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post #1 of 40 Old 07-18-09, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Help me pick a DIY paint

Hi,

The basement reno's are schedule to complete next week, after which its on to the HT bits

Here are a couple of SketchUp designs show the room layout and colour scheme:




Note: Its just two colours, a dark chocolate brown, and a lighter yellowish brown. Unfortunately the ceiling is white (california) and there is nothing I can do about it.

The room is 13.5' wide with a 7.5' ceiling.

The projector is an Epson 6500 UB. I will be mounting the projector with the lens ~ 15.5' away from the wall and want to throw a 115' - 120' diagonal image.

My plan is to paint the screen right on the drywall.

The contractor is going to paint the room for me, I have asked him to leave the screen wall section just primed with whatever primer he uses. I will get some Kilz2 and throw a couple of coats on the screen wall after they are done.

I am going to setup the remainder of the HT and live with an all white wall for a couple of weeks while I make sure I am happy with the position/size of the screen. I will calibrate my projector against the Kilz2.

I need to find the right formula DIY screen paint for when I am ready to finish off the screen. I have total light control (and no windows), but would like to be able to have some lights on (low) for when we play Wii/PS3 instead of requiring total darkness. The wall sconces are on a dimmer, as are the potlights (in two seperately dimmable zones). For gaming, I'd like the lights up at what I'll call a "social" level (if that means anything to you) as people will be moving around taking turns, etc. For movies, it can be total darkness.

I am looking for a cost-effective paint solution, without too many exotic ingredients and without too complicated a formula (i.e. so I can't screw it up). It also needs to be rollable as I have no sprayer (and can't find the Wagner Control Spray in Canada). Once the screen is rolled, I will make a 2-3" frame covered in velvet (or equiv) and affix it directly to the wall.

So, where should I start looking? I have been reading about all different kinds of formulas, enough to make my eyes bleed, and see there are a couple of camps, even when it comes to basic ingredients (mica vs alu, etc).

My original plan was to just roll on some Behr Silver Screen or equiv, but all the DIY reading has got me psyched ot try something a little more custom.

So what N# should I be looking for? I was reading about Scorpion and it sounds like the best of both worlds with the flexibility I need, but it also has a more complicated formula. I am most concerned at optimizing for movie performance, where the room will be darker. So should I just go for a Black Widow. I have also been reading up on formulas on some other forums (such Silver Fire and RS-MaxxMudd). The key for me is that I want to roll it, so it has to be a little forgiving.

All video signals will be sent via HDMI from my Pioneer Elite SC-05 AVR. My sources will be Popcorn Hour, Wii, PS3 (or another BD player).

What else do you need to know?

Total light control but want option for some ambient, white ceiling, Epson 6500UB, rollable, painted on drywall. Any help/opinions will be gratefully appreciated

And the answer is....
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post #2 of 40 Old 07-18-09, 09:41 PM
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Re: Help me pick a DIY paint

Hi 1canuck2,

The first thing I will get out of the way is that I don't recommend any of the Mudd mixes (the developers name for them, not mine). I have personally tried Silver Fire and RS-MaxxMudd (the formula MM gave me in the C&S thread here) and both of them hot-spot for me and neither mix is neutral in color. Of the two problems, the hot-spotting is the worst offender, although the formula I used for SF was a long way from neutral. These mixes use too much mica-based paint imo. As I have said, I'm not against using mica-based paints in screen mixes (I'm even testing some as a possible alternative to the metallic ingredient in C&S in countries where Craft Smart Metallic Silver can't be found), but it has to be tempered with other paints or the negative aspects of mica become visible. The main ones are hot-spotting and/or shimmering in bright parts of the image. What some folks don't seem to understand is how mica works as a reflective agent. In a nutshell, mica refracts light as well as reflecting it, it is this refraction (breaking up light into colors) that does nasty things to the image if not controlled. Anyway, enough about that.

Your PJ, at the distance and screen size you give, is hitting that screen with about 14 fL. of light. While that would be enough for Black Widow, it doesn't allow for aging of the lamp or the use of econo or low-lamp mode. I think I would recommend a lighter mix. Which one? Ahhh, there's the rub.

Allow me to suggest a protocol for you; since you are going to try a primed wall as a screen (basically a white screen) for awhile (good idea ), depending on how you like that image will determine what to use next. Just going by the contrast specs of your PJ I doubt you will need a gray screen to help get black blacks in your image in a dark theater, but the more ambient light in the room the darker gray you will need to compensate for that light.

Since Scorpion is a mix of Cream&Sugar and Black Widow, you might want to try C&S alone first.

If you can get the Sherwin-Williams Luminous White in quarts (or you actually need a gallon of LW) you could use C&S #1, otherwise C&S #2 and C&S #3 will save you money on paint.

C&S #2 seems like a very complicated mix since 4 paints are used to mix it, but remember that NOTHING has to be measured and the 3 metallic paints will be side-by-side at Michael's.

C&S #3 can now be made with a custom tint of Valspar Ultra Premium Enamel, and only one other jar of paint must be added to the mix (like C&S #1).

If the C&S screen is too light for you then try Scorpion. Depending on how "too light" C&S was you might skip Scorpion N8.5 and go directly to Scorpion N8. You don't need to re-primer the screen before applying Scorpion, just paint it over the C&S.

BW and C&S are rollable so Scorpion is too.
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post #3 of 40 Old 07-20-09, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Help me pick a DIY paint

Thanks for the replies!

I am sold on the need to find a simple formula paint, exacting measurements concern me. When reading some of the passionate defences that have gone on about different formulas, one of the biggest defenses against people who criticize a paint is "well you mustn't have made it right". What I read from this is that its not easy to make it correctly, which knocks a few points off right away. So simple formulas are good! I don't know enough about the science of it all, but your refraction description makes sense as a reason to avoid mica based solutions.

Update: I think I have found a Wagner Control Spray in Canada! It's in Lowes, which only has a few stores around Canada apparently, one of which is ~45 minutes away. Thankfully a coworker lives in that city, so I have emailed him to see if he will pick one up for me. I take it that Scorpion/C&S are better (or easier) if sprayed than rolled, yes? Do they need to be thinned if sprayed? I am slightly concerned about using the sprayer directly on the wall in the window-less basement, I guess I just have to tape a mass of plastic drop cloths around me to ensure there's no overspray issues. How "overspray-ey" is a Wagner Control Spray?

Also, I was digging through Sherwin Williams website and cannot find a Luminous White. They have 204 "whites", none of which are Luminous White. I even went through all 204 looking at the RGB values but there was not a match. Is it an old colour?

So, if I am starting with C&S, which formula would you recommend as the best C&S?

#2 seems the most complicated, but still do-able assuming my Michael's has those paints, and I know I can get the Behr UPW no problem. It looks like Valspar is sold at Lowe's, which as I said above is 45 minutes away, so that's not an ideal base, and True Value is also over 40 minutes away...

Thanks for the help so far.

Last edited by 1canuck2; 07-20-09 at 07:45 AM. Reason: "Sherwin" not "Sherman" ha!
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post #4 of 40 Old 07-20-09, 01:30 PM
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Re: Help me pick a DIY paint

1canuck2, I would like to thank you for doing some homework into what screen paint you think would be best for your situation. It is all too easy to bite on the first mix that is presented as being the best, especially if the one presenting it to you sounds like Billy Mays.

Many people would be well served with a screen made with a simple neutral gray paint in a flat latex enamel. Those wanting to get a bit more performance out of their screen, or needing to combat significant amounts of ambient light, should go with mixes like Black Widow, Scorpion or Cream&Sugar.

And yes, I agree that simple is better! The formulae we have developed here at HTS are designed with that in mind. Why make things more difficult than they need to be for the user?

And talk about simple...
  • C&S #1 and #3 require pouring 2 containers of paint into a bucket and mixing.
  • BW requires pouring 3 containers (because AAA-F doesn't come in 8 oz. bottles) of paint into a bucket and mixing.
  • C&S #2 requires pouring 4 containers of paint into a bucket and mixing.
Yeah, we like simple.

However; I think Wbassett's 'signature' quote says it best "Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein. In the process of making newer of better screen mixes we may have to add more components to mixes, or perhaps even require measuring some components (), but only if truly necessary; and you will never have to make small measurements of thick colored paints with any of our formulae.

I am not a roller. I simply never learned how to do it properly, and since I have a nice HVLP setup I probably never will learn how to roll; but it ain't rocket science - many people roll their screens successfully. I would say that it is easier to get a smooth screen by spraying, and a screen can be sprayed faster than it can be rolled; but spraying a screen will require about 2 contiguous hours of your time (depending on temperature and humidity) to do. Mech and I have to get serious about making up a spraying guide for the forum, I'll do one for my equipment and mech can do one for the Wagner CS.

I seem to have misplaced the links for the info, but Sherwin-Williams is discontinuing Luminous White in some of it's paint brands, sub-brands or whatever the correct term is. They have lines called 'Duration', 'Superpaint', 'Cashmere' and others. Some of these are available in the LW base and others aren't. And to clarify, Luminous White is a BASE COLOR, it is not a mixed color. You would have to call your store and check with them.

Of the base paints tested so far, SW LW makes the brightest C&S, but not by much. The most neutral C&S mix is #2 and it can be made with both Valspar and Behr ultra-white paints, and probably most other brands of ultra-white.

While C&S #2 is the most complicated mix developed so far at HTS, it is still simple to make. Let me explain: simply take a 32 fl.oz. (946 ml) can of ultra-white paint (Behr #1850 works well) and pour it into a mixing bucket along with a 8 fl.oz. bottle of Craft Smart Metallic Silver, a 4 fl.oz. bottle of Craft Smart Metallic Gold and a 4 fl.oz. bottle of Craft Smart Metallic Bronze. Mix throughly (I suggest a 'squirrel cage' mixing attachment and a cordless drill) and apply. I would also suggest taking a small amount of distilled water and washing out the paint containers and adding that water to the mix before stirring. You will get 48 fl.oz. (plus whatever water you may have added) of C&S. This is enough to paint a 48 square foot screen.
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post #5 of 40 Old 07-20-09, 05:39 PM
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Re: Help me pick a DIY paint

Sorry to hear you're not a roller Don... how do you paint rooms inside your house?

Painting a screen really isn't as hard as anyone makes it out to be. If you can paint a room or hallway you can paint a screen! If you can paint a room or hallway but a particular screen paint leaves roller marks or other imperfections, well the problem isn't necessarily the person applying the paint it usually is the paint mix itself! That's something some people really don't want to admit.

A good quality paint should go on in one coat and without roller marks!

Okay that's true for a good quality house paint, but what about a screen paint? Well most of the junk some add to paint to make it a 'screen paint' is just that... junk!

Guys, as much as the community doesn't want to admit this let alone say it... a neutral matte finish is really all we are looking for. Sheen is always a bad characteristic for a screen. Show me a commercial screen with any noticeable amount of sheen.

Back to the question of the hour!
1canuck2 thank you thank you thank you for doing a little homework! I'd say you're probably 90% of your way there.

Definitely calibrate and get a baseline to a unity gain matte white reference screen, and Kilz2 makes for a great screen to get a baseline with.

Mainly you need to determine the optimal shade of gray for your setup. You're looking at around 15fL of brightness at the screen for 115"-120" diagonal screen. That's a very respectable amount of brightness and nothing that requires a screen with gain.

I totally understand the need for some room lighting on when playing games... it's nice to be able to see the controller buttons! Also it's really nice to be able to read the walkthrough book!

I'm going to recommend an N8 gray for you. You have the lumens to have a nice bright image with white whites and accurate and vibrant colors. N8 works well with lights on and lights off.

Some N8 options are Wilsonart Fashion Grey, OTS paints like Sherwin Williams Gray Screen, Winter Mountain, and some advanced mix paint options would be Scorpion N8. Of course there are many more N8 options out there and these are just some options.

You are going to have some issues with the white ceiling as in you will definitely create some ambient light of your own. Is it WAF that prevents you from going darker? Keep in mind, you don't have to go with black for the ceiling to get results. A coordinating color that's flat and darker than white will make a huge difference.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

"If all else fails, spin the cat."- Grzboken
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post #6 of 40 Old 07-20-09, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Help me pick a DIY paint

Thanks for the replies!

I am kind of driving myself nuts with all the homework to be honest, but I do feel its worthwhile!

The ceiling is white because it is a california ceiling and my contractor said there's nothing but white and anything he has ever seen done in non white california has been a disaster. And yes, from a WAF perspective, my wife was pleased to hear this as I think she was concerned about a darker ceiling.

I wanted to do the ceiling the same colour as the side walls, or perhaps one shade lighter, but it was not an option (and now the ceiling is done - today in fact!) If I could find an attractive WAF-positive way to do something for the ceiling in just the HT area, I would consider it, but I have no idea what, and how to make it look nice with a break in what is essentially a large L shaped room with one leg of the L being the HT area...

One "disaster" was at least averted this morning. My contractor had planned to have the california ceiling guy also do the soffits (horizontal parts that are in dark brown in my picture above) in white california!! We had a bit of a debate about it and I insisted that no, they had to be dark. Thankfully I won!

So, back to the screen. In all of the reading, the N8 or 8.5 formulas certainly seemed like the most appropriate to me.

Here's a theoretical question, would an N9 DIY paintt like C&S perform better than an OTS N8 like Sherwin Williams Gray Screen or Winter Mountain? Given that the purpose of the metallics in the formulas described here is to offer a reflective improvement over an OTS paint. And I can accept that an N9 OTS would not perform as well as an N9 DIY formula. But an N9 custom vs an N8 OTS, do the benefits of the N9 custom "make up" for the deficits of an N8 OTS? Or is that too apples and oranges? If its not that simple, what benefits would I get from an N8 OTS over an N9 DIY, and what negatives would I get?

Based on the discussion so far, I was leaning toward C&S #2, a couple more ingredients than the others, but still pretty straightforward to mix up.

Remind me again, what's involved in taking an C&S #2 to a Scorpion?
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post #7 of 40 Old 07-20-09, 11:13 PM
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Re: Help me pick a DIY paint

Quote:
1canuck2 wrote: View Post
Here's a theoretical question, would an N9 DIY paintt like C&S perform better than an OTS N8 like Sherwin Williams Gray Screen or Winter Mountain? Given that the purpose of the metallics in the formulas described here is to offer a reflective improvement over an OTS paint. And I can accept that an N9 OTS would not perform as well as an N9 DIY formula. But an N9 custom vs an N8 OTS, do the benefits of the N9 custom "make up" for the deficits of an N8 OTS? Or is that too apples and oranges? If its not that simple, what benefits would I get from an N8 OTS over an N9 DIY, and what negatives would I get?

C&S is lighter than both Gray Screen or Winter Mountain and also has a higher gain. It certainly will be a brighter screen but blacks will also be a bit lighter and more like a dark gray than deep black. Whites will be significantly better though due to the lighter shade and extra gain. Your scatter light from your ceiling though is going to bounce back onto the screen and it will be more prone to washing out than the darker N8 shade of gray will.

So yeah it is a bit of apples to oranges. You may find though that C&S works just fine for you since you have control of your lighting and from your drawings it doesn't look like any lights will fall directly onto the screen. As far as benefits, well the obvious one is ease, and not by much. It definitely wouldn't be cost because the Silver Metallic is very inexpensive, I think 8 ounces cost me something like $3-$4. The only reason an OTS is easier is because you don't have to do anything except stir it and roll it. C&S requires you to add the Craft Smart Silver Metallic, stir and then roll it on!

As far as negatives, I really can't think of any. It's inexpensive enough to say give it a try and if it's too light for you, then go with a darker gray. You'll still be saving several hundreds/thousands over the price of a commercial screen.


Based on the discussion so far, I was leaning toward C&S #2, a couple more ingredients than the others, but still pretty straightforward to mix up.

Don will have to answer up about C&S #2. I personally would go with a Scorpion N8 because you have said you would have some lights on from time to time and the darker N8 gray will be more pleasing with the lights on but still light enough to perform exceptionlly well with the lights off. With the added gain and reflective qualities of the aluminum and CS Silver Metallic will give you a nice bright image with lights on or off.

Remind me again, what's involved in taking an C&S #2 to a Scorpion?
Like I mentioned, Don will have to answer about C&S #2, but making Scorpion N8 is simply mixing equal amounts of Black Widow with C&S. Think of it this way... this would let you try a test panel of Black Widow as well as a test panel of C&S and still have enough left to make a quart of Scorpion N8

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post #8 of 40 Old 07-21-09, 01:51 AM
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Re: Help me pick a DIY paint

Quote:
1canuck2 wrote: View Post
Here's a theoretical question, would an N9 DIY paintt like C&S perform better than an OTS N8 like Sherwin Williams Gray Screen or Winter Mountain? Given that the purpose of the metallics in the formulas described here is to offer a reflective improvement over an OTS paint. And I can accept that an N9 OTS would not perform as well as an N9 DIY formula. But an N9 custom vs an N8 OTS, do the benefits of the N9 custom "make up" for the deficits of an N8 OTS? Or is that too apples and oranges? If its not that simple, what benefits would I get from an N8 OTS over an N9 DIY, and what negatives would I get?
The purpose of metallics in screen mixes is to make the paint perform like it is lighter than it's true N value in room light. The N7.5 BW performs under projection like it was a regular N8 or N8.25 gray paint, but it has the ambient light fighting ability and contrast enhancement of a N7.5 gray paint (which it is). C&S is about an N9 mix that performs under projection like it was a N9.3 or higher white paint, but it has the ambient light and contrast advantages of a N9 gray paint. I hope that came out right, it is a bit hard to explain. The key is to understand that projector light is directional while ambient light is not, or at least not coming from the same direction as the PJ light. I really shouldn't try to answer questions like this at 2:45 AM.

Quote:
Remind me again, what's involved in taking an C&S #2 to a Scorpion?
For making a Scorpion mix, all C&S formulae are essentially the same; at least that was my goal when designing them. As Bill said, Scorpion N8 is simply a mixture of equal amounts of Black Widow and Cream&Sugar.
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post #9 of 40 Old 07-21-09, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Help me pick a DIY paint

I get it, going in the other direction than what I was thinking (which actually makes more sense)...
So its fair to say that if I feel "risky" about going with an N8, I would be best to go with Scorpion because as an N8 its more N9-ish?

An N8 OTS won't perform like an N9 custom (they'll in fact be further apart). But an N8 custom will perform more like an N9 OTS (in the dark) but with ambient, it'll perform like an N8 OTS.

I know I am generalizing and the purists/theorists may not like that, but I am trying to put it in layman terms for the dirty masses like me.

I guess my concern with Scorpion at this point is it requires the most investment and is the most "custom". I can find all the ingredients for C&S #2 easily and locally. And I can make it for cheap enough. But to make BW, I have to drive (in opposite directions!) to get the AAA and Valspar paint. And for Scorpion, I have to do both. I am not whining, I accept that these are the formulas and appreciate your efforts (both in this thread, and more importantly in developing them).

I think I'll go with C&S#2 first for the sheer lazy convenience of it, then if I am not happy, I'll bite the bullet, get the BW ingredients, and make up some Scorpion.
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post #10 of 40 Old 07-21-09, 10:45 AM
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Re: Help me pick a DIY paint

Quote:
1canuck2 wrote: View Post
I get it, going in the other direction than what I was thinking (which actually makes more sense)...
So its fair to say that if I feel "risky" about going with an N8, I would be best to go with Scorpion because as an N8 its more N9-ish?
You got it. BW, Scorpion and C&S all perform like a lighter OTS paint under projection.

Quote:
An N8 OTS won't perform like an N9 custom (they'll in fact be further apart). But an N8 custom will perform more like an N9 OTS (in the dark) but with ambient, it'll perform like an N8 OTS.
That's close to the way I would expain it. There is nothing mystical or magical about screen mixes, they obey the same laws of physics as the rest of us.

Quote:
I know I am generalizing and the purists/theorists may not like that, but I am trying to put it in layman terms for the dirty masses like me.
We don't run around in pristine white lab coats, we got a layer of dirt on us just like you.

Quote:
I guess my concern with Scorpion at this point is it requires the most investment and is the most "custom". I can find all the ingredients for C&S #2 easily and locally. And I can make it for cheap enough. But to make BW, I have to drive (in opposite directions!) to get the AAA and Valspar paint. And for Scorpion, I have to do both. I am not whining, I accept that these are the formulas and appreciate your efforts (both in this thread, and more importantly in developing them).
Believe me, I hear ya! In these economic times most of us need to stretch our dollar until it almost snaps! BW can be made with many other paints besides Valspar, Behr #1850 works well too.

Quote:
I think I'll go with C&S#2 first for the sheer lazy convenience of it, then if I am not happy, I'll bite the bullet, get the BW ingredients, and make up some Scorpion.
I've been thinking about a new mix that isn't anywhere near ready to go public, look for a PM from me.
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