How to Make Your Own Movie Screen

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If you are trying to put together your home theater room with your new LCoS projector on a budget and you are do-it-yourselfer, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you build your own projection screen. You will likely lose some display quality with a homemade screen compared to a high-end projection screen, but unless you evaluate them side-by-side you may never notice the difference.

There are many ways to create a projection screen; you can use paint, screen paint, photographer’s background paper or blackout cloth. Most homemade projection screens can be constructed for under $100, so the work is well worth it.

Movie Screen Created with Regular Paint (Cheapest/ Lowest Quality)

You can use a plain, flat white painted wall. However, you will sacrifice contrast, color saturation and more. But it is really cheap and it works.

Movie Screen Created with Screen Paint (Less than $100/ Good Quality)

Special screen paint is available for creating your own screen, some products include Screen Goo, Digital Theater Paint, Mighty Brighty and ProjectX, with the most popular being Screen Goo, which retails for about $75 for a gallon of topcoat. For more information on creating this type of screen, see “Paint Your Own Projection Screen” by Chris Boylan. 

Movie Screen Using Background Paper (Less than $100/ Medium Quality)

You can purchase super-white seamless background paper at a photography store or online to be used as your screen. Add a wood frame covered with black velvet or velveteen, to reduce reflection, and you can have a 100 inch screen for well under $100. For complete instructions, see Make a 100 inch Screen for Under $100 by Evan Powell. 

Movie Screen Created with Blackout Cloth (Less than $100/ Good Quality)

Blackout cloth can easily be purchased online in nearly any size. Blackout cloth is vinylized canvas like material that has a smooth site that makes a good screen surface. Most people stretch a piece across a wood frame that is encased in another black wood frame.

No matter what type of screen you choose to create you will need to construct a black frame that is non reflective to reduce reflection and to create straight black edges to frame your image. Shiny black paint or material will cause reflection back onto your image.

If you would like to see some ideas on creating a huge backyard theater see, Backyardtheater.com for photos and inspiration. http://backyardtheater.com/

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