Screen build project with pictures - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 4 Old 02-28-10, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: TX
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Screen build project with pictures

To anyone thinking of making a screen, I thought I would share my build with you. I recently bought an Epson Powerlite 8100, and decided that I wanted to build a screen because it would be cheaper and would look better than anything I could buy (in my price range). The largest screen I could fit in my space was 92" (80" x 45"). I decided to use panel board (that thin brown stuff that usually is on the back of cheap furniture) because it is a nice flat smooth surface to work with. I started with a 48 x 83" piece. It will have a 1.5" black border around it so the final viewing area will be 45" x 80". The following pictures should pretty much tell the story.

Screen build project with pictures-step-01.jpg
First I rolled acrylic sealer on the back of the panel board because this stuff has a tendency to absorb moisture in the air and warp. Don't want that.

Screen build project with pictures-step-02.jpg
Next I glued my 1x3 frame to the underside. I used select pine because it is nice and straight and not as expensive as the poplar suggested by someone else on this site. Also, not shown, I stapled the 1x3 down from the front side along the edge (which will be covered up at the end of the build).

Screen build project with pictures-step-03.jpg
I used pocket screws to hold the frame nice and rigidly together.

Screen build project with pictures-step-04.jpg
Here is the completed frame. It is a two layer frame which stiffens it up nicely. It was quite rigid for it's size. You may not be able to see, but the two cross supports are cut with a 45 degree angle so I can hang it with a french cleat.

Screen build project with pictures-step-05.jpg
Next I flipped it over and put a black border on. I will tape off the edge later with 1.5" painters tape, so a 2 inch foam brush with black flat enamel paint (water based) along the edge was all I needed here.

Screen build project with pictures-step-06.jpg

Screen build project with pictures-step-07.jpg
After two coats of the black enamel was dry I taped the edges and went to work priming the panel board. I used Kilz2 water based primer.

Screen build project with pictures-step-08.jpg
Here it is after one coat.

Screen build project with pictures-step-09.jpg
Here it is after three coats. It took three coats because the panel board is fairly dark, plus the black paint on the edges would have required three coats to cover anyway.

Screen build project with pictures-step-10.jpg
Now it's ready to have the top coat put on. After an hour or so of playing with my test panels I decided that I liked the Scorpion mix. It seemed to be a good compromise between the blacks of the BW screen and the richness of brighter scenes you got with the C&S mix.

Screen build project with pictures-step-11.jpg
I decided to spray the screen. In my test panels I found it hard to keep from getting slight roller marks, even when I followed the advice to wipe the edges of the roller, and go back over lines lightly, etc. I am very happy with the results of spraying.

Screen build project with pictures-step-12.jpg
Here is the screen ready to be sprayed in my makeshift paint booth. Wear a mask when you do this.

Screen build project with pictures-step-13.jpg
Here it is after six coats of scorpion mix. I removed two edges of the painters tape to show the lines.
I used about a quart and a half of the paint.

Screen build project with pictures-step-14.jpg
The reason I originally decided to tape first, then spray the screen, rather than spray the screen, tape and the paint the black border is because I didn't want to damage the paint on the screen. I think it made nice clean lines doing it this way.

Screen build project with pictures-step-15.jpg
Now I attached some edge trim around it to cover up the staples and give it a nice framed look.

Screen build project with pictures-step-16.jpg
Putty up the edges and sand it smooth.

Screen build project with pictures-step-17.jpg
I then very very carefully painted the trim with the same black paint from earlier (not shown here). If I got any paint on the screen surface it would have ruined it.

Screen build project with pictures-step-18.jpg
Here is the finished screen next to a fat guy for size reference.

Screen build project with pictures-step-19.jpg
Attached my french cleats to the wall, nice and level.

Screen build project with pictures-step-20.jpg
Placed the screen on the wall and let it fall into place.

Screen build project with pictures-step-21.jpg
Here's what will be firing the light at the screen.

Screen build project with pictures-step-22.jpg

Final notes:
Do not touch the screen. It smudges easily (I put my finger on it once and it left a smudge of dirt) and cleaning it by rubbing with a cloth might remove some of the aluminum on the surface and change the appearance in that area. Best to just not touch it and not have to risk it. Also make sure you thin the paint enough to spray it. I didn't thin it enough on the first two passes and was getting spray lines. Paint wasn't atomizing and spreading out enough.

If you have any questions just ask.
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-28-10, 12:31 PM
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-02-10, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Chicago,Il
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Re: Screen build project with pictures

That was too cool! I want to do a diy when I build a dedicated space, one question though! Where do I find a fat guy for reference to a 130" screen?
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post #4 of 4 Old 03-02-10, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Screen build project with pictures

I can lend you my fat guy, but shipping to Chicago will be a bit pricey. You might want to look locally. Your best bet would be in any of the fine Chicago pizza establishments.
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