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Measure the fireplace opening to determine the size of the screen. To make a three-paneled screen, divide the horizontal dimension of the opening into thirds.
Transfer the pattern and dimensions for the three panels to the plywood panel. Add decorative curves to the top of each panel of the screen if desired.
Clamp the plywood to a worktable, and use a jigsaw to cut out the three panels. Be sure to wear safety glasses. Sand the cut panels smooth with fine-grade sandpaper, and wipe clean with a tack cloth.
Use a brush or paint roller to apply wood primer to the panels. Allow it to dry thoroughly. Apply two or three coats of latex paint to the panels, allowing the paint to dry between coats.
Set the stencil on one of the wood panels, and hold it in place with painter's tape or stencil adhesive. Pour blobs of paint onto a plate. Dip the end of the stencil brush into the paint, dab it off on a paper towel, and pounce the end of the stencil brush on the stencil pattern. Stencil the remaining panels, using the same method.
When the stenciled patterns are complete, assemble the screen by attaching the panels at the back with hinges.
A handmade fireplace screen could also be hand-painted or embellished with decoupaged images. For a super-simple fireplace screen, hinge together a trio of window shutters.
Because these screens are made of wood, they're meant to be used only as a decorative accessory when the fireplace is not in use.
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