How to revamp a plain screen

A basic room divider gets a much sunnier disposition with the simple power of paint.

Tools and materials

Disposable gloves

Drop sheet

Masking tape

Mini paint roller kit

Paintbrushes (including angled brush)

Primer (we used Rust-Oleum ‘2X Ultra Cover’ spray primer in Flat White)

Rust converter (we used Bondall Ranex ‘Rustbuster’ rust converter)

Safety equipment

Topcoat paint in your choice of colours


White spray paint

1. Clean the screen

Brush debris and dust from the screen and mask over the hinges. Tip: Treat rusty hinges with a rust converter. Wear safety gear and follow the instructions on the packaging.

2. Apply the base colour

Position the screen upright on a drop sheet. Wear a mask, glasses and gloves to lightly spray the screen with white primer, applying two to three coats in a back-and-forward motion over the face and around the edges, leaving to dry after each coat. Finish with topcoat in white. Tip: Work in a well-ventilated area and cover surrounding surfaces to avoid overspray.

3. Sketch out your design

Position the screen flat to mask out your design over the panels using painter’s tape, completely covering sections where the white will show.

4. Draw the circles

To mark out circles, tie a length of twine to a small craft paintbrush. Position the brush at the edge of where the circle will be and run the twine to the centre, stapling it to the screen. Test the twine will guide the brush in a sweeping motion to mark out the edge of the circle, adjusting the knots to maintain tension.

5. Fill in with paint

Load the brush with coloured paint, then tension the string to guide the brush over the screen, repeating the pass for a solid, evenly applied curve. Tip: Use a damp cloth or cotton bud in a twisting motion to remove smudges. Cut in around the curve with an angled brush and paint the rest of the panel using a mini roller and tray, applying a couple of evenly applied coats, leaving to dry after each application.

6. Enjoy your new screen!

Wash out the brushes and roller, pat them dry with paper towel or a cloth, then repeat marking out the circles and painting with a second colour, leaving the screen to dry thoroughly before standing it upright.

Photography credit: James Moffatt

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