I recently built a projection screen to go along with my projector. I used to project onto the wall of my apartment, but the walls aren't pure white or perfectly flat. This Instructable will show you how to build a frame, stretch a screen across your frame, and hang the frame on the wall. I ended up with a perfectly flat and white screen. Follow my instructions and with a little care you will end up with an awesome screen.
If you buy everything you need for this project from home depot and the screen from here (minus the tools) it will cost less than $100.
First, a few warnings; hand tools, power tools, saws, and staplers are dangerous. Please follow all the safety information on your tools. The end product of this Instructable is a heavy (~40lb) screen that will hang on your wall. If you have kids or pets make sure the screen is attached to your wall in such a way that they wont be able to pull the screen off the wall.
1 Projection screen approx 110x66
4 10' 2x4
4 90 Degree Brackets
8 Corner Brackets
2 Eye hooks
1 9ft spool of 100lb picture hanging wire
1 200lb picture hanging hook
1 Sheet sandpaper
? 2 1/2 inch wood screws (I didn't count how many I used)
? 1 inch wood screws (I didn't count how many I used)
? Staples for a heavy duty stapler (I didn't count how many I used)
Miter saw and miter box or a motorized miter saw
Heavy duty stapler
Drill or a screwdriver
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Screen Information, Measure Screen, and Pick Dimensions
The screen material that I'm using in this project is blackout cloth. It is a matte white that is very opaque. You might be able to find it in a local fabric shop, but probably not in the size that I'm using. I bought my piece of blackout cloth from Carl's Place. The price was good and shipping was pretty fast.
Lay out your cloth and measure it. My piece of cloth is 110x66" (pic 1).
We are going to build a frame out of 2x4s (which are actually 1.5x3.5), and we want the cloth to wrap all the way around the edge of the 2x4. That means we need our frame to be a minimum of 7 inches less wide and long than the cloth. To be on the safe side we decided to build our frame 100x56.
Step 2: Info About 2x4s and Measureing for the Miter
When you go to the hardware store to buy the wood for this project take your time and carefully pick pieces of wood that are straight, have a very few knots, and smooth unmarred edges. Also remember that 2x4s do not measure 2" x 4" they measure 1.5" x 3.5"
I didn't look closely enough at the wood I bought one of my 2x4s had split a little on the end. (pic 1)
I'm going to miter the corners for the frame. Remember that when making something with mitered corners to measure from the end of the miter.
If you are building a frame the same size as mine you will need two pieces that are 56" with mitered ends and two that are 100" with mitered ends. You will also need to cut two 53" pieces with square ends. (pic 2)
Plan your cuts before you make them. (pic 3)
Step 3: Cut the Miters and Square Ends
I bought a cheap plastic miter box for this project. To make sure that my pieces of wood didn't slip around in the miter box I screwed the miter box onto the wood. (pic 1)
Cut all the miters and square ended pieces of wood. When you are done with this step you should have 6 pieces of wood.
2x 100" with mitered ends
2x 56" with mitered ends
2x 53" without mitered ends
Step 4: Screw It Together!
Lay your four pieces with mitered ends out and make sure everything looks correct (pic 1).
Find the middle of your piece of wood (pic 2). Holding your mitered corner together, hold up the corner bracket and mark the location of your screws (pic 3). Screw the corner bracket into your wood with 1" screws (pic 4). Screw the other side of the bracket into the other piece of wood. Make sure everything is perfectly square (pic 5).
Put brackets on the three remaining corners.
Step 5: 90 Degree Brackets
Make sure that everything is perfectly square.
Line up your 90 degree bracket on the corner (pic 1) and screw it in (pic 2).
Repeat for the remaining three corners.
Step 6: Braces!
Flip your frame over so that the 90 degree brackets are touching the floor.
Measure 33" from the edge and place your braces. The braces need to be set back from the frame so that they aren't visible through the screen. The amount that the braces are set back doesn't matter so, I propped up the frame with DVDs (pic 1). Make sure everything is lined up and set back correctly (pic 2). Use two 2 1/2" inch screws to secure the braces (pic 3).
Step 7: Add Eye Hooks and Hanging Wire
Measure down about 15 inches and screw your eye hooks in (pic 1,2).
Then take your hanging wire and attach it to the eye hooks. Make sure to loop the hanging wire around itself 5 or 6 times (pic 3).
Step 8: Strech the Screen
Take a few minutes and look at all the edges of the wood and make sure there aren't big splinters. Use a piece of sandpaper to smooth any splinters. Take a moment and smooth out the corners so that they aren't so sharp. This will make it easier to stretch the cloth without tearing it.
We will be stretching the cloth over the frame in the same way that an artist would stretch a canvas across a frame. I suggest you take a few minutes and read about canvasstretching. Unlike stretching canvas we don't need to use canvas pliers because the screen cloth is pretty stretchy.
Start out by laying the screen over your frame (make sure you have the 90 degree brackets facing the floor). I used books as weights to help hold the cloth in place (pic 1). Try to get the cloth as tight as possible it will make stapling easier. Make sure that you have an even amount of cloth hanging over each side.
Stretching the cloth correctly takes some time and requires being careful. Take a look at the stapling diagram - it shows you the order to put the first 12 staples in (pic 2). Go ahead and put your first staple in. Then go to staple location 2 and gently but firmly pull the cloth over the edge and staple it. Follow the stapling diagram until you have stapled the first 12 staples. Now go around in approximately the same pattern filling in the largest gaps and pull the cloth taught and staple it down. After every few staples tap the surface of the cloth you should be able to feel it getting tighter. Continue stapling and stretching until the gaps left are only about an inch wide. After that I went around and put staples all the way around the edge of the frame to make sure that it was evenly taut and wrinkle-free.
Now that everything is stretched either tuck the cloth behind the frame and staple it down, or cut it off.
Step 9: Hanging the Screen
My screen weighs about 40lbs (18kg). So, to be on the safe side it I used an OOK Heavy Hold 200. It hangs in drywall and supports up to 200lbs. Alternatively you could screw a hanger directly into a stud.
Follow the instructions on the OOK Heavy Hold 200 package exactly.
Now curve the hanging wire (colored red) off of your frame like in the diagram (pic 1). Get a friend to help you and carefully lift the screen to the height of the hanging hook. Carefully lower the curved hanging wire onto the hanging hook and slowly let the screen down onto the hook. Because the screen is heavy the hanging wire may settle down a little bit.
Get your friend to help you straighten the screen then stand back and admire your work.
Step 10: Samples
These are some pictures I took of my screen. It's really hard to take an accurate picture of a projected image because the way that our eyes see the screen is very different from the way that a camera sees the screen. So, the projected images are edited very slightly to try and make them look as accurate as possible.