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Ways to spend a rainy day

March 10, 2008

One of the things I love about our house is the living room shoji, but as you may already know, this particular decor is incompatible with children or (other) animals.

I gather from ‘a close and reliable source’ that Japanese children are unable to resist the lure of poking fingers, pencils, basically anything through the delicate paper screens. Cats, it seems, are quite partial to shredding them too.

Parents and pet-owners will generally endure occasional ‘mishaps’…

Oh my poor shoji...

…until it reaches a point when your screen doors no longer actually screen you from anything and something has to be done.

Destroyed shoji

And so begins the whole process of re-papering your shoji. So first you must dampen all the glued seams. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys stripping wallpaper (and there are plenty of words for people like you) then this is for you.

In the beginning

There’s no avoiding it, this is messy. Now is the time to work out which day is paper recycling day.

Very messy

But after no more than a few hours back-breaking and fingernail-stripping toil, your shoji frames (we had 4 doors and 4 windows) will be picked clean and ready for their refurb.

Ready to go!

If you haven’t already destroyed your carpet, now’s your last chance. Grab the glue and spray it liberally around the room, aiming roughly for the frame as and when the fancy takes you.

Glueing(?) your shoji

‘Simply’ lay the paper over the top, and trim and tidy the edges. It’s best you let a loved one brandish the blade while you sit and take pictures.

Nearly there

Now spray the finished papered frames with water (yes, really – to allow the paper to shrink taut), and when it’s all dried, if all has gone according to plan, and my simple instructions, while you yourself will be bent and broken, your screens will have returned to their original splendour.


Job’s a good ‘un

You should now repair to your fridge, which of course you had the foresight to fill with imported beer. You did, didn’t you?

One Comment leave one →
  1. simone lahme permalink
    June 24, 2009 7:17 pm


    thank you for showing us how we may spent our rainy days soon. we are planing our shoji doors at the moment. with two little children (age 2 + 5) we are looking forward to see how they will like it.

    we love shoji and we are looking forward to it as well.

    it is good to see that with a bit of hard work they will look as lovly as before. thank you for nice and funny discription.

    yours, simon (Berlin, Germany)

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