If you want the best and clearest images out of your projector, you’ll need a projector screen. Projector screens are just as important as projectors.
If you can’t have one without the other, then there’s a problem. You’ll have to get both. You’ll have to spend so much more.
What if you can’t afford it? Or, you’re not willing to pay that much? Do you give up on projector screens and try to enjoy hazy projector images?
Of course not!
Instead, why not make your own projector screen? Yes, you certainly can!
Here, you’ll learn 5 DIY ways to make a projector screen at home. These 5 ways are going to cost so much less than buying a high-quality projector screen.
So let’s get straight to it.
- Projector Screen Paint
- Projector Screen Material + Wood Frame
- Projector Screen Material + PVC Frame
- Blackout Cloth + Cardboard Frames
- Shower Curtain or Sheet
Projector Screen Paint
There are now projector screen paints that allow you to enjoy HD images on the wall. (Read more: What is the Best Paint for Projector Screen Wall? )
But you might be wondering. What’s the difference between wall paint and projector screen paint? What makes one projector’s display terrible and the other crisp and clear?
This is because both serve different purposes. Projector screen paint was formulated with the very idea of projecting images. Wall paint, on the other hand, works to add color to the walls.
Projector screen paint’s finish is between glossy and matte, balancing the light reflection and absorption. Wall paint is usually just glossy. Projector screen paint has a very smooth texture, while wall paint is rather rough.
You see, there are all kinds of differences between projector screen paint and wall paint.
So now that we’ve got that out of the way. Let’s show you how you can apply projector screen paint onto your walls.
Step 1. Prepare the Wall
You don’t apply the paint right away. You’ll first need to prepare your wall. The results of wall preparation should be a smooth surface that has the right color.
To make the wall smooth, sand all the crevices. You can tell when you’ve removed all the crevices and bumps by flashing a light across the wall on one side. If the light doesn’t show lumps, then your wall is ready to go.
What if your wall is dark and your projector screen paint is white? You’ll need to have the right background color to avoid wall discoloration.
This isn’t complicated. Simply add a layer of primer to get the colors right.
Step 2. Measure the Borders
Of course, you’ll need to know exactly where to apply the projector screen paint.
To make this task easier, flash the projector onto the wall. Trace its display borders with a marker.
After that, place masking or duct tape on the borders that you marked out. This is so you can paint the area without worrying about paint smudges outside the borders.
If you want, you can paint the whole wall with projector screen paint. But this has some downsides.
For one, you won’t have a clear border when displaying your images. And also, you’re going to have a whole lot of sanding to do.
Step 3. Prepare Your Paint
If you’ve got a mixture of projector screen paint, then now is the time to get mixing. Put the right amount of paint mixture and mix it well. If you do it right, you’ll get the best projector screen paint results.
If you have an already-mixed projector screen paint, you can skip this step.
Step 4. Paint Your Wall
Now it’s time for the fun part! It’s time to paint the wall!
You should be careful of 2 common mistakes, though.
The first one is the paint distribution. You don’t want darker areas here and lighter areas there. Be careful to even out the paint.
The second is the layers or coatings. Don’t be impatient. Wait for the paint to dry out before you add another layer or coating. If you do this, you’ll have solid paint that keeps its translucency.
When you finish this step, you can now enjoy your DIY projector screen.
Projector Screen Material + Wood Frame
Why buy an expensive projector screen when you can build your own? It’s not only much cheaper, but you’ll also enjoy a great DIY project.
We’ll take you through this process step by step.
But before we get to that, here are the materials you’ll need.
- 1x4 wood pieces. How much wood you need depends on the size of your screen.
- Corner brackets. This isn’t necessary but it does give stronger support to the frame edges.
- Projector screen material. Yes, you can find projector screen material for sale.
- Felt tape. This is to add a black border to the screen for image enhancement.
Once you have all that, you can get started.
Step 1. Build the Frame
When making the frame, measurement is so important. Get it right before doing anything else.
If you’re sure about the measurement, start cutting your 1x4 wood pieces to the sizes you need. Two long ones for the width. 3 shorter ones for height. The third one should go to the center for more frame support.
Then, drill 3 pocket holes on the ends of the 3 shorter wood pieces. You are now ready to assemble it.
To assemble the frame, clamp the wood pieces together. Place pocket screws through the pocket holes. The pocket screws are strong enough to hold the wood pieces as one, creating a sturdy frame.
To top it all off, screw the corner brackets on the corners of the frame. You can also add a T-shape bracket for the center wood piece.
These brackets aren’t necessary but they provide rigidity to your frame. This avoids the frame from flexing and causing your screen to wrinkle.
Another optional thing is to add back band trims around the frame. But this doesn’t do much except make it look fancier.
Step 2. Make the Cleat
How are you planning on mounting your screen to the wall? One of the easiest ways is with a wooden fringe cleat.
To make it, get some scrap wood and cut it down the center at a 45-degree angle. One half will be for the screen, while the other is for the wall.
Place the first half of the wooden cleat at the back of the top center of your screen. Screw it in. Use long screws so that you can get it through the wooden frame.
Now that you’ve added a wooden cleat at the top, your frame won’t be flat when you place it on the wall. The top will bulge out. To avoid this, screw in extra wooden blocks to the bottom edges to make it even.
You can attach the other cleat to the wall in the same way, this time, with even longer screws. Always screw it on studs, the structure that supports the drywalls. And always, always make sure to level both cleats.
When you’re done with that, you’ll see that the cleat in the screen forms a sort of hook that’ll grab onto the cleat on the wall.
Step 3. Install the Projector Screen Material
It’s time for the final step of your DIY screen project. This step requires the most care, you don’t want to do anything that’ll crease your screen material.
Lay the screen material out on the frame. Use a stapler to stick the screen material to the frame.
You should follow a star pattern when stapling. Start at the centers of the top, bottom, and sides before you staple the edges. Take your time, making sure to smooth out all wrinkles as you go.
If there’s excess material hanging out, then cut it off with a knife or scissor.
Finally, add the felt tape along the borders. Don’t pull on it too hard, though, because that might create wrinkles or overstretch the tape that it slings back.
If you’re adding a back band trim, you can screw it in after you stick the felt tape.
There you have it. Your very own projector screen is ready. It’s very straightforward to make.
Projector Screen Material + PVC Frame
Using projector screen material with a PVC frame is great because you can move it around thanks to its legs.
Here’s how you can make that.
You’ll need these PVC materials. One 8ft. pipe, four 4ft. pipes, nine 2ft. pipes. For the PVC joints, you’ll need 2 elbow joints, 6 T-joins, and 6 end caps.
Step 1. Build the Frame
For the top, use the 8ft. pipe. Insert elbow joints on each edge.
Attach one 4ft. pipe to each elbow joint. At the bottom of those 4ft. pipes, attach T-joints.
Get the other two 4ft. pipes and attach it to the T-joints horizontally. Connect those two pipes at the bottom of the frame with another T-joint.
So you should have a rectangular frame with T-joints at the bottom opening-up for the legs.
It’s as easy as that to make a frame out of PVC.
Step 2. Build the Legs
You’ll need to make 3 legs to hold up the frame.
Use yet another T-joint and insert 2ft. pipes on every end. Insert the PVC end caps on the 2ft. pipes that are horizontal. The leg should look like an upside-down T when finished.
Make two more of this and you’re ready to connect the legs to the frame. To do this, connect the vertical part of the leg to the opened T-joints at the bottom of the frame.
Step 3. Install the Projector Screen Material
You can do this in two ways.
You can cut the material an inch shorter than the frame size. Add felt tape for borders. Bore holes on the edges of the material and add fabric grommets.
To install the screen to the frame, insert cable ties to the holes. Secure it to the frame until wrinkles or creases are gone.
Another way you can install your projector screen material is to make it into a pillowcase.
For this, you’ll need a long projector screen material. Fold it in half. Sew the edges. Or you can add safety pins to stick them together if you don’t know how to sew.
Install the screen material like a pillowcase to the PVC frame.
You’ll have a great projector screen that you can move anywhere you want, indoors or outdoors.
Blackout Cloth + Cardboard Frames
If you want to go even cheaper with your screen and frame, then go for blackout cloth with a cardboard frame.
Yes, it’s very possible to make a frame out of cardboard!
Step 1. Build the Frame
The kind of cardboard you’ll need is like the cardboard that comes with actual projector screens. Long and hollowed. The downside is that these types of cardboards might be hard to find.
Set the cardboards up like the wood frame. A long top and bottom with shorter cardboards in the sides and center.
To stick them together, wrap a strong tape around the cardboard edges. As always, you can add flat brackets for more support.
Step 2. Install the Blackout Cloth
Blackout cloth is perfect for projected images. The blackness absorbs ambient light to make the colors pop out more. And the best part is that it costs much less than the projector screen material.
We didn’t mention this before, but while we’re at the topic, we will. You can switch projector screen material for blackout cloth anytime.
Lay the blackout cloth on the cardboard frame. Make sure the cloth is longer than the frame. This is so you can fold it and tape it in place.
You shouldn’t mount this type of DIY projector screen. The cardboard is not strong enough to hold it up. Instead, lean it against the wall or any surface.
Shower Curtain or Sheet
If you’re not into big and creative DIY projects, then this is perfect for you. Not only that, but this projector screen is the most affordable.
All you’ll need is a shower curtain or some sheets and tough and clear mounting tape.
If you use sheets, try as much as possible to go for the thicker ones. If that’s not possible, you can sew layers of thin sheets together. This is because, if the sheet is too thin, the projector’s light can go through it.
Step 1. Stick the Tough and Clear Mounting Tape
Get an idea of how big you want your screen to be. When you have your measurements, stick the mounting tape on the “borders” of your screen.
Tough and clear mounting tape is a double-stick tape. So you can stick it at the back and attach something on the front. In this case, the back sticks to your surface and the front sticks to the shower curtain or sheet.
Step 2. Stick the Shower Curtain or Sheet
For the first side, remove the tape backing and press your shower curtain or sheet to it. When you finish with that, remove the tape’s backing on the other side and do the same. Finally, do the top and then the bottom.
You don’t want to remove all the tape’s backing first and then stick the shower curtain or sheet. If you do this, the tape might not be sticky anymore.
It’s a good idea to stick the tapes farther away from the actual screen measurement. With this, you can stretch the shower curtain or sheet to avoid wrinkles.
If your shower curtain or sheet is too long, then cut any excess off.
Step 3. Add Borders
If you want to go very cheap with the borders, use scrubbing pads.
Glue these scrubbing pads along the borders. You can spray paint it if you want black borders.
We can say that this is the easiest and cheapest way to make a projector screen.
It’s very possible to make your own projector screen!
If you do, you don’t have to spend so much on high-quality screens. Plus, you get to enjoy a fun DIY project that can improve your creativity.
So choose your favorite of the 5 and start creating!