Making An Old Screen New Again

This is a guest post from my dear friend, Annie Kip. Annie is sharing with us how to fix a screen and she makes it look very easy, too.

How to fix a screen

Hello Go Gingham fans! Sara is a big proponent of making do with what you already have and she was the inspiration behind this project. I have replaced perfectly good screen with new screen many times, but this time I used my perfectly good old screen. It looks just the same as the new screen. I am so grateful that Sara’s frugal way of living penetrated my wee, little brain just enough to give me this handy idea!

Apparently, my dog feels it is her duty to protect our yard from squirrels. Squirrels in the yard don’t bother me as much, but maybe my dog knows something we don’t about the evil nature of squirrels. The only problem comes when my dog is inside and feels there is a squirrel emergency outside. On more than one occasion, she has busted through the screen and created her own little doggy door – which stays that way until I am inclined to fix the screen. Again.

Needless to say, I have become very good at replacing screens. Luckily, it is easier than you think.

Making an old screen new again

You can do it, too. Why not try it – what could go wrong? I encourage you to think in terms of the “worst case scenario” when deciding whether to try something new. Will anyone get hurt if you mess up? Will you suffer public humiliation if you mess up? Will you still be on track for retirement if you mess up? Are you likely to make the 5 o’clock news if you mess up? (I think this last one is particularly useful when making parenting-related decisions.)

In the case of replacing a screen, its an easy decision. If you mess it up, you can just take it to the hardware store like you were going to anyway. If you are successful, the next time you drive by the hardware store (where they will charge an arm and a leg to do this for you), you will raise your chin and stick out your lower lip in pride, knowing you can do this yourself! That, or you will throw your head back and cackle triumphantly every time you drive by the hardware store. Either way, it will feel good!

Here is what you need:

How to fix a screen

Materials needed to fix a screen

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Blade
  • Spline roller (some have a blade incorporated into them)
  • Spline (if you want to get the same size, bring a piece with you when you buy it)
  • Screen (buy a width that is several inches wider than your frame)

Remove screen from wherever it normally lives so you can work with it on a flat surface. My screen is actually a door, so I had to pull out the posts in the hinges. I had to use a hammer at the end of my screw driver to coax these posts out.

How to fix a screen

And push up the post holding the door to the Pressurized Thing That Keeps The Door From Slamming. (I am pretty sure that is the technical term.)

How to fix a screen

Remove the damaged screen from the frame. You may have to use a screw driver to pry up an end of the spline from the groove it is wedged into, but once you can get your fingers on it, the spline should come out fairly easily.

How to fix a screen

Lay your screen over the frame. With new screen, you will have plenty of extra screen, but I am re-using my old screen, so I positioned it carefully and used duct tape to temporarily secure it in place.

How to fix a screen


The reason I have become so good at replacing screens is that my dog keeps running through them. She doesn’t break the screen, she just shoves through it. Seriously, one time it took her all of 2 seconds before she busted right through a newly replaced screen. I was very annoyed to say the least.

Since then, I have been searching for a way to keep the dang dog from busting through the dang screen. I finally found it – FAT SPLINE! Using a larger spline keeps the screen from coming out so easily.

How to fix a screen

Now you may return to your regularly scheduled blog reading…

CAUTION – be careful with your screw driver and spline roller – if you push down hard and miss the groove, you could cut a hold in your screen.

Place the spline on top of the screen so that the groove is directly underneath it. With a screw driver, push the end of the spline into the groove.

How to fix a screen

If you are using regular size spline, you can now use your spline roller to push the spline into the groove.

How to fix a screen

Keep rolling and applying steady pressure.

How to fix a screen

If you are trying to keep your dog (or kids!) from pushing through the screen, and are using larger spline than normal, you will have to use your screw driver to push the spline into the groove every few inches. You can use the spline roller to smooth it down in between.

How to fix a screen

To keep the screen taut across your frame, you should attach the top and then the bottom of the screen, and then attach the sides. This way your screen will be fairly square on the frame as well. Once you have attached one side, you should hold the screen fairly tight across the frame as you attach the opposite side. Try to push the spline in along the inner edge of the groove, so that it pulls the screen from the inside toward the outer edge of your frame as it works its way into the groove.

Cut the spline with your blade and start a new piece of spline for each side.

How to fix a screen

Put everything back where you found it – go on, I will wait.

How to fix a screen

Now, you that you have a fully operational screen, you can do a little dance and gloat in front of your dog, waggling your opposable thumbs in her face showing her that you are indeed the Master – able to operate a door and keep her in or out of your house (with your opposable thumbs) and she is a dog (without opposable thumbs) who must come and go at your whim. She will probably ignore you, just like my dog.

Have you ever fixed a screen before? Did you have success?

Go Gingham related links:

How to re-do claw feet on an old bathtub
Decorating with tables – it’s not what you think
Fix your string bags for grocery shopping
How to make your own coffee table from an old bench
Fixing items around the house
From Annie’s site…Plenty Perfect: Favorite things Friday is here


  1. Congrats on a project well-done! Fixing things up is always not only more economical than replacing with a new one, but a growth process as well.

  2. We had a similar problem and finally bought a screen door grill guard. I’m sure with patience and searching, a person could find a discarded or used grill that might need cleaned up or repainted. It works really well to keep the screen from being pushed out by dogs or kids!

    1. I have heard if that and it sounded like a good solution. I look out these doors to my backyard, so as long as this holds, I am happy to preserve my view. Apparantly, “pet screen” is thicker and may hold better than regular
      Screen, but it might make it hard to see out as well. Your solution is next on my list if my dog finds a way through the screen again! Great suggestion about finding a used grill!

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