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A Simple Screen Paint Solution

post #1 of 143
Thread Starter 
I titled this post A Simple Screen Paint Solution first because I hope it is just that and secondly years from now someone might search on some of those words and it will lead them to this post.

I don't intend this thread to be the definitive answer to a DIY screen that will solve every possible ambient lighting and projector issues from this day forward. Nor do I claim if you follow these directions your screen will out produce the best DIY and commercial screens hands down. Rather this thread is intended for the novice coming here looking for a fairly easy straight forward approach they can use to get up and running with results so good that the vast majority will be content to sit back and watch movies and not worry about gaining any more improvement. There are 10's of thousands of posts here on this topic and this one is prefixed with IMHO to all that follows.

Before you read more I want to acknowledge two other old threads on the topic started by member Tom_bombadil they are:
I feel he was sincere in his efforts regarding a paint solution based around a range of paint colors he refers to as neutral grays. He did a good job of explaining the function of just black as a pigment added to base of just white in small quantities to make varying shades of gray.

The theory goes something like this. With any projector in any room one would think white would be the best color to make a screen after all pure white absorbs none of the colors and reflects them all. Black would be the worst as it would absorb all the colors and reflect none. And any other color red blue green etc would try and reflect more of that color and would give the image a Push in that direction. So why gray? Blacks / darks are the most difficult to project because they are projecting nothingness or close to it. They are achieved by not lighting up the screen and rely on what we see the screen as when no light is on it. In a totally dark room a white screen is going to look black but what happens when we have an image of a person skiing down a mountain in a black coat. All that white lights the room up all the objects in the room light up from the reflected snow and re-reflect back at the screen washing out the black and showing us some of the color of the screen in that area. By going gray we trick our eye into seeing a little less lightness in the black. Our eye and brain also has a way of seeing the brighter reflected light off the gray as white. So in actuality our brain interprets the image to have a greater contrast. Blacks look blacker and whites don't seem to be affected enough to not see them as whites still. This is not conjecture on my part it is very evident after doing some very simple comparisons. Keep in mind the shade of gray he's talking about start at very slight and go up to not even a med gray. Also keep in mind there are 3 key factors that will dictate what gray will give you improvement. They are projector, screen size, and the room you are in. This explanation may not have all the light science associated with it that it could but once again it's my attempt at a simplified explanation of what takes place when projecting to a gray screen vs. white.

Everyone new to DIY needs a starting point to benchmark against. And I have seen so many seeking a path to follow in getting a good first DIY screen. (Myself included a short time ago.) I want to both document my learning curve here as my information is scattered throughout the threads and document others efforts and results.

My hope for this thread is two fold first I don't have the magic formula that will allow you to plug in the three items listed above and out will come a formula for a gray paint. What I'm hoping is others that use neutral gray and neutral gray only come here and post their data. Here is how I would like it to be listed along with the combination of white base of the matte finish the amount of black that was added to it, then the projector model and the lumens it produces, also the screen size and the material its painted over. And any other information you want to add about special conditions in the room etc. This information would be of great help to a newbie coming here to get a starting point to go from. I am also sure there is someone out there that for whatever reason all there factors line up to this. Just plain white is as good as it gets. If that's your case that's a good input also. Some of the old pros here with 100's of experiments and dozens of screens to their credit my want to take the information to a higher level. I would love to see someone make a stab at compiling a list relating ether projector models / screen size or lumens / screen size or even ft-L each to a range of Gray mixes. So that's a challenge to anyone a lot wiser and more experienced than me if they would like to take it up.

The second reason for this thread is I hope to expand to the next level of this gray paint idea and I have done this and proved to myself it works. And that is a topcoat over the gray. With help from the members here I was encouraged to try and once I found the proper shade of neutral gray for my projector thru experimentation (trial and error). I was 95% satisfied with my screen. but thought I could add that final touch.

The Topcoat:
It's a mixture of the same latex neutral gray paint I found to be best mixed with a clear water based polyurethane. They combine together and become a new paint with the same color or very close to it as the original, but the addition of the polyurethane raises the gain of the screen. This like the addition of the black pigment is selective to the same 3 qualifiers projector, screen size and room. The mixture rates could range from zero poly to paint to pure poly over paint. But from what I have found the real world ranges would be this. First no poly just like some projector may work best on a matte white screen others may be perfect with just the adjusted matte gray.
Some others would be poly : paint. listed in order of mild to wild . .5:1, 1:1 1.5:1, 2:1. 2.5:1 as you can see the greater the proportion of poly to paint the more gain you could hope to get.
A good read on this is here.

So to summarize to this point. The process is this in a nut shell. All things start with matte white we then sneak up the gray scale a little at a time until we reach a point based on our equipment and setup where we feel we have maximized the benefits of the neutral gray effect on improving the contrast we perceive and the black/ dark end of the image and begin to effect what we perceive as whites on the other end. And then maybe back down a hair. At that point you stop thinking gray and ask yourself would the image be improved by an increases in gain? If so you sneak up that path until you are comfortable with improvement and stopping short of getting into hot spotting issues.

If the experimentation method is used to get where you want to be you will have done this as I did. Hopefully we might with a little effort be able to build a database here that someone could just follow and reproduce a nice workable screen without doing the testing. If you are like me and want to test this to death and feel you have maximized everything in the end I would make the following suggestions.
Build a test screen first not huge but large enough to see a good area of your image 3x3 foot maybe make it of the same material you will be painting on and view it against some kind of standard backing for comparison. I used a large piece of BOC. When you get close split the test screen in half so you can do side by side comparisons do this also with the top coat if you feel you want the gain boost. Make sure to set your test screen in different locations of your full screen also. hot spotting might not show to the sides etc.

Here is my information copied from the above post as a first data point.

So here is my final specs on the system if anyone wants to know for comparison to something they may want to do.
Projector Sharp XR10X mounted 14.5 feet running in eco mode with all settings set to zero projecting to a canvas screen 72x96 painted with the following.

Paint from Lowes American Traditions / base is the lowest luster matte finish. The paint spec is Silver Leaf 4006-1A I had them read back to me the paint mix and it consisted of black and raw umber as the only tints. I had them add the black and the substitute black for the raw umber so that the only pigment in the paint was black. The screen was painted with 3 coats of the paint. Over 3 days no sanding. Then it was given one coat of the same paint mixed 50-50 with water based polyurethane the brand I used was Olympic.
This process lead to great results with the sharp 2000 lumen DLP projector

I hope more information from other members follow. And I hope this is of some help to the newbie's of the world even if they don't choose to go this route. As projectors evolve the demands of the screen are greatly lessened. I personally am now very content with viewing what's considered by today's strands a very low end projector, projecting to a very low tech screen.

Edit 10/12/06 Things I have learned along the way.
I came here about a year ago and lurked a few months trying to sort a few morsels out of a sea of ideas. I began experimenting and began posting both my thoughts and my questions and later my experiment results. Then there came a point I felt I had gained some minimum knowledge and enough to try and write one post that started at a point and went to a conclusion. (Something that seldom happens at AVS DIY) I didn't have a level of understanding I have now but I did have a near perfect screen for my application and thought why not share what I had done to date.

That's the above post.

I still stand by 99% of what I wrote into that post. But I do have new understandings of the whole Neutral gray method and thought I would add them now.

First off neutral gray does everything I claimed it would but it does it at some cost. This cost is efficiency. When light (any color) strikes a screen surface that is neutral it is partly reflected and partly absorbed. The white pigment reflects mostly all the colors it receives and the black pigment absorbs mostly all. That percent that is black causes losses and without ample lumens of projected light those losses can result in loss of picture quality (PQ). The lost PQ is not in the form of colors or even white for that matter it's in the form of brightness. What I had hoped the poly would do was adjust the sheen level enough to boost the screen gain that nothing would be lost.
In my case starting with a very bright projector that was a non issue. I failed to realize at that time the gain improvement from sheen was limited and there was a large group of projectors that were underpowered to totally approach there screen design using this method. Not so much they were underpowered but rather people were pushing their screen sizes into the low Foot Lambert (FL) ranges.

Any screen that has to be in the 1 plus range and is subjected to ambient light issues will benefit from neutral gray, but you might not be able to get the FL back up to where they need to be with poly alone. There has been some great efforts put forth here this year in finding methods and materials that will enhance gain along with poly for those people that are starting out with not enough FL for the screen size they want to build. These additives are the metallic. They do work and will work in conjunction with the neutral gray methodology spelled out above. Some of the later posts in this thread show some of these ideas, and I wanted to point them out in the opening post.

On a good note the trend in projectors as of late are more lumens it seems. And as these higher-powered units become more mainstream higher gain requirements will lessen.

Edit 10/16/06

The best thread that compares neutral gray screens made with poly and those made with poly and metallic to date is the Thread member Tiddler started titled
RS-MaxxMudd Experiments see link below


This thread not only shows comparative screen shots that allow the viewer to see what improvements could be had with use of metallic's in terms of additional gain improvement. It's also a great example of how screen shots should be taken when comparing samples. The use of on and off axis shots and also dark and ambient room lighting clearly show what's happening with the screen when metallic is added. Keep in mind the projector used with these comparisons is of lower lumen output than the one I used in the below screen shots.

Click thumbnail to be taken to my neutral gray screen shots page. Once there you can navigate thru photos with explanations.

Edited 12-11-06
Although my screen made with only lamp black added to white base paint gave me both an appealing gray color to the eye and flawless performance with my DPL projector. It's the belief of many and their own testing with their projectors lead them to find a color push when the simple formula above was put into effect. Most talk of a blue push.

The reason for this has not yet been explained and could lie in several areas. But testing of lamp black only grays on a spectroscope show the paints favoring blue in a very slight way. It could be a by-product of the vast number of white or not so white bases being used.

In the latest posts to this thread, understanding this push and then finding a correction to it is the current topic. There is still a desire by me to tweak if necessary the lamp black gray. And these tweaks would add no cost to the paint as they are readily available pigments when the paint is mixed. The percent is very small and the pigments are in the yellow, gold and umber side of the color wheel.

We have yet to find the right pigments and ratios but anyone wanting to reach maximum neutral gray may want to skip down to that area and learn more.

Edit Feb 20, 2007
Thanks to member Tiddler I believe the best pigment component to add in addition to lampblack is yellow oxide.
His thread outlining this is:

The testing that has been done to measure the Red Green Blue or RGB color values of the gray paints made with lampblack have shown that the addition of some yellow oxide pigment brings the RGB numbers closer to neutral or all the same.

Keep in mind doing this wont change the cost of going to the paint store and buying a gallon of wall paint. The yellow oxide like the lampblack are pigments that are in all commercial paint mixing machines and are closely controlled when dispensing.
The rate of yellow oxide required is in the range of half or less the amount of lampblack. For example if you determined you needed 16oz of lampblack to a gallon of white base then you could also add 8oz of yellow oxide.

The benefits of being neutral are apparent but in my case I still haven't found the need for the addition of yellow oxide to the screen I'm currently using. My projector had more than enough calibration range to compensate for the cooler shade of neutral gray.

I don't want to get into the complex discussion of color science and color temp. because this thread is intended to remain simple. But the short version is this. a neutral gray made with white and lampblack only is neutral around the color temp 7500k while the neutral gray made from white, lampblack and yellow oxide as talked about above is neutral at a color temp of 6500k. Most projectors allow you to select a color temp to run at in the menu and I have mine set to 7500k.

So if you are a purest at heart and want to be set to the industry standard of 6500k then I want to provide this information and links to the threads that are currently experimenting along these lines in the opening post here.

One side note and of only slight consequence to your viewing pleasure is the outward appearance of the two neutral grays. A 6500k neutral gray is not a very pretty shade of gray by many accounts. It's a dirty looking gray tone. The lampblack only or 7500k neutral gray is a much more appealing gray to view when the lights are on and the projector is off. Some people building fixed screens and using them in living room settings may want to consider this. 48 square feet of screen as I have does make an imposing fashion statement. I have also proposed for people wanting to go stealth with the screen, and paint out the whole wall as a accent wall might find the 6500k gray hard to take.

One place the above linked thread and this one diverge is in the use of poly as a top coating for gain improvement. Both methods hold promise I believe. The above listed method uses pure poly of the lowest luster available and it adds a degree of sheen to the surface improving whites while holding blacks dark.
That is the same results I found by using a higher luster poly but mixing it down in the paint that had been selected as right for the application. I still feel blending the poly with the paint avails one to the greatest amount of range of sheens with the least amount of purchases. And I still would recommend doing the basecoat of just the latex neutral gray first as it will save the quantity of poly required.

Edit July 2, 2007
Below are 8 tint formulas based around making 1 quart of screen paint that will be close to neutral gray. These formulas can be taken to any paint store and they will understand what is required as long as you tell them (one quart) (pure white base) (flattest sheen base, matte or flat) the Easy-01 is the lightest shade of gray the 08 the darkest. This range should cover most needs based around screen size and projector lumens as described above. If a gallon of paint is required simply multiply the pigments by 4.

As described above these paints can be used alone or in combination with poly. The poly will add a degree of sheen to the painted surface and increase gain a slight amount. As described above the poly can be blended with the paint or if an extremely flat finish poly such as Behr Water Based Polyurethane No. 780 it can be directly used as a top coat alone. Both methods have shown great results.

0 1 0 Lamp Black
0 0 1 Yellow Oxide

0 2 0 Lamp Black
0 0 1 Yellow Oxide

0 3 0 Lamp Black
0 1 0 Yellow Oxide

0 4 0 Lamp Black
0 1 1 Yellow Oxide

0 5 0 Lamp Black
0 2 0 Yellow Oxide

0 6 0 Lamp Black
0 2 1 Yellow Oxide

0 7 0 Lamp Black
0 2 1 Yellow Oxide

0 8 0 Lamp Black
0 3 0 Yellow Oxide

The above tint formulas and the solution of top
coating the flat latex near neutral grey base, came to me by a
former member who developed these solution. Of utmost importance to this
former member was the sharing of the information with the forum. so i have reposted it here.

As a point of reference my very bright 2000 lumen business projector doing a 72x96 screen would be an Easy-06. At that level of gray it performs great as both a lights out movie screen and a moderately ambient lit room for things like sports viewing. Photo documentation of that is shown in the threads linked in my signature below each post.
post #2 of 143
Good luck on the success of your efforts Bud.

Have a "Grey day"! (....that is coming with all good intentions. )
post #3 of 143
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

Good luck on the success of your efforts Bud.

Have a "Grey day"! (....that is coming with all good intentions. )

Thanks for reading and the well wishes.

But actually my efforts into grayness have all but been completed. If this thread hangs on and becomes of value is dependent on the willingness of the AVS DIY community old guard to continue there modern forward approaches but at the same time contribute some of their history lessons and knowledge into this subject.
The other option that could keep it alive would be the new recruits. I would encourage them if they are doing any tinkering in the world of grayness out there and discovering what works or doesn't they would post their results.

From time to time I get PM's from someone telling me of some success with gray and if they pass their information to me I will repost it. Otherwise I'm not going to take up the Tom_bombadil charge and dive into extensive research into categorizing grays. First off I only have one projector so I could mix gray paint and poly until the end of time and not learn much more than I have to date. I also have no light testing lab just two aging eyes.

I mainly started this thread to document what I built and show a proven approach to a two-step system that's simple and systematic. And at least with a high lumen projector with a descent CR can produce an awesome image in a light controlled room.
The amount of ambient light my setup can tolerate was just a pleasant surprise.
post #4 of 143

nice work on your particular application. i have a similar experience. different projector and different screen size but my method was similar to your. i didn't use the topcoat idea however. the mix i ended up with would probably work as a simple one or two coat solution.

here's a link to my details: movielvr2006's simple paint

what it really came down to for me was getting just enough sheen...and gain, from the polyeurethane. i ended up with 25% poly in my mix and you ended up with 50% poly in your topcoat. that gives a lot of people a good starting point to making a simple gray paint + poly solution.

i agree with a majority of your original post for this thread, especially the theory. my experience was very similar.

thanks for the good work.
post #5 of 143
looks like you have some folding of the screen image on the left side.
post #6 of 143
Thread Starter 
I posted a few new screen shots to the link in my signature some have been asking to see. It shows the increases in gain I'm getting with the addition of the polyurethane and paint mix. All the newer pictures are labeled as having the topcoat.
post #7 of 143
Thread Starter 
I just found the original paint card from Lowes this morning when I was cleaning up. The lady that mixed the paint wrote my special mix on the back so I thought I would post it incase someone else wants this shade but is not around a Lowes.

The mix for silver leaf was written like this 101-18 , 105-4 I'm assuming the 101 is the black and the 105 the raw umber. And this was for a 1 gallon mix.

That was crossed out and my mix was 101-22 so for a gallon of flat white base 22 black were added.

In addition. When I was getting ready to take the screen shots I was watching a skiing show and noticed a few very light streaks in my topcoat just enough to bug me I really haven't seen them before this but they were there. So I got out the rest of the top coat mix I had left and gave it a second top coat not knowing what to expect. It didn't really change the properties at all but I did find a painting technique that might help some if painting on canvas or whatever else. I have been brush painting and I have been doing strips up and down about 18 inches at a pass. I think I was alright with the matte finishes because no overlaps would show but with the poly in the mix it would tack up just enough by my next pass to mess me up. This new top coat I started at the top and worked left to right but with narrow strips 2 brush widths max. and I could get to the other side and be back just below where I started before the poly tacked. By doing this I was always brushing into wet paint. This time it dried out beautifully.

So I wanted to pass on the painting tip as simple as it might seem it didn't occur to me to do it that way before.

Secondly anyone doing this I wanted to point out a second topcoat using this method didn't seem to change anything.
post #8 of 143
Thread Starter 
For anyone following this thread.

I just added 9 more screen shots to the end of the photos in my signature link below called DIY screen shots. The pictures were taken with my test screen sitting in front of my finished screen. Along with the test screen I hung a piece of BOC over the upper right hand corner of my finished screen. The test screen divided into fourths showing the effect of the poly as follows.

Upper left 1:1 poly : paint two topcoats applied
Upper right 2:1 poly : paint
Lower left pure poly as a top coat
Lower right 1:1 poly : paint one topcoat applied

The pictures try to show the hot spotting in the higher gains but the cam didn't quite catch it as good as I would have liked.
One interesting to note the two pictures taken of the screens without the projector on, one with flash and one with no flash. The lower left cell that looks to be the darkest gray with the pure poly topcoat comes to life under the flash in the second picture. Now compare that to the BOC. This shows the combined effect of the gray and the max gain to produce a bright white under high lumens. Viewing with my projectors lumens that exact same effect takes place. You can also see from those two pictures and a couple more how the BOC under high lumens starts to fail.

I think these pictures if studied give a good explanation how gray can both darken a black and at the same time hold on to whites. And it really shows true as the screen gain is increased.

You can draw your own conclusions.
post #9 of 143
Great threads Bud...nice work.

I see that your comparing your screen to BOC. I know that you painted over canvas. Currently I have a fixed BOC screen, and among other things I would like to improve contrast and gain. I don't want to start from scratch, because I really like the frame I've made surrounding the BOC.

Do you think I can paint over the BOC the same way you painted over the canvas?
post #10 of 143
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by playitloud View Post

Great threads Bud...nice work.

I see that your comparing your screen to BOC. I know that you painted over canvas. Currently I have a fixed BOC screen, and among other things I would like to improve contrast and gain. I don't want to start from scratch, because I really like the frame I've made surrounding the BOC.

Do you think I can paint over the BOC the same way you painted over the canvas?

Yep I know almost everyone knows what BOC is and at some point in time used it for a screen. That's why I like to use it to compare to for lack of something better. And it's pretty easy from the screen shots to see how the BOC comes up short on the both ends of the brightness curve. Mostly the bright end.
I have never painted it but have read many posts where people have painted it with good results. So I see no reason not to find out if you are trying to bump your basic white screen up a little. Good luck.

And if you or anyone goes with any shades of gray and have success. Come back and post your projector, screen and gray mixture for the record.
post #11 of 143
Thread Starter 
I have had several PM's over the last week asking about some shade of neutral gray for different projectors at different screen sizes. If you have such a request and want to post your information there might be someone out there that has had some experience and may offer a neutral gray solution or even a starting point for experimentation. I do hope to stick to the basics here following the simple solution path of neutral gray first and then a simple poly mix as a top coat.

Would anyone want to venture a starting point for a panny 900U projecting to a 100 inch wide 16:9 screen total light control. Running in eco mode.
post #12 of 143
Hey guys I have a NEC HT510 currently projecting on an BOC covered frame 110" diagonal. Any direction for paint in my case, slightly deeper blacks and ambient light help? I have read a ton of posts but don't have any specific direction, simple paint mix is very appealing as opposed to a complex mix.

Thanks for all of your time and help!

post #13 of 143
Thread Starter 
I'm going to stick out my neck here and offer a recommendation as a starting point to both the panny 900U and the NEC HT510 user. And keep in mind the blind leading the blind with regard to projectors is never perfect.

Both projectors throw about the same amount of light it seems and the 900U has a much higher CR. I would suggest buying a gallon of paint rather than a quart. A gallon will cost about what two quarts costs and even though you wont use it all you will have some left to play with if you want to re-tint darker or make a poly paint top coat.

My suggestion as a start would be to a gallon of matte pure white base add lamp black
0, 14, 0 depending on what you are painting over prime as you think is required. Over BOC I would just go with the paint. BUT in all cases go get a card board box and cut a 2x2 foot min 3x3 is better piece and paint it out 2 coats and give it a try for comparison. If your blacks look a lot better and whites are staying pretty good give it a try on the big screen. Keep in mind you will see a little change to the whites when seeing them side by side but alone you wont see it the same. The better blacks really make the whites seem whiter in layman terms. That would be step one step 2 could be take the remaining paint back and estimate how much you have left and then do some math and have it re-tinted if you still think you can go a little darker. As example if you have 3 quarts left then just put ¾ of the amount of lamp black you would like to add if it were a full gallon. Then paint out your test card again and try it. lastly if you feel you need the gain improved try a 1:1 or higher poly paint topcoat.

Going from BOC I think you will see some nice improvements if you try it post back with results good or bad ok and before and after pictures are always good. You will need to calibrate I'm sure but IMO going from BOC to painted BOC you will have a darker black level and will be able to maintain your whites and if you topcoat you will be able to even run with brightness turned down some.

Good luck
post #14 of 143
Thanks for the quick reply Bud!

I've got family coming in week after next that I'm getting ready for so it might be a while before I can experiment but I want to give it a shot.

I'll get back to you guys shortly and thanks again,

post #15 of 143
Thread Starter 
Just for the record

This thread being about neutral gray I just wanted to add something to it off topic but yet somewhat pertinent. I have received several PM's asking about another popular pick in the gray world and asking about where it fits in as far as a match with the neutral grays.

The color is Behr Silver Screen 770E-2 sold thru home depot. As much as I have read about SS I don't think I ever saw what was in it. So I called Bob at my local HD and bribed him over the phone for the mix.
It's as follows for a one gallon mix.
Lamp black 0, 20, 0
Raw umber 0, 20, 0
X-red 0, 2, 0

I don't know how to convert that to neutral gray other than some seat of the pants comparison type way similar to how I took the raw umber out of the silver leaf mix.
But if I had to guess I would say as far as grayness it would fall between
0, 30, 0 and 0, 40, 0
I'm also a little surprised that a gray that dark has been used a lot. In the experimenting I did with my 2000 lumens I was finding around 0, 30, 0 I was not happy at the white end anymore and didn't see much more improvements in blacks than say a 0, 25, 0 would give me.

I only posted this as a bench mark data point as I know lots of people have used and seen SS. And like me may not have known what degree of gray it was.
post #16 of 143
Thanks for mentioning this, not necessarily for SilverScreen but Home Depot. I only say this because I live in a region of the country where Lowes hasn't arrived yet. I will have to either drive two hours to the closest Lowes or try to recreate the mix using paint choices from Home Depot.

If I attempt a HD solution, I know Behr paints have the Ultra Pure White they use as bases. Does this sound like a similar base? If so, what "luster level" should be used? I know you mentioned matte, I would guess that is one step up from flat? Then, add the same amount of black you mentioned?

Or, any idea who makes Lowes paint? It might be possible to find the same paints with a different label at a local paint store.

If this sounds like it would be too much risk/effort, I guess I am in for a little road trip!
post #17 of 143

a lot of it has to do with the name... SILVERSCREEN.
it also benefited with the upsurge of interest in silverscreens... in part due to it's name... even though many people were/are still confused and don't know that it does not have any silver in it.

most of all, it was a one can solution (and a very respectable one) that would allow for better percieved black levels of pj's which at the time were not so good at black levels and/or contrast... without crushing too much of the white levels.

i agree with you that's it's a little darker than say bombadil grey... but then again, in part due to it's name... it manages to live in the present... where as bombadil grey is hardly even mentioned.
post #18 of 143
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by diytheaterguy View Post

Thanks for mentioning this, not necessarily for SilverScreen but Home Depot. I only say this because I live in a region of the country where Lowes hasn't arrived yet. I will have to either drive two hours to the closest Lowes or try to recreate the mix using paint choices from Home Depot.

If I attempt a HD solution, I know Behr paints have the Ultra Pure White they use as bases. Does this sound like a similar base? If so, what "luster level" should be used? I know you mentioned matte, I would guess that is one step up from flat? Then, add the same amount of black you mentioned?

Or, any idea who makes Lowes paint? It might be possible to find the same paints with a different label at a local paint store.

If this sounds like it would be too much risk/effort, I guess I am in for a little road trip!

The UPW is fine and what I call matte is the flattest base stock you can get. I'm not sure what Behr calls it but get the flattest they have. You can always bring the sheen up later with adding some poly but there is no way to take it out. I also used the poly that came in the lowest luster if and when you get to that point. Just make sure to stir it really good. stirred not shaken so go to HD and say give me a gallon of UPW 0, 1, 0 to 0, 50, 0
The tough part is finding that middle number.

While you are there grab a hand full of paint color cards in some of the gray tones. They are small but when you freeze your projector you will be able to go up and do a little comparing at the screen. it's not like a big panel but as you slide them along it will give you a few clues. Find a spot on the screen where white turns to black at a sharp line and look at the chip each side of the line.

You must live in the only place in the country that there isn't a Lowes right next to HD.
post #19 of 143
The home state of John Menard as in "Save big money at Menard's".
post #20 of 143
@ diytheaterguy,

"save big money at menards..." --that's a jingle that i know well... and why i don't have stock in them as much as i shop there... i'll never know!?

at menards... you'll want to go with the dutch boy - diamond white. (their ultra bright also works well).
post #21 of 143
for a simple 'silverscreen like' paint mix from menards...

1 qt. Dutch Boy - Diamond White or Ultra Bright UPW
2 oz (bottle) - American Accents (by Rustoleum) - Silver Metallic (Acrylic)


a nuetral light grey screen... with a little bit of silver in it.
post #22 of 143
Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post

Pb_maxxx I would love to see what you and MM and some of the other frequent posters would pick if you were stranded on a desert island with gallons of UPW and lampblack by the quart and a nice new panny 900U. Oh and a gas powered generator.

Where's the DVD? Satellite Dish & Receiver?

..and the Mirror??? !!!

Sounds all way too primitive to me.
post #23 of 143
While stranded on this desert island, is the mirror used to catch the attention of a passing rescue plane?
post #24 of 143

But I would love to see what you and MM and some of the other frequent posters would pick if you were stranded on a desert island with gallons of UPW and lampblack by the quart and a nice new panny 900U. Oh and a gas powered generator.

i would catch myself some fish and collect some shells...
i'd grind the scales & the inner layer of the shells... and make a reflective pearl/mica-like powder to add to the upw.
finally i'd use lamp black for a border.
post #25 of 143
Originally Posted by diytheaterguy View Post

While stranded on this desert island, is the mirror used to catch the attention of a passing rescue plane?

Naw. To shave with, lest one cut one's nose off to spite their face.

But if you come across a strange, mysterious hatch, take a peek inside. There's probably gonna be a nice Home Theater in there.

Originally Posted by pb_maxxx View Post

i would catch myself some fish and collect some shells...
i'd grind the scales & the inner layer of the shells... and make a reflective pearl/mica-like powder to add to the upw.
finally i'd use lamp black for a border.

On a "scale" of 1-10, how bad would such a screen smell?

I can hear that little Green man with the pointy ears and funny looking feet saying; "Off Topic this thread is."
post #26 of 143
Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post

I know you have been at this a lot longer than me. Would you like to weigh in with any reference gray paint ratios for some of the new popular projectors? We all know they would only be educated guesses.

Although such "guesses" could be pro-offered and therefore be endlessly debated, in the end, they all would still come up short of what is currently the "State of the Art" in DIY'ing screens.

It is my opinion that without the additional ingredients that make up more complex mixes, such as WOP and/or MinWax, far too much potential is lost in the pursuit of "simplicity"

Creating a "depth" to both a base Coat (Opaqueness) and to a Top Coat (Translucency) works to create an image that has a more 3-dimensional aspect. It also serves to mitigate artifacts of all varieties. In such a mix, the use of a Neutral Grey of any hue can do a much better job at producing both the Contrast enhancement one usually is seeking, as well as help to provide imagery that has a depth of viewing failed a static, flat reflective surface cannot begin to muster.

Then there is the noticible increase in perceived gain that often results as well.

Once again, IMO any "Simple Screen Paint Solution" should in the least include such additives, as they are neither expensive or difficult to work with. In the case of the MinWax (...or any other Clear/Matte Polyurethane) it, along with the proper amount of water added, helps any mixture to apply with a greater ease of effort, and the resulting quality that comes of the smooth finish that almost everyone aspires to obtain.

SilverScreen has maintained popularity for several years on the weight of it's simplicity, but whenever anyone who has a more critical eye and a goal of having the best image possible for a low cost solution, the latter almost always seems to be a hedged bet against "what might have been".

BCortez was mighty tolerant of my initial suggestions on his thread regarding the addition of MinWax to the SS equation. I was as careful as I could be not to go so far as to recomend much of any other adulterants, save a tad of UPW, and so being, was spared a barrage of Beer Cans that could have hurtled in my direction.

But as more and more Lurkers have recently given SS a try, and then posted their opinions thereof, the ratio of expressed satisfaction has dropped considerably due to the higher expectations many now posses these days.

A Neutral Grey would not receive nearly as many pundints, but used alone, even with todays exlemplary PJs, would also fail to receive much more than the commonly expressed acceptable comments. BUT........., those too would fall to an ever lower percentage if the DIY'ers involved had the opportunity to make direct comparisions to such a application against a mix containing a single or a few special additives already know to ramp up the expected end quality.

Not singling out any specific DIY mix or application as being the best, I do however think that threads espousing grossly simple DIY paints serve primarily to encourage DIY'ers to "settle for less" than they could otherwise achieve with just a tiny bit of extra effort and/or expense. The time has already come where DIY Screen making has moved beyond the mundane and ordinary, and to fall back to advocating "too strongly" the usage of "Simple Screen Paint Solutions" for the sole expressed purpose of just making it easy enough for anybody to settle for less is an injustice done to the entire genre.

Now to end this "IMO" post, I'd say that if a Paint Mfg could/did come up with a $10.00 "One Can" solution that did everything that all of us on DIY Screens have had to rely on $50.00 solutions to accomplish, that would be a very stupendiferious thing indeed.

....but then again, so is the hope for World Peace, although that too seems presently out of reach for now. (...is that a "political" statement? )

Until either is put before us as a reality by the "Powers that be" , it's up to us all to do our collective parts to strive to "make it so" ourselves.


A few on the "linked to" thread below are trying to accomplish much of the same thing with SS. I'm "banned' from that thread because my ideas are considered unneccesary to help augment the "learning curve". Oh well.

post #27 of 143
Could someone please post one or two successful mixes from this or any other thread that most would consider "A Simple Screen Paint Solution"?

Also, if you are using the one of these simple screen paint solutions, please also post your projector, amount of ambient light, and the substrate you painted.

post #28 of 143
1 time here is simple
Two coats of your favorite named grey paint !! The actual temp of grey of neutrality is irrelevant as the rooms are usually white with the windows open and projectors are usually set up to blast as bright as they can with no calibration for colour correctness .
IF you are trying to emulate the over complicated simple mix on the first post just buy eggshell finish and save the poly. There is no way in hell to use a finish sheen higher than an eggshell with those bright flashlights any way.

post #29 of 143

I note that your final neutral Grey solution included a Poly/Paint hybrid Top Coat. And that you feel that in utilizing such, you achieved a level of performance that made it unnecessary for you to consider that anything else could/would serve to increase the results to a commensurate level that was high enough to warrant further effort.

This then was exactly the point I was trying to make. It did not take an extremely difficult or expensive undertaking for you to accomplish your goal, but that one addition (...the Poly) was/is essential for you to reach that level of satisfaction.
I myself am in general accordance with you on many points, but prior to coming up with other alternatives, I found the simple solutions that omit such things as "Pearls" , "Silvers" or in your case "Polys" left an image flat and with a noticable loss of depth.

Your own contribution has shown that with only the addition of a Poly-added TopCoat, you were able to accomplish more than what most could/would expect by using only a Neutral Grey alone. In as much, what you brought forth was a valuable addition to the DIY Forum.
post #30 of 143
Hi Bud,

Great thread that you have started. What you have stated makes eminent sense to me, from the science perspective. Start with pure white, add black until the shade of gray just makes the whites a bit dull but adds to the blacks and then add poly until the gain matches what you need.

Here is my follow-up question on the above. When you started out out with the base white, why did you choose the the flat version instead of eggshell, satin,semi-gloss, gloss or any other sheen ? If eventually you are going to add poly to add to the 'gloss' for increasing gain, why not have that in the base white itself ? Would it not produce similar effect but in fact be cheaper by reducing the cost of poly ? In the mix cost, the base istelf costs only 10 bucks a quart, but the poly costs 15-16 bucks for a quart, which is quite expensive relatively. And if you need grades of poly, then the base white paint comes in five levels of sheen at Lowes ( flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, gloss ). Surely one of them must be equivalent to levels of poly-satin ?

Am I missing something ?

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