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Great way to make a uniform screen! (For DIY people)  

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I don't know how uniform people can paint their screens on wood or dryboard or whatever, but I just thought this might interest some people.

I've been using bedsheets from Walmart(TM) http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif as my screen. I used larger black bedsheet on the back, and then put two layers of white bedsheets in front of that to make my screen. Blacks that surround the white makes it look nicer, BTW.

Anyway, I noticed that because the fabric isn't dense enough, it leaks light. I put aluminum foil behind the white bedsheets and it shows higher brightness. Unfortunately, it made the screen even less uniform.

So, I said, heck with this! I painted the bedsheet with ultra-white flat paint. FANTASTIC! Thanks to the fact that fabric absorbs the paint, it turned out extremely uniform. As I type this (and viewing it on the screen), I can see excellent contrast and uniformity.

So, basically, if you cover whatever screen material you're using with a white fabric and then paint that, you might get a better uniformity out of it.

There might be drawbacks, but I don't know. This looks fantastic to me. It kind of automatically gets perforated too (depending on the fabric and the paint).

Just thought maybe people might be interested.
post #2 of 15

What brand paint did you use and what steps did you take to apply it?
What thread count and brand sheets did you use?

Did you thin out the paint?

Do you think the screen with one sheet's thickness would pass enough audio without too much high frequency roll off so speakers could go behind it?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
I used Dutch Boy Ultra White (Flat). It has slight yellowish tint, but it was the only thing I could find locally (and easily).

I did not thin the paint. I used painting pad with short bristles. The pad destroyed itself after I finished painting. Fabric isn't as smooth as a wall, so the pad couldn't handle it much longer. Thinning the paint a little might not be a bad idea, but if you thin it too much, you won't get a uniform screen because they'll want to flow down more. If you put it flat on the ground, I guess it's no big deal.

I just painted it right on the wall. Doesn't need any special skill. I just made sure that all areas were covered. Before it was dry, I could see bad uniformity problems (and I was worried a little), but once it dried, it was perfect!

Hmm, I just thought of something. If you could thin the paint a lot and just soak the sheet (making sure it's not over-saturated), and before it dried, put it on the screen material and stretched it out, that might be simpler.

I can't remember what the thread count was, but I bought the tightest one I could buy at WalMart.

With the paint on it, there is no open space through which air can go through, so it is not going to work if you put the speakers behind it. As a matter of fact, I'm more of an audiophile than a videophile and I would never compromise audio for video. The reverse if acceptible to me.

[This message has been edited by FerretLover (edited 11-22-2000).]
post #4 of 15
Good work. Send pics if you know how to post them to a website.
post #5 of 15
Sounds interesting. Maybe I need to go invest in a painting pad and make another trip to Joann Fabrics.

When January comes and the Panamorph with it, (Crossing my fingers, knocking on wood, please be accurate this time, Shawn), I'll be needing a new screen. A great time to start playing with paint again.

Ken Elliott
post #6 of 15
I used the blackout fabic from JoAnns folded over double thickness, stretched over a 1" x 4" frame, and secured with staples. It made for nice flat screen but the color was little on the yellow side.

The blackout fabric allowed quite a bit of light to leak through to the back side and the relections off of the wall behind caused the image to be washed out -- too much light diffusion. I painted the back side with white interior primer (I was painting my daughter's bedroom and it was handy) and that cut down on the light tranmission and helped contrast considerably. I'll probably put at least one more coat on the back.

I don't see myself painting the front surface, though. The blackout fabric has a tight weave that is smoother than any paint job I can do. I can offset the yellow tint a bit by adjusting the color on the HTPC.

Overall, $55 well spent.

I like your idea of thinning the paint and going for a complete saturation. Hmmm. I might try that on a small sample.
post #7 of 15
I don't think you got the same fabric I did. I'm using a single thickness and can hold a flashlight right up to it and not see any light come through.

post #8 of 15
Indeed that is the purpose of "blackout" fabric - it was designed for curtain backing and thus is supposed to be opaque. If you are getting that much light through, I think you got something other than what most of us using "blackout" fabric are using.

Lex MC1/Sunfire CG/Hales Rev3's x3/M&K SS150 tripoles/Quadscan/Plus UP1100/Homemade screen
post #9 of 15
Are most people wrapping the blackout fabric around a wooden frame from the front (the wooden frame isn't seen) or installing the blackout fabric from behind so that the wood is being used as a frame?

post #10 of 15
Blackout fabric is supposed to be opaque? http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif

I bought the fabric online from a link I saw in another post and I'm not the type to return things.

PCDoctor -- that is what I did. I used angle brackets to fasten the 1"x4"s and a staple gun every 6" (closer in the corners) to secure the screen. It made for a flat, smooth screen with no wrinkles.

A simple diagram can be seen at

After I get through adjusting my projector and HTPC I might try it again with a different fabric. Or, I might try painting the front of the fabric. I'll probably do both. (Can't let my wife get too comfortable)

[This message has been edited by Teran (edited 11-28-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Teran (edited 11-28-2000).]
post #11 of 15
Hi Teran,

I might have a clue on why your blackout fabric isn't totally opaque. In my local fabric stores there is a choice of 2 different technologies of blackout fabric:

- one is totally opaque and is of a very tight weave on one side and has a slightly plastified or synthetic backing, which is a little shiny. It comes in thick heavy weight or in very thin light weight versions and is totally opaque and light blocking in both instances.

- then there is another which is entirely made of several thicknesses of very tightly woven fabric. It is heavy weight and clearly more costly to produce. It is sold here as Photographic block out fabric, but despite its seemingly better quality and higher price it still lets some light through.


post #12 of 15
I wish I could say that I purposely bought the higher quality fabric, but I can't. I followed a link on another thread, it looked right, and I bought. Oh well, still looks pretty darn good and I'm really not out anything.
post #13 of 15
I have a really dumb question - what is blackout fabric? I would have thought from the name that it is something you would put to absorb light (like the edges of a screen), not to be used as a screen? Does this material go by another name?

Apologize if this is a really dumb question, but I am retrofitting my AV room and want to do a better job this time around. I am intriques by the DIY screen concept and am trying to determine the best approach - paint a wall or make a screen and hang it on the wall. I want to get rid of my current drop down screen.
post #14 of 15
I asked the wife who sometimes sews curtains and draperies.

Blackout fabric is for someone who wants "room darkening" draperies, and is used as a liner on the side facing the window. It is resistant to UV light so the sun doesn't fade the more expensive fabric on the visible side. It is white to minimize solar heat gain. Some of it is made with a vinyl layer so that rain through an open window will not water spot the drapes. Some is made with multiple layers of cloth for insulation purposes, and to add apparent bulk to certain drapery styles.


[This message has been edited by Gary McCoy (edited 06-08-2001).]
post #15 of 15
hey, this blackout fabric might be useful stuff to know about.. what do you think are the acoustical properties of it? would it be thick enough to reflect sound or thin enough to transmit it? I'm asking cause the back side of my room is not a real wall, but an archway. I've been looking to put a curtain there to block some light, and to reflect some sound. Maybe this stuff will be a good match covered with some sheer fabric to make it look good.
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