How to Make a Screen for a French Door

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  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 60-90
What You'll Need
Pine board, 5/8 inch thick
Thin pine board
Measuring tape
Electric saw (skill saw or table saw)
Work table
Polyurethane glue
8 metal corner anchors (for strengthening the corners)
Fiberglass screening. Enough to cover both sides
Screen molding
Staple gun and staples
Paint, or stain, and paintbrush
Nails and screws, 1/2 inch
Hardware hinges, handles

A French door is a great way to open up a room on to a patio, or just to the garden. The downside is that an open door is an invitation to insects. Making a screen for your French door will allow air to circulate without the worry of flies and mosquitoes. This screen is suited to double French doors that swing open on hinges.

Measure and Cut the Frames

Measure both the French doors on either side and the door jamb, and mark out the door measurements on the pine boards. Cut the horizontal and vertical pine pieces to length. Cut two extra horizontal pieces to brace the middle of the screen door. Clamp the boards to the table and use a saw to take about half the thickness off one side of the ends of the pieces so that when they are put together, they will equal the thickness of a full board. At the midpoint of the boards, cut out half the thickness of the vertical pieces as well.

Lay out each board in its place on the floor and mark each piece so you know which part is up and what goes where.

As you cut the frame pieces, you can stylize the boards with a router to give a fancy finish. Cutting slots in the boards to hold the screen will give a neater finish. You can make them with a router or Dremel tool.

Assemble the Frames

Assemble the frames, making sure they are square, and glue with polyurethane glue, then nail. After gluing, clamp the pieces together and set them aside to cure. If you have no c-clamps, you can use bricks as weights.

Paint or Stain the Frames

After the glue is dry, cut small triangle pieces out of the thin pine to cover the screening on the corners. Attach the metal corner anchors on the inside corners, and then you can stain or paint the frames. Seal the frames if they will be exposed to the weather.

Attach the Screening

Take the screening and lay it over the frame. Staple the screening into the slots slowly. Stretch the screening as you tack it down. Having the lower part of the screen rolled around a dowel or board will make tightening it easier. Repeat with the other screen. Attach the molding over the screen edges to hide the slots and make it look neat. Take your time.

Attach the Hardware

The screen doors must swing to the opposite side than the French doors. If the French doors swing outwards, the screens will swing inwards. Attach the hinges and screw the screens to the door jambs so that they don’t interfere with the French doors. Check to see that they meet comfortably in the center. Attach the lock and handles.

Making screen doors is not hard, just a bit fiddly, and takes time. Well made screens can dress up a French door as well as being functional.