Hey, who turned out the lights? It was just getting good.
Like most people in this forum (and specifically this thread) I was looking for an easy, 3-4 hour, $50 or less option to a DIY screen. Projecting onto a white wall worked for me mostly because I couldn't be bothered, but I've since flipped my living room around and the projector faces a brick wall (fantastic for colours, BTW, exemplifying why red works so well in paints...of course the ridiculously uneven texture, pink whites and crazy grey stripes running through the image made it unwatchable)
Anyway, it's now 3 weeks later and after no less than 4 trips to HD and 4 quarts of SS (and other ingredients), I can say I'm happy with what I've done.
Step #1: Paint. Started with a 4x8' piece of 1/8" painted hardboard. I knew it was too glossy, but threw it up on the wall anyway (drilled holes in the corners and hung it on screws in the wall). Hot spot city. Took it down and painted 1/3 of the board UPW, 1/3 with a 1:3 ratio UPW:SS, 1/3 SS. Let it dry a couple hours and put it back on the wall.
Step #2: Compare. The UPW was too washed out for my tastes. The whites were whiter, but so was everything else. I was impressed with the SS but not as impressed as I thought I'd be. DEFINITE improvement on contrast and reds/blues/yellows were brighter than I'd ever seen from my PJ, but like most people who had "issues" with it, skin tones weren't skin tone and blacks seemed to be "dusty" (like there was a layer of dust on the screen that made me want to go at it with a damp cloth). For whatever reason (must be personal taste) the 1:3 mixture seemed to take the worst of both worlds; too washy AND too dusty with no real improvement in contrast.
Step #3: Decide and Repaint. I did see the benefit from SS and thought I could live with with the deficiencies (also noticed different channels had different qualities. Something like a sports desk show it looked like the anchors had no colour, swtiched to a movie channel or "major" network and there was an improvement (ABC seemed to be the best)). I also had the rest of the quart to use so figure "what the heck" and put on 2 more coats, waiting 4 hours or more between coats.
Step #4: ???. Realized my painting skills are atrocious. It's not that I've never painted before, it's just that I've never painted anything I'm going to be blasting with light and staring at for hours. I was too excited about getting the thing done, and just did a rush job. Roller marks and uneven application REALLY stood out on the projected image.
Step #5: Start Over. Rather than sanding for 4 hours, I peeled the paint off the hardboard (thank God for latex) in 45 minutes. Got another quart from HD and picked up some WOP since I was there and starting over anyway. Tried a 2:1 SS:WOP mix and checked out the image. Noticed a slight pick up in whites and contrast, but not a lot. It wasn't hurting the image at all and since I'd already mixed, added another couple of coats.
Step #6: ??? (again). Roller marks and spots all over the place (again). I think I even quietly whimpered to myself. Pulled myself together and remember back to my house-painting days and read MM's awesome instructions.
Step #7: Wet Sand. At the very least I thought what I had on there would make a good base, so I wet sanded it until it was smoother than...something really smooth.
Step #8: Start Over (not really). Hey, going back to HD again? Yup. This time (since I was starting over sortof) decided WOP didn't REALLY do anything so picked up some SM and MinWax poly uerethane satin (they were out of acryllic) as well. Mixed 'em up (the mix is coming, I'm telling a story here) and dry-rolled on coat 1, wet sanded, dry-rolled on coat 2. Threw it on the wall and couldn't stop watching last night (and it had only dried for maybe 2 hours). This makes me happy.
Step #9: Share. A word from the Not-So Wise: if it's been awhile since you painted something, practice, it's probably not as easy as you remember. And ask yourself if you've ever sat facing a wall you've painted and shone intense light on it. And don't be dumb like me and rush into it. You're trying to save yourseld time and money, remember.
My measuring system isn't the most accurate (4 oz. Sharpie marks on a big mason jar) but I ended up with something like this:
8 parts SS
2 parts SM
4 parts MinWax
3-4 parts water (thinned each coat a little more)
Anyway, if you're going to all that trouble, you're probably better off going with one of the other mixes in the DIY. I'm not a chemist or a painter and not even that smart. I wanted to use SS because I saw some good things and thought the pros outweighed the cons. I've still got a couple of rough patches on the screen so I think I might wet sand one last time and dump the rest of the MinWax into what I've got (should make it about 4:3 parts SS:MinWax or maybe even equal amounts, I've lost track), add one more coat before putting the frame on and hanging it for good.
This more of a What Not To Do for the FNG's thinking of just jumping into it. Mainly: DON'Trush and DON'T make my classic mistake of thinking "If it doesn't work, I'll start over." The time, energy, frustration and $$$ really add up. I guess I could've just said that instead of all that other stuff above, but that would have been less fun. It's kinda like what Yoda said: Do or do not. There is no try.
That said, I'm happy with my screen and by the sounds of things will probably be happier still in a couple of weeks after everything cures. Which probably means in a couple months or so I'll be trying something else...something that rhymes with "StississippiStud"