Do it Yourself Retractable Screen

By Alexander Callos

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Tape measure

  • Screen

  • Roll away guides

  • Drill

  • Screws

  • Metal draw bar

  • Pull down cam

  • Cam clip

A retractable screen is most often found on doors and windows. It is designed to keep bugs and other insects out while the window or door is open. The screen rolls up into the top of the window and is pulled down when the window is open. This enables a nice breeze to enter the house while the window is open. Over time, retractable screens can become damaged and need to be replaced. A way to save money is to make the screen yourself.

Measure the size of the window to figure out exactly how big the screen is going to be. Rolls of screen come in different widths ranging from 24 inches up to 72 inches depending on the width of the window. Measure the length of the window to determine how long the screen will need to be.

Roll out the screen and cut it to size with a utility knife. Lay the screen on a flat surface and score it with the utility knife. Cut the length so it matches the length of the window and cut the width so it is the same as the measurement across the window

Insert the first roll away guide into the top corner of the window. Pre-drill a 5/32-inch hole 3/4 of an inch from the corner of the window into the frame. Repeat the process for the other side of the window. Set the roll away guide over the first hole and attach it with a flat head screw. Install the second window guide the same way.

Slide a small metal draw bar straight through the middle of the roll of screen. Attach a pull down cam to the bottom of the window screen. This will be used to pull the screen down from the top of the assembly and is a small piece of aluminum. Roll out the screen and fit the screen down into the cam. Attach a cam clip at each end of the cam to hold the screen in place. Clip them onto the openings at each end.

Lift the roll of screen assembly into the top of the window and attach the draw bar to roll away guides. Latch it into place. Drill the guide into the jamb with flat head screws. Pull down on the cam to make sure the screen is operating properly.