Introduction: DIY Projection Screen

Picture of DIY Projection Screen

After finding a nice cheap LCD projector I needed a decent projection screen. Here's how I made mine.

Step 1: The Frame and Fabric.

Picture of The Frame and Fabric.

I decided to recycle some lightweight PVC I made a banner stand with a few years ago I didn't need anymore. After assessing the parts I had to play with, I decided on a good large size with roughly a 4:3 aspect ratio. The pieces in white were the only ones I needed to buy new. I also wanted it to be able to break into two pieces for when I move, so there is one half shaped like a square, and another shaped like a "C".

As for the screen material, I went down to Johannes fabric and looked around for the brightest, shiniest fabric I could find. Surprisingly it was the back side of some terrible gold pleather.

Step 2: Tie 'er Down.

Picture of Tie 'er Down.

The fastest and best way I could think of to hold the fabric tight and straight is to tie it down like a drum. I cut little slits every 2.5 inches or so with a razor, then wound string around the pipe and through the holes. I drilled holes in the corners to anchor the string.

Step 3: Ceiling Attachment

Picture of Ceiling Attachment

I opted for something more temporary since I change my mind way too much for my own good. The two top points are able to swivel, allowing the screen to be lifted and locked in an upward position. I have a crappy florescent light in the ceiling which I made hooks attach to.

Step 4: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

All in all, the screen came out really great considering I only spent about $10 on it, plus the recycled parts. It's a vast improvement over the sheet I was projecting on previously.

FYI: it may seem like one side of the screen is longer, but it's not, the projector is just slightly off angle at the time of taking the photos.


Anja Ulfeldt (author)2015-10-07

Hi Bray! I came across this while looking for LCD reuse hacks. Nice work on the screen :)

all thumbs1 (author)2012-04-12

my friend told me to buy high gloss white paint or white board paint and
paint the wall where i want the screen to be. has anyone tried this idea? did it work ok?

all thumbs1 (author)2012-04-12

everyone i couldn't afford grommets and the grommet machine so i put in reinforced button holes with my sewing machine and it has lasted a long time

internethotspot (author)2011-05-15

Projectors have become incredibly cheap at and if you have a spare wall, there is white projector screen paint available to give you a crisp picture. If you create your own screen as in this project, if the material is tight enough you can also use the projector screen paint.

Here is my professional advise on screen paint. If it was really a good alternative to real screen material, then movie theaters would use it. I hate to see people spend hundreds on paint only to find out that the results are less than nice. ProScreens at has a wide range of real screen materials at all different price ranges. You can also find projectors and theater furniture there.

illadelchronic (author)2011-08-13

Doing the holes with a grommet kit is the way to go. My screen has been going strong for a few years now. They can get to be a bit expensive with the number needed for a whole screen, but its well worth the investment.

allandnnn (author)2010-06-01

cheap projector you can find the small children's eyeclops projector on ebay with a little stand for 44.99 right now it comes with a built in speaker and if you saved your nvideo 9500 gt cords you have the s-cable to componet cable to use on your computer also the speaker doesn't get loud so you can go to walmart .com right now and pick up the home theater system for 23.00 all thats left is to make your screen your projector screen size will be 60 inches .not for 1080i or blue ray 

mithandir (author)2009-06-02

A grommet kit can purchased for cheap at any hobby store. This would add even more tear out strength.

Bisquick (author)2008-01-30

I made one for 7.50$ I simply went to the grocery store and got 3 rolls of wax paper, the wider the better, and a roll of black duct tape. You cross hatch the wax paper and sort of weave it together, and then you get a hot iron and sear them together. The duct tape is for the border. then you just have to put 3 hooks in the ceiling, or hole less with really strong stick on Velcro, I used both and they work great.Wax paper is pretty tough especially in a few ply's, and it is extremely cheap and easy to find. I had a problem finding good fabric for cheap at a store, great Idea tho!

jimmy dean (author)Bisquick2009-04-02

Why not use a bed sheet? That's cheap strong material.

RiddleOfSphinx (author)Bisquick2009-02-17

I just read a how-to where they used "curtain backing" for the material. Maybe that would work.

mas9779 (author)Bisquick2008-11-14

hows the picture

Yerboogieman (author)2009-01-04

...Searches craigslist for projectors.

kenn123 (author)2008-10-19

Food for thought I bought a projector a while ago and have been thinking of make a screen, however A. I'm Lazy and B. I'm cheap Even with those wonderful personality traits I think a roller shade (one of those spring loaded roll up window shades) with some dark color fabric adhered to the back would work wonderfully and be i just have to work on the lazy part

aliceaod (author)2008-07-23

Thank you for the inspiration. I made one of these. I used grommets but not as many as this one would have required and where I ran out of grommets, I used white duct tape around the hole to give it extra support, you don't really need that much lacing as it doesn't need to be very tight on the frame. See a video of it here and mine is free standing (we extended the bottom so that it has "legs").

If you need to paint the fabric (as I did, it needed to be silver for my projector), do so BEFORE you put it on the frame. I found that out the hard way. :/

nitram_cero (author)2008-05-17

I can see the Cygwin setup application on his desktop, so he's on the right path (to using linux) : ) (off topic: I have a chaotic destkop like that too, last time I ordered had 600 files... I just pour everything I download there >.<)

Bray (author)nitram_cero2008-05-17

Actually, I usually have an XP box, and a Ubuntu box running side by side.

jeandeau (author)2008-05-02

punch round holes,quarter inch or larger with a paper punch or other punch. Round holes have much greater tearout strength, the larger the better within reason of course and closely spaced as you have done is of course best for performance.

dirtypaper (author)2008-01-24

OK great, now buy a mac so you can display a real Os ;-)

zoundsPadang (author)dirtypaper2008-01-24

oh XP is a "reaI" OS, just not a smart one. ;)

rasta_bhoy (author)zoundsPadang2008-03-07

VISTA!!! ... nah, just kidding

evolution88 (author)2008-03-02

that's one messy desktop :D nice instructable tho! if i'd have the money for a projector, i'd definataly use your instructable. how much did you pay for the projector?

sensoryhouse (author)2008-01-30

nice instructable and nice fricken hair. I will be trying this for sure

canida (author)2008-01-23

I'd suggest grommeting the holes in your screen fabric- it looks like they're trying to tear through. Do you find the screen reflects brightly enough without further treatment?

FrenchCrawler (author)canida2008-01-25

On that note: I'd suggest folding the edges over and then grommeting through the two layers. Makes for a much stronger hold :) PS: Don't leave a fabric screen up during a strong windy day... It seems to act somewhat like a sail and tear (but the grommets held in place). Oh well, I've developed plans for a roll-up version for when summer rolls in, so stay tuned in for that idea :)

jeffczyz (author)2008-01-24

Not a bad setup. When I first bought my projector I made a screen and used Drapery cloth. I ended up getting 4 pines boards, might cut them and stretched the draper fabric around the frame like a painting canvas. The made for a nice tight screen and made it easy to hang as well.

To finish if off I put black felt around the outside borders to hide any light spill. The whole project cost me less than $40.

If I get around to it I may post some pictures I took during the process on my Home Theater website:


GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-23

Awesome! I should make it tearable, so when I have a party, we play Guitar Hero or something, and I jump out with a gorilla suit... that would be cool. Nice job!

Bray (author)GorillazMiko2008-01-23

CHRIST, Why didn't I think of that!? =)

GorillazMiko (author)Bray2008-01-23

Haha, try it. I would like to see a video, if you do it. ;-)

A video of which; jumping through the screen, or shaving? Btw, my sister's ex-husband once made an 8mm film entitled, "Shit, Shower, Shave"...

darkmuskrat (author)GorillazMiko2008-01-23

Through the fire and the Holy God A Giant APE!!!

GorillazMiko (author)darkmuskrat2008-01-23

Haha! Or when they bust in Mosh 1 on Raining Blood on expert (Guitar Hero III), they are trying to do all those hammer ons and then RAWR!!! They throw the controller at you, and run like heck.

joegeek (author)Bray2008-01-24

CHRIST!, is that the GIECO Caveman! Cool idea but I would have put the caption "DIY Projection screen - So easy a caveman can make it!"

Bray (author)joegeek2008-01-24

haha... yeah, it might be time for me to shave again.

incorrigible packrat (author)2008-01-24

A quicker and probably cheaper alternative might be an old slide projector screen. Way back, (in the day, if you so choose) people would gather round in darkened rooms, viewing their crappy photos, that were taken with slide film. Some purchased a roll-up folding screen on which to view the projections (probably used 'em for 8mm pornos too!) Scouring thrift stores, craigslist and the like might yield one of these screens. I get them at my dump fairly regularly. (pun not originally intended) Bonuses (bonii?): 1) Most screens roll up and the stands fold up, as previously mentioned, for portability. One could get a big cardboard tube (carpet roll perhaps?) in which to store or transport the screen, possibly even making the tube look like a Bazooka, giant phallus, big yellow joint, or long tubular object of choice. 2) The screens have ground glass, or some such sparkly substance, on 'em, to increase reflectivity. If one still chooses the "stretched bearskin" look, folding a 1" or so flap of each side over some rope, and sewing it down, would provide better reinforcement than grommetizing or ducky tape.

Patrik (author)2008-01-23

Nice work! Yeah, grommets would be a good alternative to cutting slits into the material. For that matter, just poking holes with a fat leather needle would be much better than cutting actual slits (you can buy the needle at the same place you bought the pleather). For a more hardcore DIY look, you could also reinforce the edges of the material with duct tape before you cut/poke/grommet them. ;-)

Bray (author)Patrik2008-01-23

Very true about the grommets, that would have made the fabric last longer. Actually, the main reason I didn't put more effort into this step was because I didn't think of grommets or the needle while at the store, and also I had scuffed up a few small spots on it while putting up a temporary screen a week prior so I didn't really think it would make it into the final product. Hah, shows what I know.

dchall8 (author)2008-01-23

Very nice job. Good attention to the detail in the pictures. Chances are you used nylon string, and chances are if you did not pull it tight it will last a good long time. But if you had to pull it tight to get the wrinkles out, the nylon string with stretch and the wrinkles will be back. A better alternative is anything else but nylon or polypropylene. Hemp, cotton, and polyester (Dacron) will be much more reliable. Dacron string is hard to find, but it would be best. Check furniture upholstery supply shops, or just use kite string.

Yellow84 (author)2008-01-23

That's awesome, we just ordered a really nice projector 7 ft tall and 9 ft long but the screen still hasn't came (everything takes a while in France) so if it doesn't come soon ill try this. Great Instructable too!

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