Last Updated on
When you read ‘screens’, do you think ‘privacy’? Laser cut screens are often used to build beautiful, artistic privacy fencing . But this single use barely scratches the surface of the DIY projects that flat, uniform, metal screens make possible.
Laser cut screens are a versatile building material with uses limited only by your imagination. Below, we’ve put together a selection of projects using privacy screens to get your creative juices flowing.
What exactly are laser cut privacy screens?
Simply put, they’re metal panels of a uniform size featuring a laser cut pattern.
Some companies that make screens can design custom patterns while others have a range of pre-made designs to choose from. Designs have varying levels of opacity (how much light can be seen through the screen). This opacity is based on the amount of open space or number of cut outs in the design.
Depending on the metal and manufacturer, screens can be treated with various finishes, from powder coats and varnishes through to natural oxidisation.
Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? When you get home after a hard day’s work or you’re trying to relax on the weekend, the last thing anyone wants is to be plagued by nosy neighbours or stickybeaking passers-by.
A fence might demarcate your property, but it won’t necessarily block lines of sight. Adding privacy screens on top of an existing fence can block lines of sight without overly affecting airflow and light thanks to the cut outs.
Similarly, using privacy screens as balustrading for balconies or decks can add both safety and privacy to the structure, not to mention some serious curb appeal.
Privacy screens are also a perfect material with which to build a pool fence, allowing you to enjoy your pool without fear of being spied upon, as well as being safe in the knowledge that they fence meets all legal criteria for pool fencing.
Privacy isn’t always about hiding something from others – sometimes you just want to keep something out of sight. Say you have a large, rather unappealing water-tank or pump in your yard – surrounding it with privacy screens can turn an eyesore into an architectural feature. Similarly, if you have space under your house that you’d like to either block from view or turn into a well-ventilated storage or workshop area, laser cut screens can make an attractive and functional barrier.
3. Add Beauty to a Facade
Let’s face it. Fences serve a valuable purpose, but most are pretty boring to look at – expanses of stone, brick, wood or metal without much character or visual appeal. The addition of one or more panels to a fence can serve much the same purpose as a feature wall, adding an element that draws the eye or highlights an area.
External walls and surfaces can also be spruced up with panels, either to create a focal point or to clad an exterior in an eye-catching, repeating pattern.
3. Garden Art
A beautiful garden is a joy to behold, but if you really want your garden to be a paradise you need to think beyond a collection of flowers, trees and pots. You can add an additional layer of structure and visual appeal to any garden with the addition of some garden art.
Garden art can simply be the arrangement of terracotta plant pots, some found objects or statuary, but privacy screens can also make for some lovely garden art. The uniformity of screens can give an architectural flair to garden art, give a backdrop to particularly cherished or noteworthy plants or demarcate one style of garden plan from another. Depending on the opacity of a pattern, privacy screens can also serve as an attractive trellis for climbing plants.
4. Create Shade
It may sound a little counter-intuitive to use a material that is full of holes as a shade cover, but hear us out. Privacy screens make an excellent shade cover, either as roofing or on windows. As roofing, privacy screens block harsh sunlight and are far more structurally sound and visually appealing than shade cloth. The laser cut patterns also throw beautiful shadows.
Used as window shutters, privacy screens add security and privacy to any space without sacrificing airflow, something in high demand during the sweltering summer months.
5. Make a Feature wall
A single wall painted a different colour can add dimension to a room, making it feel more spacious or more intimate depending on color. A feature wall can draw attention in one’s direction, highlighting art or giving a backdrop to a home entertainment system. Color can demarcate areas in a shared space, such as separating a dining room from a living room in a combined living/dining space. If you have a desire to renovate but don’t have the time or money then a feature wall could be the thing for you as one can give new form and feeling to a room without the need to hire contractors, get council approval and buy new furniture. A single screen can make for a lovely highlight, or multiple screens could make for a vibrant and textural surface.
Painting a wall can be a chore, and not always possible. Renters don’t necessarily have the right to paint a wall, and sometimes the walls themselves aren’t necessarily compatible with a new paint scheme, such as wood panelling or stone. A single screen propped up against a wall can serve a similar purpose to a feature wall, drawing the eye and adding a point of interest to any room.
6. Use a laser Cut Panel to Demarcate Space
With a simple folding screen you can add a home office to a bedroom or loungeroom, separate a living room from a dining room so that conversations actually happen instead of everyone watching TV. Similarly, you can add a private space to a shared bedroom or a reading area to a library. If you live in a studio apartment a room divider can break up the space making it feel more like a home than a single, multi-purpose room.
If you’ve got guests coming over but don’t have time to clean then a room divider can come to your rescue, giving you something to hide your mess behind.
Outside of the house privacy screens can be used to either break up spaces in gardens or add verticality to ground level gardens.
7. Light box Art
Any wall can be made more appealing with a piece of art, but little draws the eye quite as much as a backlit image. Light boxes are typically used by artists for tracery, to overlay images or in the general creation of art, but a light box can be a work of art in and of itself. As with the example above, a backlight streaming through a screen creates a rather stunning contrast between the dark metal and bright pattern.
Light box art is easy to make too – all you need is your cut out panel and a backing that can hold a light. If you don’t want to make a backing box yourself, there are a number of commercial light boxes available. If you’re looking for a new project to work on or want to add some pizazz to a room there are numerous tutorials on how to make a light box online, so why not make a work of light box art?
8. Custom furniture
A simple box spring mattress and base can be transformed into a thing of beauty with a lovely bedhead, and any meal can become an occasion with the right dining table. Maybe your wardrobe needs a new door or could do with a facelift. By looking at privacy screens as a building material rather than a product in and of itself you can let your creativity truly fly.
If you’re interested in a project involving laser cut privacy screens, Be Metal Be has an affordable range of screens and patterns that come pre-oxidised for a unique, organic look and ship to all locations in Australia and the USA.