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how to make a retractable screen

Creating a retractable screen, often used for windows and doors, can be a bit complex and may require specific materials and tools. Here’s a general guide on how to make a retractable screen for a window or door:

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Screen Material: Purchase a roll of screen material. You can choose from various types, including fiberglass, aluminum, or polyester, depending on your preferences.
  2. Screen Frame Components: You’ll need materials to construct the frame, such as aluminum or PVC. You can buy these materials at a hardware store.
  3. Retractable Mechanism: Purchase a retractable screen kit that includes the necessary components for the screen’s rolling mechanism. These kits often include a roller tube, screen material, end caps, and a pull bar.
  4. Spline: Spline is a flexible cord used to secure the screen material in the frame. Make sure it matches the frame’s groove size.
  5. Tools: You’ll need tools such as a saw, hacksaw, measuring tape, screwdriver, drill, screws, and a utility knife.
  6. Safety Gear: Wear safety glasses and gloves when handling materials and tools.


  1. Measure and Cut the Frame Components:
    • Measure the dimensions of the window or door where you want to install the retractable screen.
    • Cut the frame components (aluminum or PVC) to match the measurements. You’ll need four sides (two longer sides and two shorter sides) to create a rectangular frame.
  2. Assemble the Frame:
    • Connect the frame components at the corners to create a rectangular frame. You can use screws or corner brackets for this purpose. Ensure that the frame is square and sturdy.
  3. Install the Roller Tube:
    • Follow the instructions provided with your retractable screen kit to install the roller tube. Typically, it is mounted at the top of the window or door frame.
  4. Attach the Screen Material:
    • Lay the screen material flat on a clean, smooth surface.
    • Use a utility knife or scissors to cut the screen material to the size of the frame, leaving some excess around the edges.
    • Place the screen material over the frame, ensuring it covers the entire opening.
    • Insert the spline into the groove of the frame and press it firmly over the screen material to secure it. Use a spline roller to help press the spline into the groove evenly.
  5. Install the Pull Bar:
    • Attach the pull bar to the screen material near the bottom of the frame, following the instructions in the kit.
  6. Test the Retraction:
    • Test the retractable screen by pulling it down and releasing it. Ensure it retracts smoothly without any obstructions.
  7. Mount the Frame:
    • Mount the frame with the attached retractable screen in the window or door opening. Follow the instructions provided with your retractable screen kit for proper installation.
  8. Secure the Frame:
    • Use screws or brackets to secure the frame in place, ensuring it is level and properly aligned.
  9. Trim Excess Screen Material:
    • Trim any excess screen material using a utility knife to achieve a clean appearance.
  10. Final Adjustments:
    • Test the retractable screen several times to ensure it operates smoothly. Make any necessary adjustments to the tension or alignment of the screen material.

Please note that creating a retractable screen may require specific skills and tools. If you are not comfortable with the construction process, consider consulting a professional or purchasing a pre-made retractable screen system designed for your specific window or door dimensions.