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Mend a Paper or Shoji Screen

How to mend or change Japanese or Chinese paper or repair a Shoji Screen.

The paper on shoji windows or screens is customarily changed on the last day of lunar calender year, signifying a fresh new start.

How to make Traditional Rice Paste
Both the Chinese and Japanese use rice paste for their paper. The homemade paste dries transparent and its consistency and drying time eases application.

1. Wash ordinary rice with cold water, until the water is clear.
2. Drain the rice for about 12 hours and cover it with a damp cloth to prevent drying up.
3. Put the rice into a cooking pot filled with water, and bring the water to the boil. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Filter the porridge- like mush with a cloth while it is still warm. The best paste is from well-cooked rice, not too watery nor too thick.

Why do you use Rice Paste - well, it works, and is also easy to remove the paper by soaking. - we also sell (Nori, which is a proprietary shoji glue)

You can use PVA glue, this sets stonger and faster, we advise watering down the glue to a light cream consistency and applying in the same way. It will dry faster than Nori Glue

How to apply the paper to the screen
Basic Tips
Rice paper has a smooth side which should face out wen the paper is applied to the window.
Start from the bottom of the window and let the paper overlap on the latticework like shingles. This will prevent collecting dust on the seams. If the window frame has a rebate recess for paper, which is usually one lattice thickness, align the paper at the edge.
Apply the paste lightly on the frame and lattice using a wide brush. Try not make a mess on the side of the latticework. Using a clean rag sweep the paper onto the window.
When overlapping is necessary on larger sceens, cover the stile and rail just one lattice thickness. The seams can be a beautiful pattern if they are carefully arranged.

Method 1. Tape a spot on the edge of paper on the shoji panel. Unroll about a foot to see if the paper is lined up straight with the frames. Adjust the paper direction, and tape two more spots on the edge to secure the paper. Roll back the paper.
2. Apply glue with a brush starting on the kumikos (grids) and then on the frame. Glue on the frame should be thicker.
3. Unroll the paper slowly. Cut the paper to an approximate length while holding down glued area.
4. Using a ruler and an utility knife, finish cut the excess paper off. The paper may shrink when it's dry, try to keep at least 1/4 inch margin.
5. It may take up to a few days to completely dry after glued. If sagging occurs, spray water evenly on entire sheet.

Mending Torn Paper
When paper is torn, the torn area can be replaced with a piece of new paper along the grid. If it happened in the middle of the grid, paste a paper cut over the ripped area. This will result in a watermark effect. You could also scribe the paper with a sharp knife and carefully soak off the section, replacing with another piece cut to size.