Picture of Cardboard Shoji Screen - Room Partition
This is a great inexpensive way of making a Shoji Screen room divider with cardboard, especially for those college students out there on a budget!

I made no new purchases and only made use of whatever items I had on hand. You can modify the dimensions or materials to suit your needs.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
screen 001.jpg
This is a scaled-down version of a full-size screen because of the limited amount of cardboard that I had on hand. If I had larger and more pieces of cardboard, I would have made this taller and with 3 panels. Ideally, this screen should be twice its size in height (72" x 18") and with 3 panels instead of 2.

Materials I used to make a 2-panel, 36" x 18" Shoji screen:

4 pieces of cardboard (36" x 18"), the thicker the better. These pieces were all taken from a single moving box that I had. Cut carefully and make your edges as clean as possible. You can find free cardboard on Craigslist, if you live in the U.S. People that have recently moved or have bought furniture will usually be eager to get rid of their excess cardboard boxes and will list them for free.

12 pieces of onion-skin paper (8.5" x 11"). These can be purchased at any office supply store. You can substitute onion paper with rice paper, vellum, or any other semi-transparent paper. The semi-transparency will filter light and give it a nice glow.

3 Cable ties/Zip ties

Other items: ruler, fat color markers, pen/pencil, clear tape, box cutter, glue. I would've used Gorilla Glue, if I had any. ;-)
June CeasarS7 months ago

putang ina ang panget naman neto tang ina ka magbate ka na lang ulul

mommywoman1 year ago
I really like this a lot. Making it yourself gives you the ability to customize it the way you want it to look vs buying one that looks like everyone elses. Someone suggested you could paint the wrong (ugly) side. I don't know if it makes a difference but you can buy paint specifically for cardboard but I don't know what other colors it comes in beside brown. Regular paint might bubble or wrinkle the top layer of the cardboard unless maybe if you could use it as your base coat/primer. I knew it was bamboo before you ever said it was. I'm definitely going to make this. Great job!
nfire1 year ago

Looks wonderful! So it's easy to add on a third piece? How do you attach the cable ties?

Pls don't apologize for your 'bamboo drawing'...I think it looks absolutely fantastic! Your idea is amazing too, I'm definitely going to attempt my own shoji screen
WriterChick2 years ago
This has just made it into my "To-Do" bookmarks folder. Wonderful 'ible, and thank you!
sunshiine4 years ago
this is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your hard work and great talent!
anishi4 years ago
I've been thinking of doing this for forever! i have sparkly tissue (the kind for gifts not the achoo kind) this will really help! domo arigato gozaimasu
jakyo4 years ago
Great indestructable .You rock.must try this ***** Oh, love your artwork **
Lot cheaper than doing it with trellis for the size I want :)
Just arrived on this site and this project is one to keep me here! I loved these screens but could not bring myself to pay the price! It is lovely! And by the way, I knew it was bamboo! Thank you for your contribution to this awesome site!
Tezcumpapa4 years ago
You could string some white Christmas lights on the backside for some backlighting.
ChrysN6 years ago
This is really nice! The bamboo looks great, what do you mean you are no artist.
tonictina (author)  ChrysN6 years ago
Thank you!
Great info! I like how your screen rooms Florida looks!
h3idi5 years ago
Refrigerator boxes are EASY to get, just call an appliance store, and ask them if you can get one. I painted one white, with a roller. Easy, awesome, and just used free white latex paint - which you can likely find on some craigslist type site. Dollar store rollers.
reedbabe5 years ago
You could spray paint the cardboard a shiny black before you assemble and no one would be able to tell it was cardboard.
this is a great idea! and your drawing is great.
st_gutfree5 years ago
How would one go about laminating cardboard? Could you take it to a copy store, or to Staples or Office Max?
I believe LordMekk is referring to using an adhesive to join two pieces of cardboard for strength. 

A spray adhesive, rubber cement, or a similar adhesive should do the trick.  Avoid water-based glues for something like this because it can weaken and curl the cardboard. 

If you paint the cardboard a gloss black, I bet it would be very hard to tell it is cardboard.  This is a great instructable!

 I was thinking it would be nice to be covered or painted,decoupage maybe architectural pieces in the corners?(made from air dry clay and mold),maybe leather hinges from scrap leather? I love this idea!I thinking that it might make a nice window screen just have to make it to fit my window since I have a three sided window with seated area and cannot put curtains in it. Thank you for a great instructable!!!
__Master_5 years ago
your art is gr8 like amzing better than i can do
JolieK5 years ago
Nice job. -Don't be silly, your bamboo looks great. Smart project. I wonder if the screens could be made more durable with some waterproofing treatment and liner cardboard for the sides. I'd want it to last a while.
luxus5 years ago
thank for your great idea, I will will be making this as soon as possible.
if you were to sand down the edges of the cardboard after cutting you would have a nice finished edge.
This is a fantastic idea! I was looking at Shoji Screens and their prices are phenomenal... so glad you have come up with a cheap solution. I was thinking though; if you weren't big on the cardboard look, you could use fabric, or nice wrapping paper (I have found some awesome designs!) to cover the exposed cardboard pieces. All you would need to do is (after cutting out the cardboard, but before gluing on the decorative paper/vellum stuff) lay the cardboard face down on the fabric or paper. Then you would need to cut the fabric in the spaces in the cardboard, leaving an inch or two margin. Then cut diagonal slits in each corner so that the fabric can be folded over to leave a smooth finish on the edge and then be taped to the back of the screen. The same would be done for the outer edges of the frame. Do this for all pieces of the cardboard and you could then proceed to attach the bamboo image as per the rest of your instructions. If fabric is too expensive and you cant find anything but the merry christmas gift wrap, a nice look can be achieved with old printed paper: either newspaper or from books. The brown/yellowed colour (which can be sythasised) has a pleasing aesthetic, especially if you are using the screen to create a reading corner, which is what I shall be doing! anyway, thanks again for the great instructible.
tonictina (author)  laurendavis876 years ago
Excellent idea! Would love to see pictures (or an Instructable) if you do decide to put one of these together.
here is an idea, since the card board look is a problem, check out some of the different texture spray paints at home depot, once you build the frame you could shoot it with texture and color of your choice
eetzel6 years ago
These are beautiful - after I finish my cat toy, I will will be making this. Thank you for this Instructable.
radiobath6 years ago
Very cool instructable! I've always loved Shoji screens, but even cheap knock-offs at superstores are still expensive as sin. Though, I don't like the 2D look it has. So, optional decorating idea! Cut thin slits of cardboard and line the sides, top, bottom, and around the screen "windows" to make it look more like carved wood. But, then it might need little feet at the bottom so it doesnt topple over...
BrindaMS6 years ago
This is cool. I was thinking of buying a screen. Now i will make one :)
bethmwl6 years ago
Not an artist? I think it's wonderful, better than anything I could do.
your drawings are fine :) Maybe an easier way for non-artists to put patterns on the paper would be to download and print patterns, then paint or marker then onto the paper..
tonictina (author)  adam adkison6 years ago
i will definitely try the tracing method on my next full-size screen. thanks!
LordMekk6 years ago
To make the Cardboard stronger, you could laminate two pieces of cardboard together. A bigger sheet could be made in the same manner by laminating and overlapping smaller make a bigger sheet like plywood.
tonictina (author)  LordMekk6 years ago
great idea for those of us that can't find large pieces of cardboard. thanks!
tonictina (author) 6 years ago
thx for all the great comments!
That's really cool! Great Instructable!
spartana6 years ago
That looks really cool. We moved about 6 months ago and had tons of boxes, i wish i could have made one then.
Stew26 years ago
Sweet! That looks cool, and I bet with the light coming through it that it looks quite authentic... I have always loved those screens in the movies, wish I had some in my house! :)
bruc33ef6 years ago
Really ingenious and useful. A great way to repurpose a common, ubiquitous material into something quite special.