Using a bed sheet as a screen? - AVS Forum
DIY Screen Section > Using a bed sheet as a screen?
veco's Avatar veco 12:53 PM 11-30-2004
At the expense of being laughed, I am contemplating using a queen size flat bed sheet as my screen for my X1.

I don't have the budget to spend $300 on a 120" screen so this is the best solution that I came up with. Plus, a queen size sheet measures 80"x60" which is perfect for a 4:3 ratio.

Any recommendations on what color and material I should be looking for? I imagine white would be the color of choice, but should I go for sateen, egyptian cotton, double threat, etc???

Also there's the issue that bed sheets will let too much through... how can I counter that?

Also any ideas on how I could install this on a wall. I was thinking of installing metal rings, but I don't how how to do this... any help would be greatly appreciated.


djsunyc's Avatar djsunyc 01:20 PM 11-30-2004
don't use a sheet b/c a ton of light will pass through it. if you have enough wall space, i suggest just putting it on the wall and painting the wall with some of the do it yourself paint formulas you can find on the 1st post in this forum (FAQ post). that's what i did and it's great. if you use the behr "silverscreen" paint, the total price will be $10 for the paint and $3 for the roller.

but if it has to be hung on the wall (not enough blank wall space to project it), then use blackout cloth. (can be found at walmart). buy that and make a frame for it. those instructions are also in that 1st post. it's cheap and shouldn't cost you more than $25-50 for the material.

but putting a sheet up will result in a absolute horrid picture.
T-Bone's Avatar T-Bone 04:21 PM 11-30-2004
What about a white artist canvas? I've seen canvas at Joanns... heavy gage. Can this be used as-is (i.e. without painting the canvas first)?

Sirquack's Avatar Sirquack 06:21 PM 11-30-2004
You can buy Blackout cloth at many fabric stores, normally it comes in 54" widths, but I think some folks have found it wider, and I think it is like 2-3 bucks/yard. You would have to build a frame to stretch the blackout cloth around, but that is not to expensive either, depending on what wood you use.

I know there have been some people that have used bed sheets, if you do you want to use something with the highest thread count you can find, which won't be cheap, you'll still get some light through it, but it will be better than a cheap sheet, hey that rimes :) But still I would also not recommend using a sheet.

Heck, if you have a wall available in your room, just paint one of the walls with a flat matte white paint, making sure you don't have any texture or orange peel, then you could build a small frame to attach to the wall around the viewing area that is wrapped in velvet, walaaaaa you have a cheap screen.
weisworld's Avatar weisworld 01:04 PM 12-01-2004
I wouldn't rule out the use of bedsheets altogether. In my previous apartment, the only suitable wall to project onto was a large window. Not wanting to spend a lot of money to buy a screen, I resorted to the old bedsheet trick. At first, I tried just a single white sheet, and as others have pointed out, it is just too thin and allows too much light to pass through. I then bought a second sheet, black (or really dark blue) in color, and used that as a backing. The results were actually quite acceptable and superior to my previous experience of simply projecting it on a plain white wall. Hardest part getting all the wrinkles out of the sheets and making them as smooth as possible.

So in a nutshell, as bedsheets are super cheap, try getting a black and a white sheet, and if possible, get a black sheet that is larger than the white one to give a nice dark border around your screen region, and give it a try!

veco's Avatar veco 02:22 PM 12-01-2004
Thanks, Weisworld.

I am going to use a combination of ideas given to me - purchase a queen size white blackout cloth and a king size black bed sheet and use them as the screen and the border.

Hopefully this will work. Thanks again to everybody.
Sirquack's Avatar Sirquack 09:56 PM 12-01-2004
good luck veco, and keep us posted....just a thought, if you use blackout cloth, you won't need a black sheet behind it, as blackout cloth is drapery liner that is designed to "blackout" light from outside your home, it is differant than a white sheet, as mentioned by weisworld. You will need to come up with a solution to stretch it and keep it tight as a drum, there are many cheap ways you can build a wood frame to stretch the material around and then staple it tight. But I do agree with weisworld on the black border, it helps a lot with perceived contrast and sets the screen apart from the rest of the wall....

ps check out the thread on this DIY forum by Stalion, he has been using a blackout cloth screen for some time, and just rolled a couple of coats of Behr Silverscreen paint over the blackout cloth. His pics look amazing for the LCD projector he is using...the paint is like 9 bucks at Home Depot...

boarder's Avatar boarder 03:05 PM 12-03-2004

A single white bedsheet doesn't work so well. Two sheets work ok, though. Blackout cloth is still a better option and probably just as cheap. Usually around 5-6 US dollars a yard.

I actually tried the sheet option at a friends house. Brought the projector over ... he said he had an old screen, but it was way small. So i put 2 sheets over a fold out sewing cutting board and clothes pinned the sides tight. It wasn't half bad.

I have a DIY blackout cloth screen at home for general use. Someday I will by a real screen (it looks better, but the cost has to be right). I would rank them as follows.

I also tested white paint (Behr primer) on a board (3 coats). Couldn't really tell any difference from blackout cloth unless you were nose to the screen.

So in my view the order goes like this:

1) blackout cloth or flat white paint --- cheap and does a good job

2) real white screen material -- better than #1 or #4, but more expensive

3) high gain / gray contrast screens -- better than #1, #2, and #4, but put large dent in the pocket book.

4) 2 white sheets stretched flat -- ok, but not as good as #1

Only go to #4 in need a quick fix or mobile projection. #1 is best bargain for money. #2 and #3 are for when you have the extra dough and are sure of exactly what you need/want for you location.
bootron's Avatar bootron 04:56 PM 12-03-2004
and for anybody going #2 or 3 its a good idea to get some samples. i bought blind on my high power and have had myself doubting ever since. you can never tell how a full screen will do by just a small sample but it can give you a good idea.
seems like you want the DIY method and i would suggest BO cloth. i've tried a bedshet, canvas, had a small yard of BO cloth, high power and various sample of DIY screens and the BO cloth is the cheapest way to get a decent white screen that i have found. it doesnt get easier than going to joann's and picking up a couple yards. a bedsheet will have wrinkles and will let too much light through it. the canvas isnt quite as white as the BO cloth and isnt as perfect as a screen. i had the canvas already, which i believe was about $60 new, and it made a decent enough 70" diagonal. the nice thing about the canvas is it was a 4:3 aspect ratio and it was already affixed to a frame and stretched tight. a bedsheet can be washed though. so if you have little kids or anybody spilling stuff all over it the cleaning is definitely a plus. I dont know anything about how to clean the BOC, but it really shouldnt be too much of a problem.
kaosfm's Avatar kaosfm 02:39 AM 12-04-2004
What was wrong with the high power? Are you using a ceiling mounted PJ?
bootron's Avatar bootron 03:03 PM 12-04-2004
i really do like the high power. hdtv material on it is simply beautiful. i just feel that any flaw in the source material is magnified by the high power. standard television causes artifacts that are just way too noticeable. i have my projector table mounted or sometimes floor mounted. the floor mounting does away with the viewing cone problem but the screen colors tend to fade and it obviously produces less gain. however i believe that since i sit below 2/3's of the screen that the brightness is bouncing back down towards my seating position making it much more desirable than ceiling mounted. i noticed the first day i recieved my high power screen when watching golf the white bunkers shimmered almost flickering in a way. its definitely an improvement over a matte white screen and most dvd's look extraordinary but since i used the silver type screen the screendoor effect seems non existent, the colors are equally as good (different but definitely good) and it doesnt seem to show the flaws of the source material like the high power.
i'm by no means an expert and am just stating my opinions. many people are happy high power owners and their reviews are the reason i purchased mine sight unseen. i would never go back to a matte white screen with my x1 and my opinions may be biased because the silver screen isnt in the same room. the room colors are different but i have moved my high power to various locations and have never felt as pleased as i do now with my aluminum job. i am most definitely going to put the 2 screens side by side soon and i will have to post pictures. i would imagine many people would appreciate that. i can hardly wait to know if my eyes are just playing tricks on me in the different rooms. anyways both screens are good. i hope people dont believe i'm bashing my high power but the silver "seems" better with ambient light and viewing cone. both screens have their purposes and if i was never going to sit outside the high power viewing cone i would have no reason to suggest any other type of screen. when sitting directly on-axis (for my 70" screen no more than 3 seats wide or else sitting outside the viewing cone too much) i dont think the silver screen can compare to the high power even with all the lights on. i shall soon find out.
kaosfm's Avatar kaosfm 12:49 AM 12-05-2004

What silver screen are you refering to? Behr silverscreen paint? Or an actual silver screen like the Silverstar? Or aluminum paint?

I'm all DIY on my end...home-made screen and home-made projector. When I go pro, the hi-power is #1 on my list. It seems like the best gain, color accuracy, price per sq. foot option out there. I also don't ceiling mount and don't plan to, so it would seem ideal.

I'm not sure what your video source is, but I can't watch 95% of Dish Network or Directv's programming on any HD set over 35". The compression artifacts are disgusting. I'm happier with a strong analog cable tv feed! Charter cable really takes pride in their signal strength levels and low noise levels on channels 2-80 (analog).

Voom sounds like the only option for a purist.

bootron's Avatar bootron 01:16 AM 12-05-2004
i painted the rusto aluminum 7715 in a test and have been very happy with it. i have since put the 2 side by side and am still making comparisons.

my hd signal comes from comcast and am using a lowly x1, vga -> component, which only has native 800x600 anyways. however, when we have people over sometimes we watch the games on analog just for the picture to take up the whole screen but when we switch between the 2 the quality is extremely noticeable. i believe honestly now our analog cable is to blame. comcast won't come out and fix.... nvm i could rant on and on about that situation right now but i'm going to reserve it for the proper person. when i hooked up the projector at another house where the aluminum screen was the picture on regular tv amazed me even more so than the hd at its current location. so my attempts to be unbiased basically revolve around making sure i can get the 2 screens side by side and have comcast get me a decent signal.

my parents hdtv they have is a toshiba and it says it scales any progressive signal to 1080i and its about 35". i feel like i honestly have to be 10 feet away in order to get a good picture. if i get any closer the image is absolutely horrible with all the artifacts and if i have to sit a good distance from the screen the hd does me no good because my eyes couldnt make out any details anyways. i might be jumping on the purist bandwagon soon though if comcast customer service stays this poor.

anyways veco, i would really like to know what you finally have decided on. didnt mean to hi-jack your thread with my lengthy posts. whatever it is i'm sure it will make you happy as many people find a wall satisfactory.
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