13 Ways To Repurpose Those Old Window Screens In Your Home And Garden

If you can't recall the last time you replaced your window screens — or even checked on their appearance — you may be overdue for this simple home upgrade. In general, window screens need to be replaced every 10 to 12 years or when they become ripped, frayed, broken, rusty, or otherwise unsightly. After many years, they can become harder and harder to clean and become more susceptible to damage. Once they break or warp, old screens can make it difficult to open your windows from the inside — in addition to looking messy. If you have traditional old window screens, replacing them with solar screens can help you save money on your energy bill, too! But before you throw out your old ones, consider all the ways you could repurpose those window screens around your home and garden. 

While window screens might seem like a basic single-purpose item, they can actually be adapted to suit a wide range of uses, whether it's home organization, lawn care, or unique wall décor. Here are 13 creative ways to reuse your old window screens to reduce waste and simplify your household projects. 

1. Turn it into a cute memo board

Vintage window screens have a cute charm that makes this DIY project extra stunning, but even new window screens can be given an old-school edge! Add a simple wood farmhouse frame around your window screen, then string wires and clothespins across the middle. Hang from a chain against the wall and use the clips to display photos, notes, flowers, and more. Glass windows may already be a popular décor piece, but window screen memo boards are the ultimate shabby chic statement. 

2. Set up a garden rinse station

Flip your old window screen flat and set it up on wooden table legs near the garden hose. After harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden, spread everything out over the screen and spray it with the hose for a preliminary wash that will knock off any remaining dirt or insects. This is a great hack for washing lettuce and other leafy greens, and you can even place some potted plants below the screen so your washing water won't go to waste.

3. Keep pets out of potting soil

Are you always catching your pets digging in potted plants? Cut out the mesh from an old window screen in the same size as your pot's diameter, then cut a slit from one edge of the circle to the center, making space for your plant's stem to pass through. Wrap the mesh around the plant and secure it to the pot with tape to keep curious paws from making a mess with the soil. 

4. Make a jewelry wall

If you're constantly digging for the right necklace or your favorite earring's mate, turning an old window screen into a jewelry wall can save you time and clear up your dresser. Put your window screen in a cute frame or trim it with washi tape to add some personal flair. Alternatively, you can paint it the same color as your wall if you want it to blend in. Secure it to the wall with nails or command hooks, then neatly display all your favorite bling.

5. Build a sun-drying rack

Garden producing faster than you can eat? A sun-drying rack allows you to turn produce into sun-dried goods for later. For this DIY project, you'll need to make a box with two window screens, one for the lid and one for the bottom, plus four legs to keep it elevated. After laying your produce, close the lid and place the rack in the sun. With two upcycled window screens, you can dry out herbs, enjoy sun-dried tomatoes, grapes, or strawberries, or dry out eggshells to enrich your garden or give back to chickens. 

6. Guard your grass seeds

With this handy window screen hack, you won't have to worry about birds eating your grass seed before it can sprout. Either cut out the mesh from your window screen or use the entire thing. Lay down your screen over a patch of freshly sown grass seeds and secure it with weights or stakes through the corners. Once your seedlings have started to grow, after about 1 to 2 weeks, you can remove the screen and let them enjoy the full sunshine. 

7. Provide a patch of shade

Similar to the produce rinsing table, this upcycled window screen project flips the screen horizontally and adds legs. But instead of building at table height, you'll want to bring those screens closer to the ground to create a simple shade cover. When the summer sun starts roasting your flower beds, break out the upcycled window screen to provide them with a little bit of shade. The awesome part about this hack is that the plants can still receive rain and water through the screen but stay protected from harsher elements. 

8. Make your own sieves

For an extra large sieve, you can leave the window screen as it is and use both hands to shake dirt or seeds and sift them through to the ground. If you need more precision, cut out circular pieces of the window mesh and wrap the edges around metal hoops, securing them with glue. You can also use embroidery hoops for a deeper sifting pan. These handmade sieves are great for sifting soil, dry cement, grout powder, and even paint to remove any hard pieces or lumps. 

9. Line flower pots to retain soil

Hang on to your old window screens until you're ready to pot some plants. While many people try using gravel or other materials to fill the bottom of planter pots, mesh is an even better solution to allow drainage while preventing soil from slipping through. Place your pot on top of the window screen and trace the bottom with chalk, then cut out a mesh circle to pop in the bottom of your pot before filling it with soil and plants. 

10. Use as a weed barrier

Mesh window screens are great at holding soil in, but they can also keep weeds out. Instead of throwing it away, use your old window screen mesh as landscape fabric to keep weeds at bay. You can cut the mesh, leave it in its original frame, or even stack bricks around the edges of the frame to turn it into a brand-new weed-free garden bed. Adding the window screen as a bottom layer in raised garden beds effectively blocks pesky weeds while allowing for good drainage. 

11. Build an enclosed garden

If you've found yourself in possession of a whole bunch of old window screens, consider building your own screened-in garden bed. Simply attach each window side by side to build a wall around your garden bed. Hang at least one window screen on a hinge to create a mini gate that can open and close. This window screen hack will protect your plants from all sorts of hungry invaders — including some insects! 

12. Build a pie-cooling cabinet

Transform an old or thrifted shelving unit or build your own from scratch, repurposing your window screens into breezy walls and a door. You can use this cabinet to cool hot pies (a la Tom and Jerry) or move it outside to protect food from flies during a backyard potluck. If you'd rather employ it in the garden, this neat, breathable cabinet is also a great place to keep young seedlings safe from the harsh sun and any hungry wildlife or pests. 

13. Paint a unique work of art

Have a blank wall in your home that needs a little pizazz? Turn your old window screen into a fascinating mesh screen painting inspired by this artwork by Rebeca Flott on Etsy. Acrylic paints are durable and easy to work with, giving your artwork a vibrant color that sticks. Paint a masterpiece that matches the style of your home, whether it's a bunch of garden florals, a peaceful beach scene, or a portrait of your pets.