Let me first say how thankful I am to the members of this forum, as I have garnered much information and used many threads for reference over the years. As I am sitting here in the waiting room while my truck is in for Virginia State Inspection, I thought I would take the time and complete my little theater build, hopefully helping someone else in the future.
The Amazing Grace Theater is simply a small section of my unfinished basement. I previously had a 50” 1080p plasma setup down there, but had an InFocus X9 720p projector in storage. I hadn’t had the time to put it up since moving into the house, but given a bit of time off during Christmas and New Years, I decided to jump into a build. While I will update this thread as I make smaller additions to the theater, this initial posting is focused primarily on building the screen. While I am not a professional woodworker, I do have experience with handy-man projects around the house and building my entertainment center. (Seen in pictures throughout this thread.) That being said, anyone who can make proper measurements and cut straight lines can do this.
Before we begin, here are some overall tips:
1. Plan everything out BEFORE you buy any materials.
2. Write all of your measurements and information in one central notebook, not on many scraps of paper.
3. You’ll be making more than one trip to Home Depot or Lowes. (There is nothing you can do to prevent it, just accept it.)
4. Take your time going through the wood pile. Finding straight wood in the store will save you time later on.
5. Four tools under $10 each worth their weight in gold - A GOOD ratcheting screwdriver; 48” straight-edge level; “L” or “T” square; wood clamps of all sizes
6. Measure twice. Step back and look. Measure again. Then cut.
7. If a screw hole can be pre-drilled…DO IT!!! Split wood is no fun…
8. Never use a power drill to put screws into wood. Always use a ratcheting screwdriver so you can feel the appropriate torque and not split the wood.
9. Do the measurements/calculations yourself. You may be using someone else’s build/plan/screen for reference, but relying on someone else’s measurements without wrapping your own head around things is asking for trouble.
Here we go:
My theater space in the basement is approx. 15’W x 24’L. This would fit a 120” DIY screen well. It is a completely unfinished basement that will serve as theater, game room, and storage. Basement has a walkout to the backyard with three windows that are on the wall opposite where the screen will be placed. These will be covered by blackout curtains, making the room completely light controlled. Eventually I’ll finish the basement, but for now it serves its purpose well and allows for a giant shop area that I can quickly clean-up with a shop-vac.
After doing research on different screen substrates, I decided to go with Wilsonart Designer White Laminate material referenced here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=708240
. I went with this screen substrate over others because it can be ordered in 5’ widths, is highly durable, fairly rigid, and required no painting. The plan was to build a solid frame out of 1x4’s to attach the WA laminate to, then sandwich it velvet-wrapped 3.25” MDF base trim. That process is outlined below.
Shopping List (not including basic tools):
• 5’ x 10’ Wilsonart Designer White Laminate (Cut to size for 16:9 screen)
• 3.5 yards of $12.99 velvet at JoAnn Fabric (No need to pay for 4 yards)
• 1”x4” (.75” x 3.5” actual) wood for frame (I used pine due to cost. Poplar is better, but more expensive)
• 3.25” MDF base trim (Wrap velvet around this)
• 4 – Corner “L” brackets for inside frame edges
• 6 – Simpson StrongTie brackets for inner frame supports
• Kreg Jig for pocket holes (http://www.amazon.com/Kreg-R3-Pocket...ies/B000J43A7W
• 1 ¼”Kreg Jig Screws (For soft woods like pine use COARSE thread. For hard woods like poplar use FINE thread)
• 2” drywall screws for corner “L” brackets
• #6 ½” metal screws to attach Simpson StrongTie brackets
• #10 ½” metal screws to attach laminate to frame
• #10 washers for attaching laminate to frame
• 1 ¼” finish nails to attach MDF trim to frame
• Nail punch set to bury finish nails below velvet
• Wood glue
• Miter box & saw
• Staple gun & 3/8” staples
• 2 – 18” “Hangman” french cleat systems