Painting the Perfect Screen for $100
January 26, 2011,
Creating your Screen Masterpiece
Now that we have found an ideal paint, let's get down to the nuts and bolts of creating the screen. When you buy a professional screen, you not only get an ideal screen surface, but you get a solid black frame around the image as well. This adds greatly to the aesthetics of viewing movies and video. If all you want to do is paint a wall and project onto that wall, you can certainly do just that. But we are going for the gold here...for $100, we want to create a full replica of a professional projection screen, so it looks like that is what is mounted on your wall. Taking some time to create your screen masterpiece will pay off in much greater enjoyment for years. The basics are simple:
First, paint the wall outside the screen area
You might want to jump right in and paint the screen first. But that isn't a good idea. The objective is to end up with the illusion that you have a professional screen hanging on your wall. A key to achieving this is to paint the rest of the wall outside the screen area a darker color. Not only will this make the screen itself look like it is popping off the wall, but it will help reduce light reflections in the viewing room and give you a better home theater experience.
The reason you want to paint the rest of the wall first, before painting the screen area, is that you will be painting above and around the intended screen surface. You do not want to accidentally drip paint onto a finished screen surface.
For the rest of the wall, choose a color that is compatible with the décor. If this is a dedicated home theater room, you may want to use a medium to dark gray. If this is a multi-purpose room or living room, any low saturation color that complements the décor will work. Anything darker than white will create a pleasing contrast between the screen and the wall. The trade-off is that as you go darker, it improves the viewing space as a theater by cutting down light reflections that get bounced back onto the screen. But excessively dark wall treatments will make the room feel smaller and perhaps less comfortable for other uses. You need to sort out the right balance for your tastes.
When painting the rest of the wall, choose a flat, or matte, latex paint. This will reduce reflectivity, which is why it is not good for the screen itself. (By the way, if this is a dedicated home theater room, another option is to cover the wall with felt or some other similar fabric. That can reduce both light and sound reflections.)
To paint the wall, proceed as follows:
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