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Blackout Fabric poll: Cotton or Vinyl side out ?

4511 Views 17 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Deane Johnson
I'm using the vinyl side.

Someone a while ago suggested the vinyl side because it's probablly easier to keep clean.

I'm using a Sanyo PLC-SU07N

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Hi All,

I thought it was appropriate with all the talk about this popular DIY screen material to canvas http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif the group on the following:

If you have fabricated (I'm sorry, I can't help it!) your own screen using blackout fabric:

1. Are you using the cotton or vinyl side to project on?

2. Did you try both sides before settling on your present choice?

3. What display device are you using?

To get the ball rolling;

1. I'm using the vinyl side

2. I didn't try both (that's kind of why I've started the poll)

3. Barco Data 801s 8" CRT

I'm interested to hear from the rest of you on this.




"Because timing is everything!"
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Hey Darrin,

1. I will probably use the vinyl side (I have a 1 yr. old boy) http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif .

2. Haven't tried both sides (Still mounting everything) http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/frown.gif

3. Electrohome 4101 w/dvdo

I am also interested in which side everyone is using, and maybe why they chose that side. Cheers,

Originally posted by FredJ:
I made a manual pulldown screen with blackout fabric.

Fred http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif


Would you mind showing us some pictures or describing how you completed this project? I am very interested in making some, hahaha, real world blackout blinds that will cover the windows when I need to darken the room. I currently have the fabric stapled to the window frame and can tie them back to allow light, but I would really like to have a roll up solution that would look a little more professional. Thanks a million.

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1. Cotton

2. Yes, the cotton was bighter and more pleasing to the eye, but the difference was slight. The vinyl didn't wash very well BTW. Neither does the cotton. I have 4 young kids who have been told that if any of them dare touch the screen I will have 3 young kids...

3. NEC LT80
I think I'm using the vinyl side, if that is the whitest (it's very white). The other side was slightly off-white and more rubbery finish. I can't say I really had a cotton side vs. vinyl side, but it works great in any case. Mine is still stapled to the wall with a wide black felt border. Looks great. Better than my Draper M2500.

I'm using a Sharp DW100U LCD projector.
I have been using a Da-lite Model B Matte screen and two weeks ago I decided to try the Black out fabric. Spent 17.00 dollars on 3 yards and stapled it to the wall (vinyl side out). Every one that has seen it commented on how much better the picture looked. I will be framing it next week and make it a new addition to the theater. I am using an Electrohome 4100 w/ a DVDO. The screen size is approx. 98x54.

Hey Andy, we have the same projector. This helps a lot as I will be working on finally getting mine up this weekend. I take it you are pleased with the results? Mine will only be 80" wide due to room limitations though. Are you viewing any 4x3 on it, i.e. satellite? If so at what size? Man, now I am all pumped up for work to be over today! Cheers.

I just stumbled into this section of the forum and this blackout material for a screen puzzles me. I scanned down the threads, but didn't find more information. Could someone breifly tell me what it is or point me to a thread that does?

Projecting onto blackout material.......are you sure? http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Hi All!

Thanks to everyone so far for your input! Keep it coming...

Hi Deane, thanks for your questions. I kind of thought the same things before I knew what everyone was talking about! Here's a few threads to get you started:
http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000183.html http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000274.html http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000258.html http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000307.html

The screen I made is 54"x96", and consists of the curtain blackout fabric (Vinyl side out) stretched over a frame made of 3/4" square aluminum tube, reinforced to prevent distortion during the fabric tensioning. The whole thing is light enough to pick up with your pinky! I'm using mirror brackets to hold it on the wall.

Hope it helps (and maybe gets you thinking about making one for yourself!)




"Because timing is everything!"
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Looks like Darrin beat me to it, but I will explain mine real quick. It is curtain blackout/lining material found at JoAnnes fabric. I went with the fabric "splined" (like a screen window) to brickmoulding to give it a slight shadowbox look. A little heavier than others but no need to reinforce it due to bowing when you stretch the fabric. Darrin gave you great links to read. Good luck in your journey.


Hopefully I can get the digital camera and snap some shots this weekend of the whole set-up. Finally getting around to getting the projector up and the screen finished.
Now I understand. Blackout fabric, not black fabric. Makes sense.

Have you tried black fabric around your picture area? Makes a massive difference in the dynamics of the image. I used black velvet since it is the least reflective fabric available. I've been able to motorized the top and bottom for various aspect ratios (I have constant width). It makes the picture look like you're looking through a window at the world when you have a totally dark room. I'm blessed with 1400 lumens which also helps.


By the way, this blackout lining stretched on a frame looks like a great screen idea. I don't suppose Da-Lite and Stewart are very excited about these threads.

[This message has been edited by Deane Johnson (edited 11-17-2000).]
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You have any designs or suggestions for this motorized black masking you care to divulge? I am looking at the same idea right now.

For now I was going to hang some black felt (weighted at bottom) attached to the bottom of my electric screen which hangs just above the blackout fabric screen attached to the wall. This way I can bring it down from the top when needed for wider aspect than 16:9. I would leave the bottom of the image aligned to the edge of the screen as it is now (lowered using the digital shift). I haven't figured out how to make one at the bottom, other than attaching the felt by hand with a stiff piece of something sewn in at the top. This would allow for the whole image to be raised up somewhat. Thanks.


I don't mind at all sharing what I did. It's not simple and required some imagination and some minor shop work.

I am able to move both the top and bottom masks up and down by remote control. I have up to 8 pre-set positions available, but only use about 6 right now. Different buttons on an X-10 remote are assigned to different aspect ratios and it will search these out in random order, so I can go from any one to any other one in any order.

Motors are physically modified DrapeBoss units. I took the drive wheel off, turned it around so the flat side is out, drilled several holes in it and mounted it to a roller. Thus I have programmable motors on both the top mask and the bottom. I used some 1 1/2" rollers from discarded specialty shades which aren't available, so you'd have to get an extremely straight 1 1/2" dowel to use. It has to span your screen width.

The case on the DrapeBoss has to be taken apart so that the motor portion faces the screen and the electronics half faces outward so you can program it. I made a wooden mount so this would work.

Shades would have a slat in them that you pull on to raise or lower them. I used an extremely straight aspen 1 x 4 for this purpose. It's very light weight and stay straight. You simply sew a rod pocket in your fabric that this can slip through.

Next problem: Counterweights. Obviously, the bottom shade has a roller on the bottom, so something must pull that mask upward. It won't float in mid-air Eyebolts are inserted in the end of the aspen 1 x4, go up to a pully, outward a little bit to another pully and a sandbag weight is tied on the end. This on each end provides the proper tension.

Problems: The DrapeBoss unit has a slip clucth that won't hold the weight of the masking system in place without help. It slips. To solve this, I decided to make the masks absolutely weight nuetral. On the bottom you simply make the sandbag weight just right so there is slight tension on the fabric, but no more. On the top one, I wrapped a cord around the roller and put a weight on it to counter balance the weight of the top mask so it is once again weight nuetral. When these weights and counter weights are perfect it never gets out of sync.

I used black velvet for my masks. Also made frames from 1 x 2 and covered them with velvet to hide all of the motors, pullys, etc on the sides, top and bottom. When you look at my screen you see nothing but white screen and pure black for about 18" all around. Makes an awesome picture.

Negatives: Even thought the DrapeBoss is rather cheap, especially for what it is, it still takes two. That's about $400. Also, you have to be somewhat handy with some tools, including drilling the aluminum drive pullys for screws, and building mounts for the DrapeBoss units. This is definetly a DIY project and each person would have to judge their skill and appetite for such a project.

I don't anticipate this description would be enough for someone to tackle the project, but I would be happy to answer any additional questions. I hope to eventually make some close-up photos that can be used to convey the techniques.

By the way, the DrapeBoss has to have the open and close limits programmed in as a first step. I simply used the open position for 4:3 and the closed for 2.35:1. Then the intermediate stops are used for 16:9, 1.66:1 non-anamorphic, etc. It works perfectly every time.

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Thanks a lot for taking the time to explain all that. This will help me in considering my frame thickness or distance out from the wall. I want to allow enough room for the masking system. Pictures of that pulley system would be interesting to see someday. I wasn't familiar with these motors, but now see places that sell them on the web. Which model number are you using - so I can get an idea of the specs? Is it the DB292A or AI or am I looking in the wrong place? I think this is also what I need for the drapes that I want to go in front of the screen. I pictured a track or rail system on the sides, but that would still need two motors. I like this counter weight idea. I just want the masking to slip in close to the screen, but without marring it. I'm getting excited about this now. Thanks again for the info.

I got my DrapeBoss units from smarthome.com. The X-10 version is 3144X at $199.95. I have three of them. Two on the masking and one on the curtains. I use a Kirsch traverse rod about 120" long. I had the distributor cut one to exact length rather than use a telescoping rod so the trolly didn't have to travel over the telescope joint.

I have a new Sony Mavica, I'll try to email you some rough pictures over the weekend. A picture is worth a thousand words as they say.

My screen curtains actually sit about 22 inches in front of the screen so the speakers can be wall mounted beside the screen and still be covered by the curtains when they are closed. The trouble with this approach is that you need quite a bit of space beside the screen for the curtains to stack back and clear both the screen and the speakers. All of this stuff takes lots of planning and research to fit in place just right.

Thanks for the info. I realize now that I've seen that one before. Also if you notice, the number on the unit is the DB292A.

Can I use my Marantz remote with these units directly, or do I have to get a X10 remote first and learn the codes over to the other remote? I've been thinking about doing some X10 lighting, so maybe I should lump it all together. Thanks.

I believe the IR version does not have programmable stops. You'd need the X-10 and would have to go through the conversion process to use it with an IR remote. For masking purposes, I use a separate X-10 remote and put it on a serapate channel. Screen masking isn't moved very often and that way I don't accidently hit it when turning on lights and other things.

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