It’s fun to think outside the box and look at things in a different light, especially when you can find a new use for something considered useless. One of the junk items I tend to collect are old screen from barns, sheds, and the like. Today, I am going to show you how to paint on a window screen and turn it into whimsical decor.
In my fleatiquing adventures, I often find this style of window screen that once was used in a barn or some other primitive structure.
It can expand to twice its size and is a total blank slate for a new purpose. In the past, I’ve used screens to create wall art for my shop, like this “JOY” sign.
When I found the screen for this project at a flea market back in early summer, I snatched it up knowing it had potential. However, this time I knew I wanted to create a sign with it. Also, I decided to do it in the likeness of my repurposed Vera Bradley sign paired with an antique rocker.
Want to give it a try? Just grab any old screen or make a new one to look old, you can even do your house screens and doors. Check out this video on how painted screens are used in daily life…so cool!
Ready? Let’s get started!
First, measure the inside dimensions of your screen from edge to edge. Once you have those parameters, head to my DIY sign tutorial. You are going to create the sign graphic you will be using in Photoshop or Microsoft Word (or whatever program you would normally use to create a graphic). Have fun with it…use it to display your favorite quote, or scenery, an animal, or even in the likeness of an old sign like I am doing.
Then, Once you have your sign graphic created and printed out, place it on the oack side of the screen you are going to paint and tape to secure.
Flip your screen over and this is what you will see.
You will need two basic acrylic paints: a white and a black, along with an artist’s brush. My favorite brush is a round #5.
The next step is to paint over the words with the white paint. This part was fun and stress-free because it’s hard to mess up the lettering. Just make sure you are not clogging those screen holes – either blow through the screen if it clogs or use a toothpick to poke the clog clear. Lightly dip your brush in and apply. Less is more in this instance.
I went over my letters two times with a white and then decided it looked too flat, so I add shadowing using my black paint once the white is dry.
See how it makes the letters pop out? Fun!
I’m loving the rustic, primitive feel of it, and can’t wait to snatch up more screens while I’m out fleatiquing.
Nothing like adding unique decor to your home…you won’t find this in a department store. woot woot! If you’re not into DIY or just plain love my sign, you can find it available in my shop. (SOLD, but I have others!)
In addition, I hope you’ve enjoyed this simple project on how to paint a window screen. I would love it if you would pin and share to inspire others to look at cast-offs in a different light. ♥
Next up is Trash to Treasure Tuesday (say that five times fast!) I will be showing you what I make with these…hee hee hee. Head HERE TO SEE.
To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!
The sign looks very good. Unique pieces are so much fun to have as decor in you house. It adds such character.
It does. I am not a person who decorates from the store. I either make it or refashion it if I can because it’s fun and it’s mine.
Would you have a recommendation for a paint that I could paint a screen with that will end up being an outside decoration?
I would use an oil based paint. It will take longer to dry, but it will hold better. Hope that helps!
Painting screens was a very popular thing to do early in the 20th century in Baltimore! People would paint landscapes on their screen doors and try to out do their neighbors. Here is a link–http://www.paintedscreens.org/ It is amazing what folks can do!
That is amazing!! Thank you for sharing, Lois.
Marie from The Interior Frugalista says
Painting on a screen – cool. My mind is going to all kinds of ideas for doing this, like dressing up those simple wooden screen doors used during the summer. I’m sure your gorgeous window screen will not last long in your Etsy Shop Larissa!
My thinking exactly. Did you see the other comment with the link? Cool!!
Mary-the boondocks blog says
It looks pretty amazing. I like the technique you used! It is simple yet effective!!
It is simple, almost crazy how simple, Mary. I think I have found a new addiction. 🙂
Kathy Nielsen says
Larissa, My gosh, you are so talented. I would never of thought of doing that to a screen.
Thank you for the love, Kathy. 🙂 It is fun to create, especially to re-create on old things.
Amy @ StowandTellU says
Never thought of painting an old screen. This is to darn cool and creative. Love the vintage lettering you choose, too!
Thank you so much, Amy. It was so fun to do and is quite addicting! 🙂
You are talented…love this! I have lots of old seed trays, but I think the holes maybe to big for the word to show up. Any ideas?
Thank you, girl! My first thought is to embroider it like I did my rocking chair. Let me know what you think!
never thought of that…love the rocking chair!
It would be fun and therapeutic. Have fun!
Patty Soriano says
Hi Larissa, I came over from Donna’s website to see you. Are we not allowed to use your pictures for Pinterest ? Would love to save some of these cute ideas, but the PIN button won’t come up. Just wondering. I’d appreciate knowing so I can write them down in my idea book. Have sent in a subscription so I can see what else you come up with this year. Looks like fun!
You most certainly may, though I don’t use a button. You can either use the sharing buttons at the bottom of the post or the pin tool in a google toolbar. So glad to have you along for the ride!
Patty Soriano says
Thank you ! I have a screen door I’d like to do this with and your directions make it look pretty easy!
The screen turned out amazing! I can’t wait to see your next project.
Happy to hear it! I’m always working on something. Thanks!
Looks great Larissa!!!!
Thank you so much, Holly!
Kathy Tyrrell says
I just painted on a screen using a stencil and I used Buttermilk (after using black first, which did not show up at all) but, the buttermilk does not show up that well, either. I even put a piece of muslin behind it hoping that would work, but to no avail.
Any tips for me ?
Thank you !
Hmm…was it a window screen? Send me and email and I’ll try to help. [email protected] Thanks!
Kathy Tyrrell says
Yes, it is a window screen. I purchased some black broadcloth that I can cut to fit on the back, and believe this will help a lot.
Diane Howard says
Hi, love the painted screen. I’ve been looking everywhere for instructions on how to do this. I have a question. Is the screen still fleaxable after painting? The reason I ask, i have a retractable screen door that is so clear I need to do something to make it more visible. Stenciling the screen was an idea I thought of, but it still has to be extremely flexible to retract back in the holder. Do you think this could work for me? Thanks for any suggestions.
Hmm…good question. I’m thinking it would possibly flake off if it is rolled up (I’m assuming), and then again it may not. Part of me says, “You don’t know until you try”. 😉 Sorry, I’m sure that didn’t help. If it were me I’d have a go at a small portion of it because you could always clean it off with rubbing alcohol.
I, too have a retractable screen door that is very transparent. I want to paint on both sides to make it more visible. I tried it on a regular patio screen, but even though I painted both sides, it can only be viewed from one side. The other side just looks spotty. What can I do and how do I do it.?
Hmm…good question. It probably has to do with the fact that the interior side is backlit by the outside. Hope that makes sense. So the outside version would be the only one showing. Not sure without being there though.
How about just painting a screen solid white so you can brighten up the front of the house?…what type of paint would you use?
Sure! If it gets weather, use an outdoor paint, if not, then an acrylic will do.