, so you can work out at what point it gives you a perfect curve. Once you are happy, transfer those same exact measurements onto your remaining marked-out panels.

Sand panels Size and cut wallpaper Smooth down wallpaper Trim wallpaper Side 1 of panels

Step 2: Cut your panels
Now, using a jigsaw, you need to cut up your sheet into the five parts you've marked. Be sure to wear your safety goggles!

Place your sheet on a workbench. Position the line you are about to cut along over the edge and as close to the bench as possible, while still leaving enough room to ensure the jigsaw blade will not run into the bench. Clamp the sheet to the bench in this position for stability.

We recommend you have someone help you when you get near the end of each cut. They should securely hold the piece you are cutting off, so that the weight of it falling does not tear the tip of the sheet as you near the end.

Once you have cut your five panels, cut the curves along the top. To create a perfect curve, be sure to cut a millimeter or more above the curve line, then sand off any excess afterwards. Clamp all panels together and sand them at the same time for a perfectly matching result!

Step 3: Decorate panels with wallpaper
Cut your wallpaper pieces slightly more than the length of each panel to give you a little excess to play with.

We used heavy-duty wallpaper glue - make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions. Paste the reverse side of your wallpaper and the surface of the panel. After pasting, lay your piece of wallpaper onto the hardwood panel and smooth it down with a sponge. By gently moving the sponge over the panel, you should remove any air bubbles and also ensure that the wallpaper has bonded to the hardwood.

Do all five panels on one side and then with a very sharp craft knife, trim off any excess wallpaper. Pay special attention around the top arch. Let the wallpaper completely dry on one side before covering the other side of all panels with your wallpaper of choice.

Measure and mark holes for joining panels Drill holes in panels Holes drilled in panels

Step 4: Drill holes for hinging panels
Once both sides of the five panels have been covered and have dried, you can make the holes down the sides of the panels which will allow you to join them all together.

We used a hand drill to do this, but an electric one would be fine, also. Measure 3" (or 7.5cm) down from the bottom edge of the arch and then 1/4" (or 6mm) in from the sides, then make a mark with a pencil. This will be where you will drill your first hole.

Then make markings for two more holes, 2" (or 5cm) apart, going downwards. You will now have one complete set of markings: i.e. a 3-hole set.

Now measure 7" (or 18cm) down from that last hole to mark the first hole of your second set. Repeat the pattern by marking another hole down 2" (or 5cm) and the last one down another 2" (or 5cm).

Repeat this another two times for your third and fourth sets of holes. You should now have 12 hole markings down one side of panel, i.e. four sets of three holes.

Repeat this procedure on all five panels. Note that the three middle panels will have to be drilled on both sides, while the two end panels will only have holes on one side. Make sure you check on which side you should be marking the two end panels.

At this point, take the time to confirm all your measurements are accurate and double-check before you actually drill the holes. We recommend you place a very thick piece of lumber (or the like) underneath the panel while you are drilling to protect the surroundings. We also used quite a fine drill bit, since the yarn we used to join all the panels together, though very strong, was quite thin.

Add trim to panels Joined panels variation 1 Joined panels variation 2 Joined panels variation 3 Joined panels variation 4

Step 5: Trim the panels
After all the holes are drilled, we then 'finished' the two end panels with a bit of upholstery trim. Starting from the bottom edge, glue the trim up the side that has no holes and over the arch. We also glued our trim over all the arches of the other three panels.

We used pegs to temporarily hold the trim in place, as it takes a few minutes for most glues to bond. Be sure you don't leave the pegs in place too long, though, as they may end up glued to the trim!

Step 6: Join the panels
To connect all the panels together, cut pieces of strong yarn into about 6" (or 15cm) pieces. Using a small crochet hook thread the yarn through one hole on one panel and use your hook to pull it through the corresponding hole on the adjacent panel. Make sure both panels are side by side, then pull tightly and knot the yarn together. Check to make sure it won't undo before trimming off any excess. Each panel is joined this way so make sure you have plenty of yarn.

This part is not difficult to do but does take a little juggling to begin with. Varying how you knot each panel together, allows each panel to be turned whichever way you desire. This gives a huge advantage over an ordinary hinge purchased from a hardware store, which somewhat restricts movement. There are special hinges you can attach if you're feeling clever enough, but these are often quite expensive.

You now have a room divider with 5 beautifully decorated p