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Due to my long seating distance (about 19 feet from the screen to the back of the sofa) I'm thinking it might be a good idea to go for a screen larger than what a 4'x8' sheet of MDF allows. This is going to be a painted screen. Unfortunately there's an opening in the wall behind where the screen is going so I can't simply paint the wall. However, I was wondering if anyone has any good idea's how to create a screen larger than 4'x8'? I'm walking distance to Home Depot so I'd prefer to stick to materials that are available there or can easily fit in a hatch back (ie: I would prefer not to have to rent a truck and buy a 5'x10' sheet of MDF or Gatorfoam somewhere, but will if I can't come up with anything else that works).

Since this is going to be a painted screen I was wondering if anyone has experimented with joining two sheets of MDF and creating a larger screen, maybe 8' wide and a little less than 5' tall. There would be one seem but I'm wondering if it would be possible to hide with some good wood putty work. Sort of like doing drywall.

Or I was wondering if there's some sort of material that can be placed over two pieces of MDF. Laminate comes to mind. It can be placed over the two MDF pieces, it would hide the join and it provides a nice smooth surface. However, laminate is quite expensive and is somewhat overkill if all I'm gonna do is paint it afterwards. But something like it that that has a good surface for painting would be perfect. Of course it would have to come is larger than 4'x8' size.

Any and all ideas are welcome.

Thanks,
Harry

P.S. I'd prefer to not do a fabric screen since they are quite a bit harder to paint. Also in case anyone is wondering I plan on using Black Window. Thanks again.

P.P.S. The obvious answer would be to just go with a laminate screen and not paint it, but before I go that route, I wanna consider options, etc.
 

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Well Harry, it seems you have done your homework and know about what options you have when it comes to screens. You have pretty much narrowed your choices down to either using a single sheet of inexpensive laminate or constructing a composite screen. The success of your screen seems to be boiling down to your construction skills as either type of screen will need more reinforcing than a simple picture frame-type of setup.

I have never personally done either of these, but in theory, I would favor trying to make a composite screen using two sheets of either 1/4" MDF or perhaps even 1/8" tempered hardboard. With MDF weight may be a problem with a large screen.

It really would help if we knew what kind of projector you are using and what aspect ratio screen you want. Don't worry about getting grief about not having the newest, bestest PJ. We don't do that here.

Depending on your skill level and tools, it is theoretically possible to make a near-invisible joint in sheet-goods by overlapping two sheets and then cutting them with a router. It doesn't even matter if the resulting cut isn't perfectly straight just as long as the cut isn't stopped during the cut. As long as the cut goes from one end to the other without stopping, the edges of the two panels should match perfectly.

If you do end up with two (or more) panels that don't meet perfectly I guess you could use some type of material to fill in the resulting joint. I don't know if it would be best to use some form of spackling, or drywall mud or what. Whatever is used, the whole panel would have to sanded so it is smooth and flat. I would then seal the now-smooth surface of the panel with shellac before priming and painting it otherwise it could suck up a lot of paint.

If you plan on using a reflective screen paint such as Black Widow the screen needs to be truly smooth and flat. Any surface irregularities will pop out at you when painted with such a mix.
 

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I just built a screen using 1/4" MDF backed with a frame of 1/2" MDF, which worked quite well. I basically cut 3" x 1/2" strips of MDF and made a frame that is 8' x 6', with a piece backing the joint of the seam of the 4 x 8' sheet and the 2' x 8' sheet - overlapping the 3" backing by 1 1/2" for each sheet, using enough glue to ensure a good squeeze out at the joint (to fill the joint). Scrape the squeeze out before it is thoroughly dry, still flexible, but not wet. The joint was nailed using a nail gun, as were the perimeter pieces, which will be covered with 2" flok tape. See my recent post titled "Screen in progress" in this forum for a few pictures, and a little more explanation. MDF is generally very smooth and need only be sanded at the joint.
 

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I forgot to note - I have a large table saw, so ripped the sheets my self. My local Home depot doesn't carry 1/4" MDF, so found it at a local lumber store. I did buy the 1/2" at HD and ripped it into 3" strips to make the frame that backs the 1/4" MDF. I got the 1/4" because it is much lighter than 1/2", and still very stable across the dimension of the sheet. Other materials, such as 1/4" hardboard are not as stable and caused concern about sagging. My wife and I were able to carry the completed screen from my shop into the house and up a flight of stairs to our second story family room. Which does remind me of the fact that you need to check to see if you can get your screen where you want it after it is built. I built a quick 6x8' frame out of scrap lumber and carried into the house to make sure I could easily get the finished product into the house. I would have been terribly disappointed to find that I couldn't after having worked so hard to build it and it wouldn't fit.

-Trent
 
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