Nothing beats watching movies or playing video games on a big screen. Unfortunately, the price of quality projector screens keeps going up even as the price of entry-level projectors drop.
Not everyone can afford the budget to buy a $1,000 video projector and a $500 projector screen. If you are tight on a budget but still want to set up your home theater for the best viewing experience, then you can always build a DIY projector screen.
Aside from cutting costs, you can customize the DIY projector screen to your requirements for the best viewing experience. If you are among the many people who want to enjoy their favorite movie on a bigger screen yet they don’t have the money to buy the expensive projector screens, then you have come to the right place.
Why should I build a DIY Projector Screen?
You don’t have to. There are plenty of projector screens available on the market that are quite easy to assemble. If you settle with this option, you need to have something between $500 and $1500 for the best model. Setting up a DIY Projector Screen on the other hand would only cost you something under $100 plus it is customizable. The feeling you get for making the screen yourself should be satisfying enough to push you in this direction.
What is your objective?
When building a DIY projector screen, the following should be your main objectives:
- The budget must be low.
- It should be simple and quick.
- Installation must be easy.
- It must deliver.
What to use for a projector screen
You can use anything as long as it is white and smooth. There are a lot of ideas but we will point out only a few so you can choose the best option.
- Blank wall: This is the cheapest alternative to the expensive projector screens on the market. If you have a solid white wall, then you are good to go. The wall’s texture plays a critical role in the quality of the images. One of the biggest advantages of using a blank wall is that you spend little to no money or time when setting up. On the downside though, the images won’t be brighter as when using a projector screen.
- Sheet: You can hang the sheet anywhere whether inside or outside. This, along with the fact that it is affordable and easily accessible are some of the advantages of using a sheet. Plain white sheets work well just like walls. It is however a bit tricky and daunting to hang it properly to avoid wrinkles or movement.
- Projector paint: Another option is using projector paint. The beauty of projector paint is that it produces high-quality pictures nearly the same way as a projector screen does. Versatility is among the reasons why projector paint stands out to be the best option compared to the others. You are not limited to dimensions although, in terms of cost, you might end up spending nearly as much as you would when buying a screen.
What other options are there?
Aside from covering the windows in your room, pull-down roller shades can double as a great projector screen. It however has to be smooth, white, or grey for the best experience. Wrapping paper would be another great option since it has a smooth glossy surface that reflects light quite well. It may not be the sturdiest material to use plus storing it can be a problem but on the plus side, it is a low-cost option to consider.
Where Should I Begin?
I know this question is running through your mind. After watching a few videos online, you feel like this is a good idea, but where do you begin? As a beginner, there’s a lot of things you need to know first before you start building a DIY projector screen. Don’t worry though, stick with us and we will guide you step by step. But first:
What is your budget?
How much are you willing to spend on building a DIY projector screen? We did not put a price on how much you need to have because this varies from one individual to the other. Keep in mind though that the amount of money you spend affects the overall quality of your final product. You can build something with cheap or expensive materials depending on your budget.
Purpose and frequency of use
Before we show you how to build a DIY projector screen, you need to understand its purpose and frequency of use because this affects the price and screen. A cheaper version sounds like a good idea if you don’t plan to use it quite often but if you plan to use it more often, then we recommend investing in something stable and more durable.
Determine the Screen Location
The location affects the screen size and building material. Take your time and think about the right location to use your projector screen. Think about the distance of the seats from the screen and speaker arrangement among other important things.
Choosing the right location requires a lot of time but it is well worth it. While at it, look at your projector’s specifications. Information about the projector’s throw distance, picture quality, and a lot more affects your screen’s location as well.
Make sure the screen rests at least 24 inches above the floor to help avoid neck fatigue. If you’re thinking that in front of the window is the best place for your screen, don’t place it there. The screen should be on the opposite side of your room. The screen should not receive direct light as this may damage the material in turn affecting the picture quality.
As we mentioned above, the location and the projector’s placement affect the screen size. What is the perfect size for you? Remember that at least 5 inches of the screen will go around the frame and about 3 inches of the surface will be covered with tape on the front side.
This is an important factor that you need to have in mind before building your DIY projector screen. There are numerous options to consider from cardboard boxes to old sheets. You can go for either stretchable or non-stretchable material although we recommend stretchable material because it can withstand tension to give you a uniformly flat surface for the best viewing experience.
When choosing the right material, you need to have factors like transparency, viewing angle, and gain in mind. Another thing to have in mind is, the material should either be white or dark gray. The perforated fabric would be a good idea if you plan to place the speakers behind your screen.
Choose the Frame
Do you prefer wood, metal, or a combination of both? The frame is an important part of the screen. Choosing the right material, just like the screen material depends greatly on your budget and the screen location. Will you mount the screen on the wall or ceiling? Will you use it indoors or outdoors? Do you want a portable projector screen?
Once you figure these out, you’ll be able to know the type of material to use. A combination of both is the best option because it ensures stability and durability especially if you want a permanent setup. If you are building a DIY projector screen for temporary use, say for example a folding screen, then you can go for a lighter material like PVC.
Tools and Materials
- Pieces of wood
- Metal connectors
- Electric drill
- Utility knife or scissors
- Black felt tape
- Picture hangers
How to build a DIY Projector Screen
- Before you get started, locate the best space in your house where you’d like to fix the screen. Make sure the space is ideal to accommodate the finished screen.
- Measure the size of the image from your projector to determine the final size of the screen.
- Using a handsaw, cut the pieces of wood to your desired length
- Screw the pieces of wood together using metal connectors
- Check to see if the frame is stable enough to hold the screen
- Lay the screen on the floor and place the frame on top of it
- Pull the extra material over the edge and staple the screen fabric to the frame
- Be careful and work slowly to ensure the screen material covers the frame properly and that it is free from wrinkles
- Once this is done, screw in picture hangers along the top of the frame to make it easy to hang it on the wall
- Add black felt tape to the edges to help improve the picture quality and also to give it a nice stylish look
- Remove any unnecessary parts of the screen fabric
- Turn the projector on and using a pencil, draw an outline that will help you hung the projector screen in the right place
- Place the projector screen exactly in the position that you took the measurement then sit back and enjoy your movie.
For a Portable Projector Screen
You’ll need PVC pipes and elbows, a rope, connectors, and a white tarp along with important tools like a drill, glue, and something to cut the pipe with. Cut the pipes to the right size making sure it is accurate then assemble them. Connect the pipes to build the frame. Drill holes in the frame and put the rope through the holes then through the eye-holes of the tarp.
A good quality projector screen is a great addition to your home theater setup. If you don’t mind spending the money, then we advise buying the best projector screen available on the market today. If however you are on a tight budget, then a DIY projector screen would serve you just right. The above guideline will help you build and install a projector screen that meets your particular needs.
Video DIY Projector Screen with 30$