Step 9: Paint Test

If you end up doing a DIY screen I highly recommend doing a paint test so you can decide the best fit for your projector, your room, and the amount of light you tend to have while watching something. I performed a test by painting three sections on the wall itself. The paint on the left was practically white while the other two were different shades of grey. The projected light won't act exactly the same on the drywall as the finished screen, but it's still a decent test. Vary your test material (bright sports footage, dark horror movies, etc) and vary your room lighting.

I decided on using Behr Silver Screen flat indoor latex (the darker shade I tested on the right). This shade is a good comprise between decent brightness, and reduced ambient reflection for good contrast even when the room lights are up a fair amount.

When I built my screen, I started with a 4x8 sheet of what is called "form ply" or Medium Density Overlay plywood. It is an exterior plywood that has a layer of resin-impregnated paper on one or both sides; used to make roadsigns or reusable concrete forms. It would mean that you would then have the backer board required for stiffness, but not need the bed sheet. Would save about $40 off your materials cost. Projector Central recommended an untinted white semi-closs as the best choice for paint (much cheaper than the Silver Screen), and I used a short-nap roller like you did, sanding between coats. The screen size is 2.00:1, but you could trim it to be 16:9 if you wanted to. The MDO is best at 3/4" thickness (doesn't even need a frame), but I used 3/8" with a dadoed 2x3 frame all around for less weight. Bonus: I can mount it outside for our backyard movies because it is weather-resistant! (The photo is my daughter's "drive-in movie" birthday party.)
<p>Nice idea. You'd be constrained to a 48&quot; vertical height but it would be handy for a portable screen as you've said.</p>
I'll be making my screen next week. I am a little confused on how you connect the trim to the frame (step 12). Any chance you can give a few more details on the size of the L brackets, how many you used, and how you attached them to the screen? Thanks!
There's certainly room to improvise when you get to this point, but here's what I did: I think I was unhappy with using just a few brackets in 6-8 locations - the trim didn't hug the screen well enough all around - so I actually ended up using lengths of L-shaped molding (i.e. wood trim). I screwed the molding to the screen edge (through the wrapped fabric), then attached the facing trim to that.
Here's a look edge-on from the side of how it came together.
Great instructable. We just decided we wanted to put a home theater system in our basement. We already have the projector and have hired people to do the <a href="http://connectav.net" rel="nofollow">home audio installations</a>. Now we just need a screen. We are going to have to try this! Thanks.
Very crisp and clean.... My wife and I are looking into doing the same project. My mother-in-law goes to goodwill all the time and gives us these really big picture frames with glass. Instead of hurting her feelings and throwing them out, i was wondering that since the glass is a very flat surface with no imperfections. Can't I just paint over that with behr silver screen paint?........any feedback would be great <br><br><br>Thanks
Sounds like it's worth a shot! You'll save yourself a lot of effort of (not) building the frame and stretching the fabric if you like the result. <br><br>I think the glass might actually be too smooth, though. The texture of fabric (even it feels smooth) has a nice quality when light hits it. The painted glass may show more of a hotspot (bright spot) effect - especially if your projector is prone to uneven brightness. Then again, if you apply the paint with a fine nap roller, it might give it the right amount of texture to prevent too harsh a reflection.<br><br>Good luck and good viewing!
Nice DIY write-up... I'll be using your tips when I build my screen next Summer upon my return from military service overseas... Cheers! Doc Rings Okinawa

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Bio: Web developer by day. Gamer by night. Halloween fanatic and DIYer, all the time! My projects tend to combine pop culture, technology, and craftsmanship to ... More »
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