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My DIY Screen (lots of pics)


I'm famous now bitches! vvvvv
originally posted on 12-3-2008 on S&V.

Don't expect Bob Villa performance here as this was the first time I
have done this, but I think it has turned out pretty good for as crude
as it is.

First off, I found some plans (thanks to Towen7) from an ebay seller
that sells the screen material I used. Here's a link to his page and a
drawing of the proposed frame.



I made a copy of the list of materials and then headed out to Home
Depot. For the screws I used #10 and predrilled my holes to keep from
splitting the pine. The materials list for my screen is:

1x4 pine. I used about 8-9 8ft pieces. If you intend to have a
screen that's 97" or bigger, then I recommend two of those pieces to be
12ft sections (I'll explain why later).

#10 x 3/4" wood screws for the frame

#10 x 1.5" wood screws for the border

wall anchors/screw pack. Size and weight rating depends on screen's size and weight.

black velvet or similar flat black material for the border. You can get this at any fabrics store.

mending plates or "straight brackets". This is so you can secure
the frame to the wall. They should be in the same section as you would
find L brackets for picture frames.

Tools I used were:

framing square
measuring tape
cordless drill
circular saw*

* can be optional. If you know the dimensions of your frame and already
have it planned out, you can always have Home Depot cut the pieces for
you. Also the instructions mention using glue, but I didn't bother. My
frame was already pretty rigid without the glue, so I decided not to
use it.

Before you start, be sure you know how big you want your frame. What I
did was play back some DVDs on a bare wall and adjusted the projector
so it displayed different sizes. When I found a size I wanted, I took a
few thumbtacks and stuck them in three of the four corners of the
images. Using a measuring tape I measured width, height, and diagonal.


Here's the materials I got cut and ready to be assembled.


Next I butted the pieces together to see how it's going to look and how out of square it's going to be.


Pine pretty much sucks when it comes to warp and Home Depot's selection
isn't exactly grade A either. Try to get the straightest pieces you can
find. Look down the length of the stock and see how far it bows, is
crooked, etc. It's not going to be ruler straight, but the flatter the
better it's going to be to work with. I also measured corner to corner
and then the other corner to corner to make sure I had the frame
square. If the two diagonals come out equal, then the frame is square.

Next I laid out my corner pieces and screwed one corner down. I only
used a couple of screws to hold it down. This way, if I needed to
adjust the frame, I only had to worry about removing a couple of screws
instead of 10 or 20 of them.


When I got two of the corners done I double checked my corners to make
sure they were square. I repeated the measurements again once I got
all four corners screwed in place. Once I saw my frame was square, I
cut the center piece to give the frame some stability.

Next I layed out the screen material flat with the back size up. I then
centered my frame on it and proceeded to staple one side. I started at
the center of the frame and worked my way out to the edges.


If you plan on cutting excess material, be sure to leave enough for you
to pull the material around the frame. 4 inches extra all around is
probably a good measure to go by. When I took this pic, I put a few
more staples and then lifted it up to see how bad the wrinkles showed.
If you use the material from B-A sales, then it should stretch enough
to pull out any wrinkles. If the wrinkles are really bad, you can wash
the material (I had to with mine). Once one side is stapled, you should
be able to pull the material tight enough to pull out any wrinkles as
you staple the other side.

Here's what it looks like once the material is stapled on.


Then next I added the mending plates.


Now, on to the border. At this point I had decided to run the border
around my finished frame and just tack it to the wall, hiding my
brackets. It would sort of be like a frame around a frame if that makes
sense. Unfortunate with my screen frame already at 92" wide, this was
not possible since all my stock was 8ft (96") lengths. I probably could
have gotten away with butt joints, but I think the border having 45
degree miters would have a cleaner look. Mitering the top and bottom
sections meant having them at least 98" to the furtherest tips (the
pointy part). This is why I mentioned about going with a couple of 12ft
sections if you want a big screen with a nice border.

I had already made my cuts when I realized my mistake, so this meant
having to cover the outer edge of the front of my screen. This would
drop my viewing size from 105" down to about 96". Sucks I know, but
that's still bigger than my Pioneer's 60" measurement so who am I to

After re-sizing my border to fit, I used some clamps and did a dry fit to see how it looks.


I then marked them "top", "bottom" and so on so they would be put back
the same way once they were covered with fabric. Next I laid out the
fabric and then proceeded to staple it to my border pieces. Here's what
the fabric looks like. It is a somewhat stretchy polyester blend. It
was on clearance at Wal-mart.


getting ready to staple the fabric to the borders.


Like with the screen material, I started at the center of each piece
and worked my way to the ends. Once you got one side done, I would pull
the fabric tight and staple to reduce and/or eliminate any wrinkles.
With the pointy corner (if you're working with mitered cuts) you just
need enough fabric to cover the wood. Use a pair of scissors to trim
any excess fabric. If you flub and have a bit of wood exposed, a black
Sharpie will do the trick. Unless you just gashed the hell out of the
fabric, you will never be close enough to the screen to see the colored
wood anyways.

After all the pieces were covered, I then did another dry fit to see
how everything fits. Once it was clamped into place, I used the #10 x
1.5 screws and screwed it to the frame. Be sure to pre-drill your holes
but also make sure you do not go ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE FRONT OF THE
BORDER. I kept that thought in the back of my head as I knew if anyone
would do that, it would be me. Luckily that never happened and I
escaped humiliation for the time being.

A close up of the border.


Now the frame is ready to hang. With the help of a friend, I went ahead
and set in one of my anchors and screwed one of the top corners in
place. I marked the other top hole and did the same. While the frame
was up, I marked the bottom holes, removed the frame, and then
remounted it to the wall. It now is supported by screws in the top and
bottom keeping it flat on the wall.

Once you get it hung on the wall, turn off the lights and fire up a movie!

originally posted on 12-30-2008 on S&V

Screen Shots on a DIY Screen (lots of pics)

I planned on posting this in a reply about DIY screen quality in another thread, but thought others who are thinking about a projector and DIY screen might benefit from an easier to find separate thread.

This is with a Sanyo PZ4 projector and 93" DIY screen sitting about 11ft away. First, most of you all have seen the following.

Shots of DVD using S-Video connections.


The next one is from Ghosthunters International that I recorded to a DVD-R. The recorder was set at Sp mode (2hour mode) for best quality. Not as good as DVD, but still pretty watchable to me.


The next few shots are from the show Planet Earth in HD. This is from my upgraded receiver, Dish Vip 722 HD/DVR, and using the component connections.






^ probably my favorite shot from what i took............


Just to warn you guys, I'm still not used to my new camera. The above images look a LOT better than the pics represent. The steadiness of my hands aren't exactly "surgeon quality" either. Another thing is I used the "freeze" feature on my projector in order to get more of the image. I could have pasued the DVR, but the bottom of the image will always have the DVR "time left" bar on it (like with the play button on the snow image).

So if you asked me do I think some of the name brand screens are worth the extra money? Imo, I think it depends. If one doesn't want to go the DIY route and/or feels the pros make a better screen, then I don't think I would spend more on what a company like Carada offers.

Another thing to consider, if you go the DIY route, is the quality of screen material. I've seen some that looked good, but seemed pale and washed out compared to a same size Carada or Stewart. Mine is more like a stretchable canvas than a paper style material. In the end, if I was looking to splurge on a projector setup, I would still go with a DIY screen in order to get a better quality projector. This is, to me, kinda similar to settling for a cheaper receiver in order to get better quality speakers. Then later on if you felt that upgrading to a Carada or Stewart will give you better video performance, you can do so without regretting not buying that better projector.
A blast from the past... Nice.

Great job (again).

I think DIY screens are a fantastic idea. Big plasmas and LCDs are okay but theres nothing like a big projected image for a theater "feel". For not a lot of money and just a little work you get that.
Very cool indeed.

Total cost of your project, if you don't mind me asking?
I think, counting the $99 for the mitre saw, about $120. The screen materiel came with my projector, so the only thing I was really out of was wood, hardware, and fabric.

I would think total cost would still be under $100. The screen materiel (B-A Deals on eBay) price varies depending on what you get, but a lot of prices are between $60-$80 for the material (he has several different auctions).
and the most important thing, you get to say:

I made that 96" screen, myself!!!! PRICELESS!