A Homemade Foam Core Screen to Block the Sun or Define a Space

In my top floor space, the scorching temperatures have been pushing me to find non-electric ways of cooling the place down to mitigate air conditioner use. When the sun blasts into my space in the late afternoon, raising the temperature and pushing me to turn up my AC’s, I reluctantly pull down the honeycomb shades on the window to block the lovely view completely. The terrace door is the only glass that has no window treatment; in desperation I sought short-term ways to block the ferocious sun.

I turned to the material that seemed most likely to provide insulation: foam core leftover from the many life-size prototypes I’ve built from it to visualize projects like my bookshelf wall bed

Sally Schneider

…and a new refrigerator cabinet, after my previous one got wrecked in a flood (I still haven’t had the replacement made but I know what it will look like…)

Sally Schneider

Foam Core is wonderful stuff: lightweight and sturdy.  I buy it in big 96-x-48-1/2-inch sheets at the local art store. It is easy to cut with my trusty Olfa utility knife.

Sally Schneider

So I went to work, cutting three 12-inch-wide vertical panels to the height of the terrace door.  Then I pushed two of them side-by-side and applied white artist’s tape along the seam, so they would form a fold. I taped the third panel so that it would fold in the opposite direction, to make a standing screen. It looks a little like the shutters used in hot, tropical countries to block the midday sun.

I used a Digi instant-read thermometer to take the temperature in the room and in the space between the Foam Core screen and the door; it showed a difference of fifteen degrees, a significant amount. My space has been noticeably cooler.

There are lots of ways to innovate on this simple screen idea: add additional panels, make them wider.  I once made a terrific room partition by taping two full 96-x-28-inch sheets together…

3 Responses to A Homemade Foam Core Screen to Block the Sun or Define a Space

  1. EllenRocco 07.30.2019 at 8:49am #

    Wow! 15 degrees IS a lot. What a clever soul you are. Lucky for all of us, your devoted IL followers!

  2. Ann 07.30.2019 at 1:20pm #

    What a great solution! I didn’t know that foam core came that big. I may have to make myself a room divider to block off unused areas while running the air conditioner. If you want added insulating properties, you could line one side of the foam core with bubble wrap. Or use two layers of foam core. And, if you want to get fancy (and need to see the outdoors), cut a “window” in the foam core and line it with heavy clear plastic. That section won’t insulate as much but it may be worth it to get a glimpse of the outdoors.

  3. Sally Schneider 08.05.2019 at 11:39am #

    Foam Core is amazing stuff. One caveat though: getting 8′ x 4′ sheets home from the store can be a challenge. When I’ve walked them home, they act like a sail catching the wind….

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