Magic Mesh: Does it work?

SEATTLE -- According to the commercial, Magic Mesh, "is so easy to install! No nails! No screws! No tools! Goes up in seconds!"

It's basically a couple of mesh curtain panels with magnets down the middle. You may not need tools, but unless you're 6 feet tall, you'll at least need a ladder, step stool, or sturdy chair.

Each of the panels is 19.5 inches wide for a total of 39 inches. Unfortunately, the door I'm screening is 36 inches in width which means 3 inches too much width on each side of the door.

You have to lay the panels on the floor, line up the magnets down the front then strategically attach 12 strips of hook-and-loop fasteners -- the stuff that's like Velcro -- across the top and outer side of each panel. Then, you press the exposed adhesive on the hook-and-loop fasteners around the door frame. In my case, the panel goes beyond the frame, and onto the house itself. But for the most part, installation is easy.

As for the claim of being hands-free, I had no problem carrying a tray of refreshments through the doorway. The magnets easily separated and reconnected. So technically, it does work. But it's not very attractive if your door doesn't fit the panel size.

And if you don't really clean your door frame, and make sure it's free of all loose or peeling varnish, the adhesive on the hook and loop strips won't stick. In fact the manufacturer even includes -- and recommends -- using about 20 wood tacks to make sure the panels are secured to the door frame.

On a scale of 1 to 4, I give it 2 1/2 stars. Decent function for the price but so-so on construction. It's better than leaving your unscreened door open, but no substitute for a real screen door. And, it's definitely not designed or promoted to increase security.