A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: Need a Room Divider? Turn an Old Shoji Screen into a Living Wall Garden!

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05 November 2011

Need a Room Divider? Turn an Old Shoji Screen into a Living Wall Garden!

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 This is my Shoji screen all beaten up and tired that I showed you yesterday.  You've seen them before, right?  Project Runway,  Dancing with the stars, Design Star, etc, etc...they always have these screens in the background so they can set up quick interview stations during filming.  They are perfect little classic screens.  So when I saw one at a garage sale for 20 bucks (and half off because it was the last day!), I said, YES, YES, YES PLEASE!  I'll take it!  It served its purpose well for years until my babies started literally knocking holes in it.  The white material is a thin paper and the boys would rock rocking chairs into the paper, accidentally run into the screen and sometimes just be messing around with it and poke holes through the paper.

I eventually relegated it to the garage and forgot I had it for about a year.  Then I decided to bring it back bigger and better.  The first things I did was try to paint it with a paintbrush.  You would have laughed.  Try getting into all those little grooves with a paintbrush.  I have up quickly and bought some Krylon to do the job. 

I used a combination of coral as a base, Krylon's "reactions" paint in the middle and covered with a strong brown auto paint.  The reactions paint allows the two colors to meld together for a really cool effect that is almost metallic, but not quite.
Silly me tried to paint before ripping every last piece of that paper off - yes, I am THAT impatient. 
So I went back after painting and went to town on the paper.

It was literally glued to each and every one of those little wood pieces and it was glued WELL.  I left the screen in the rain a couple nights to loosen up the glue, attempted to scrub it with a brush, tried yanking the pieces out by hands, even tried scraping it with a piece of slate...UGH...it was SO. MUCH. WORK.  I stretched the work out over about a week just picking and picking and picking.  I finally found a tool that really helped with the edges.  My husband tells me it is a 3/8 drill bit.  I just know it is a sharp metal pointy tool and it finally worked to get every last bit of that paper off.

 After getting all of the paper off, I sanded down the finish a little and did a second coat of the finishing brown.  The result is a great overall brown color with this character of the coral and a little bit of gold shining through.  So much more interesting than the matte black before.

After painting the screen, I applied the same technique to a bunch of cans in various sizes.  I used Costco's canned chicken cans, tomato paste and sauce cans, progresso soup cans and good old campbell's soup cans.

All of those little cans were filled with  very dry soil and various succulents, mosses and other cuttings from the garden.  I attached the cans with wire to the shoji screen allowing the bottom to rest on the little wooden cross pieces.  You might have noticed in the before picture that some of the crosspieces were actually completely broken off.  You might then notice that I strategically placed cans over those holes - problem solved!  would you like to see the completed project?

There she is!!  You can see the cans and jars mainly on the two left panels and then the right panel I use for storing scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters,etc.  It is a great little station for getting ready to go out for the day.  Everything is in one spot, it doesn't take up a huge amount of room, it is transportable and pretty to boot!  The addition of a chair makes the space perfect for throwing on your shoes and heading out the door!

You might be wondering about the background material.  It is simply an old white sheet, stapled to the back edges and then stapled on various cross pieces.  I didn't want to staple in every single cross space, because I wanted to be able to string my scarves and such through the openings in the screen.  I love the richness the new paint finish and soft material give to the updated screen - much better then the thin white paper and matte black before!

Now, I promised if you voted for me over at One Month to Win It, I would tell you how to weight the screen and how to arrange the items based on triangular design, and you voted (thank you!!) so her's the answer to ? # 1.  It is very simple really.  The first tip is to fill your jars and cans with a light, dry mix, NOT garden soil.  The second hugely important tip is the angle of the screen.  Do you see how the middle and far right section are at a very acute angle, while the two "living" walls are not?  Most of the weight is placed on that one acute angle, so it is quite stable by itself.  The sheet on the back of the screen is also one large piece stapled down in sections very, very tightly, so the tension of the sheet slightly pulls the screen backwards (particularly on that obtuse angled side with the jars).

To further anchor the screen, I placed a stack of books on the far left, the two baskets on the far right and the chair in front in case it started to tip.  I haven't had it tip yet due to the angle and sheet, but I am prepared!  I had planned on actually physically hanging a couple weights from the top on the backside of each panel, but the screen doesn't seem to need it.

 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and Walmart.com.  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

Want more for free?

#DIY Coconut_Oil Lotion Project_Ideas and Craft_Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

For ALL the DIY projects here at the Nest, 

check out the 'for DIY folks' page and click on any link to see that particular post!

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Bobbi Sunday, November 06, 2011  

That is a cool use for a screen! I love the boots too! Have a fab week! :hearts; BJ

Sar Sunday, November 06, 2011  

The screen turned out fabulous! Congratulations! Also, your wood floors are gorgeous!

Just stopping by for Comment Love Sunday!

-Sarah from [life of love]

Megan Sunday, November 06, 2011  

I love how you added the plants! So pretty :)

Megan Sunday, November 06, 2011  

I love how you added the plants... they add pretty little bits of green :)

Kei Monday, November 14, 2011  

Wow that looks fantastic!

Broad Wednesday, January 11, 2012  

It’s my pleasure to give opinion on great blogs.And your blog complete my all expectation specially your posts are useful tips for newbies.Glass Offices

Frank Friday, October 03, 2014  
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