Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jerry Rigging Summer (or) $7 Screen Door

Summer, of course, means spending time outside. Warm weather is a little hard to enjoy, however, when you live in an apartment complex. What I really long for is a back porch. I love to dangle from a porch swing watching a summer storm coming through. One day...

My back patio is about 8x10 feet, with no covering. I've managed to create some ambience with some easy jar luminaries and some garage sale furniture. You may recall my recent ventures in patio gardening. (Everything is coming along swimmingly out there! The basil is off the hook and the squashes can't wait to be hung.) 

Still, a patio is not a porch. And living in an apartment means little space, and not much flow. Not much air flow either. On those cool evenings, it seems a shame to only get a few inches of cool air through the crack of an open window. And I can't hear my records playing the in living room either. A solution was necessary.

Inspired by commercials for the "magic mesh" and a few pinteresters, I took an evening and created a on-the-cheap screen door. The whole project took 5 things to make:

- length of screen door material $4.50
- tension rod $2.50
- scraps of heavy fabric (from my stash)
- sticky back velcro (from my stash)
- staples 

The screen comes door-sized, but you'll want to check it against your particular frame before any next steps. I needed a little extra length, so that the bottom of the screen could lie like a flap on the bottom. I used some scraps from my bin (jean legs created from cut-off shorts) and created a loop for the tension rod to go through at the top of the screen. 

Had I thought things through more - or, maybe, cared more about the final look- I might have hemmed the long edges and pre-pressed them and simply sewn it through twice in parallel lines to secure it. What I did was weirder and looks a little makeshift but is fine for my purposes. **Be sure to pin well before sewing if your fabric has ANY stretch in it at all.** I learned that lesson as I went. I also learned that pulling out stitches from a screen door simply trims the edges neatly. (Not what you want if your short on length or width, so be careful.)

The final touches came after putting the rod up in the door frame. I cut sticky velcro and placed it strategically to hold the screen in place but not make it hard to enter and exit through it. The door frame is smooth, so that part of the velcro held fast. To secure the half that is on the screen I just popped a couple staples in. Easy peasy.

I love sitting on my "porch" and reading by candlelight, wine in hand, rumba music rolling through my screen door. And I love the extra fresh air and light I can get in my kitchen now without worrying about letting bugs in. I could have spent $25 dollars on a pre-made portable screen door, but I think this was more fun. Plus, it leaves more money for the wine fund.

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