Home Theater Screen, 3 Different Ways (High Quality + Low $$)

Introduction: Home Theater Screen, 3 Different Ways (High Quality + Low $$)

This is my first real intractable so pardon the wording and layout.

I have had 5 different home theaters in my life. All of which i have made screens for. I have also made screens for friends and family member. I have tested over 40 different screens and screen materials. This is an instructables on my more recent screen builds. I show 3 different ways of setting up your screen. (The one shown above is the four corner stretch)

The screen is just as important as the projector or even the sound system. Without a good quality screen your nice projector is being wasted. I have always built my screens. BUYING ONE IS A WASTE!! You can get better quality and a custom fit and look, by making it yourself. The best part of this is that it is a lot cheaper (around $40) and it is quite simple to make.

I show 3 different ways of setting up your screen.

They are:

Four corner stretch (shown above)

Pro - Best for quick set up and pull down, resizable

Con - Limits your picture size (you lose a lot on the sides, top and bottom)

Two side stretch

Pro - Easy set up and pull down, resizable, larger picture size edge to edge,

Con - doesn't look as clean as Frame

Frame technique (I will not be showing this one, but i will explain it)

Pro - Clean professional look and full picture fit

Con - Hard to move, can't resize

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Step 1: Materials

The screen material is the most important part. Crappy material and the screen will be crappy

I have paid for expensive real screen material and I have tried random recommended "diy" screen material.

The material I am recommending is by far the best diy material and quite frankly I think it looks better and is easier to work with then the $100+ material. The amount of material you get depends on the size of your screen but since it is 4 way stretch spandex you can get away with some play. I got 2 yards and that was enough. I wouldn't get less then a yard unless you are planning on a small screen.

Screen color: This is a good thing to think about. There a three basic colors for screens: white, gray and black. The only time you would ever use black is if you have a very bright projector with high contrast and a pitch black room. White is what most people go with (I think its because what people think of when they think of a screen) I am not a huge fan of white. Its great for getting bright white but you lose your rich blacks unless you have a very very dark room. I really like to use gray. It is a great middle point to get good bright whites and keep your rich blacks. It's good for dark rooms and lighter rooms. If you don't know just order a sample of each, sometimes they give them out for free.

Since i am showing 3 ways of setting up your screen, materials and costs will vary. Again I am not "showing" you the framing technique, just explaining it.

For 4 way stretch you will need:

2 yards of screen material http://spandexworld.com/c3/catalog/product/10921 ($21 w/ shipping)

Paracord or strong string ($3)

4 i screws (already had them)

For Two side stretch you will need:

2 yards of screen material http://spandexworld.com/c3/catalog/product/10921 ($21 w/ shipping)

Paracord or strong string ($3) 4 i screws (already had them)

Steel piping (size depends on the height you want your screen to be)

For Framing technique you will need:

2 yards of screen material http://spandexworld.com/c3/catalog/product/10921 ($21 w/ shipping)

2 x 4 wood (amount depends on size)

A saw that can cut at 45 degree angle

Step 2: Pick Where You Want Your Screen

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when picking where you want your screen.

It can be in a corner!!

Do you have enough distance from your projector? (there are lots of calculators online)

Do you have a good place for your projector and other entertainment systems?

How sunny is the room? (this is a big factor, you want a pretty dark room or at least thick curtains)

if your not doing the frame tech. then you need to find studs for the four corners of the screen.

Step 3: The Material

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART! I can not stress that more.

When you get it make sure you handle it with care. Clean hands, clean work space, There will be cresses in it but don't worry when stretched they will go away.

Step 4: 4 Corner Stretch

1. Tie a knot in each corner. This will act as an anchor because this is where the most stress is and most likely to rip or slip.

2. After you tie the knots, take some of your string and tie it around the screen side of the knot.

3. Project your image onto the wall and mark about 1-2 feet diagonal from the corners. This is because when stretched the screen between the corners bows in and you need to compensate for that

4. Screw your eye screws into your marks. If it is in dry wall make sure you use dry wall screw caps or instead of eye screws I have used those dry wall monkey hooks but make sure they are the heavy duty ones ( 50 lbs at least).

5. Lastly you need to tie your four corners to your four screws. Make sure the smooth side of the screen is out!!

6. Enjoy your movies!!

Step 5: Two Side Stretch

1. Tie a knot in each corner. This will act as an anchor because this is where the most stress is and most likely to rip or slip.
2. Lay out your "cut" or height edges of your screen and make inch and half cuts every 7 or so inches on both the left and right side.

3. Then feed the pipe in and out (like hand sewing) of your slits.

4. There are two ways to do this next part. It depends on your screen size and pipe size.

Make sure smooth side is out

A. Feed a different string threw the pipe and tie that tight to the top and bottom screws. Then tie your corners to the four screws.

B. Tie a string around the top knotted corner then feed the string threw the pipe and tie it tight around the bottom knotted corner. Then hook or tie the corners to the screws.

5. Line up your projector and enjoy!!

Step 6: Frame

I am hoping to make one my self within the next year and then I can put up pictures and I might make a video. If my steps below are a little confusing I am including a link to a video that is how to make a canvas frame (It is pretty much exactly the same except for attaching the screen material.


1. Measure your space and project your image onto it if you can. Measure the image size from bottom left to top right (of vice versa). If you can do this then there are a lot of online calculators. Here is one I like to use http://www.projectorcentral.com/projection-calculator-pro.cfm .

2. Your image size and shape will be the size and shape of your frame and there for your screen.

3. Buy STRAIGHT 2x4's long enough for each side

4. Cut your 2x4 at 45 degree angles so that the point of the angle is the corner to corner measurement of your correlating "image" side. (You can either cut on the 2" or 4" side, kinda up to you) Repeat for all sides.

5. If you are making a huge screen you might want to put corner supports and/ or a center support 2x4 from top to bottom.

You will need two people for this!

6. A. Lay out your screen material with the smooth side away from you or down.

B.Next lay your frame over it (frame should be much bigger then screen material)

C. Take the middle of one side and wrap it around the frame and put two stapes about two inches apart.

D. Then wrap around one half of that side and put staples every 3-4 inches starting from the middle. Leave the corners for now.

E. Repeat on other half.

F. Repeat C-E on opposite side.

**Make sure the other person is helping to stretch the material around the frame while you staple. Make sure you don't let got of the screen after you do the middle staples or your screen may rip at the two stapes.**

G. Repeat C-F of other two sides.

H. Now the corners. On one corner pull the very corner and wrap the material around the corner and put one staple right in the middle.

I. grab one side of the excise and pull and fold over the staple you just did and put 1-2 staples closer to the edge of where that piece wraps around your frame. and repeat with other half.

J. Repeat on each corner

K. Cut your extra screen material

L. You should be able to hang your frame like any picture its just a bit larger. Make sure you line up your projector before hanging.

Extra: You can add a very nice looking "frame," by using crown molding, 1x2 boards that are painted (maybe routered), or real picture frame molding. Simply cut to length and air nail to over lap your screen frame by 2 inches. This makes your screen look very professional and if painted black can hide some image alinement crimes.

Step 7: ENJOY!

I hope this can help you please show me some photos if you choose to try it out for yourself!

P.s. I entered this into the guerilla design contest, so if you liked this instructables PLEASE vote for it!

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    4 years ago

    Clearly you have not used a quality screen.