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Leather Room Screen

In this project learn how to assemble a leather room divider.

Project by Kari Lee.

Materials and Tools:

room screen frame
4 to 6 oz. cream rawhide side
1/8" red Latigo lace
5/16" brass grommets
grommet setter
pure turpentine
1/4" drive punch
punch board & mallet
large cutting surface
foam paint roller
ruler/straight edge
craft or utility knife
images, photos & fabric for photo transfer
artist transfer papers for turpentine transfer & color copies
large tub & two trays (for water & turpentine)
water source
bulldog clamps
poster board


1. Measure the inside dimensions of the frame's opening. Subtract 3" from the actual measurements of the width and length to determine the size of the rawhide panels. Create a poster board pattern using those measurements. Make marks on the poster board for the 5/16" grommets, 1/4" from the edges and equally spaced 2" apart. Place the poster board pattern onto the punch board. Use the 1/4" drive punch and a mallet to pre-punch holes.

2. Soak rawhide in a clean tub of water until the rawhide becomes pliable — approximately one hour. Wrap pliable rawhide with a towel and transfer it to a clean, large cutting surface.

3. Using the poster board pattern as guide, cut a rawhide panel for each opening. Wrap rawhide panels with a damp towel to keep them pliable.

Figure A

4. Use bulldog clips to secure the pattern onto one of the cut rawhide panels. Punch the 1/4" holes needed for grommets. Repeat this step for each panel.

5. Attach grommets on rawhide panels.

6. For each rawhide panel, cut two lace lengths for the length and for the width. Calculate the lace length to be four times the length of the edge to be laced.

Figure B

7. To attach a rawhide panel, position in center of opening. Thread appropriate length of lacing through grommets and around edges of screen on all four sides. Making sure the panel is centered in the opening, pull lace taunt but not tight. Tie overhand knots on both ends of lace to secure the rawhide. Repeat this step to attach all panels.

8. Let rawhide dry completely.

9. Copy the selected images onto the special transfer paper. Trim paper to the image size needed for transfer.

Figure C

10. Lay screen flat on work surface. Following manufacturer’s instructions, soak trimmed paper images in water for approximately a minute.

11. Evenly roll a light application of turpentine onto the rawhide surface.

Figure D

12. Carefully remove image from water and remove excess water by gently laying and patting both sides of the image onto newsprint paper.

Figure E

13. Slide image off paper and carefully arrange on rawhide. The melting of the image onto the rawhide surface works rather quickly, so repositioning the image is not an option.

Figure F

14. Apply a thin application of turpentine onto image. Repeat this process until all images have been transferred onto all screen panels. The screen should remain flat until transfer is completely dry — approximately 24 hours.

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