Easy, DIY Privacy Screen for Your Patio

Article Posted By: Caroline Inge

of The Home Depot

DIY Privacy Screen

Porches and patios are a great way to add an extra space to your home without having to take on an addition. One common problem with porches and patios, however, is their proximity to the neighbors. While you may enjoy their friendship, it’s still nice to have a little privacy as you sip your coffee on the front porch, reading the Sunday morning  newspaper. Fortunately, there are easy ways to create a division between your outdoor space and theirs. This easy, DIY privacy screen is a great example.

DIY Privacy Screen | Supplies

First up, our supplies:

-1 9-ft x 12-ft 8oz canvas drop cloth

-1 ½-in grommet kit

-1 package ½-in grommet refills

-2 3-in. flat paintbrushes

-1 ½ gallon of latex paint (minimum)


-2 measuring tapes

painter’s tape

screw hooks

scissors (not shown)


Before selecting the drop cloth, measure your space. We ended up using a panel that was almost exactly the size of the stretch of wall the privacy screen was going to be against. These panels will be fairly stiff once they’re painted, so you won’t be able to easily tie them back. Plan on them hanging straight against the wall. We ended up trimming the drop cloth to have it fit perfectly, so you may need to do that as well.

Step 1

First, you’re going to measure and mark up the canvas drop cloth before adding the painter’s tape. This is definitely the most time-consuming part of the whole process, so begin when you’re in a patient mood. I began by taping the drop cloth to the floor so that it wouldn’t move while I was taping away (that would have made it easy for the stripes to become crooked).

Once the drop cloth was taped down, I used two measuring tapes to mark out a 6 inch grid all over the drop cloth, making small dots with a marker. I did this so that when I began taping the stripes with painters tape, I would have a guide already marked out. Without the grid, the stripes could become crooked very easily!

DIY Privacy Screen

Step 2

Once the grid was created, I used the dots at every 6 inches to be sure my lines were staying straight. In the image below, you can see that the painters tape was just hitting the little green marker dot in the bottom left corner.

DIY Privacy Screen | Tape off stripes

Step 3

Once the lines were fully created with the painters tape, I began painting the drop cloth. I used some leftover paint from an old house project for these stripes. One fantastic surprise from this project was how crisp and clean the lines came out. Often with painters tape, you’ll have some bleeding underneath the tape. Because these drop cloths are so thick, they absorb the paint very well, and I didn’t see any trouble at all with leaking. I also ran out of the green Frog Tape halfway through the taping portion, and I used blue ScotchBlue painters tape for the second half. For this project, I didn’t see any difference between the Frog Tape and ScotchBlue tape, so use whichever one you are comfortable with. I let the paint dry overnight before removing the painters tape.

DIY Privacy Screen | Painting stripes

Step 4

Once the paint is dry and the painters tape is removed, there are two ways to move onto the next step. Either you can add the grommets into the canvas and add the hooks to your space later, or you can do it the other way around and add the hooks to your space, then determine where the grommets will go. I already had hooks hanging from the ceiling of the porch, so I measured where the grommets should go before cutting and adding them to the canvas.

DIY Privacy Screen | Adding grommets to canvas

Step 5

After attempting a few trials of the grommet kit on a spare scrap of canvas, I came up with a process that worked best for this project. It does deviate slightly from the directions listed on the grommet kit, but this just worked best for me. I would definitely suggest doing a few trial runs before attempting this on the final canvas. With that said, once the marks are made, cut a small hole on top of the mark. Also, note that in order to create a kind of hem, I folded over the top inch and a half of fabric. This way, the grommet will go through twice the fabric, which makes for a more secure grommet. Be careful not to cut the hole too large, or the grommet will slip through.

DIY Privacy Screen | Cut a hole

Step 6

With the backside facing up, place the wood square backer, the bottom setting tool, and the front piece of the grommet.

DIY Privacy Screen | Cut a hole

Step 7

The hole in the canvas should fit very tightly around the top portion of the grommet.

DIY Privacy Screen | grommet kit

Step 8

Next, put the inside portion of the grommet on top of the fabric so that the two grommet halves sandwich the canvas.

DIY Privacy Screen | grommet kit

Step 9

Place the setting tool on top of the inside grommet, and pound the tool with a hammer so that the ring of the bottom grommet is folded. After this step, the two pieces of the grommet should be folded together, though they will still be fairly loose.

Step 10

Once the initial fold in the grommet is made, remove the setting tool, and tighten the fit by hitting the grommet with a hammer. After this step, the two halves of the grommet should fit together tightly. Now, you should be ready to hang the privacy screens!

DIY Privacy Screen | grommet kit

DIY Privacy Screen | grommet kit

Step 11

We hung them from simple hooks screwed into the porch ceiling. That’s all!

DIY Privacy Screen | grommet kit

In addition to creating privacy, this would be an easy way to give your porch or patio a new look for spring or to decorate for a party!