How do you make shoji doors?


Shoji doors are Japanese hinged rice paper screens. To make your own, you need rectangular pieces of wood, bamboo strips, a hand saw, nails, a hammer, rice paper, wood glue, wood lacquer, paint brushes, a hair dryer, screws, a screwdriver and six metal hinges. This project takes about three days.

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  1. Assemble the frame

    Select four long, thin pieces of wood for the frame. Nail them into a rectangle.

  2. Attach the vertical bamboo strips

    Nail bamboo strips to the back side of the frame. Orient them vertically and nail them to the top and bottom of the frame. Leave 3 inches of space between each strip.

  3. Attach the bamboo lattice

    Lay additional bamboo pieces across the vertical strips at intervals of 3 inches. Trim them with a saw so that the ends don't protrude past the frame. Nail them in place.

  4. Build five more panels

    Repeat the first three steps to build five more latticed wooden panels. Lay them on the ground with the nailed sides facing down. Brush the front and sides of each panel with varnish and dry them overnight.

  5. Mount the rice paper

    Place one panel face down and lay a sheet of rice paper over its bamboo lattice. Brush wood glue over the back of the frame and place another panel on top. Repeat with the remaining panels and let the glue dry overnight.

  6. Tighten the rice paper

    Fill a spray bottle with tepid water. Working with one screen at a time, mist the rice paper and heat it with a hair drier until it's dry and tight. Repeat with the remaining screens.

  7. Connect the screens

    Attach the hinges and screw the screens together.

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