How to Turn Sliding Doors into Japanese Shoji Screens

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For a while, I’ve wanted to turn the mirrored closet doors in my RV bedroom into DIY shoji screens. I’ve seen blog posts before about how to frost mirror doors to create this effect, but I was looking for something that looked more realistic. Finally, I found this rice paper window privacy film, and I knew it was what I had been needing.

As an added bonus, this project is very easy to undo with no damage to the closet doors if you decide you don’t like the look or don’t want to make any permanent changes in your camper or motorhome.

Here’s how I did it.

Materials Needed:

How I Made My Own DIY Shoji Screens

Here’s a video overview of the whole project (don’t worry, I’ll walk you through step by step below!):

Step 1: Measure and Plan

The first step was to measure to find out how much window film and veneer edging was needed, which depends on the design. Here are some ideas:

I decided to just do a very basic design to keep it simple.  Keep in mind that if the window film you purchase is not wide enough to cover an entire mirror, you may want to plan to have enough film so that you can cut and arrange it in a way that the seams will be covered by the wood strips.

Step 2: Cut the Window Film

The window film I bought had a very helpful grid and number measurements marked on the back to make cutting easier. Time to cut out the pieces.

Using grid marked on back of window film to cut it to correct size

Step 3: Applying Window Film to Mirrored Doors

To apply the window film, I peeled the backing away from one corner and carefully positioned that corner so that it would be lined up properly, then I stuck it down as I slowly peeled off the backing.

The brand of window film I used was very forgiving and easy to reposition if needed. I didn’t worry about bubbles at first. I just lined up the top edge and stuck the rest on loosely.

Carefully positioning the window film

Then I lifted one half at a time and used a cooking spatula to smooth it out as I laid it back down. Any sturdy, flat surface would work to smooth out the bumps and bubbles.

I used a spatula to smooth out the adhesive.

Step 4: Trim Edges

After working out all of the bubbles, I used a utility knife to trim the edges.

Using a utility knife to trim the edges

Piece one finished!

First piece successfully in place

Skipping ahead an hour or two, this is what it looked like when I got all of the window film on.

Step 5: Cut Veneer Strips

The next step is the wood veneer. First I cut all of the veneer pieces to roughly the correct size so that they would be easier to work with. I cut them a bit longer to be safe! I knew I could trim them to be exact later.

Measuring the lengths for the wood veneer

Step 6: Stain Veneer Strips (Optional)

I decided to stain my veneer strips to give them a more finished look.  You can leave yours unfinished, or stain them whatever color you want.

I used Minwax wood stain on the veneer pieces.

To stain them, I cut an old washcloth in half and used half of the cloth to dip in the stain and wipe it on thickly, and the other half to wipe off the excess. A few paper towels would also work!

Be sure to do this outside or in a well-ventilated area.

Staining process

Step 7: Adhere Veneer Strips to Doors

These veneer strips have a heat-activated glue on the back.

The wood strips have heat-activated glue on the back.

The wood veneer is designed to be ironed, but I was a bit worried about the window film and didn’t want to ruin it or my iron. I covered the wood strips with a piece of paper while I ironed them on.

Using my iron to activate the glue

The Finished Look

Here are my newly completed “shoji screen” closet doors! I love how they turned out.


This project took a few hours to complete, but nothing was difficult about it. I like the effect in my bedroom.

And, in case you’re wondering how I live without a mirror, I purchased a new floor-length mirror that hangs over the door in my bathroom.

Want to see more ideas for closet door makeovers?

Check out my blog post, 12 Mirror Closet Sliding Door Makeover Ideas!

Need ideas for organizing your closet? Read my article 15+ Clothes Storage and Closet Organization Ideas!

DIY Mirror Closet Makeover Idea
Mirror Closet Makeover Idea Pinterest Image
DIY Mirror Closet Makeover Idea: How to Turn Sliding Doors into Japanese Shoji Screens (without any permanent damage!)

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  1. Thank you!!! I’ve been wanting to do this exact same project but I couldn’t figure out how to simplify it. I kept thinking I would have to build sliding doors from scratch and make them in the shoji style, I was so pleased to see all I needed was little more than contact paper and some creativity!

  2. Hi there,
    Great Idea! Planning to use your idea to cover my mirrored closet doors. I was wondering, how has it held up so far? Did they edge banding work on top of the film and mirror?

    1. It held up pretty well. Some of the veneer strips loosened and so I just pulled out my iron to re-activate the glue and it stayed put after that. 🙂

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