how flat does your wall have to be for painted screen? - AVS Forum
DIY Screen Section > how flat does your wall have to be for painted screen?
kenyee's Avatar kenyee 02:29 PM 01-07-2007
Curious how much imperfections actually show up during screen use? Haven't got the projector yet, but I'm prepping the wall (had to take out a wall lamp right in the middle and patch it, but the edges of the patch are visible after sanding down the entire wall w/ a random orbital sander and a coat of primer)-:

I'm not planning on mudding the entire wall because that would cause a giant cloud of dust when sanding it down even w/ the sander/wetvac I'm using :-P

Topher's Avatar Topher 02:51 PM 01-07-2007
It doesn't have to be perfectly flat, but it must be smooth.
You won't notice minor waviness, but any sharp edges from not feathering out & sanding the mud enough will stick out like a sore thumb due to shadows.
kenyee's Avatar kenyee 06:32 PM 01-13-2007
Just to update this: yep, it's visible. Looks like one of those old movie theatres where they patched up holes in their screen w/ a piece of cloth :-) Looks like I'll have to try feathering in the edges using joint compound. The other weird thing is when you view it at a side angle, you can't see the wall patch edges...it's only full on straight that you see it.

Also, the wall texture shows up. This isn't a sheet rock wall. It's the old horsehair plaster on lathe crap that's so common in ancient houses. The wall isn't as smooth as drywall, so you can see the pebbly texture of the wall despite sanding w/ a random orbital sander. On the bright side, this makes the video very viewable from the sides. I might have to punt and hang 1/8" wallboard or masonite and paint that instead.

Projector used is a Panny AX-100. Color looks pretty natural except fleshtones look a bit too red/warm w/ the Glidden Evermore primer I have on it now. I have to try color balancing it to find out if it's the paint or projector. There's no hotspotting as you see w/ some projectors where the edges are dimmer than the middle, so it's very uniform.
wbassett's Avatar wbassett 12:04 AM 01-14-2007
Being the owner of a 160 plus year old Victorian I don't think I have a flat smooth wall in the house, so I may be able to answer your question and give some ideas. Visually as a wall, they are fine. You will want it as flat and smooth as possible though. Bumps and low areas will show up during bright scenes that pan across the screen, and trust me you will notice them... and it is as irritating as the waves people complain about with non-tabtensioned manual and electric screens.

Can you use a substrate? If not, what I did was to use Liner paper to cover the plaster wall once I stripped the wall paper. Liner paper is normally used to cover paneling, cinder blocks, or any rough surface before putting up wall paper or painting. It doesn't have the fancy decorative patterns like the paintable wall paper most have probably seen, but it is also much cheaper. A roll 26" by 30' is around $8. It is relatively thick, but easy to work with. The thickness helps cover and smooth out rough or imperfect surfaces, but you will need to do a little more than just put it up.

First it isn't pre-glued, which isn't awful but you'll have to get wallpaper paste and any old brush will do. I used a 3" brush. What I did was shoot a blank blue screen image from the projector on the wall. I adjusted it for a 52x92 image size and marked it off. Paste the liner paper and then put the two pieces up, but you will need two people to do this. You can use a wall paper squeegee, but I used a 3' level to drag it across the paper to get any air bubble out. Now... let it dry before even thinking about painting.

There will be a seam between the two 26" strips, so you'll have to put some mud up. I used the kind that goes on red and dries white. The trick is not to put it on too thick. When it dries use a sponge sanding block to feather out the edges. You'll know when it's done when you run your fingers over the area and you can't tell where the paper and mud start and stop.

This is what it looked like at this point before the mud on the seam dried.

You can see from the picture that the paper may be stiff and fairly thick but it is still pretty transparent.

What I did next some may disagree with, but once I got the seam smoothed out I primed the 'screen' with Kilz2. To me I was able to see any imperfections and high/low spots better. I then used some pre-mixed drywall mud and a 12" trowel to skim all the low spots. I used the sanding block on the fine side. It makes a mess and lots of 'dust' so cover things up. When you are done though you will have a nice flat and smooth surface to paint. It sounds like a lot of work but it really isn't. Most of the time is waiting for the mud to dry. Start to ready to paint it took me two evenings, but I didn't use heaters and I just let it dry while I watched movies on my HDTV upstairs
Here is a shot before any paint and with the Samsung logo screen up.


After the skim coat is sanded prime and put up any paint application you prefer.

I use this as my test screen for painted screens. This is after the first coat of Gray Screen.


After the second coat and remasked.


Of course the surrounding wall looks awful in these shots. What looks like wallpaper still on the wall is actually the print from the wallpaper that bled through to the paster. (There were three layers of wallpaper and at least three layers of paint on the wall.)

My test screen dressed out with a black suede border trim and the wall finished with a decorative/textured paintable wallpaper and ready for painting. Total time from start to finish a week and a half.


Calibration stage for my test screen...


Some images after the second coat was fully dry and the test screen was trimmed and dressed out... on axis and off...


Now...Painting...

If you go this route, the liner paper could bubble in areas for the first couple of coats. When I say bubble, I mean scary bubbles that you may be inclined to try to flatten and 'work' out. Let them go. As the paint dries it contracts and it will flatten out. I have seen this with the paintable wall covering as well as liner paper. If you freak and try to flatten it, you will only make things worse or ruin the paint finish... so give it a good 24 hours and you'll be surprised at how the bubbles go away...

I hope this helped... it may not be the way you go or were even thinking of going, but for those that have older houses this worked like a charm for me and really wasn't as hard to do as it may sound... it does though take time.

I have also had a fixed frame DW screen up as well as several other painted screen. The method I descibed above has served me well as far as a very nice test screen platform... for most it would be a nice permanant screen platform.
kenyee's Avatar kenyee 07:36 AM 01-15-2007
Thanks. I'll think about that as an option though I suspect just using a 1/8" rigid board and those mirror mounts will work better since you can take the screen with you if you move :-)

Watched the 24 season opener on it last night and surprisingly didn't notice that wall patch that much. It was only noticeable on bright scenes and only if you remember to look for it, so I'm hoping feathering the edges w/ drywall will be enough for now.

It was plenty bright (we have curtains and street lights can be seen through the curtains); colors did look a little washed out with the room lights on, but not as bad as I thought.

The PT-AX100 seems to be too saturated on this primer background. It looks ok in Natural mode w/ the color setting turned down by -10. I think the blacks being grayish also might be because of the dynamic iris. Sometimes, the blacks look fine...sometimes they look grayish The odd part is the rest of the colors look fine. I really have to calibrate it using DVD Essentials to know for sure...
kenyee's Avatar kenyee 07:15 PM 01-21-2007
FYI, after a few more tweaks w/ wall patch on the edges, it's fine now. The key is not to have a vertical line. If you can see this w/ the lights on when moving your head left/right, it'll show up on w/ the projector.

Time for a paint finally...have to stop by True Value next weekend and pick up some Winter Mountain eggshell. The Glidden Gripper primer seems fine (no hotspotting, very even color/brightness) and it seems to be roughly eggshell reflectivity, so I don't expect any problems, and I'm too lazy to do a matte poly coat :-)
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