DIY Fixed Frame Projection Screen
To get started, here's a couple of random pictures I took of what the finished product looks like and what the image looks like when projecting. I have a Epson 2040 projector and this is on the Cinema setting which is the lowest brightness.
I'll try and take some better pictures at some point.
Before anything else, if you want to avoid all the trouble & fun of building your own screen, you can purchase a ready made screen and I highly recommend the Silver Tickets Products ones. http://silverticketproducts.com/
I did a lot of research and this one came out by far the most highly recommended and I saw one in action and it is a very impressive screen. Wirecutter also recommends this screen. http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-projector-screen/
So why didn't you get one, you may ask? The reason was that it wasn't in my budget as this was my first projector and the "Boss" would have gone mental if I had bought a screen as well as the projector all in one go.
Ok, so you've decided that you're going to build your own screen because you're a masochist and enjoy the pain of building things and trust me there will be pain! LOL!
1. Calculating Dimensions & Size
First thing you need to do is calculate the size of the screen. Here's a calculator that I found randomly on Google. http://www.projectorscreen.com/projecto ... alculators You can also use the Epson calculator https://www.epson.com/alf_upload/landin ... alculator/ I went with a 120" diagonal screen.
My screen is 120" diagonal which gives me a Viewable Height of 58.875" and Viewable Width of 104.625" (please note here that I am talking about Viewable Height and Viewable Width. This is not the actual height and width of your frame.)
2. Choosing Screen Materials
Once you have your dimensions, you have to decide on which material to use. I used Black-Out Cloth as it doesn't allow any light to pass through and has about a gain of 1.0 which is ample for bright Epson projectors. You can also use Vinyl Cloth which gives you a very bright picture but will allow some light to go through. Both of these materials are stretchy which will become important later on when you are trying to fasten the material to your frame.
If your screen is smaller than 106" diagonal, you can pick up Black-Out Cloth from Fabricland for about $5-$10/metre. They do have more expensive ones but you don't need those. This material is 54" wide.
If your screen is 110" to 120" diagonal, you can buy the Vinyl Cloth from Fabricland as an alternative as it is 60" wide.
For any screen larger than 106" using Black-Out Cloth built from locally sourced materials, you have to use material that is 110" wide. This is available from Drapery King Toronto for about $25/metre. http://draperytoronto.com/ This material will allow you to build a screen up to 225" diagonal. Alternatively, you can rotate the material and build a screen that is 125" diagonal by using the 110" wide side as your length instead of your height. (Hope that makes sense!)
Alternatively, you can order custom sized materials from the US http://www.carlofet.com/ and they start to become a lot more expensive and it will be cheaper to just buy a ready made screen. I also looked at certain custom boards and other materials and even managed to source Glass Sand-Blasting beads from Home Depot In the US but in the end all those options were a lot more expensive or labour-intensive and it simply didn't make sense to build a screen that was going to cost 100's of $$ and take a lot of my time when ready made screens are only a couple of hundred dollars more. If you absolutely have your heart set on going the route of building a painted screen then I would recommend looking at this how-to. http://makezine.com/projects/make-35/gl ... on-screen/ Also, you can get Glass Sand Blasting Media from Home Depot in the US. http://www.homedepot.com/p/BLACK-BULL-B ... /203494098
I used Black-Out Cloth screen material that was 62"x110"
3. Building Frame
I used wood (cheapest option) to build the frame but you can also use steel (very expensive) or wood on steel studs (cheaper). I used 2"x4" lumber which you can buy from Home Depot or Lowes. You should know your dimensions from using the above calculator. I would stay away from using 1"x4" as some of the instructions online will tell you to use. Once the frame is built, it bows quite badly since the wood is not strong enough to maintain a uniform shape once the screen material is fastened onto the frame. Also, some online instructions will tell you to mitre the corners but trust me, it's a pain to glue and fasten them and doing straight cuts will give you a stronger frame and it's easier to ensure that your frame is square that way.
I used 2 pieces of 2"x4" 108.625" long (remember to add an extra 4" to your cut length dimensions if you will be adding a 2" border all around the frame like I did) Viewable Width + Width of Border = 104.625" + 4" = 108.625"
and 4 pieces of 2"x4" 59.875" (you're subtracting 3" from your viewable height measurement from the calculator because of the width of the 2"x4" lengths that are going at the top and bottom of the frame. Also, remember you're adding 4" to you cut length dimensions if you will be adding a 2" border all around the frame like I did) Viewable Height - Width of 2"x4" lengths for top & bottom of Frame + Width of Border = 58.875" - 3" + 4" = 59.875". I used 4 pieces as I included 2 vertical supports to help with the structure of the frame. At the end of this you should have 2 long pieces that will form the top and bottom of your frame and 4 short pieces that will form the left and right of your frame and also 2 vertical supports that will be installed about a 1/3 of the length in from each end.
To join the frame pieces, I used wood glue and also pieces of 1/4" plywood cut into 1'x1' triangles. http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com ... screen.jpg I found this to be easier than using 'L' or 'T' or right angle brackets although you can use those if you prefer. Using the plywood triangles also helped me to ensure that my frame was perfectly square. http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com ... screen.jpg
4. Attaching Screen Material
This is either easy or very difficult depending on your skill level and is definitely a 2 or 3 person job. You need a good manual stapler or pneumatic stapler to do a good job and a lot of attention to detail and patience. I had a powershot stapler which I found inadequate to do the job and ended up buying this DeWalt stapler as it was on sale for $25 and surprisingly it turned to be a very good stapler. https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.4-in ... 92270.html I thoroughly cleaned/vacuumed the floor where I was going to work and since it was carpeted, I didn't bother to put down a plastic sheet as others will suggest online. I laid out the screen material and ensured that there were no wrinkles and then I carefully laid the wood frame on top of the screen material with the triangle side pointing up. At this point, you need to staple the top and bottom and left and right sides of the material to the top edge or back side of the frame. Do not staple the material to the front face of the frame as you will see the staples once you start projecting. You will need to stretch the material quite tight and I found that there is about 1"-2" of play in the material. Here is an example of the order in which to staple. http://joeandcheryl.com/wp-content/uplo ... canvas.jpg Make sure that you're pulling the fabric away from the direction in which you're working as you want to ensure that you're removing any wrinkles as you work your way around the frame. I found that having 2 people hold the frame upright while I stapled was the easiest way to do it and I ended up stapling every couple of inches all the way around. Also, you can overlap the material on the corners. http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com ... screen.jpg I used a light hammer to ensure that the staples were sitting flat on the frame. http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com ... screen.jpg Once you have completing stapling, the screen material should be taut all the way around the frame and should sound like a drum when you lightly tap it with your finger. This means that there is sufficient tension in the screen. At this point, you can carefully trim any excess material using scissors. Do NOT use a knife as you don't want to puncture your screen front.
5. Adding A Border
At this point, your screen is pretty much finished but I went the extra step of attaching a 2" border all the way around. This helps create a visual break and also helps with boosting contrast and the results are well worth it. You can order the proper black velvet tape online and it can be expensive but I found that Gaffer Tape can be used as well. There's a bunch of places in Toronto where you can buy Gaffer Tape. I bought mine from http://rotblotts.com/ You cannot use Black Duct tape or electrical tape as it needs to be a cloth tape and needs to be photo-absorbent as far as I know. I know some people have successfully used Black Cloth Hockey tape that you can buy from Canadian Tire or Home Hardware but it has issues with staying on the screen sometimes and Gaffer tape is a lot more adhesive and will stay on for the life of your screen without you having to worry about re-applying the tape like you do with Hockey tape.
6. Mounting Screen
Success! You screen is now ready for mounting! I used metal corner braces to mount my screen. https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.2-in ... 73675.html I screwed them into the wall first and then they attach to the sides and top of the frame at the corners and cannot be seen when looking at the screen. This gives the illusion that the screen is floating and also ensures that it is completely flush with the wall and is as close to the wall as possible.
I'm posting this all from memory when I built the screen during the holidays last year so if I've forgotten anything, I'll edit the post to add more information and also if you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I will respond accordingly.
Finally, please let me know if you find this information valuable and please feel free to link this post so that other people on RFD may be able to use this information. (Please don't do a copypasta as it took me a couple of hours to write this all up).
Also, please feel free to show your appreciation by hitting thanks or any other way that you like! LOL!