Adding a screen room divider is a great way to organize your room, whether its breaking-up an open space in a loft apartment, dividing two living areas in a dorm room, or hiding an unsightly set of storage shelves. A home room divider can be rather expensive though, so you may consider building the panels for the divider yourself.
Step 1 – Planning
There are many options available for panel styles. Two common panel designs are full wooden panels, and fabric panels with a wooden trim. You may also opt to use glass or another material for your panels. Whatever you decide, be sure that it fits your room design.
Step 2 – Measure And Cut
Start by measuring and cutting your trim to go around the outside edge of your panel. You may only want trim on the front of your divider, or you can cut twice the pieces to use on both sides. Either way, be sure that the long pieces are tall enough to block/hide whatever you’re using it for. For the width, consider how wide the whole divider will be, and break that down into however many panels you want.
Be careful when cutting the 45 degree angle into your ends, so that when you piece them together, they actually form a square.
Step 3 – Cut Your Plywood
If you are making an all-wood divider, this step is easy. Simply cut your plywood to match the height and width of your dividers.
If you are planning on using fabric for your panels, you’ll need to cut 4 pieces of plywood, 2 pieces as long as the width and 2 pieces as long as the height. However, each piece needs to be LESS than the width of your trim. For example, if your top and bottom trim pieces are 3” x 18”, then your plywood will be 1½” x 18”. If you don’t want to worry about the 45 degree cut in the end, simply leave the top and bottom pieces as they are, and cut your long pieces to fit between them.
Sand down any rough spots before attaching to your trim.
Step 4 – Attaching Trim
You can now start attaching your trim to the plywood. For the all wood panel, start with wood glue, let it set, then nail the trim into the plywood.
For a fabric panel, start with gluing the front trim to the plywood boards, letting them dry, then nailing them in place. Once secure, stretch your fabric across the frame and use the staple gun to attach it to the side of the plywood boards. Cut away any excess fabric, then attach the backside trim in the same manner as the first.
Step 5 – Paint/Stain
For the all wood panel, it is definitely best to save painting or staining until after everything is attached. For the fabric panel, you may want to do this before attaching your fabric to keep from messing up your fabric. However, be sure not to stain any areas where you will be applying carpenters glue, as it will affect the ability of the glue to hold.
That’s all there is to making your panels. Hinges can easily be attached to the side of your panels to finish your divider, or you can install rollers on top for a hanging room divider.