Hanging a shoji on the wall adds a little swing to your decor.

How to Attach Shoji Panels to Walls to Make Swinging Doors

by Chris Deziel

Shojis are paper-covered screens, and when the Japanese use them for doors, they usually put them on tracks so that they slide. There's no rule that says you can't hang these lightweight, attractive screens on the wall and use them as swinging doors, however, and they may be just what you need for an odd-sized door opening. They are light enough to hang from cabinet hinges, but you need to screw the hinges into wall studs. The repeated swinging will pull the hinges out of drywall unless you use strong wall anchors.

1 Find the stud in the wall nearest to the place where you want to hang the shoji screen, using a stud finder. Mark its position with a pencil. If you are using two doors to make saloon-style swinging doors, find and mark two studs opposite each other on facing walls.

2 Measure the height of the screen with a tape measure and cut a piece of one-by-two lumber to that measurement with a handsaw. Use a piece of lumber that matches the screen, sand it with 120-grit sandpaper and finish it with clear finish. You can also paint it, if you want. Cut and paint two such pieces of lumber if you have two doors.

3 Drill three equally spaced 1/4-inch holes in one of the one-by-twos, then set it upright on the wall in front of the stud you marked. Raise the bottom about an inch off the floor and plumb the one-by-two with a level, then attach it to the wall by driving a 3-inch screw into each predrilled hole and into the wall stud. Mount the other one-by-two in the same way if you're hanging two doors.

4 Measure the thickness of one of the shoji frames and buy three cabinet hinges -- six if you're hanging two doors -- whose widths are equal to that thickness. Screw them to the frame. Space two of them equal distances from the top and bottom of the frame and center the third between those two. Attach hinges to the other door in the same way, if applicable.

5 Hold one of the screens against the one-by-two and align the bottoms. Force the bottom hinge open with your hand and drive a screw into one of the holes with a screwdriver to hold that hinge to the wall. Hold a level against the shoji and align the top hinge so that the shoji is plumb, then drive a screw into the top hinge. Finish up by driving a screw into each remaining screw hole on each hinge. Hang the other screen in the same way.

6 Attach a simple handle, such as a wooden drawer pull, to one side of each door so you can pull it open. You can push the doors open from the other side.

Items you will need

  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • One-by-two lumber
  • Tape measure
  • Handsaw
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Clear finish or paint
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Level
  • 3-inch screws
  • 6 cabinet hinges

Tips

  • The purpose of the one-by-twos is to prevent the screens from hitting the wall when you close them, thus damaging the drywall. You can use thicker wood for this if you need to move the screens outward to fill an opening.
  • To prevent people from tearing the paper when pushing on the door, you may want to screw a 12-inch-square piece of 1/4-inch plywood to each door, on the side opposite the handle.
  • If you're hanging two doors and you can't find studs across from each other on facing walls, you may need to attach the one-by-two to one of the walls with wall anchors. If so, use anchors that won't pull out, such as toggle bolts.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images