How-To Build A Projector Screen
How-To Build a Projector Screen
For demonstration purposes, these step-by-step instructions are for a wooden fixed-frame projector screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, because it matches the aspect ratio of most home theater projectors. The size will be about 5'x9' as that is our most popular.
Quick Overview (Images Below)
- Locate Your Projector's Native Aspect Ratio (4:3, 16:9 or 2.39:1)
- Calculate Optimal Screen Size/Ratio for Your Viewing Environment
- Purchase Carl's Projector Screen Material & Black Felt Tape
- Gather Your Products, Tools and Supplies
- Read Online OR Download Carl's Step-by-Step Instructions (156 KB PDF)
- Watch customer, Griffin Hammond's, Stretch & Staple Technique— Starting at 3:22
Products, Tools and Supplies List
- Carl's Place:
- 1. Projector Screen Material
- 2. Black Felt Tape
- 1. Scissors or Utility Knife
- 2. Heavy Duty Stapler
- 3. Pocket Hole Jig
- 4. Screw Driver
- 5. Miter Saw or Miter Box/Saw
- 6. Drill
- Local Hardware Store:
- 1. (30')* Primed Back Band Trim to create a frame
- 2. (35')* 1x4 Select Grade or Higher Pine Lumber
- 3. (2-4) Picture Frame Hangers
- 4. (4) Floor Joist Braces (optional)
- 5. Matte Black Spray Paint
- 6. Heavy Duty Staples
- 7. Screws
- 8. Nails
* Footage is for a 5x9 Foot Projector Screen.
Build Your Own Projector Screen with Carl's Step-By-Step Instructions
These instructions demonstrate building a wooden fixed-frame projector screen which will be permanently mounted to the wall. Our method is similar to a giant artist's canvas: a wooden frame with the screen material stretched over it, and with a black contrast-boosting border placed around the edges for a professional look.
- The same technique should be used for ALL our screen materials, not just Blackout Cloth, although some materials do not actually "stretch".
Carl's Step-By-Step Instructions (Pictures Below)
- You have chosen your aspect ratio, size and screen material & gathered your tools
- Determine viewable dimensions
- The material we have chosen is 110" wide. We will leave ourselves 5" of fabric to stretch over our wooden frame, so we'll have a viewable width of 105". Using the aspect ratio we must determine the height.
- 105" x 9/16 = 59.0625 or 59 1/16" | We have our viewable dimensions of 105" x 59 1/16"
- An aspect ratio of 4:3 would be 105" x ¾ = 78.75 or 78 ¾"
- Calculate dimensions of wood frame
- Measure the black felt tape (It should be approximately 2".)
- Measure the back band trim (It should have an overhang of approximately 3/16" though this could vary)
- Take the viewable dimensions and add the width of the black felt tape & the overhang on the back band trim all the way around.
- Taking our viewable width of 105" and adding 2" twice and 3/16" twice, we get a total frame width of 109 3/8".
- Taking our viewable height of 59 1/16 plus 2" twice and 3/16" twice we end up with 63 7/16".
- Our frame dimensions are 109 3/8" x 63 7/16"
- Cut two pieces of pine that are exactly as long as the frame (our width is 109 3/8")
(See the FAQ—How-To Tips Section and read "when building a wooden frame" before you proceed.)
- Cut three boards that are 7" (twice the width of the 1x4's: 3 ½") shorter than the exact frame height (these will measure 56 7/16") - one piece will go in the center for stability (Image Below)
- Assemble the frame using your joinery method of choice. We prefer to use pocket screws and a simple pocket hole jig (Image Below)
- Fasten the floor joist braces in each corner for added strength (optional) (Image Below)
- Lay the screen material over the frame (Image Below)
- Using heavy duty staples, start on the top and place several staples in the center (1). Move to the bottom and place several staples in the center (2), stretching the fabric straight across.
- Move to the right side of the frame and place several staples in the center (3), stretching the fabric out from the center. Move to the left and place several staples in the center (4), stretching the fabric straight across.
- At the top add a couple staples, about 2-3 inches to each side of the original staples (5 & 6). Make sure to stretch with even tension out from the middle. Repeat at the bottom (7 & 8), right (9 & 10) and left (11 & 12) sides.
- Add 3 staples, again 2-3 inches apart, at the top of the frame (13-15 & 16-18). Repeat at the bottom (19-21 & 22-24), right and left sides. Again make sure to stretch with even tension out from the middle as shown in the diagram. (Image Below)
- Continue adding 2-4 staples, evenly spaced and rotating to opposite sides until the screen is completely secured all the way around the frame. Do not staple in a circle around the frame, always rotate to the opposite side with even tension. (Image Below)
Watch customer, Griffin Hammond's, Stretch & Staple Technique— Starting at the 3 Minute and 22 Second Mark
- Cut the Back Band Trim with a Miter Saw or Miter Box/Saw to fit your frame. Back Band Trim is a piece of wood moulding that surrounds the exterior edge of the screen to create a professional looking frame. (Image Below)
- Spray paint the back band trim black & allow to dry
- Nail the back band trim to the frame
- Add the black felt tape, on top of the screen material, cutting with a scissors or utility knife – do NOT stretch the tape (Image Below)
- Hang on the wall using the picture hangers of your choice (Image Below)
- Grab the popcorn and a cool beverage (optional)
- Pop in your favorite movie or video game and enjoy!