Painting the Perfect Screen for $100

Evan Powell, January 26, 2011

FOUR Reasons NOT to Paint your own Screen

Since this article is about creating the perfect screen for $100, it may seem odd to finish with reasons you might not want to do this. But it is important to think through all of your options. For many people, buying a screen will be the better alternative. Here are four reasons not to paint a screen...

1. Ultimate quality. Some people want the best, and are willing to pay for the best no matter what. Especially if you are budgeting $3,000 to $5,000 and up for a high quality projection system, you will want the best possible screen available to go with it. Though the paint we recommend here does a great job, it is most appropriate for first time home theater buyers who want to limit their investments. It does not match the brilliance of, for example, our Stewart Studiotek 130. It has higher gain and more brilliance than the Studiotek 100. Putting our painted test board up against the Studiotek 130, the 130 wins hands down. If you want to get the best picture possible from a top quality projector, you want either the Stewart Studiotek 130, or a similar product from Da-Lite, Draper, Vu-tec, and other companies that manufacture high performance professional screens.

2. Convenience. There is also the matter of convenience to consider. All screen manufacturers make fixed frame products that snap together in under an hour. This is MUCH easier and quicker than the messy sanding and painting required for the DIY screen discussed here. If you do the painting right, between the prep work and allowing primer and paint to dry between applications, it will take several days of mess to get it all put together. You can get nice looking screens with frames that snap together from companies like Carada and Elite. They cost more than the DIY solution discussed here, but they are much less than what you'd pay for screens from top quality producers.

3. Do you want a fixed frame? The fact is, you may not want a permanent fixed frame screen on your wall at all. If your viewing space is a living room or multi-purpose room, having a big screen staring at you when not in use can be annoying. Many people prefer electric screens that descend from the ceiling when you want to use them, and retract and disappear when you don't. For a room that you use for social entertainment, and things other than just watching movies, the electric "disappearing" screen is much easier to live with.

4. Is there a move in your future? If you are going to move, obviously you can't take your painted masterpiece with you. If you buy a snap-together fixed frame screen, you simply take it down, pack it up, and reinstall it in your next house or apartment.

So our $100 painted screen is not for everyone. It is great for the person who loves DIY projects and gets a kick out of creating excellent home grown solutions. It is great for those who have a dedicated wall, who don't mind a fixed screen on the wall, and won't be moving soon. And it is great for those who want a beautiful screen for not much cash at all. In the end, it is just one more option in your search for the best home theater experience you can afford.


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Reader Comments(159 comments)

Posted Nov 25, 2014 11:54:29 PM

By KennyW

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Paint is cheap but labor-intensive, requiring a flat wall and skill in applying an even layer. Easy to scrap and fading in colour with time. Could be affected by moisture in hot humid areas. I used to paint it myself for few years but won't go back after mounting a Wilsonart Designer White laminate of matte finish. If you have a painted wall, which should be flat enough, there isn't much difficulty in mounting the laminate. 5x12 feet about US$128 http://www.amazon.com/Wilsonart-Sheet-Laminate-12-Designer/dp/B003THF1XM 4x8 feet about US$80 http://www.amazon.com/Wilsonart-Laminate-D354-60-Designer-White/dp/B003THBGTA More durable, easy to clean, scratch resistant, won't change in colour. Recommended ;-)

Posted Nov 25, 2014 1:12:56 PM

By Aaron

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I have an inexpensive Epson printer in my office. All I use the projector for is black and white presentations like a word doc. I can only cut out so much of the light in my ofc. It works great except smaller black letters on a light background. They are very fuzzy. Would a grey paint be better for this? The projector is a EPSON EX3212 25ft run with DVI to HDMI cable, boosted. Does it not matter what paint I use the projector is the unable to produce any clearer of a picture?

Posted Nov 19, 2014 9:23:05 AM

By Bob

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I'm selling my 60" HDTV and replacing it with a BenQ W1080ST. When looking for a screen/screen paint I came upon the PC website & this article. I've already talked to the local Sherwin Williams folks and with only mentioning the Duration & Projector, they when straight to the ProClassic for $65/gal. This is gonna be a fun weekend!!

Posted Nov 7, 2014 2:13:46 PM

By Funky projector man

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So I just finished painting my first coat of the suggested paint projecting a 150" image onto it. So far the results are incredible.

Thanks for taking the time to do this article, the guy at our local Sherwin Willaims shop says he loves this article because it seels so much of this paint.

I primed, sanded the primer, and then cleaned the dust off the surface. As with the article I'm noticing a few spots that are too reflective. Overall he image is phenomenal!

Posted Nov 7, 2014 7:50:32 AM

By Andy

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I know I am a little late to the discussion, however I am wanting to give this a shot. I do not have the highest quality projector, an Epson WXGA which was about 600$ new.My question is what would be an ideal surface, an individual sheet of drywall, or high grade finished plywood/MDF? I am mounting this to an unfinished concrete basement wall. Thanks!

Posted Nov 6, 2014 9:17:45 PM

By steve

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Would S/W paint work for church set up with substantial ambient light?

Posted Nov 6, 2014 7:48:14 AM

By Ivan

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Should anybody have interest, I found it in Sweden as well. Approx. 100€ for 4L Sherwin-williams ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish, including shipping to Denmark. I ordered from this guy: magnus@mpdiy.com

Posted Oct 9, 2014 1:55:20 PM

By Ivan

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Hi Ger. Could you tell me where in sweden you got this paint? I could imagine that we are a few europeans here, that could benefit :-) Best regards

Posted Sep 25, 2014 11:52:21 PM

By John

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I purchased a screen white paint from Viponds Paints from Nth Coburg Victoria and painted 2 coats for about $50 AUS. The screen looks fantastic and no more roll up screen required. A huge image that I can change by refocusing the image for TV or DVD. I can't wait for the AFL Grand Final tomorrow. Bigger is better, so just buy this paint. By John

Posted Sep 24, 2014 5:44:09 AM

By Petr Spiller

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Hi guys, anybody knows if there is a chance to get the SW paint here in Europe? One guy mentioned it was available in Netherlands, but my google skills failed me this time.

Posted Sep 20, 2014 9:55:33 AM

By Laurie

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how did that screen dry now? Have you ran any movies and can you tell the difference? We are using a cotton canvas paint cloth also and want to improve it

Posted Sep 2, 2014 3:04:58 AM

By Rednroll

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Maybe the person at Sherwin-Williams helping Adrian wasn't truthful, because the Proclassic enamel extra white was still available at my local S-W store and they had plenty of it.

Posted Sep 1, 2014 11:54:05 AM

By Adrian

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i have used Promar200 extra white satin (2 coats with 1/4 roller) , i painted on a white canvas(used for painting) and all i have to say is that it is very very reflective. I dont know if in the next 2 days the reflection will go off as color dries more and more. Btw my experience is that cheap canvas for painting are generally very good for screens since they look very similar to texture with factory screens

Posted Aug 28, 2014 5:41:39 AM

By Lee

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Adrian what sheen did you use with the PROMAR200

Posted Aug 25, 2014 2:34:06 AM

By Adrian

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The Proclassic enamel extra white has been replaced by Sherwin-williams by the color Promar 200 (enamel extra white) Retailer says its the same color (better quality) since its used to be mixed with other S/W colors...

Posted Aug 22, 2014 11:52:31 PM

By Sam

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Wow! I am so amazed at the quality! I followed your instructions on my 105" 16:9 screen and cannot believe the image. So much better than my Elite screen, the image just pops. 3D is equally as amazing. Thank you so, so, so much for doing this write up for all of us. There is absolutely no need to go expensive here. In fact, I cannot imagine a better image than this paint!

Posted Jul 31, 2014 7:35:16 AM

By Mike Cochran

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What color should I should use to paint a Projection Screen on my wall?

Posted Jul 25, 2014 9:14:46 AM

By Jet

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That seems like a great idea Jason! Though, it may be hard to move around and quite heavy... But if you do try it out could give some feedback as to how it went. I was actually thinking of some alternative to painting the wall. My wall's already been painted and I'm not so sure how keen I am on repainting.

Posted Jun 4, 2014 3:19:55 PM

By RSA Anon

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I'm projecting 150"d image on a wall that is painted chocolate brown. The colors of the projected media look great/excellent. Since we view most contents in 1.78 & 2.4 format, I'm debating whether or not to paint the wall at all since we'll have the white paint border based on the content format. Questions: 1. Should I even paint the wall since I have no image color issues? 2. If painting is the recommendation, then which format/ratio should I paint the wall in? 3. What to do about the extra painted border for aesthetic purpose?

Posted May 21, 2014 2:26:10 PM

By Paul Barwick

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I just want to thank you for this article. I was recently given a Epson VS-330 and have been projecting it onto my existing living room wall. While it was certainly an improvement over my aging 40" LCD set, I was a bit disappointed in the picture quality. It just looked a bit pale and washed out and required a darker room than I had hoped. I wrote that off to the fact that the VS-330 is not designed as a home theater projector.

Then I came across this article and decided to try painting that wall. It's like having a completely different projector now. The colors are right, the picture is sharp and clear, it works in a room with ambient daylight now better than it did in a darkened room at night, and the video has a vibrancy that I hadn't even hoped to see with such an inexpensive setup. Thank you so much for testing the different paints and posting this! Between the paint, drop cloths, roller and a pan and masking tape I probably spent less than $50. If it had cost me 4 times as much it would have been worth it.

Posted May 13, 2014 5:42:31 PM

By Jason

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Instead of painting the wall--and having to go through the intensive sanding process--could I buy a sheet of plywood or MDF or another tight-grained hard surface, paint that, and hang it on the wall? That would be less work AND be easier to return the wall to its original condition when I move.

Great instructions here, BTW--very thorough.

Posted Mar 27, 2014 3:54:00 PM

By Shane in LA

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I just wanted to add the already growing list of great feedback. I recently moved, and upgraded my living room furniture and didn't want to rehang my unsightly Elite projector screen (which was free with my purchase of an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8100...lol).

I took the advice in this article, and I was floored after the application of the primer coat only. I may not be as picky as some readers here, but I am an avid movie watcher and actor, and I have a full home theatre system. So I have an appreciation for a quality viewing experience. Anyway, I am currently renting and I cannot sand the walls without expecting to pay a large penalty upon moving, so I followed all the instructions except for any major modifications to the surface.

It's day one after completing the project, and I cannot believe the quality of the image. It's 100 times better than my Elite. I wish I had done this sooner. I was even able to get a decent picture with the blinds closed while the sun was out. This was not previously possible with my Elite. I can see the light texture of the wall when the image is very bright or all white (mostly when I have my laptop hooked up because web pages have lots of white, I realized).

All that being said, I couldn't be more satisfied. Well worth the $88 dollars I spent a Sherwin Williams. I may give away my Elite screen at this point. Not only is the image better, I am not restricted to the 120" screen size. I painted a screen that is a little over 140" diagonal (approx. 122" x 69"). This project was so easy to do and these detailed instructions were awesome.

It's great to see such a great article at an age when I am so skeptical of easy solutions and at a time when the web is so full of misinformation and empty promises.

Thanks, Evan & Project Central!!!! You guys are awesome!

Shane

Posted Mar 23, 2014 1:23:01 AM

By TanyaF

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Thank you so much for this info! Finished the wall yesterday and had our first movie night tonight. Everyone was so impressed by the quality of the image, including myself. Prepping the wall was the most labor intensive part of the process, but it paid off in the end. The Sherwin Williams paint was perfect. Take your time and follow these steps and you will have a quality, inexpensive movie screen.

Posted Mar 7, 2014 8:44:05 AM

By Evan Powell, Editor

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Josh, I would be cautious about using a fabric of that type. I have not tried it, but I suspect it would be impossible to mount it completely flat. Even if you did manage to achieve a perfectly flat screen initially, the fabric would soon begin to relax and stretch, and end up giving you a wavy surface, and a wavy picture. You need a solid flat surface to work with paint.

Posted Mar 7, 2014 8:29:26 AM

By Josh

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Hello Even. I would like to start out by saying very nice article and thanks for the insight. I think I'm going to use the paint you mentioned but I had a question. I have old plaster walls so I was hoping to use some type of fabric, since repairing all the defects in the wall would set me back as much as buying a good screen. I have heard of people using a painters tarp since it is thicker. what do you think of painting that using the Sherwin paint?

Posted Mar 3, 2014 3:18:50 AM

By Mel

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Hello guys! I live in Australia and recently built my own screen using fibro cement board [smooth side], 2.7m wide and slightly curved. I used Taubmans' acrylic, satin white paint with approx 5% matt black. As there is some ambient light when viewing in daytime, the combo of curvature and minimal off-white satin paint enables my screen to perform almost as good as at night and for both conditions there is no downside whatever! My first and only projector is the BENQ 1070 which is a truly near perfect image maker. My screen has fixed horizontal masking with vertical sliding panels to mask 16:9 to 2.4 aspect ratios. So, there you go, a great result for me and perhaps others!

Posted Feb 23, 2014 4:20:49 PM

By Bpositive

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Hi Ger. Sounds nice with your great results :-) - Can you tell med where you bought the paint?

Thanks

Posted Feb 20, 2014 8:59:03 AM

By Ger

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It was difficult for me to get the paint, I live in the Netherlands, but as it turned out I could order the paint in Sweden. After a long wait it finally arrived, and with some scepticism I painted my screen which is about 6 x 2,5 meters. The paint is easy to work with, I used less than I thought I would. Make sure the wall is smooth, as the gloss it wil get reveals everything! I gave it two layers. The final result is really really good. I would never have believed this was possible! like having a more expensive projector. I can now even watch in daylight conditions. Thanks for this great article!!

Posted Feb 12, 2014 12:33:16 PM

By Bpositive

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Very nice article, thanks Projectorcentral :-)

As I live in Denmark I'm not able to get the Proclassic paint, however can someone tell me what the "satin" finish relates to in terms of reflectivity value, so I can try some paints from the local dealer!?

Thanks

Posted Feb 10, 2014 3:21:54 PM

By Evan Powell, Editor

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The best paint we found in this test was Satin, not Semi-gloss which is too glossy. Do NOT try to paint onto a textured wall unless you want to see that same texture in all the smooth elements in a movie! The objective is to get the paint surface as free of any dimples, ripples, and brush strokes as possible. Sometimes that is hard to do, and many people don't have the patience for it. Those folks might do better to buy a good stretch-mounted fabric screen. It costs more, but you don't have to spend the time sanding and smoothing the surface.

Posted Feb 8, 2014 4:40:57 PM

By jkseth

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Thanks for this awesome post! The wall that I am planning to paint for screen has texture and other paint on it. Do I need to sand off the texture in the screen area and then paint ProClassic or Can I directly paint on top of the textured wall? Also, there are at least tow finishes (Satin and Semi-gloss) for proclassic, which one is best for screen?

Thanks a lot in adavance!

Posted Feb 8, 2014 9:18:21 AM

By Trevis Williams

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I want a black screen like when your TV is off. What if you mixed clear reflective paint with flat black. Would the black reflect the light better?

Posted Jan 22, 2014 4:58:35 PM

By Alex

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It's a hell of a work you guys did here! There's sooo much stuff to know about projection home cinema, each week I find something new, but hopefully there are great guys like you to guide me to make the greatest choices. Right now I live in an appartment, but I don't think painting a wall all white will be a problem even if I move on after a year or two... just think about the cash I'm going to save with these tips!! I was checking Goo System white paint... for about 200$ a liter, wayy to expensive for the projector I intend to buy (benq w1080st for about 1000$).

So this will do the trick, and I thank you again M. Powell and all people that participated in this test! :D

Posted Jan 11, 2014 4:43:58 PM

By Strike

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How does this work if watching tv during the daytime? Does the room need to be dark in order to view the screen clearly?

Posted Jan 3, 2014 8:15:28 AM

By Paul

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Busterbvi:

Fantastic tip! Thanks! It's nice to see constructive and helpful comments.

Posted Nov 25, 2013 1:44:21 PM

By Logan

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Black paint is not reflective. You would get a horribly washed out screen with almost no color. Black diamond screens use advanced materials in layers to produce a darker screen with a great and bright reflected image. Good for a room with some ambient lighting but a white screen in a dark room is still better.

Posted Nov 24, 2013 10:09:08 PM

By Chris

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Why not use a black paint. Black screens are far superior to white ones. Anyone try black? If I was going to buy a screen, I would buy a Black Diamond. I'd rather save the money and paint.

Posted Nov 8, 2013 2:59:11 AM

By Rob

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i c, satin is 30% gloss, does the gloss reflect the light better? i was thinking so, but i guess i went flat to hide imperfections.

Posted Nov 4, 2013 5:37:23 PM

By Tim

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I used the exact same paint and paint code shown in the article. It is a satin not a semi gloss

Posted Oct 31, 2013 11:33:53 AM

By Busterbvi

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A useful tip for getting a perfectly flat & smooth surface is to use a "guide coat" this is something I learned from years as a painter in a Auto repair shop. When the primer is dry, take a can of a dark colour spray paint (black, blue, brown etc) stand a bit back and spray a light mist coat on the whole job. The paint mist will settle into any dings or imperfections that will show up clearly as a dark area when you start sanding with a fine wet or dry paper on a rubber sanding block. Just keep sanding until the dark spot disappears and you now have a nice flat surface ready for the top coat.

Cheers, Buster.

Posted Oct 17, 2013 11:20:11 PM

By Rob

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Hey tim, if you used flat paint , you can use a "very fine sandpaper" and scuff up just that area (only so paint sticks), since there is no sheen you dont need to paint the whole area. also i strongly suggest waiting the "COMPLETE" dry time between coats. if you do it before (like some rushed jobs can get) you wont get full coverage because your really just keeping that 1st coat active...

i read you used a "semi gloss paint" if so. you will have to repaint the whole screen. any stopstarts or area you try to "touch up" will have a sheen break in it and be visible.

just out of interest why did you go for semigloss?

Posted Oct 14, 2013 11:31:39 AM

By Jeff

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Finished the screen yesterday and watched football last night. All I can is WOW! The screen looks amazing! This website was very helpful, I thought I would share my experience to help others who are considering this approach.

I bought a BenQ W1080ST a few weeks ago. I’ve been watching TV and movies against the painted wall and it looked good. After reading this article, I went to Sherwin Williams and purchased 1 quart of multi-purpose primer and 1 quart of ProClassic® Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel (B20W1151). FYI, there is a coupon on their website for $10 off if you spend $50.

Fixed some spots with drywall repair mud and let it dry. I sanded the repairs and put on the first coat of primer. After the primer dried, I saw a lot more imperfections in the wall including a seam in between the sheets of drywall. Patched over the seam, fixed all the issues I could. Let it dry overnight then I sanded the fixes and wiped down the wall. Painted second primer coat (not sure I needed two coats of primer but figured it couldn’t hurt.) After 4 hours, I applied the first latex coat. For that coat, I found this site for painting techniques "http://www.avsforum.com/t/929997/beginners-guide-to-simple-diy-painted-screens" about halfway down the page under the “Flat Paint Rolling Tips” there is a link to a video that shows how to apply the paint. I used the 2 roller technique, the regular 9” to put the paint on the wall and the 6” roller to smooth it out. After the first coat, I watched the movie “42” that night. Was very impressed but there were some areas where the wall was brighter with what looked like little holes, think moon surface. I put the rollers in the fridge overnight to keep them wet. The next day I painted the second coat. A couple hours after finishing, I started watching football. It looked terrible. Not very clear, colors saturated. I was worried but patience is the key. By the time the night game came on (after 4-5 hours), the paint dried and it looked great. I was blown away at the depth of color, the pop of the screen, etc. I checked movies and 3D too. They look even better. If you are reading this, I know there are a lot of comments in this thread and it gets distracting. I just want to say the solution spelled out in this article just works. I spent less than $50 on paint and I am very happy with the results. Do it! It takes a some effort but it’s definitely worth it.

Posted Oct 11, 2013 9:34:10 PM

By Tim

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Hotspot?

Used the SW Proclassic and screen looks good with the exception of one spot on the screen that can be seen when light colors are displayed. Looking at the screen this appears to be a spot where my painter may have sanded a small area. What is the best way to correct this problem?

Posted Oct 10, 2013 10:00:51 PM

By Rob

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I am a trade painter, what i did was set my projector to a 16:9 format, either 1080p or 720p. and masked around a white fullscreen background from my pc. from there, i got a flat white "Water Based Enamel" harder wearing and can be wiped clean from marks and food thrown by kits etc. the trick I did. was make them MAX out the white pigment in the paint. even though i ordered "Painters white" factory white un tinted color. i got them to double a formula of "painters white" making them add more white pigment "titanium dioxide" to the paint. making it look like CHALK after your 2nd coat.

I have just finished that and am now masking up the inside edge of the white screen and now using the same paint "acrylic enamel - flat" but ULTRA DEEP BASE and BLACK. i will paint this all around the white screen 2 coats.

I highly recommend getting paint stores to PUMP up the white forumlas with more white pigment, cheap paint they save on costs by reducing the ammount of titanium dioxide in the paint. im pretty sure thats what it is.. might be wrong. but having a CHALK looking dead flat projector wall looks MINT!

Posted Oct 9, 2013 1:08:24 PM

By Timo

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As I had some already, I tried Glidden's Gripper white primer. This is very neutral, reflective and flat enough to produce no hotspots. Can't beat the price. Dries very quickly and durable too.

Posted Oct 7, 2013 11:07:52 AM

By paul

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what about 3D, it works too?

Posted Sep 23, 2013 6:51:25 AM

By Jagdish Dudhat

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This is a good article and research done by projector central team. Last weekend I painted my wall. After painting my wall with primer and then two coats of S William paint the picture looked sharp and it look like I am in a movie theater. Last week paint was 40% off so my total cost was less than $50.00 without the frame.

Thank you.

Posted Sep 18, 2013 9:47:38 AM

By Amit

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Please let me know if this is Acrylic or Latex. Reading from the description on Sherwin Williams site it seems like Acrylic would be better since it leaves no brush or roller marks.

Posted Aug 1, 2013 3:43:24 AM

By Chris

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Hi Robert, thanks for the Aussie tip. Do you have a colour reference code for the paint you used? I'll take it to Solver or Bunnings.

Posted Jul 16, 2013 9:59:06 PM

By Jon

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I just finished my basement and used this process for my screen. It works great!I have an Optoma hd25 and it's crystal clear on this painted screen.

My only comments are these, First mount and adjust your projector to find where and what you want to paint. That's the great thing about painting, you don't have to worry about buying a screen when you can paint the exact size you want, i.e. if your wall size fits a 107" best, then paint it that size.

Second sand your walls as smooth as you can, if painting over an already painted wall as in my situation. I even had to put a bit of putty in a few holes I found, or filled in an uneven section of the drywall. With a bit of diligence with prep work the wall will turn out great.

My third point, is customization of the trim for the screen. I did not use the articles method. From a local hardware store I found 1 1/4" molding, black spray paint, and Velcro squares (yes Velcro squares about 3/4" in size). I painted the the molding in full length, then cut the molding the correct length for top/bottom and sides of screen. I did not miter the joints as I'm not that good at cutting free hand, so I simply squared off the ends. I then made little squares from some extra lath I had laying around and used those in the corners and butted the top/bottom and sides to those like they did in older homes. With the Velcro I put one on every 10" to 11" of the top/bottom and sides, and then attached the entire molding piece plus both sides of the Velcro to the wall. This way nothing is screwed into the wall and it comes of easy. I needed this option because my kids play in my basement and could easily rip any thing off the walls accidentally. This way if they do, it should only be a bottom or side piece and will Velcro right back on the wall! Good painting!

Posted Jul 3, 2013 8:03:20 AM

By Greg

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I used the Behr 770E-2 Silver Screen mixed on base of 1050 flat white.While having no comparisons to others, I do have a eye for proper coloring.This is very good! Im using a Epson PowerLite710 Projector. Its 135" in controlled light

Posted Jun 27, 2013 4:37:25 PM

By jason

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I have a 120' screen. I have a optima 720p projector that has an out put of about 2200 lumens. It hits the 1080p with the blue ray. I have on my wall which I painted with Benjamin Moore Super Bright white. It look amazing. Not a problem what so ever. You dont need to spend alot of money of screens or even projectors these days. You can get a $700 projector and as long as it has hdmi and good lumens output it was look amazing. I was told about the ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin paint from a friend who does thearte installations. He says its great. I am curious about it.

Posted Jun 24, 2013 10:24:37 AM

By Bryan

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Used the pro satin ultra white and it worked like a charm. Be careful what you paint over, because this paint will bubble up if you don't prime over old paint. At $60.00++ per Gallon you don't want to be doing this twice. Works best in controlled light, not so well in the daylight even with a 3200 lumins projector.

Posted Jun 10, 2013 11:25:43 AM

By Tim

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If I want a grey screen what should I tint the Sherwin Williams Proclassic with? What Sherwin Williams paint code?

I am getting ready to finish my screen and the room has ambient light, but controlled ambient light. However the ceiling is white. I have read that a Grey screen would be better in this situation.

Can anyone here advise if they had the same situation and how did they decide between this paint here in White vs. Gray?

Posted May 20, 2013 12:50:40 PM

By DynamoDave

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Well after two long years of doing a whole remodel including a high end "man's cave" we finally got the project on line. I did this "$100 screen" and I will tell you here what I learned and what I think... First anyone that thinks they NEED to spend $2500.+ on a screen to watch movies needs to rethink their priorities and goals, this is ALL you really need...

My entire project involved "level 5" walls and ceiling on every square inch of it which is what I wanted and I love it. My screen wall was done with shims and 5/8" wall board to ensure the flattest most stable wall I could make and it was worth the effort. I used Behr primer since I find it to be far superior than other brands especially "Kilz" which is junk (by the way I'm a builder and use lots of products, so feel qualified to say so" I will say also that Sherwin Williams is far over priced and you can just wait for a sale to buy yours (usually 40% off) gallons are $75 or so at retail. Sherwin Williams also makes more than one "Pro Classic" and yes it matters one is Latex and one is Acrylic (use the Acrylic) it paints out wetter and isn't as hard to use, it also leaves a better finish.

I used the Latex the first time and got a dry line going which I ended up chasing and unable to fix by recoating (this is why I say to use the Acrylic) Sherwin Williams "replace for free" that gallon of Latex with the Acrylic and it's so so much better. I used a 6" super fine no nap roller and 4 coats on the initial run, than after discovery of the problem lightly sanded the problem and recoated the whole thing again which made a fantastic screen of 10' horizontal. So my thoughts of this screen is I wouldn't do anything different than what I did, I think it's as good as anyone could ever want, I'm using a new Panasonic PT AR100 and I'm happy with it it's plenty white and bright enough but would certainly consider a better one if I had money to burn like a higher end Epson. Two thumbs up to Projector Central for doing this challenge and writing this article!!!

Posted May 19, 2013 7:33:02 PM

By Robert

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Hello Gang. I am in Australia. I made a 2.35:1 constant height screen from MDF and initially painted it with a flat Acrylic Water Base white from Dulux. It gave me good results with my Panasonic PT-AE4000 and Sony Blu-Ray player. After reading this article I purchased a Haymes Paint Oil Based Enamel Satin. Big mistake! Satin in the US may be suitable but in Australia it is no good, essentially being a Semi-Gloss and way too reflective. I repainted it with two coats of Haymes Paint base white flat Enamel (also oil based). The results were excellent. No hot spots. Image brightness was consistent across the screen from all angles out to 45 degrees and colour rendition was great, watching The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey last night. Masking is a flat black paint and I hinged the masking at each end using 3mm MDF timber. To go to Cinemascope they open up like doors, much easier than trying to use curtain masking. Having accurate masking in 16:9 and 2.35:1 ratios to sharpen the edges makes the viewing even better. So the massage is, if you're in Australia, don't use Satin unless you want hot spots from the projection lamp. Just make sure that the paint is a base white with no colour cast.

Posted May 16, 2013 1:02:28 PM

By IVANNE

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greg, I will really like to see that set up do you have a video of it?

Posted Apr 13, 2013 5:10:50 AM

By Brad - Australia

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Awesome article.. I have just completed my theatre and have a fixed 115" screen made out of 3/4" MDF. I used 2 coats of primer/sealer/undercoat then 3 coats of plain old pure ceiling white-matt finish. I have had not one bad comment..Everyone loves the picture. While yes,the image has a lot to do with the projector also, and i'm only running at 720p, there maybe a difference once i go to 1080p.. time & budget will tell. Moral of the story is - roll the dice - take a gamble a HAVE A GO!! My screen only ended up costing $150 painted & mounted. Good luck :)

Posted Apr 10, 2013 9:45:24 PM

By florin

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Hi, please name the store in canada when you by the paint and the code.Thx.

Posted Apr 9, 2013 7:13:01 PM

By Victor

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Thank you Projector Central for this excellent test. I live in México and I cannot get this sherwin williams paint, so I would like to ask you if you could try a new test with the other kind of paints that we can get on internet like Goo, Paint on Screen and DYI Theatre comparing them with the sherwin williams in order to find the real winner in the screen paint ring. I know these other paints cost a little bit more but finally all of them are cheap.

Thanks again. Victor

Posted Apr 2, 2013 10:52:15 PM

By Len

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The best commercial screens have a perfectly smooth surface with no texture or surface imperfections completed by optical coatings to improve image quality. It is physically impossible for the home hobbyist to replicate the level of smoothness of a quality screen with paint. To whatever extent a painted surface shows texture, orange peel or imperfections there will be a corresponding loss of image detail. A painted wall is an inexpensive solution but not a substitute for a quality screen. If you are on a budget it is tempting to take a shortcut but the projector and a screen form a system that together renders your image and the result is only as good as the weakest link. A painted wall is a weak link.

Posted Mar 15, 2013 9:13:39 AM

By Niraj

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This is great news, your able to paint the screen vs shelling out $$$$.. I'm looking into purchasing the sony hw50es and wanted to paint a 150" screen on my wall.. what do you recommend.. I was looking at a screnn with a 1.3 gain what paint and tint do you recommend?

Posted Feb 8, 2013 6:50:38 AM

By Chris

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I used a foam roller labeled for latex paint and to prodcue an extrememly smooth finish. The 106" screen ate a quart for each coat! I am at 4 days and still have some hot spots that reflect during bright scenes. I am still hoping this will cure to a non hot spotty surface due to the think coats. I also have the panasonic ar100u which has 2800 for the lumens whihc might just be too much for this screen. Maybe I will try egg shell coat next if it doesnt mellow...

Posted Feb 6, 2013 8:16:46 PM

By Peter

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I'm trying to paint the drywall with ProClassic. However, I was reading other forum mentioning using grey color instead of white. Should I add grey to this paint? If then, how much do I need?

Posted Feb 3, 2013 11:37:16 AM

By Andrea

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I have a 100" screen, but wanted a larger screen. After seeing this I purchased the Sherwin Williams Pro Classic and now have a 170" painted screen that looks fabulous! I has wonderful colors and great contrast. Thanks so much!

Posted Jan 30, 2013 12:31:44 PM

By TheBakersSon

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Well, goes to show you the disparity in pricing between Canada and the U.S. So far I have bought wood, brackets, screws, velveteen, roller, brushes, compound (to patch nail holes) and I'm up to over $140. I checked the S-W paint (they don't sell that one in 1 quarts so I'm stuck buying a gallon for $79 after tax and I still need primer. looks like I'm going to be around $250 plus paint for the rest of the room. Sheesh, it better be worth it in the end.

Posted Jan 9, 2013 7:04:11 AM

By Jay

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I took this articles advice and painted a concrete block wall in the basement with the Extra White ProClassic Smooth Satin Enamel Finish. (Say that three times real fast.) It looks great. I realize a concrete wall is probably not the greatest surface for a projector screen, but till I can afford something better I'm all about doing it on the cheap end. I have to say that I was amazed. I'm using an Optoma GT750E and have a nice 13' screen with amazing colors now thanks to this paint. All for less than $100. Also even 3D movies look bright despite the dark glasses. You guys nailed it with this paint color. If things look this good for less than $100, I can't wait to see how a professional screen will look someday.

Posted Jan 8, 2013 9:11:05 PM

By Kirtis Mcleskey

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I bought a 4.5 x 12 piece of Sheetrock. And painted 3 coats with this paint and wow. I mean definite wow factor here. I'm noticing details I never noticed before. So glad I ran across this. I do have as few streaks in bright scenes but they improved with each coat. I may do a fourth coat tommorow

Posted Jan 6, 2013 6:53:33 PM

By Serge

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The streaks can be easyly removed by applying another coat of paint. Remember it's very importantant to use a 1/4 nap roller, and to paint it in N fastion. One row at a time starting from the left side to the right. Streaks will show up if painted in this matter.

Posted Dec 28, 2012 1:32:29 PM

By Garfield

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For those that want to spray, remember that you need to back roll as you will get overspray. Therefore, just use a roller!

Posted Dec 28, 2012 7:28:21 AM

By Ray D

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I took this article and ran with it. I will say that it creates an incredible screen. People that see it are surprised it's 'just paint'. I have some streaking that shows up in really bright scenese, probably because I didn't sand between coats. Can't blame the solution for that. Overall though, I feel like I got the best bargain in the world for my setup. I'm using an Epson 3010 with a 175" screen. I went with 2" thick black felt for the immediate border and then flat black wall paint to finish the wall. I don't have a $2,000 screen to compare it to, but I don't need one. This looks better than my 58", calibrated plasma @ 1080p.

Posted Dec 11, 2012 5:28:14 AM

By Burt

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Why do you have to paint your wall? Can't you paint a large board or sheet of plastic instead? Some people forget that to hide an annoying screen when not in use, you do not necessarily need an electric roll up screen. You can cover your fixed screen with pretty curtains or the like. Great article though. Thanks!

Posted Dec 4, 2012 6:53:26 PM

By serge

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I have a Dalite high contrast cinema vision screen witch is a 92",it has a gain of .8 After reading this article i was very curious and painted a piece 2 foot by 4 foot piece of hardboard and placed it directly over my screen I used the shirwin williams paint suggested here on this article and all i can say is wow!! amazing !! This paint blows away my 500.00 screen. I have a epson 8500 ub. I would highly recommend spending all your budget on the best projector that you can afford, and paint yourself a huge screen for 20.00 dollars. Thank you projector central for not being scared to tell us the truth im sure the creen companies wont like reading all these positive reviews.

Posted Dec 4, 2012 7:42:40 AM

By Henry

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I projected a 120" image on my wall only after one coat of the SW ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex (smooth enamel finish for trim & doors) Satin, Extra White B20 WQ 8051 (sold in Canada) and was just blown away by the quality of the picture! I am waiting for this coat dry and will add a 2nd coat later. The results are amazing! Real deep blacks, with vibrant colours and so much more POP in the image compare to my old daylite matt white screen. The key to this do it yourself screen is prep work, such as the wall wood studs are flush, install new drywall, smooth out the surface and mudding & sanding. I used 2 coats of primer with sanding after each coat of primer. My wall was so smooth only after one coat of the screen paint, I will not have to sand for the 2nd coat. The time spent so far has been about one week. Thanks for the great advice from Projector Central! This one is winner.

Posted Dec 2, 2012 7:55:06 AM

By Sylvain

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Thanks for the tip

Posted Oct 22, 2012 9:14:09 AM

By Duane

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Good stuff Mark! One question. So the curved drywall didn't affect your display only affected your frame? My drywall has a curve as well but if the display is not affected I am not going to worry. I plan on painting the 2" black border around the grey paint and that's it.

Posted Oct 16, 2012 7:48:20 AM

By Yadira

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I have a question,what color would the pro classic satin enamel be,extra white?

Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:12:24 PM

By dave

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those anyone know if the (proclassic interior waterbased acrylic-alkyd extra white satin) those the same job or is my only choice the latex???

Posted Sep 19, 2012 6:19:26 AM

By Tony

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Very interesting article. I plan on using the Sherwin Williams paint. My wall is currently painted flat black. How many coats of primer should I apply before the actual paint? Has anyone had any experience painting on a black wall?

Posted Aug 26, 2012 1:58:29 PM

By Erik Hermansen

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I went in to Sherwin Williams today and picked up a gallon. There is a new product code for this paint: B20W1151. So you will have less confusion if you ask for that instead.

It is rare that people writing on the Internet do such an excellent job of research. I would like to add my praise to the heaped-up pile.

Posted Aug 4, 2012 11:03:33 PM

By bryan

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as a painter it seems that low gloss is the gloss your looking for it between satin and semi gloss and has none of the glare of semi gloss. also i t occurs to me that the primers might give you what you want rather than a paint. something you may not have considered. a latex primer with flotroll paint additive will melt out the applicator texture. i like zinzer's bulls eye 123 latex interior /exterior primer. it would hold up just fine without a finish unlike many primers left unprotected. it will take tint if needed. As for spraying skill i can tell you that holding the sprayer further away from the wall is the key to eliminating sprayer lines. try to keep the mill rate even and add many thin coats that are wet enough not to leave that dry dust feel when touched. a little foetroll helps with this. or use a mohair rolled and yes more flotroll. also an oil paint like rustoleum with penetroll oil paint additive and a white foam roller will self level rather easily. its only high gloss so some 3x 3m sponge sanding and then a clear coat of more of just the oil conditioner followed by a super fine sponge sanding with 400 grit would give a perfectly flat and perfectly neutral gloss surface. a little i do mean a little tint might be helpful.

Posted Aug 4, 2012 6:42:38 PM

By mark r

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That's a very great idea,painting a movie screen. I would love to have my very own home theater. The thing is,I live in an apartment and my wall is like dull white and I was thinking of a good white paint and a frame. I have a lot of movies to watch on dvds so once it done,I will have a very great experience. I'm glad you had come up with that idea. Thanks.

Posted Jul 27, 2012 10:20:05 AM

By Greg

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I used screen goo on the back of a 4'x6' foamboard-mounted photograph. The photo is sitting on a 4' wide white ikea brackless shelf. When I want to watch a movie, I just flip the photo around and I have an instant screen! I love the screen goo. Using it with my Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8350 and my Blu-ray player, it's a very nice combo with great brightness and contrast. Certainly has reduced my desire to go to the movie theaters. BTW, I'm a photographer with a degree in film production.

Posted Jul 21, 2012 7:31:50 PM

By Keith

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Hi Seth. The pearlized paint looked great at first but got too bright over time. This is the best I've found so far. Take matte mod podge (about $5 at any craft store). Cut with 50% water and add 1 teaspoon of a grey paint. Roll on any color wall - no need to spray. This will dry flat and will work on curved surfaces, crooked walls, etc. I took 2 quick pics- one with lights on and one without lights. The one without lights is a little blury. I'm beta testing new 3d screen paint so I haven't finished this screen. But this will move you way ahead of just white paint. http://www.flickr.com/photos/83171478@N02/

Posted Jul 19, 2012 1:19:23 AM

By Martin

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Hello i have located this paint in Lithunania but they tell me it is oil based. Will it make a difference whether it is oil based or waterbased..

Posted Jul 17, 2012 5:45:10 AM

By Martin Mc Donnell

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Hello everyone.I have read this fantastic article and decided that painting the wall was for me no longer did i want a screen :-) until i tried to locate the Sherwin williams ProClassic� WaterBorne Interior Acrylic Satin Extra White. You see i am from Ireland and NOTHING is available here :(.... I have spent days trying to locate this paint even from the UK..I have got so fustrated can anyone help as in is there anywhere i can locate it or has someone used something similiar in UK/IRELAND...any help would be much appricated yours faithfully "on the verge of mental breakdown Irish Man :)"

Posted Jul 16, 2012 1:13:29 PM

By Chin

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Has anyone heard the paint "Goo System"? Is it really good? Thx.

Posted Jul 11, 2012 4:04:39 PM

By w2968

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We have a screen as 16:10 with diagonal 260" in size. I need to find a high quality wall paint. Have anyone heard about Goo paint? Is that really good and worthy?

Posted Jun 25, 2012 11:22:14 AM

By Seth

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@Keith, how large is your screen? Would it be possible for you to post a picture of it, or post a link to pictures of it? Also did you roll the pearlized mixture on or spray it?

Posted Jun 13, 2012 6:08:27 AM

By matt

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I followed the advice here and I was BLOWN AWAY. 145" screen. I use an Optoma HD200X Full HD 1080p projector and it's incredible how clear it is with the ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish no tint paint. One thing I did was paint a 3" black border around the white screen. looks AMAZING. Grey textured wall, black border, white screen. best solution ever. When people come into the room, they think it is a fabric screen. Thank you!

Posted Jun 7, 2012 1:18:41 PM

By Marc

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I just finished my 120". Turned out awesome with a few exceptions. I flattened a textured wall, not that big of a deal to accomplish. One thing that is inherent on most wall cunstructed with drywall is unevenness. after hanging the frame, I found that my wall is nearly 1 inch concave it the middle. Not too much I am willing to do about that. When I upgrade my projector, I'll probablly buy a fixed frame screen. These issues are with my circumstance, not the project. My results are stunning. So good that it highlighted the "screen door" effect from my DLP projector to the max! Will never buy another one! If you can make your wall flat, this is an amazing alternative! Thanks for the article!

Posted May 28, 2012 3:53:12 PM

By Keith

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Best Screen Ever and only $6.00!!! This you have to try! After using the Sherwin Williams paint, my 12 year old said,"nice screen but not I can see where the wall is crooked and it looks a little washed out." Then I went over the screen again with 1 part pearlizing medium $1.99, one part water and 2 parts white acrylic paint $3.99 (both from Micheals). WOW! Amazing! NO hot spots, colors pop, whites are white, blacks are black. My son's only comment was, WHOAH! That's AMAZING! Like someone hung a giant TV on the wall!" This will take your screen to a whole new level

Posted May 24, 2012 12:40:48 PM

By Keith

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I had good luck with Sherwin Williams paint but the picture didn't pop they way I wanted it to. I read that pearlized paint will brighten the overall picture. So I added 1 oz pearlizing mediam from Micheals to a quart of water based satin polyurathne and painted over the white coat. The screen is now much brighter. I can even watch with lights on in the background. I'm going to play around with adding more pearlizing medium and also some gloss polyurathane to see if I can increase the brightness without adding hot spots. But for approx $20, well worth the added step.

Posted May 19, 2012 6:37:36 PM

By Dominic

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I got some clarication on the Sherwin-Williams paint. The name of the product is "ProClassic® Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel". The description on the label is "Smooth Enamel Finish for Trim and Doors".

Posted May 17, 2012 9:02:26 AM

By Dominic

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The article refers to Sherwin-Williams "ProClassic Smooth Enamel". However, I cannot find the exact match on the Sherwin-Williams website. The closest I can find is "ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel"; the other two are "ProClassic Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel" and "ProClassic® Alkyd Interior Enamel". All three are available in the recommended Satin Finish. Can someone please confirm that the "Interior Acrylic Latex" is the correct one? BTW, I was told that they will have a 40% off sale (at least locally here) starting this Saturday (May 19).

Posted May 13, 2012 7:22:32 PM

By damien auksorius

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the projector paint is good but a huge screen like in the theatres with good quality speakers is the best setup you can get i feel.

Posted May 5, 2012 12:35:00 PM

By Steve

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Grreat article, but for me, way too much work. I bought a FANTASTIC daylite screen for around $250, the matte white, professional, the same one all the AV kids trudged around in high school. Even their clumsy hands couldn't break these babies. I love the screen, and frankly, it's cheap. Why people get any other screen is beyond me. Maybe it's a way for video stores to make a big profit. The white is the best surface, the same thing they do in every professional movie theater. By the way, I am a professional cinematographer. I love the daylite, with my Panasonic AE-4000. Couldn't be happier.

Posted Apr 13, 2012 5:39:27 AM

By Daz

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Hi, I'm also in Australia looking for a similar alternative?

Posted Mar 12, 2012 3:13:21 PM

By ozymandiz

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Thanks for this great info.

I live in Haiti where Sherwin-williams paint is available. I want to project to a large external wall at night, for a drive-in. Do you think the exterior version of Duration satin works??

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/products/catalog/duration-exterior-acrylic-latex/?referringCategory=exterior-paint-coatings/paint/

Posted Mar 11, 2012 8:30:49 PM

By Mark

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This paint ROCKs, they should change this to painting the perfect screen for $30, not $100. It really is outstanding. I'm using a epson 6010 and even in THX eco mode it looks fantastic.

Posted Mar 4, 2012 4:48:36 PM

By Rod

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Just want to add my thanks and congratulations on the paint article. I had used traffic paint (seemed like a good idea...somewhat reflective) and it did quite a good job with a few hot spots. Also it is very quick drying so it was hard to get on a thin coat. I acquired the Sherwin Williams paint recommended and WOW what a difference. I had to do several skim coats on the drywall to get it really smooth first, then a few coats of the paint. On my Sanyo PLV Z2000 in Cinema mode the pictures are stunning on a screen that is 10 ft wide (2.35:1)Top quality Blu rays look better than movie theatres and my own HD home movies are spectacular!

Posted Mar 1, 2012 6:24:43 AM

By Torrence

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I have had my screen painted and and in use for over a month now. I had a superbowl party and all my guest thought that i had a real screen on the wall, some had to touch it to believe it. My screen is about 178 inches viewable 2:35 aspect ratio using a Benq w6000. Its a little over 14 feet long. I can't believe how good it looks and im using economy mode on the lamp right now.

Posted Feb 29, 2012 5:52:43 PM

By Mike rose

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I painted a 120 inch screen using this method. Very nice image . The whites might be a little to bright but I dont know if it would be the same way on a regular screen because I never tried it on a regular screen. I was just watching the oscars with my benq w1200 at 120 inches, occasionally it looks like your looking through a window . Great job projector central .Thank YOU

Posted Feb 26, 2012 6:39:48 PM

By Jordan

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I'm projecting onto a 120" diagonal screen in my dedicated media room. All the tips for choosing the paint and getting the job done inexpensively were awesome. The best tip was a comment about getting razor sharp paint lines even on a textured wall. Worked flawlessly. Projector is a ViewSonic Pro 8200 full 1080p. Zero ambient light. This article saved me a boatload vs. buying a fixed screen. I am very very very happy with the picture quality on the wall. Thanks!

Posted Feb 22, 2012 8:26:56 AM

By BC Eddie

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Fantastic article. Really appreciate the detail.

Just an FYI that, in Canada, I was told by my Sherwin Williams store that the code for the equivalent ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex (smooth enamel finish for trim & doors) Satin, Extra White is B20 WQ 8051

Posted Feb 16, 2012 10:28:28 AM

By J-P. Jutras

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Great article. I moved into a new house and just finished a home theatre room in the basement. Instead of using the inexpensive 106" screen from my old house, I decided to paint a larger 119" screen on the newly built wall. The results are amazing. The picture is brighter with more depth of field and the colours are more natural - especially flesh tones. The surrounding wall is mat black as the ceiling and the black wood trim around the screen provides a perfect border giving it that professional look. All this for less than $50...and a 2 hours of work.

Posted Feb 13, 2012 6:41:58 AM

By Joe

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Pretty freaking amazing. I wish I could attach a picture to show how different the wall looks with the 110" painted screen on the "white wall". The picture is amazing.

Very please with the painting process and the Epson 3010. Thanks again!

Posted Feb 9, 2012 11:42:02 AM

By Joe

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Great read. I recently pulled the trigger on the Epson 3010 (3LCD 3D).

I followed everything here and so far with only one coat of paint things look 100 times better that just projecting to a clean, smooth wall.

When we get the second coat on, and watch a 3D Blu Ray I'll get back to you. So far, so great! Thanks again!

Posted Feb 6, 2012 2:00:10 PM

By Daniel

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Has anyone tried this with a colored paint? I'm considering using the ProClassic Acrylic Latex but having Sherwin Williams mix in a slightly off white color (like SW7562) since we're projecting on a full wall in our living room. Assuming this would degrade the quality slightly but we'd still get most of the reflective quality of the paint. Comments?

Posted Feb 1, 2012 3:32:17 AM

By Peter

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Great write up!!! Only problem I found is that google did not return any sources of it in Australia... Anyone got suggestions or close alternatives that we may have here?

Posted Jan 30, 2012 6:42:34 PM

By Ozzie

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Not sure what happened here, but I do work for Sherwin-Williams. If you're still working on the project, please get in touch with your local S-W store. It could be that your first coat wasn't completely dry, or perhaps the roller sleeve you were using wasn't clean, or the paint was left uncovered for too long??...ProClassic dries quickly, so working with it quickly once it is out of the can is important. Hope it turned out okay for you!

Posted Jan 16, 2012 11:17:45 AM

By Raj

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Very informative article. I got my first HT projector (Epson 8350) this weekend and picked up the paint from local Sherwin Williams store. Picture quality on the white painted wall is awesome and really puts to shame some of the screens I've seen around!

Posted Jan 12, 2012 4:10:03 PM

By Philip Howe

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A great article, one throughly produced. It answered my exact questions and probably saved me a couple hundgred bucks and a lot of leg work. THANKS! I will refer to your site for other posts.

Posted Dec 27, 2011 2:19:59 AM

By mattobuh

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Fantastic DIY. The paints are very scarce to find in the UK, Can anyone advice where the products can be purchased please!

Posted Dec 8, 2011 8:47:29 AM

By jim barnhart

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bought the behr silver screen then went to the sherwin-williams paint screen is very clear and is only 1 day old,screen size 105 LG projector very happy.

Posted Nov 28, 2011 11:30:25 AM

By Peter

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I followed this and all I can say is WOW!!! it took three days so plan your time, go slow and it will come out fantastic.

first I marker out the full view on the wall and I put down two coats Sherman Williams (SW) white primer over a light yellow wall to start. then put on two coats of the recommend Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Smooth mentioned above.

I then used 3.25 inch wood trim painted it flat black first and then trimmed out the full screen view (this is a two person job and have the right tools so it looks professional)

Thanks for this projector central write up for $60 (max) I have a $200 screen and it will blow your friends away.

Good Luck!

Posted Nov 23, 2011 9:26:12 AM

By brian

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Update-1: My first coat of the SW paint worked nicely. However, my next coat motted or clumped the paint. The roller seemed to pick up the paint off the wall and form little peaks if I rolled over it a second time. I tried to compensate by putting on more paint and that made it worse. Any bright scene in a movie picks this up pretty easy, so I'm going to have to redo it. I'm guessing I have to sand it then try again.

Posted Nov 22, 2011 2:43:38 PM

By brian

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I'm in the process of this with a 120" screen. So I'll let you know how it turns out. I have one more coat of paint to put on. So far my biggest hangup was my drywall was pretty warped. I spent a whole week trying to flaten it out with drywall texture. Looking back on it now it would have been easier and faster to just replace the drywall in the first place.

Posted Nov 11, 2011 8:13:41 AM

By malik

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has anyone applied this solution how is the results? can somebody post a picture how the screen look. and how image looks good on it ?

Posted Oct 8, 2011 12:00:09 AM

By KennyW

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I also paint my screen with a mixture of white paints for a few years. But I have changed it to the 5' x 12' Wilcoson Designer White laminate last year for a better image. It is more than $100 but not much and easier to clean and manage.

Posted Sep 7, 2011 1:18:34 PM

By Mike

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I am in the process of setting up my media room. We are putting up a wall for the screen, but I was wondering what primer do I need to use, or does it matter. I am ordering the Sherwin-Williams paint as the closest store is 200km away, and I would rather buy the primer locally to cut down on shipping costs if it doesn't need to be a specific one. Thank you in advance

Mike

Posted Aug 29, 2011 4:32:11 PM

By JNOEL

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Outstanding post, however mine is for outdoor, what kind of paint I need to use then.

Posted Jul 20, 2011 9:11:14 AM

By Esther

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this is very interesting.. def saves a lot of money that would have been spent on buying a screen what kind of material is the best to paint on for our diy screen? i really want to paint a portable or possibly roll-up surface so i can take it wherever i need to set up our projector

Posted Jun 26, 2011 10:31:34 AM

By bsmith

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Great Article! I decided to repaint my home theater screen with the Sherwin Williams paint that you suggested. The only issue was when I went to buy it, it was on a shelf with both acrylic and oil based paint. Anyway, make sure you get the acrylic paint.

It worked great and I think the picture is better than before! Its smoother because the paint 'settles' into the wall and fills in the unevenness.

Also the color seems to be remarkably 'pure'. Its not 'warm' or 'cool', its neutral.

Finally, give it time to 'cure' to its final state. I noticed that the color seemed to change a little over a few days time.

But its worth it. I had a friend over and he said, "Whoa! is that a special screen? It looks so good!"

Posted Jun 8, 2011 12:20:40 PM

By Dave

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I learned a method from a painting pro for masking/painting two different colors adjacent to each other on walls (even textured walls) to obtain a perfectly razor sharp edge. I will attempt to explain it for painting a screen here. Read on... 1) Paint the wall color outside of the screen area. 2) Wait for it to be completely bone dry. To test, put some blue painter's tape on it and then pull it off. If there is any paint on the adhesive side of the tape, you haven't waited long enough. 3) Put painter's take to mask the screen area so the tape is outside the screen area. 4) Use the wall color paint to paint inside the screen area. Don't leave roller lines... make sure you feather it out when the roller starts to dry by feathering the paint, applying less pressure to the roller as you get further from the masking. 5) Let dry again. It should be bone dry. You don't want the new paint to dissolve the outer skin of the wall color and start to mix with the screen color. 6) Paint the screen color - as many coats as desired, letting it dry between coats 7) Remove the masking tape and viola! a razor sharp line.

The trick is in painting the wall color on the inside, some of the wall color will seep under the tape in an uneven manner. This is ok because it is the same color as the wall. However, it will seal the uneveness so that the screen color does not seep under the tape.

I haven't done a screen on a wall yet, but I have used this technique on highly textured walls and it works great. They should print this technique on the painter's tape.

Good luck.

Dave

Posted May 2, 2011 6:37:24 PM

By Carl

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Good article. My experience of painted screens since my first in 1998 is that the color is not critical; eyes quickly adjust to slightly different paint hues, and there’s far more variation in the film stock and color timing of the movie. Even ‘off-white’ is ok. (Hey, there’s a huge difference in daylight through the day, and we seem to manage.)

What is important is that there be no glossy marks (food stains, sellotape, crayola, etc). These can be easily removed with a scouring pad and detergent. Perfect smoothness is also not necessary because the light from the projector is near vertical to the screen, and anyhow imperfections are invisible from 15‘ away.

The greatest viewing improvement for me came from attaching black hessian fabric to the whole ceiling (with stapels and wooden battens). The room is total blackout, with floor-to-ceiling navy blue curtains all round, a dark carpet, and dark furnishings. No light reflected back to the screen. With all that, I never even notice or think about the screen, and the PT-AE1000 is more than bright enough. I have designed adjustable borders for different aspect ratios, but the lack of borders is barely noticable in the dark and not distracting, and I haven’t bothered making them.

Posted Apr 25, 2011 8:20:32 AM

By Videobear

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Great article, and I like the comments comparing Goo screens to the less expensive paint used here. I do have two comments: 1. Wall preparation. Use a skim coat of joint compound to produce a perfectly flat surface. (See the link at Screen Goo's site to the specs for "Level 5" drywall finish). 2. Sorry, but your frame kinda sux. I would use baseboard molding to get a more three dimensional frame effect. Use a miter box or miter saw to get a perfect 45 degree miter. Join the mitered edges with glue and finish nails (or better yet, a biscuit joiner), not those angle straps. Locate and pre-drill four holes thru the frame and into studs on the wall. Mount it solidly to the wall with four flat black, flathead drywall screws, not the picture hangers.

Posted Apr 13, 2011 11:33:33 AM

By Bob

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Great article! I did a similar thing using a 5x7 sheet of 1/2" mdf (109" diag 16x9)and painted with Behr Silverscreen and so far it's worked great. For the frame I built up an MDF border, 3.5" wide 1.5" thick with an angle cut profile and wrapped with black velvet as an overscan killer. Looks just like Stewart screen w/o the price or lable.

To level the paint try using Flo-trol paint additive, works great. Slows the drying and really levels the surface.

I'm now going to paint the screen with the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic, Extra White, Satin, Smooth Enamel Finish, # B20 W 51 paint after reading this. I'm going to spray it becasue I have the equip and skills so why not. Love this site! Keep up the great work!!

Posted Mar 19, 2011 1:52:39 AM

By Don

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Nice article; wish I'd had this info on paint comparisons a long time ago. I did much the same thing a number of years ago, but to get a perfectly flat, smooth surface, I used a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" MDF, cut down to be perfectly 16x9 format (ended up 49x87.1, screen size 99.8"). Yeah, it was heavy, but stiff, and my wall had all kinds of drywall waves in it. Used Behr UltraPure White flat to avoid hotspots, and painted it while laying it flat on sawhorses. Used 1x4 MDF trim for the frame, painted flat black and mounted the bottom one to studs first, using a level. Then set the bottom of the MDF screen on top of the bottom frame, tilted the screen up and fastened it to the wall with a dozen screws around the perimeter. Easy to cover the screw heads. Finished putting up the remaining black frame pieces, and the effect was stunning, both to guests walking into the room and while watching anything. Biggest learning was to ratchet back on my OCD, relax about being a few degrees off on color temp, and enjoy a cheap DIY screen that cost me about $55. Once you get into a movie, your brain will compensate for most imperfections, and you'll completely forget all about them unless you're calibrating or specifically trying to be critical. If I had to do it again, I'd definitely use the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Smooth mentioned above, but otherwise, I've been more than happy with my screen through two projectors (540p, then 720p) and soon-to-be a third in 1080p.

Posted Mar 7, 2011 7:01:00 AM

By Richard

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One question. Did you guys use the acrylic (water-based), the water-based acrylic alkyd (oil) or the pure alkyd paint?

Thanks very much! Richard

Posted Mar 3, 2011 12:41:24 PM

By Ricki

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I've painted my screen about a dozen times trying to get the best results and have never been happy with a gloss level other than flat. The satin and gloss finishes looked pretty good at first, but for scenes that pan--such as a basketball game with camera moving from left to right--the imperfections in the paint will be highlighted. The image looks like the lens is dirty--the texture remains static while the image shifts with the pan.

The wall was carefully wet-sanded, I used a high-density foam roller, and even experimented with thinning the paint.

I think this problem is directly related to the brighness of the image. The brighter the image, the more glossy paints will show the imperfections. I'm using only a 82" image with a fairly bright projector, which makes the image too bright for glossy paint. The amount of ambient light is probably also related. I don't have exact numbers, but my thought is to stay with flat when the image brightness is over 25fc.

But I have to admit that after reading this article, I'm thinking of repainting again...

Posted Mar 2, 2011 5:45:11 PM

By Tom

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I have had a Sanyo Z5 projecting onto a 118 inch (5x9 cut to size) bordered sheet of melamine-laminated mdf for about four years now. Everyone loves the picture, but now I'm wondering if I could do even better if I painted it over with the ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Extra White as recommeded here. Any thoughts?

Posted Feb 15, 2011 8:43:10 PM

By Cam

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I've painted mine with 3 coats of kilz2 primer. I've found it to be the perfect balance between plain white and grey variants. There's some interesting threads on AVS about all the paint options.

Posted Feb 13, 2011 2:54:43 PM

By Simon

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Regarding surface imperfections-I was doing my own drywalling so I was able to 'fuss' with it to get it smooth. Some ideas: use resilient channel between drywall and studs. It gives where wood studs won't (keeps drywall flat), and can block sound transmission if done correctly. It's cheap. When mudding/sanding, move a single light on a shallow angle to the wall; imperfections are really obvious. Works well when rolling paint too to 'check for texture'

Posted Feb 11, 2011 8:08:37 AM

By Mike

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I currently have a 106" gray screen that I am not happy with. Could I use this paint to paint over the screen to improve it's proformance?

Posted Feb 9, 2011 12:00:05 PM

By Travis

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This is an interesting article. I was under the impression that grey screens were still preferable. Now I know.

It seems to me that a really good option for smaller screens would be MDF or Hardboard. If your screen is smaller than 4'x8', one sheet will cost about $20 and is prefectly smooth. That would me much easier than messing with plaster, which is noted as being extremely messy.

Also, MDF would be a good option for the frame material. You'll be hard-pressed to find any poplar or pine that's perfectly straight direct from the home store. However, MDF is perfectly flat, perfectly straight when cut correctly, and it won't warp. You can have HD use their panel cutter to cut a MDF sheet down to the strips of material you need. They're not accurate to the 1/16th of an inch, but it's close enough.

Posted Feb 9, 2011 6:48:57 AM

By Mark

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Without spectral measurements I don't know what to say about any of the paint applications. They could be great, or not so great.

At Hometheatershack.com there is a DIY paint mix called black widow that will measure spot on 6500 degrees kelvin.

Posted Feb 7, 2011 5:29:44 PM

By Scott

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Painted my Screen Goo systems screen about 5 years ago still holding up great. Movies that pan against a white background tend to show subtle shade differences (ie Hoth in Empire) but that is rare.

My recommendation is to buy an 8'x4' sheet of faux maple paneling at Home Depot. This is a perfectly smooth laminated sheet - make sure there are no flaws but this is much better and lighter than drywall. You can built a frame for it out of wood.

This sheet is like $14 so it keeps the costs down too and you get perfectly smooth. Be sure to prime it first then use the Screen Goo systems.

Posted Feb 7, 2011 1:17:01 PM

By Rob

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Great artical comming from someone who has painted both a Goo screen and a paint from the store screen!

The airless sprayer never worked for me and yes I practaced but found the small foam roller to work best! No roller marks as In my first Goo screen.

The end result too close to call.

Posted Feb 3, 2011 10:26:31 AM

By Mike

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I have painted 2 goo screen @ 110". This is a relly great product and especially works well with small kids in a bonus room.

My needs have changed and I notice flaws over time. Mainly, it's the wall, not the paint. Drywall seams and the lack of super smooth surface and the main problems. I'm moving to a rigid frame for my next screen.

If I was doing this again, I would mount a piece of drywall with liquid nails right over the existing drywall horizontal. Other options would be to apply a thin layer of joint compound over the entire area and sand it until it was entirely flat. Either option is chasing having a flawless flat surface.

Follow the directions for the Goo paint to the letter and let each layer cure and you will be happy for years.

Posted Feb 1, 2011 2:44:57 PM

By Derek

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I too have been looking at using paint as a Projection Screen and used a simple Bahr Paint from Home Depot that was just off-white (slightly low in color temperature). It worked fine but I had to run my Epson Power-Lite 6100 projector at 8000K. The room is slightly yellow so I painted this one entire wall this color and with the projector off all of the walls look the same color. There is no screen mask and the projector is in another room shining through glass so it looks like a regular living room when the TV is off. It was a compromise.

I started looking for alternatives: I called Screen Innovations and they would not sell me just a couple of rolls of Black Diamond, no matter how much I begged. My screen is 156" and their limit is something like 140" so I would need more than 1 piece.

I kept hearing about Bahr Silver Cinema color but putting that swath (and others) on my wall lowered brightness too much for me. Even at maximum (2000 Lumens) brightness my over-sized screen didn't look right. Contrast was slightly improved though. Ultra Pure White was brighter but showed VERY poor Contrast, especially in the day-time.

I was just about to pull the trigger on Screen Goo when I saw this article at Projector Central about a $100 painted screen. Since I don't have a framed mask, that's more like $50 to me.

This time around I didn't paint the whole wall. I just painted a 156" rectangle based upon the 17' projector throw. The Sherwin Williams Paint is just grey of white with a slightly blue (high color temp) to my eyes - I guess I don't know what the color white looks like. It has a 1.1 Gain. I had to drop my projector down to 6500K but WHOA! This thing looked great. It was brighter with more accurate colors and only a small loss in black level. I am going to have to recalibrate all of the projector's picture modes.

This was a big improvement and definitely worth the $50. I may still go to Screen Goo in the future. $300 is still much cheaper than $5000 and I have a feeling brightness and contrast will improve even more.

A stunner of an article! Highly recommended.

P.S. I was so eager to see what the picture looked like after the first coat I turned my projector on before the paint was dry and was horrified at the "starfield of speckles" I saw. I thought I was going to have to get a quart of Flat and go over it. About an hour and a half later it settled down, though. The second coat the next day went the same way.

Thanks PC.

Posted Feb 1, 2011 9:35:17 AM

By Frank Gelsdorf

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I am using a Panasonic PT-AX200U with a painted screen (Dulux Eggshell Ultra White). The screen is 16:9 with a 140" diagonal. So far I was quite happy with the screen's performance. After reading your article I got the Sherwin Williams paint you recommended. One quart was sufficient for a nice even coat - that's $20 plus the roller. The difference before/after is stunning: much better contrast, better color saturation, excellent highlights and dark levels, even in a not completely dark room.

Thanks for your article.

Frank

Posted Jan 31, 2011 7:53:37 PM

By Dave

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Ok, here's my update: I've now used the paint recommended in this article to paint the area of my living room wall that I project onto. My living room walls are already white, but not as bright of a white as this Sherwin Williams paint. The difference in picture quality is impressive. The image is now noticeably brighter, the colors more saturated, the contrast appears to have improved, and the resolution even seems to have increased. I never would've thought that going from one white paint to another would make such a big difference, but my budget priced NEC NP115 is now producing an image that has me completely blown away! The article does not exaggerate, this paint really gives you a great looking image. The paint (one quart), roller, roller handle, and paint tray cost me a total of $42, and for that price I got a substantial improvement to what was an already good image. Thank you again for this valuable article!!!!

Posted Jan 31, 2011 7:50:41 AM

By Simon

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I did mine in a Benjamin Moore primer/sealer: a one-coat product that I put several coats on with a special finish-coat roller. No gloss, dense pigment/very white, easy to recoat if it gets marked. I did the whole screen wall primer white and painted the other surfaces dark shades(w/dark carpet). I find matting a pain unless it can be adjusted for different aspect ratios and image sizes.

Posted Jan 30, 2011 6:40:58 AM

By Gerald Nielsen

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Does the satin finish cause any noticeable off-axis viewing problems?

Posted Jan 29, 2011 12:53:01 PM

By Dave

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I wanted to say thanks for this extremely useful article, and also for just generally paying attention to us "theater on a budget" people. I bought the NEC NP115 based on this site's review and I'm thrilled with it! Since I've always projected onto a bare wall, my next investment will be a can of the Sherwin Williams paint. Thanks again, and please continue to keep those of us with limited funds in mind!

Posted Jan 28, 2011 5:33:41 PM

By AlFromOklahoma

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Excellent article - however - inexpensive 106" pull down screens can be had for around $100 to $120 with shipping and as a former owner of a "painted wall screen", these inexpensive pull down screens are a lot better. They are brighter, have better contrast and can be moved anywhere you like. *Just wanted to offer a similar priced alternate to all that painting!*

Posted Jan 28, 2011 11:26:22 AM

By Arlo

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I would second Steve's suggestion of studying a DIY masking solution. You could use Masonite, thin plywood, or even something like gatorboard. Paint it matte black or cover with velveteen or screen tape. The trick is coming up with a simple, and good looking mounting solution.

My one criticism, is the suggestion of painting directly to the wall. This makes the assumption you already have a flat and smooth wall surface. Most residential drywall work these days is pretty sub par, and walls are finished with a texture to hide imperfections in construction. Like others have suggested, painting some sort of sheet good may be a better solution. Of course that limits screen size or introduces seams on the surface.

I would also suggest using pre-engineered wood trims and moldings found at most home improvement stores for the frame. They usually come pre-primed and ready for paint, and they will be straighter and more dimensionally stable.

Posted Jan 28, 2011 10:49:35 AM

By micah

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AWESOME article. Thank you!

Posted Jan 28, 2011 6:51:20 AM

By adminope

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picture of screen when it operaion ?

Posted Jan 28, 2011 4:44:25 AM

By Darryl G. Jones

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This is a very good artical and proves that a painted screen is a viable solution. I'm retired from the Eastman Kodak Company where I was heavily involved with photography, video and professonal motion picture work. The company used painted walls in several of their screening rooms. Unfortunately, I do not recall the manufacture of the paint, but it was a product called "magnesium white". It was flat with no sheen. I built a screening room in my home years before video projection was even available using slide projectors and 16mm film (including Cinemascope). The screen is made of masonite and is mounted in a slight to moderate curve. I started out with a base coat of flat white and finished up with a final coat of semigloss white. The semigloss worked well, but it must be completely dry before you do an evalaution with it. Both film and video projection worked well on this screen. With today's video projection equipment, you should be able to attain the "look" you are after simply by adjusting the contrast, black level, and color. However, a knowledge of "color space" is good to have when adjusting the color for optimum results.

The bottom line is don't be afraid to experiment; a painted screen can work very well with minium expense.

Posted Jan 27, 2011 4:54:34 PM

By Dan

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How much would you save on the DIY w/ wood cover over buying the Studiotek 100? I'm having a hard time tracking down Studiotek suppliers to comparer to...

Posted Jan 27, 2011 1:43:57 PM

By Paul

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Any comment on how the Goo product would compare to the 130 or the Sherwin Williams paint?

Posted Jan 27, 2011 1:30:52 PM

By eric olson

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I used Valspar's "Cinema Screen" interior matte paint from Lowes on a 5' x 8' sheet of mdf board that I nailed to the wall of my basement and it looks great to me. It is a white color, not gray. I used 1.5 quarts because it required a second coat over the primer. Cinema Screen is the name of the color, so apparently someone at Valspar put some research into the color. The numbers on the print out are 101-0.5, 105-2.5, and 115-0.5. I have a 4 year old Optoma HD72 and I love the combination. To me, having a perfectly flat surface so you do not see ripples in a screen during panning shots is greatly preferable to whatever advantages my pull down Da-Lite screen had. Being perfectly flat it makes the screen appear like a giant flat screen plasma to me. Also a black border painted with black chalk board paint really absorbs any projection image over spill.

Posted Jan 27, 2011 12:54:41 PM

By Glenn

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I too, read this article out of general interest, not out of need. I have a perfectly adequate da-lite screen that I got cheap from a friend who was upgrading. If I ever upgrade, it would be to purchase a superior screen. But I am curious, what type of board would be used for this. I have a 110" screen. Can you even get a flat board that large. If so, I would expect it to have some amount of warp to it that would distort the picture.

Posted Jan 27, 2011 11:05:54 AM

By John

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This article is great! But i still have a few questions.

#1 So basically you are saying white is better than gray? #2 ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish is the paint that you have chosen as the best one, but if im painting on wall it should be Duration Satin Extra White right? #3 Could you post some pics?

Posted Jan 27, 2011 5:13:44 AM

By jean luc

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For those who don't want a permanent fixed frame or expect a move in the relatively near future, why not paint a board that you can hang on the wall when you want to whatch a movie and unhang it when you're done? You just need a garage for storage...

Posted Jan 26, 2011 2:55:06 PM

By Steve Lyon

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This is a great article I found my self reading it not because I needed a screen but because it was a comprehensive look at what constitutes a great screen as well as detailed steps of how to create one. I happen to have a Studiotek 130 screen, so I read the article as a matter of interest and not as a matter of need. When I purchased my screen I was playing around with an Electrohome CRT projector while I watched the DLP, LCD. LCOS technologies settle out. It was one of your articles that convinced me that projectors would come and go but I would likely have the screen for awhile. That advice has turned out to be right on the money, I've had a couple different projectors since the old CRT, but I still enjoy the same screen. My issue is, I don't have, nor would I have spent the fortune Stewart was looking for, for a masking system. Over the years you've mentioned masking systems but rarely discussed them at length, I really can't recall any product reviews. I'm not ready to get rid of my Studiotek, but I would dearly love a masking system for it, (without mortgaging my house). Are there any options out there? if not, have you ever considered putting together a DYI masking system project?

Thank You for your continuing insight,

Steve

Posted Jan 26, 2011 2:51:58 PM

By Rick

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Does anyone know the price of the Stewart paint and can you get it in a quart?

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