I found this the other night and feel it is a good guide for getting that DIY screen nice, tight, and smooth. The only difference in how I did mine was I staple gunned under a 1x4 frame and did not wrap it around so as to keep the frame for masking purposes. You can still pull the screen nice and tight from under the frame. Blackout fabric is very strong.
Thanks for the help everyone. The screen looks great! I ended up painting my blackout fabric with 3 coats (1 quart) of Behr Ultra white paint as both the dried samples and opened paint cans looked whiter than any other flat paint available including Ralph Lauren Designer White (I believe that's what it was called). On their own, most appeared brilliant white, but side by side, the Behr won out for me as well as the Home Depot paint guy.
My blackout fabric is not true white. I noticed how gray the fabric looked after putting down one pass of paint. The colors are now much truer and contrast seem a ton better as well. I love it.
If I am picturing this correctly, attaching the screen to the bottom side of your 1x4 frame precluded you from using cross-bracing to strengthen your frame, right? If so, did you have any problems with your frame wanting to twist or distort?
I would really love to see pictures of your frame.
The screen did twist slightly only after I had completly attached the blackout fabric. It would lay flat untilI picked it up to hang it and would distort a little. I ended up screwing all 4 corners of the screen frame to the wall which seems to take care of any visible distortion (to my eye)that the tensioned blackout fabric seemed to cause. The screen still stayed nice and tight.
I mitred <sp?> the 1x4 corners, used 2 L brackets on each corner, and wrapped the frame in some black cotton velveteen material. I then used the method descibed in the url to tension the blackout fabric.
I ended up painting the screen while attached to the wall because of the twisting. It worked great. I just masked the velvet frame with tape and used a 1/4" roller to apply 3 fairly smooth coats of paint. I believe this paint was worth the little extra effort.
Thanks for the further clarification of your construction process. I'm planning to build my own screen when I move into my new house in a couple of months. Your method seems simple enough that even a mechanicly challenged individual such as myself could accomplish it.
Another question, if you don't mind; what size screen is it and is it 16x9 or 4x3?
Mine is a 16x9 45x80" screen. I may try a slightly bigger screen (52x92")if I get motivated, but I believe I currently have the best of all worlds:
almost big enough, bright enough, sharp enough. Some of the theaters here in Washington DC aren't much bigger than this size so I can't complain too much. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
I took photos last night and will try and post them tonight.