I'm re-screening my solar screens. I have found that a very small one is easy but larger ones present some challenges (not surprisingly).

I don't want the screen to be too loose and sag. However, if I try and make sure it is taut, it tends to warp the frame inward.

Can someone suggest a technique that will minimize this? I have thought of making some sort of jig, but all the screens are different sizes and I would rather not have to build a jig for each screen.

  • Tried the jig, as soon as it's removed it bows.... Still looking for another option. I've built homes from the ground up, but this is kicking my ass.
    – user47478
    Jan 7, 2016 at 23:21

4 Answers 4


I clamped two of four sides (left side and bottom, for example) to a workbench while I was doing them. Then I worked on the side that was away from the two clamped down sides.

It's not so much about getting it taut as it is about getting it even...

  • 1
    I like the clamp idea. When I have to do several of the same size, I build a simple frame on a piece of plywood to hold the screen frame square. Just a few pieces of scrap thin on three sides, with the "pull" end open at the end of the plywood base so I can bend the screen material over the edge of the frame to tension the screen a bit. Works really good if you have a helper to hold the screen or roll in the tubing stops. Aug 19, 2011 at 11:14
  • In a pinch this can be done with two people. My wife and I replaced about 2 dozen screens with new material. Having 2 extra hands to keep the fabric/material taught and even was almost required on the larger ones. Mar 18, 2015 at 19:21

If you're building custom frames, take a scrap piece of the frame, cut it to the inside width of your frame, use it as a temporary support... like a cross bar... if you do not have extra material, or you're re-screening old frames, maybe a thin piece of wood will work for your temporary cross bar?

Also, I like to use a T-square, it helps keep the frame from sliding everywhere... (if you don't have a fancy work bench, with a raised lip, or "jigs"...) So yeah, install your screen, then remove the temporary support cross bar, and voila! No bowing!

Took me a while to figure this trick out, I'm a perfectionist, and the bow was driving me crazy... finally I got this idea, and worked like a charm.


I found it helpful to just simply grab the center of the frame and bow out the center. That way, when you screen your mesh in, it will suck in but only enough, avoiding the hourglass shape in your screen. When you're done, check your center measurement making sure you have the same measurement as the width of your screen.


I start by cutting the piece of material that will fit over the screen leaving about an inch to 2 inches over each side. I take advantage of 1 straight edge of the screen mat and that side in first holding the mesh and the spline at the same time guiding the spline in at the same time holding the material.

Before I start most material comes with a slight bend make sure you have the opposite of an hourglass before you start that way as you screen, it will pull in where needed,then check the center of your measurement. Then I continued around the corner by dimpling the screen in with my finger and running the second side as straight as possible.

Before I run the third side I check for bows, and again I hold the spline and the material as I roll. The last side is your last chance to get rid of the SAG so having your finger slightly dipped into the mesh as you roll will prevent it from being too tight.

And last but not least use your sharp razor blade and hold it on the outside of the spline farthest away from material trimming off excess. If your screen is still too tight try dragging the tip of your finger in front of your spline as you roll to prevent the spline from pulling the material too tight. That should allow you to manufacture at least 15 screens per hour.

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