Instructions To Make A Projector Screen
Build Your Own Projector Screen
Building your own projector screen is by far the most cost-effective way to enjoy your new home theater projector. With just a couple hours of work and less than $100, you can be enjoying a 5’x9’ screen that would otherwise cost several hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
We have developed this how-to so everyone can see just how easy it is and how great the results are.
The basic idea behind this method is to build something very similar to a giant artist's canvas: a wooden frame with the screen material stretched over it, and with black trim placed around the edges for a professional look.
- Choose Aspect Ratio – match the aspect ratio of your projector
- 4:3 TV (standard size)
- 16:9 Widescreen/HDTV
- 2.39:1 Wide Scope
- Choose Size – most people choose the biggest size space will allow
- Gather Your Materials and Tools
||Tools You Will Need
||Local Hardware Store
||(For a 5x9 Screen)
- Projector Screen Raw Material
- Black Felt Tape
- Scissors or Utility Knife
- Heavy Duty Stapler
- Pocket Screw Jig
- Screw Driver
- Miter Saw
- 30' Primed Back Band Trim
- 35' – 1x4 Select Grade or Higher Pine Lumber
- 2-4 Large Picture Frame Hangers
- 4 Floor Joist Braces (optional)
- Matte Black Spray Paint
- Heavy Duty Staples
- Make Projector Screen – detailed instructions below
For demonstration purposes, these directions will be for a screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, because it will be used primarily for HDTV and it matches the aspect ratio of most home theater projectors. The size will be about 5'x9' as that is our most popular.
Instructions to make a projector screen:
- You have chosen your aspect ratio and screen size & gathered your materials and 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 varies.)
- Take the viewable dimensions and add the width of the black felt tape and 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")
- 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
- Assemble the frame using your joinery method of choice. We prefer to use pocket screws and a simple $30 pocket screw jig
- Fasten the floor joist braces in each corner for added strength (optional)
- Lay the screen material over the frame
- Start on the right edge and staple the fabric, in the middle, with 3-4 closely spaced heavy duty staples
- Move to the left edge and staple the fabric, in the middle, with 3-4 closely spaced heavy duty staples
- Move to the top edge and staple the fabric, in the middle, with 3-4 closely spaced heavy duty staples
- Move to the bottom edge and staple the fabric, in the middle, with 3-4 closely spaced heavy duty staples
- Continue this process adding 2-4 staples each time, working from the middle out to the corners, until the entire fabric is stretched with even tension to the frame thereby eliminating wrinkles
- Add the black felt tape, cutting with a scissors or utility knife –
do NOT stretch the tape
- Cut the back band trim with mitered corners to fit your frame
- Spray paint the back band trim black and allow to dry
- Nail the back band trim to the frame
- Hang on the wall using the picture hangers of your choice
- Grab the popcorn and a cool beverage (optional)
- Pop in your favorite movie or video game and enjoy!
View Steps 9 - 12
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