Simple changes to folding and hollow-core doors create decorative room dividers you can customize for Halloween — or any other occasion.
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Mix and match slab doors and bifold doors of different heights and widths to suit your room. In addition to assembling full-length and shortened doors in pairs, you can combine them in threes for extra-wide screens as shown.
To shorten 79-in- or 80-in-tall doors for lower or mixed-height screens, first separate the bifold doors by removing their hinges and any additional hardware.
Measure and mark the doors at your desired heights. Apply a strip of painter's tape centered over the mark and then draw a cut line on the tape. (Cutting through the painter's tape helps reduce splintering.)
Measure the distance from your jigsaw blade to the edge of the saw base on one side. Then clamp a straightedge that distance from the mark to guide your saw in a straight line. Cut off the bottom of the door and remove the remaining tape.
From a scrap piece of 1-1/2-in x 3-1/2-in stud, saw a filler piece sized to fit the opening at the cut end of the door. (You may need to remove some of the filler material inside the door to make room.) Glue and clamp the filler piece between the faces and flush with the end; let dry. Repeat for the remaining doors.
Use wood putty to fill any holes left by the old hinges and hardware; let dry. Sand the faces and edges of the doors with 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper and wipe clean.
Miter-cut moulding strips to the height and width of a door. Glue and nail the moulding flush with the edges and ends on one face of that door.
Stack two doors with the bottom ends flush and the moulding sides facing out. Then separate them with wooden shims as thick as the round barrel portion of the hinges. Mark hinge locations between 6-in and 10-in from the bottoms of both doors and top of the shortest door.
Position one leaf of a hinge along the edge of the shorter door with the round barrel of the hinge clear of the edge. Drill pilot holes and screw it in place. Check that the other door is shimmed high enough for the door edge to clear the hinge barrel. Drill and screw it in place. Repeat for the remaining pairs of doors.
Remove the hinges and apply a coat of primer to each door. Let dry and sand smooth. Then apply two coats of chalkboard paint and let the final coat dry overnight. To condition the surface, rub the painted faces with a piece of chalk and wipe it clean. Reinstall the hinges.
On the one chalkboard face of each door, draw the tree design shown here or substitute an image of your choice. When it's time to switch looks, just erase the old art and start over.