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How to Make a Folding Screen Using Old Hinges and Shutters

Link together old shutters for a practical folding screen

The hardware bins at Olde Good Things in New York City overflow with cool, but very dirty, door hinges in different styles. The challenge for me was in unearthing four that were the same size and style. I wanted to use them to link together three vintage wooden shutters to make a folding screen for my bedroom. After more than an hour of digging, as well as searching for something to wipe my hands on (tip: never wear white jeans to a salvage yard), I finally settled on a matched lot of 3-by-31⁄2-inch steel hinges with curlicue designs and steeple tips. Making the screen was the easy part—to show off my finds, I simply screwed the hinges to the face of the shutters, rather than mortising them.

Step 1

Align Shutters

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Lay the shutters side by side on a worktable, and align their bottoms using a straightedge. (Shutter heights may vary, so be sure to use the bottoms as the baseline when taking measurements.)

Step 2

Position Hinges

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Arrange one pair of hinges along the gap between two shutters, about a foot down from the top, and the other the same distance up from the bottom. Measure from the bottom of the shutters to the bottom edge of the hinge leaves and mark their locations.

Step 3

Transfer Measurements

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Using a combination square, transfer those marks to the back of the third shutter to position the second pair of hinges.

Step 4

Predrill Screw Holes

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Remove the hinges and bore the holes for their fasteners.

Step 5

Attach Hinges

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Reposition the hinges and drive in the screws.

Step 6

Protect Floors

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Push soft vinyl furniture glides into the bottom corners of the two end shutters to help level the screen and prevent it from scuffing up your floors when you move it.

Step 7

Unfold Screen

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Set up your finished screen, and kick back with a book.