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Old 08-02-2014, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Cheapest ever DIY ceiling tiles for projector screen area

I have a relatively compact movie room with a 110" screen. Due to the vertical size of the screen it is pretty close to the ceiling. This, as many projector owners know, can be a problem with your typical white ceiling as the light bouncing off the screen will illuminate the ceiling and back to the screen again and kill the contrast and make the picture look really washed out. Since this is a bedroom I didn't want to make anything too permanent, and the goal was to make it a easily and cheaply as possible. Total cost was under $30 to create a black ceiling that extends about 5 1/2 feet from the wall, just enough to keep ceiling reflection at bay and no power tools involved.

Materials:

Flower bed fabric
Black foam core board
Mounting tape
X-acto knife
Double-sided tape
Hot glue and hot glue gun (low temp)


Place double-sided tape in dispersed pattern. This will keep the fabric from sliding off and help keep it from sagging in the future.


Determine which is the duller side. This is the side you want exposed as it will absorb light better than the other side. The easiest way to figure this out is, at least with the fabric I used, the side with the smaller squares is the dull side.

Once you've cut it down to size place it on top of your board, smoothing it out with your hands from the center and working your way out. Doesn't have to be perfectly smooth, just enough.

Flip the board so the fabric is underneath it.


Add a about dab of hot glue to the center edge of the board closest to you. Use a low-wattage glue gun for this. Too much heat will deform the board.


Grab the edge of the fabric from underneath, stretch and fold it over to where the glue is and quickly press down over the glued area with your thumb (it will be a tad hot).

Repeat on the opposite sides, working your way towards the edges. If you've put together fixed projection screens this should be second nature. It's best to stand the board up vertically while stretching the fabric.




Completed tile.


Using just five tiny pieces of mounting tape was enough to stick these up to the ceiling (on near each corner, one in the center).


Yes, it's a pirate themed room. The masonry and woodwork is actually carved out of foam.


Complete setup.



Cheap, yes. But effective. And best of all, 100% wife approved! I hope this post will help those looking for a cheap and easy solution to ceiling reflections.

-AL
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:59 PM
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Very impressed. I might look at something like this if reflections become a problem in my setup. Very creative.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! If your screen is larger than 84" and the top edge is closer than say about 12-24" from the ceiling, I'm guessing you'll have some reflection issues. Technically you'll get reflections no matter what size the screen is (especially if you have light-colored walls), but the larger the screen, the closer the top edge will be to the ceiling so the more severe the ceiling reflection will be on the picture. I say this because when I had an 84" manual pulldown screen with the top edge of the viewable area of the screen about 2 feet down from the ceiling and it was barely an issue. It did affect the picture's contrast, but never in a severe way. But once I upsized to a 110" screen, the picture was painfully washed out to a level I hadn't anticipated. The contrast was very poor. As a quick temporary fix I simply thumbtacked the same black fabric to the same area on the ceiling and it made a dramatic difference. However the setup just looked silly so I wanted to come up with something with a nicer finish, on the cheap, and with no drilling. Unfortunately, when the time comes when I have to remove the tiles I'll need to patch the ceiling anyway because mounting tape rips dry wall like nobody's business, but still, easier fix than filling drill holes.

I should also add that these foam core boards were from a local Dollar Tree store. Not the best quality (the paper "skin" peals off a little too easily), but at a dollar each they worked just perfectly for this purpose, and they are so lightweight there's little risk of them spontaneously falling from the ceiling.

Good luck on your setup! I wish I was half as dedicated and brave as you to take on a basement project all by myself! In your situation however, since your setting up a more or less permanent media room, why not just paint the ceiling black? The only reason I made tiles is because our movie room is a spare bedroom and I wanted it to be somewhat modular and temporary.

-AL
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:13 PM
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Good question. I am in the military so I don't want to make the theater too specific to my tastes, since I know that I won't be here forever. I need to keep the resale in mind.

I've never had a projector so I am really not sure what the outcome is going to be. If I did my math right I should be looking at a 100 inch screen about 12 inches from the ceiling so I think that light reflection might be an issue.

I'm loving the pirate theme!
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:27 AM
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Nice job and easy solution.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:20 AM
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Genious idea and awesome room!
Thanks for the tip. I may try this as a cheap fix for my open beams as I do not have a ceiling installed yet and just open in my space

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Old 08-04-2014, 11:58 AM
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Neat idea and well done. I have been wondering off and on about a possible solution to a thin band of bright reflection on my ceiling from the top of my screen LEDs. I may give this a try. I hadn't thought of black foam core board.

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Old 08-04-2014, 01:22 PM
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Here are a few other threads that deal with room treatment. It is ashame the OP didn't take it up a few bucks and use velvet to cover the panels

Blackout a white room - where do I gain the most?

"Black" Theater Improvment Thread (Once you go black you never go back?)

Do dark walls matter? Yes…yes they do…..

Why is dark walls so important?

Advice on where to use black velvet near screen
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Doug
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Old 08-06-2014, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airscapes View Post
It is ashame the OP didn't take it up a few bucks and use velvet to cover the panels
That's because I already had 150 feet of flower bed fabric in three rolls that I bought a while ago for $3 each and still have a ton left over. If you can find me a source for black velvet at that price please send me a PM immediately. Velvet typically averages at about $7-$10 a yard.

My immediate out of pocket expense for this was just for the foam core boards from the dollar store, and a small roll of mounting tape. Everything else was stuff I already had laying around.

-AL
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LandronArtifacts View Post
That's because I already had 150 feet of flower bed fabric in three rolls that I bought a while ago for $3 each and still have a ton left over. If you can find me a source for black velvet at that price please send me a PM immediately. Velvet typically averages at about $7-$10 a yard.

My immediate out of pocket expense for this was just for the foam core boards from the dollar store, and a small roll of mounting tape. Everything else was stuff I already had laying around.

-AL
Love the faux stone...nicely done!
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dishwatter View Post
Great idea I have the same problem with my ceiling does anyone know if this would work on a textured popcorn ceiling? Or any way to paint the textured ceiling?
Unless you're thinking of nailing the panels in or using some serious glue, this method will not work with popcorn ceiling. You'd be better off installing either a new false ceiling, or simply painting it. But be aware that if you ever want to revert tour ceiling to its original white it's not going to be fun.

Incidentally, if you could edit your post to remove my quote that would be appreciated by people waiting for all those pictures to load. It also tends to drive moderators nuts.

-AL
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Old 08-07-2014, 02:08 PM
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Great idea, I actually have some landscaping cloth sitting around still (I think) and this would work great for me. Thanks
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