Introduction: 5 Minute Cheap and Easy Rear Projection Screen
Looking for a new way to decorate for the holidays? This projection screen is great for Halloween, Christmas, New Years, 4th of July, just about any holiday you want to make cooler!
We use this projection screen in our front window at home as well as at my husbands work (makes for a great eye catcher right on main street).
With 5 minutes and a few dollars worth of supplies, this is a great project that really makes holidays and special occasions fun. We are entering this into the halloween contest, please vote for us!
Step 1: Materials Needed
- Frosted Shower Liner - Any vinyl frosted shower curtain liner will work. Don't need to break the bank, I think the one I use in the video cost a few dollars from Walmart, no need to splurge on extra heavy duty here.
- Shower Tension Rod - We use the adjustable shower tension rod to hang it from our window, it is cheep and adjustable making it very quick to hang up the screen in a varying range of windows.
- Duct Tape - You could use any other tape too, but this stuff is pretty common and sticks great. I had white colored on hand, but of course the color doesn't matter (standard grey should work fine). You could even use some glue, but you would have to wait for it dry which would make this a longer project.
- Scissors - Just need some scissors to trim the shower liner to the right width.
Step 2: Measure Rod
This is easy with the adjustable rod (no need to even bother with a measuring tape), just grab the rod and extend it out to the correct length for your chosen window. Most of these rods twist in the center to allow for adjustment, and then twist back the other way to lock it in place. I just put the rod in the window, got the size, and then took it down to my work area to move onto the next step.
Step 3: Shower Liner Measure
Once you have the rod length, lay it on the ground and lay your shower liner by it. You will want to lay the liner out so that it is at the beginning of the end caps. We don't want to have the liner go over the end caps as it makes it hard to maneuver the rod into position when hanging it up. Once you have the shower liner placed where it needs to go, snip the top with your scissors to mark where the cut needs to go.
Step 4: Cut Shower Liner
Once you have your cut marked, just cut all the way down the shower liner as straight as you can. I didn't bother with a ruler or marking, I just eye balled it. As long as you don't go crazy, it will be fine.
Step 5: Attach Shower Liner to Rod
Once the shower liner is cut to the correct width, fold the top over the rod and then tape it down. You don't want it too be too tight (you may want to remove the rod later for storage, so just enough to be able to slip the rod out of the top if desired). Make sure and press the tape down securely to ensure it will stay in place.
Step 6: Hang Your Screen
Once you have that finished, hang the new screen in your window. You can weigh down the corners if you need to so the screen doesn't flap or move (we just threw some remotes and game controllers that were laying around on either corner of the sill to hold it in place). You'll also notice that the screen has some creases and wrinkles from being folded up at the store. You can get rid of these if they bother you by grabbing a hair dryer and running it over the screen while it is hanging. Letting it hand in the window during the day with sun shining through it would also help. You could also toss the shower liner in your clothes dryer for 10 - 15 minutes before you tape it, to heat the vinyl up so it will smooth out when hung. If you use the screen for a while, gravity will take care of it after a while too.
Step 7: Setup Your Projector
We just have a cheap LED projector that is made for iphones and video games. It is only 200 lumen (that is how bright the lamp is). The brighter your lamp, usually the better your picture in even lit rooms (our room has to be pretty dark for the best results). But that being said, even with our toy projector, the effect is great. As you can see in the video, our neighbor has their porch light on, and the screen is still very visible.
We just have the projector hooked up to our ipad, and we use an app called LoopVideoPlayer (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/loopvideoplayer-vi... It works ok (it just loops a single video over and over, I wish you could set a play list to loop since we have more than one video, but I got around that by making a single video file of all of our loops, so I play that over and over again with the ipad). A computer with a media player works great too. We have our projector sitting on a step ladder across the room, and it is just about perfect. If we needed, we could put objects like books etc under the projector to reach the desired position, but in our house this works fine.
Since the projector is wide screen (16:9) ratio, I have just centered the projection in the middle of the window, with overlap occurring on the right and left of the screen. I was ok with this since I wanted it to be a bit bigger, and most of the action on the loops happens in the center of the screen.
Step 8: Holiday Video Loops
As we mentioned, we use this for lots of different holidays (at our home and at a business). There are lots of videos available, and many of them are even free. I will list a few of the ones that we have found that work out great for us:
- AtmosFEARfx - http://atmosfearfx.com/decorations - These are not free, but they are high quality and they have lots of different videos to choose from to suit a wide range of tastes (from family friendly to scary/gory).
- CMStudios - http://cmssix.com/free-halloween-projections/proje... - This site has lots of free high quality halloween loops (including the slimer one from my video), all you have to do is register with the site for free. He does sell some of his videos, but he has most of them for free, so it's worth taking a minute to register to download his great videos (he did a great job on many of them, the lab one is a great one from his site to check out).
- Hallowindow - http://hallowindow.com/ - Another site that sells halloween loops, they are nice (I like the atmosfearfx ones better, but these are cheaper and they have some nice ones still).
- Youtube - http://youtube.com/ - If you search youtube for things like "Halloween Loop", you can find some really nice videos that people have created, and with simple youtube rippers and video editors, you can then customize and personalize the videos for your needs (we have added "Happy Halloween from ENTER YOUR BUSINESS NAME HERE" type messages with these.
- Virtual Santa - http://www.christmaslightshow.com/Virtual-Santa-wi... - They have a few different videos available of santa wandering around your house and unpacking presents, eating cookies, etc... They also have other video's of Mrs. Clause too (I don't have that one, I only have the main one of santa).
- Santa At My Window - Another santa loop, cheesier than the one above, but I actually used this one more (the one above ended up feeling more like a doddering old man roaming around my house than santa, but to each their own).
- AtmosCHEERfx - http://atmoscheerfx.com/ - The same guys who do the AtmosFEARfx have some holiday themed videos too. I don't have these (they looked a little too computer generated for my liking, but they do still look nice). Seem to have a few different santa themes.
- Hallowindow - http://atmoscheerfx.com/ - These guys also offer a few holiday themed videos, I don't own any of them, but they look nice.
- Youtube - http://youtube.com/ - Same thing as noted above, search youtube for "Holiday Loop" or "Christmas Loop" and you will find some really nice videos that can be used for customized messages.
We also use this setup for 4th of July, New Years, parties, etc... We have paired our ipad to a bluetooth speaker so that we can even have sound outside for some of these (really good with the Halloween videos).
If you know of any other great holiday loops that I have missed, please add them to the comments as I'm always on the lookout for great videos to add to our projection library. And if you enjoyed this instructable, please vote for us, thanks!