EDITOR'S NOTE (FEB 19, 2018): Sherman Williams has changed the formula for the paint recommended in this article. We have not done any further retesting or searching for an alternative paint to recommend. Please DO NOT buy the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Extra White, # B20 W 51, which was recommended in the article as written in 2011. It is now too glossy.


Since 1080p home theater projectors have dropped below $1,000, the demand for inexpensive screens is bigger than ever. When you spend less than $1,000 on a projector, you don't want to spend big bucks on a screen to go with it. So for hobbyists with a creative, DIY bent, let's focus on how to paint the perfect screen for under $100. We will look for a good paint solution because it is easy, cheap, and it doesn't warp and ripple over time like fabric screens can do.

First, if we are going to build a great screen, we need a standard of perfection to compare it to. That, to us, is the Stewart Studiotek 100, a perfectly neutral 1.0 gain white screen that reflects back exactly what the projector puts out. It has absolutely no color bias, no gain, with a pure smooth finish that reflects the maximum amount of image detail. Since white paint will have a gain of about 1.0, the Studiotek 100 is a good benchmark against which to compare our results.

What about gray paints?

Many people are interested in gray screens and paints due to their increased black level. So we started our evaluation with the popular Behr Silver Screen formula. We painted a test board and mounted it in front of the Studiotek 100. Illuminating these two surfaces with a variety of test patterns and video clips revealed significant differences in contrast and color balance.

The one advantage the Behr Silver Screen had over the Studiotek 100 was black level, which is expected from gray paint--the darker the screen, the darker the black level. In scenes with a black background and white highlights such as rolling credits, the paint showed a higher contrast image and a much more solid black. The Behr Silver Screen is the perfect solution for people who watch rolling credits. Unfortunately, that's not what 99% of one's viewing subject matter consists of.

The Behr image was 27% dimmer than the Studiotek 100. That, in itself, is not a problem if you have a small enough screen or a bright enough projector. But the Behr Silver Screen kills color saturation, and it appears to reduce vibrancy in the warmer end of the spectrum. This should not be surprising. Imagine, what do you get when you mix gray with yellow? You get a grayish yellow. If you mix gray and blue you get a grayish blue. But the compromise of the yellow is more noticeable.

On the Behr gray paint, flesh tones looked horrible, appearing dirty or ash-colored in comparison to the Studiotek 100. Red and yellow color saturation is the most muted, and white highlights appear as subdued grays. Overall, the Behr Silver Screen paint does not deliver a balanced image. It certainly is not showing you what the projector is putting out. On its own, due to its increased black level, it may look fine if you don't have anything to compare it to, and the deep black creates an impressive sense of contrast under the right circumstances. But it is not a paint we would recommend for optimum home theater performance.

Gray screens were invented to compensate for the low contrast projectors of years past. But with today's high contrast models, we favor the use of white screens unless you have chronic uncontrolled ambient light. Since white paint should have a gain of about 1.0, the same as the Studiotek 100, we set out to see how close we could come to replicating the performance of the Studiotek 100 with white paint. Would it be possible to find a perfect replica?

Of course, there are paints out there that are specially designed for home theater. Goo Systems makes a great (and very popular) paint product. Previous testing with Goo showed that it is perfectly color balanced, and an impressive product. But for this project we wanted to keep total screen cost under $100, and Goo costs more than that. Other companies make paints they claim are formulated for home theater screens. But since they cost upwards of $200 a gallon, they already blew our target budget for a $100 screen. We limited our evaluation to white paints most people can find locally for under $20 per quart.

A Million Shades of White

If you go to your local paint store, you'll find an array of paint chips that represent different formulas of white. They have names like Polar Bear, Snow Fall, Swan Wing, Moon Rise, and so on. They all look white. But none of them are the perfectly neutral white that you want on a home theater screen. They each have a subtle color bias that will affect how your projected image looks. If the white has a bright, cold, crisp tone, it is because it is reflecting more blue light than is ideal. If you use this shade of white on your screen, flesh tones will look a bit cooler than the projector is putting out, while blue skies will be slightly oversaturated.

Conversely, warmer tone white paints look warmer because they are reflecting a bit more red and yellow relative to blue. They will give flesh tones a bit more warmth than normal, while reducing the brilliance of a blue sky or the fresh look of green grass.

The objective is to avoid these errors. So how do you get neutral white? In theory, the most neutral white in any paint vendor's product line should be the base white that exists before any pigment is added. So that's where we started.

The Search for the Perfect Paint

We started our search with the flat latex base white from both Behr and Valspar. To test them we painted sample boards and mounted them each in front of the Studiotek 100, and illuminated them with a projector. Between the two, the Behr imparted a more obvious color imbalance, biased toward blue. The Valspar was closer to replicating the color values of the Studiotek. It wasn't quite perfect, being a very tiny shade warmer than the screen. But it wasn't bad at all, and noticeably more neutral than the Behr. We decided to drop Behr from the running, and continue experimenting with various Valspar finishes.

Flat, glossy, or what?

As far as finishes go, conventional wisdom holds that flat latex is the best option for a home theater screen. This was not our experience. It is certainly true that any high gloss finish creates a bad glare that makes the picture unwatchable. But a flat or matte finish is almost as bad. It produces a dull image that does not have the contrast or color saturation of a professional projection screen. While the Valspar's Base 1 with no added pigment was reasonably solid in color balance, the Matte finish that we started with rendered an image that was unacceptably dull compared to the Studiotek 100. [BAN1]

Valspar comes in a variety of finishes that increase in sheen, including Matte, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, and Glossy. Since the Matte was too dull, we moved on to Eggshell--better, but still a bit dull. Next we tried the Satin. This one looked quite acceptable--not perfect, but a very nice picture. Stepping up to the Semi-Gloss, we suddenly overshot the runway; the Semi-Gloss was way too shiny, creating a host of annoying hotspots and artifacts that made it useless.

So we thought...what would happen if we blended Satin with Semi-gloss? We blended Satin two-to-one with Semi-Gloss, and painted another test board. Nope, still too glossy. Satin was the best choice in the Valspar line.

Was the Valspar Base 1 Satin as good as it gets with paint? Its color balance was almost identical to the Studiotek, but ever so slightly warmer. Highlights were actually brighter on the paint than on the screen. Unfortunately, black levels were also a bit elevated. The picture was extremely similar, but it didn't quite have the snap that the Studiotek produced. Close, but no cigar.

The Search Continues...

Time to road test another brand. We went to the local Sherwin-Williams store. Based on our experience with the Valspar, we started with their version of Satin, which they call the Duration Satin Extra White. As with the Valspar, we used the base stock paint with no pigment added. After two coats on another sample board, we set it up against the Valspar, and put them both in front of the Studiotek 100.

Wow! Now we were cooking with gas. The Sherwin-Williams Duration Satin Extra White was an absolute dead ringer for the Studiotek 100 in terms of color balance, and oh so close in contrast and saturation. There was some subtle variance in its ability to hold black levels compared to the screen, but for the money, who would quibble? It was hard to believe that an inexpensive paint could produce such stunning results. There seemed to be no more room for improvement, so we thought we had our winner. [BAN2]

But we weren't done yet.

The Problem of Screen Resolution

One key advantage to the professional high resolution screens is that they have a perfectly smooth surface which enables them to reflect images with the optimum amount of detail. With 1080p projection, this is an important consideration. The problem with most painted surfaces is that you end up with brush strokes or mottling from the roller. The surface is not as smooth as a professional screen, and this will take a bit of edge off the sharpness of the image.

The only way to replicate the smoothness of a high quality screen is with a paint sprayer in the hands of someone who knows how to use it effectively. Most people don't have paint sprayers or the skill to use them. You can rent them for $60 a day, but you need to spend some time (and paint) practicing to get the results just right. Since our objective was to find the simplest and cheapest solution, we wanted to get the best results without going the paint sprayer route.

Back to Sherwin-Williams we went. Their staff had two suggestions. First, use a roller with the smallest, tightest nap you can find, since it will produce less mottling of the surface. Second, instead of the Duration, try the ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish. This product has a different surface tension that will cause it to settle into a smoother surface than the Duration. It is made for trimwork and doors, not walls.

We bought some of that, brought it back, and put two coats on another test board. Yep, it worked as advertised. The finish was indeed a bit smoother, with fewer obvious surface flaws than any of the previous paints.

Setting up the test board with the ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin against the Studiotek 100, we discovered that we had not only arrived at our objective, but surpassed it. Color balance was dead on, just as with the Duration. But this paint actually delivered a slightly brighter image with deeper blacks. With a checkerboard test pattern, the black and white squares that fell on the test board were visibly higher in contrast than those that fell on the screen. A spot meter confirmed what we could already see--white highlights were brighter by about 10%, and blacks were blacker by about 10%.

This paint had a gain of about 1.1, with higher contrast than the Studiotek 100. But even more intriguing, the slightly smoother finish of the Enamel was doing its job. There was very little difference in 1080p image resolution. Practically speaking, most people looking at the two would say there was no difference at all.

Not the only perfect paint

Once we were satisfied with the particular Sherwin-Williams paint, we stopped evaluating other products. When we hold the test board with this paint up against the Studiotek, it virtually vanishes. So our objective of creating an outstanding reflective surface was met.

Having said this, we don't want to make any pronouncements about this one paint from Sherwin-Williams being the magic bullet above all others. It just happens to be the one we found that gave us outstanding image quality with perfect color balance. This one was relatively easy to find, so we assume there are plenty of paint options from other vendors that will produce similar results.

How does it compare to the Studiotek 130?

In addition to our Studiotek 100, we have a Studiotek 130 on hand. This is the screen material Stewart recommends for high performance home theater. Its modest gain gives the picture a noticeably improved luster and brightness that the Studiotek 100 does not have. Just for grins, we put our test board up against the Studiotek 130 to compare images.

The Studiotek 130 certainly produced the better image. Anyone putting in a high performance projection system would want the 130 over our paint solution. But for the money, the paint was holding its own remarkably well. Its highlights were not as brilliant, and the paint could not quite match the beautiful luster of the 130. But color balance was perfect. Overall, most viewers would be thoroughly impressed with what the paint could do. In terms of overall image quality in the average home theater environment, the paint fell a bit short of the Studiotek 130, but surpassed the 100.

Creating your Screen Masterpiece

Now that we have found an ideal paint, let's get down to the nuts and bolts of creating the screen. When you buy a professional screen, you not only get an ideal screen surface, but you get a solid black frame around the image as well. This adds greatly to the aesthetics of viewing movies and video. If all you want to do is paint a wall and project onto that wall, you can certainly do just that. But we are going for the gold here...for $100, we want to create a full replica of a professional projection screen, so it looks like that is what is mounted on your wall. Taking some time to create your screen masterpiece will pay off in much greater enjoyment for years. The basics are simple: [BAN1]

First, paint the wall outside the screen area

You might want to jump right in and paint the screen first. But that isn't a good idea. The objective is to end up with the illusion that you have a professional screen hanging on your wall. A key to achieving this is to paint the rest of the wall outside the screen area a darker color. Not only will this make the screen itself look like it is popping off the wall, but it will help reduce light reflections in the viewing room and give you a better home theater experience.

The reason you want to paint the rest of the wall first, before painting the screen area, is that you will be painting above and around the intended screen surface. You do not want to accidentally drip paint onto a finished screen surface.

For the rest of the wall, choose a color that is compatible with the décor. If this is a dedicated home theater room, you may want to use a medium to dark gray. If this is a multi-purpose room or living room, any low saturation color that complements the décor will work. Anything darker than white will create a pleasing contrast between the screen and the wall. The trade-off is that as you go darker, it improves the viewing space as a theater by cutting down light reflections that get bounced back onto the screen. But excessively dark wall treatments will make the room feel smaller and perhaps less comfortable for other uses. You need to sort out the right balance for your tastes.

When painting the rest of the wall, choose a flat, or matte, latex paint. This will reduce reflectivity, which is why it is not good for the screen itself. (By the way, if this is a dedicated home theater room, another option is to cover the wall with felt or some other similar fabric. That can reduce both light and sound reflections.) [BAN2]

To paint the wall, proceed as follows:

1. Mount your projector and set the image size to what you want it to be. Project a focused image that is either full 16:9 or full 2.4, depending on which screen aspect ratio you are going to create. Any image will do as long as it is bright at all four edges so the limits of your screen surface are obvious and clearly delineated.

2. Use a level to make sure the top edge of the picture is absolutely horizontal. Once you paint the screen, it is difficult to fix this type of error.

3. With the projected image now in the desired position on the wall, use masking tape to mark off each side of the image along the inside edge. When you are done, you will have a rectangle of tape on the wall, the outside edge of which defines the edge of your screen area.

4. Paint the wall outside the screen area. If necessary, apply a second coat after the first coat dries. When you are done painting the wall, remove the masking tape before the paint dries in order to get a clean edge.

Now that you have painted the wall surrounding your screen, you are ready to paint the screen itself. Follow these steps:

1. After the paint on the surrounding wall outside the screen area has dried, re-apply masking tape. This time, lay the tape on the outside edge of the image, on the newly painted surface. When you are done, you will have a rectangle of tape on the wall, the inside edge of which defines the limit of your screen area.

2. Within the screen area, sand the wall smooth. Spackle up any holes, dents, and imperfections. You want the surface to be as smooth as possible. Any imperfection you leave on the wall may show up as an artifact in your image. Vacuum up all the dust you create by sanding and prepping the screen area; vacuum the wall itself as well as the surrounding area below. (You might want to move this step to the top, and perform the sanding and prep work on the screen area prior to any painting. Your choice.) [BAN1]

3. Apply a coat of primer, which costs about $10 a quart. One quart should be sufficient unless your screen exceeds about 75 square feet (a 120" diagonal 16:9 screen is 43 square feet). Allow the primer to dry.

EDITOR'S NOTE (FEB 19, 2018): Evidently Sherman Williams has changed the formula for the paint recommended in this article. We have not done any further retesting or searching for an alternative paint to recommend. Please DO NOT buy the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Extra White, # B20 W 51, which was recommended in the article as written in 2011. It is now too glossy.

4. Apply your first coat of Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Extra White, # B20 W 51. Use a tight nap paint roller (with nap no more than 1/4"). Make sure to use enough, but not too much paint. If you don't use enough, you will not have enough coverage. If you use too much paint, you will end up with drips that will eventually show up as unevenness in the surface. Be cautious, and err on the side of not using enough paint, as you can always add a bit more. [BAN2]

8. Allow the first coat to dry, then apply a second coat, with the same attention to creating the smoothest surface you can. One quart of paint should be enough for two coats on a 120" 16:9 screen. If your screen is any larger than that, a second quart may be needed. Before the paint is dry, remove the masking tape. Removing the tape after the paint is dry can result in chips and cracks along the edge.

Finishing Touches

Let the paint dry and cure for a few days before evaluating the final result. Despite the use of a roller with a tight nap and paint that is designed to produce a smooth surface, there may still be some uneven flaws in the surface. Illuminating it with the 100 IRE solid white pattern will reveal any flaws that may exist. The surface might be perfectly fine, and not need any attention. But if you see shiny highlights that appear as artifacts in the white light, you may want to touch them up. These are pretty much invisible when viewing typical video or film content, but easy to see when projecting a pure white image. Nevertheless, we want to remove them to the extent we can.

When we saw a few of these, our first thought was to sand the surface with a fine grain sandpaper. So we did, and discovered that was a very bad idea. The sandpaper gets rid of unwanted highlights, but it also alters the reflectivity of the surface. Sanding the surface will introduce sandpaper strokes as texture in the image, and these are as bad as the highlights they remove.

The solution is to use a very light touch. Standing back and viewing the surface in projected white light, note exactly where the excessively shiny highlights are. With a fine grain sanding block (available in the paint department at your hardware store) use the corner of the block to gently rub the highlight itself, in order to lightly buff only the immediate point of reflection. This eliminates the glare from each spot, without creating any visible artifacts in the image.

By following these steps, we were able to create a remarkably smooth, perfectly color balanced reflection surface that rivals the finest professional home theater screens. The paint we ended up preferring was the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic, Extra White, Satin, Smooth Enamel Finish, # B20 W 51. It retails for $19.49 per quart. One quart is enough to do a double coat of paint on a 120" diagonal 16:9 screen surface.

Creating the Frame

At this point in the project, you have created a perfectly white rectangle surrounded by a darker wall. All you need now is a black frame to finish it off. There is a cheap and easy way to do this. There is also a more stylish and elegant way to do it that costs a bit more but looks a lot better. Either one will work, so you can pick the one you feel is right for you.

The cheap and easy solution is to get some black velvet tape that is made for screen borders. There are several suppliers of this type of product. You can find them by googling "black home theater screen tape." We have not tested any of them, and cannot recommend one over another. [BAN1]

Basically, you can acquire a roll of screen border tape, apply it around the outside edge of your screen surface, and you are done. That's about as simple as it gets.

At this point, you've invested $20 for a quart of paint, $10 for primer, $30 for a roll of black velvet tape, and some pocket change for miscellaneous paint supplies like a paint roller, drop cloth, masking tape, sanding block, sand paper, and so on. What you end up with is a beautiful projection surface that will produce a magnificent picture.

A Better Looking Frame Solution

The aesthetic problem with the tape is that is doesn't have much three dimensional effect. It looks...um...like you stuck tape on your wall. That's not an issue when you are watching in the dark. But when the home theater is not in operation, having tape stuck to the wall might not have the class and finesse that you'd prefer.

The alternative is to make a wood frame, wrap it in black velveteen, and hang it like a picture frame over your painted screen area. Velveteen is a cotton fabric that superficially resembles velvet, which is made of silk. But velveteen absorbs light better than velvet, and it doesn't have the sheen. It is widely available in fabric stores.

The frame can be constructed of pine or poplar, woods that commonly come in 1"x4" configurations, in convenient lengths of 6, 8, 10, and 12 feet. The type of wood is not so important as the fact that the pieces you select are straight and sturdy. You don't want your frame bowing outward from the wall due to curves in the wood.

The 1"x4" format has the advantage of being exactly 3.25" in actual width. That is precisely the width of the frames on Stewart's home theater screens. So you will end up with a DIY solution that is a remarkably close replica of an outstanding professional screen. Another advantage to the 1x4 wood frame is that it will give you a three-dimensional look without being too heavy or cumbersome to mount. A finished frame made of poplar for a 120" diagonal 16:9 screen will weigh under 25 lbs. [BAN2]

How to Build the Frame

Acquire four pieces of 1x4, in lengths that exceed the horizontal and vertical dimensions of your screen. Cut the ends to 45 degree angles (note...these cuts must be exactly 45 degrees!). We suggest cutting the short side of each board to a length of 1" less than the screen surface on the wall. That will give you a bit of leeway in hanging the frame to cover the entire painted surface without having to be exact down to the millimeter. So for example, if the width of your screen is 105", get two 10 foot 1x4's and cut them to 104" along the edge that will be adjacent to the screen.

Once you have cut the ends of each section of the frame to 45 degrees, join them together with flat metal 8" L-brackets, as illustrated here...

Attaching the Hanging Hardware

The easiest way to hang the frame is to use two flat metal D-rings which are available at most large frame shops, along with two picture hanging hooks you will nail to the wall.

Now some careful measurements are required. For maximum support, you want to place the picture hangers where the studs are in the wall. Along the top edge of your screen, knock on the wall until you hear the shallow, high pitched knock that indicates the presence of a stud. Place a small mark at the center of the stud. Find the studs that are closest to the sides of your screen. Measure the distance from the side edges of the screen to the center of the stud. Then on the back of the frame, along the top horizontal section, measure that same distance from the inside edges of the frame. This is where you will attach the D-rings.

The D-rings should be screwed into place along the bottom edge of the frame, as shown here:

The reason you want the D-rings along the bottom edge is that you want the picture hangers to be hidden behind the frame once the frame is mounted. As you can see, the D-ring plus the picture hanger will take the full width of the frame:

Attaching the Fabric

Once the L-brackets and D-rings are screwed down, your wood frame is assembled with the hanging hardware in place. All you need to do now is wrap each side of the frame in velveteen.

Acquire one piece of this fabric that is about one foot longer than the width of your screen. The reason is this...if your screen surface itself is 105" wide, the frame on the outside edge will be an additional 6.5" in length (since the wood frame itself is 3.25" on each side. That ends up being a total of 111.5". You want the fabric to cover that entire length without having to cut multiple pieces. And you want a little extra on each end so you can trim it to precisely where you want it.

From the single piece of velveteen, cut two strips long enough to cover the horizontal segments, and two strips long enough to cover the vertical segments. All four strips of fabric should be 7.5" in width, and long enough that the fabric will extend several inches beyond the length of each segment of the frame you are going to wrap.

Now you need a clean surface...either a clean carpeted floor, or lay down a drop cloth or bedsheet. Lay the fabric face down on the floor, then place the frame segment on top of it so it is centered. Fold the fabric over to the back side of the frame and tack it into place with a staple gun. Carefully trim the ends so that the fabric overlaps and the corners are covered. Along the top segment, trim away the fabric from the D-rings to leave them exposed.

Once you have tacked and trimmed the velveteen on all four sides, your frame is ready to hang. Assuming you are using the picture hangers depicted above, you may want to crimp the lip down a bit, just to the point where you can slide the D-ring into it. If it extrudes too much it will hold the frame away from the wall slightly.

Nail the picture hangers to the stud locations you marked on the wall. Assuming you are using the hangers depicted above, the top edge of the hanger should be 3" above the edge of your painted screen, positioning them so they will support the frame in the position you need to cover the screen area.

Piece of cake. You are done.

What you have just created is a beautiful replica of one of the finest screens in the world. But instead of spending $2,000 or more for it, you spent about $100 (if you used the border tape), and under $200 if you went all out with the elegant wood frame. Either way, this painted screen will make your 1080p home theater projector look awesome.

A Word of Caution

All of this sounds good, but there are a few things you might want to think about before taking this project on. See the next page for problems and issues to consider before you start. We do not recommend painted DIY screens for everyone.

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. [BAN1]

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.

Comments (253) Post a Comment
Rick Posted Jan 26, 2011 2:51 PM PST
Does anyone know the price of the Stewart paint and can you get it in a quart?
Steve Lyon Posted Jan 26, 2011 2:55 PM PST
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,

jean luc Posted Jan 27, 2011 5:13 AM PST
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...
John Posted Jan 27, 2011 11:05 AM PST
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?
Glenn Posted Jan 27, 2011 12:54 PM PST
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.
eric olson Posted Jan 27, 2011 1:30 PM PST
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.
Paul Posted Jan 27, 2011 1:43 PM PST
Any comment on how the Goo product would compare to the 130 or the Sherwin Williams paint?
Dan Posted Jan 27, 2011 4:54 PM PST
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...
Darryl G. Jones Posted Jan 28, 2011 4:44 AM PST
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.
adminope Posted Jan 28, 2011 6:51 AM PST
picture of screen when it operaion ?
micah Posted Jan 28, 2011 10:49 AM PST
AWESOME article. Thank you!
Arlo Posted Jan 28, 2011 11:26 AM PST
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.
AlFromOklahoma Posted Jan 28, 2011 5:33 PM PST
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!*
Dave Posted Jan 29, 2011 12:53 PM PST
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!
Gerald Nielsen Posted Jan 30, 2011 6:40 AM PST
Does the satin finish cause any noticeable off-axis viewing problems?
Simon Posted Jan 31, 2011 7:50 AM PST
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.
Dave Posted Jan 31, 2011 7:53 PM PST
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!!!!
Frank Gelsdorf Posted Feb 1, 2011 9:35 AM PST
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.

Derek Posted Feb 1, 2011 2:44 PM PST
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.
Mike Posted Feb 3, 2011 10:26 AM PST
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.
Rob Posted Feb 7, 2011 1:17 PM PST
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.
Scott Posted Feb 7, 2011 5:29 PM PST
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.
Mark Posted Feb 9, 2011 6:48 AM PST
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.
Travis Posted Feb 9, 2011 12:00 PM PST
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.
Mike Posted Feb 11, 2011 8:08 AM PST
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?
Simon Posted Feb 13, 2011 2:54 PM PST
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'
Cam Posted Feb 15, 2011 8:43 PM PST
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.
Tom Posted Mar 2, 2011 5:45 PM PST
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?
Ricki Posted Mar 3, 2011 12:41 PM PST
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...
Richard Posted Mar 7, 2011 7:01 AM PST
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
Don Posted Mar 19, 2011 1:52 AM PST
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.
Bob Posted Apr 13, 2011 11:33 AM PST
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!!
Videobear Posted Apr 25, 2011 8:20 AM PST
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.
Carl Posted May 2, 2011 6:37 PM PST
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.
Dave Posted Jun 8, 2011 12:20 PM PST
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.

bsmith Posted Jun 26, 2011 10:31 AM PST
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!"
Esther Posted Jul 20, 2011 9:11 AM PST
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
JNOEL Posted Aug 29, 2011 4:32 PM PST
Outstanding post, however mine is for outdoor, what kind of paint I need to use then.
Mike Posted Sep 7, 2011 1:18 PM PST
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

KennyW Posted Oct 8, 2011 12:00 AM PST
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.
malik Posted Nov 11, 2011 8:13 AM PST
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 ?
brian Posted Nov 22, 2011 2:43 PM PST
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.
brian Posted Nov 23, 2011 9:26 AM PST
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.
Peter Posted Nov 28, 2011 11:30 AM PST
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!
jim barnhart Posted Dec 8, 2011 8:47 AM PST
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.
mattobuh Posted Dec 27, 2011 2:19 AM PST
Fantastic DIY. The paints are very scarce to find in the UK, Can anyone advice where the products can be purchased please!
Philip Howe Posted Jan 12, 2012 4:10 PM PST
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.
Raj Posted Jan 16, 2012 11:17 AM PST
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!
Ozzie Posted Jan 30, 2012 6:42 PM PST
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!
Peter Posted Feb 1, 2012 3:32 AM PST
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?
Daniel Posted Feb 6, 2012 2:00 PM PST
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?
Joe Posted Feb 9, 2012 11:42 AM PST
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!
Joe Posted Feb 13, 2012 6:41 AM PST
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!
J-P. Jutras Posted Feb 16, 2012 10:28 AM PST
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.
BC Eddie Posted Feb 22, 2012 8:26 AM PST
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
Jordan Posted Feb 26, 2012 6:39 PM PST
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!
Mike rose Posted Feb 29, 2012 5:52 PM PST
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
Torrence Posted Mar 1, 2012 6:24 AM PST
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.
Rod Posted Mar 4, 2012 4:48 PM PST
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!
Mark Posted Mar 11, 2012 8:30 PM PST
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.
ozymandiz Posted Mar 12, 2012 3:13 PM PST
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??

Daz Posted Apr 13, 2012 5:39 AM PST
Hi, I'm also in Australia looking for a similar alternative?
Steve Posted May 5, 2012 12:35 PM PST
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.
damien auksorius Posted May 13, 2012 7:22 PM PST
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.
Dominic Posted May 17, 2012 9:02 AM PST
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).
Dominic Posted May 19, 2012 6:37 PM PST
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".
Keith Posted May 24, 2012 12:40 PM PST
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.
Keith Posted May 28, 2012 3:53 PM PST
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
Marc Posted Jun 7, 2012 1:18 PM PST
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!
matt Posted Jun 13, 2012 6:08 AM PST
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!
Seth Posted Jun 25, 2012 11:22 AM PST
@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?
w2968 Posted Jul 11, 2012 4:04 PM PST
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?
Chin Posted Jul 16, 2012 1:13 PM PST
Has anyone heard the paint "Goo System"? Is it really good? Thx.
Martin Mc Donnell Posted Jul 17, 2012 5:45 AM PST
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 :)"
Martin Posted Jul 19, 2012 1:19 AM PST
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..
Keith Posted Jul 21, 2012 7:31 PM PST
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/
Greg Posted Jul 27, 2012 10:20 AM PST
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.
mark r Posted Aug 4, 2012 6:42 PM PST
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.
bryan Posted Aug 4, 2012 11:03 PM PST
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.
Erik Hermansen Posted Aug 26, 2012 1:58 PM PST
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.
Tony Posted Sep 19, 2012 6:19 AM PST
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?
dave Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:12 PM PST
those anyone know if the (proclassic interior waterbased acrylic-alkyd extra white satin) those the same job or is my only choice the latex???
Yadira Posted Oct 16, 2012 7:48 AM PST
I have a question,what color would the pro classic satin enamel be,extra white?
Duane Posted Oct 22, 2012 9:14 AM PST
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.
Sylvain Posted Dec 2, 2012 7:55 AM PST
Thanks for the tip
Henry Posted Dec 4, 2012 7:42 AM PST
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.
serge Posted Dec 4, 2012 6:53 PM PST
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.
Burt Posted Dec 11, 2012 5:28 AM PST
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!
Ray D Posted Dec 28, 2012 7:28 AM PST
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.
Garfield Posted Dec 28, 2012 1:32 PM PST
For those that want to spray, remember that you need to back roll as you will get overspray. Therefore, just use a roller!
Serge Posted Jan 6, 2013 6:53 PM PST
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.
Kirtis Mcleskey Posted Jan 8, 2013 9:11 PM PST
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
Jay Posted Jan 9, 2013 7:04 AM PST
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.
TheBakersSon Posted Jan 30, 2013 12:31 PM PST
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.
Andrea Posted Feb 3, 2013 11:37 AM PST
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!
Peter Posted Feb 6, 2013 8:16 PM PST
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?
Chris Posted Feb 8, 2013 6:50 AM PST
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...
Niraj Posted Mar 15, 2013 9:13 AM PST
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?
Len Posted Apr 2, 2013 10:52 PM PST
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.
Victor Posted Apr 9, 2013 7:13 PM PST
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
florin Posted Apr 10, 2013 9:45 PM PST
Hi, please name the store in canada when you by the paint and the code.Thx.
Brad - Australia Posted Apr 13, 2013 5:10 AM PST
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 :)
IVANNE Posted May 16, 2013 1:02 PM PST
greg, I will really like to see that set up do you have a video of it?
Robert Posted May 19, 2013 7:33 PM PST
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.
DynamoDave Posted May 20, 2013 12:50 PM PST
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!!!
Tim Posted Jun 10, 2013 11:25 AM PST
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?
Bryan Posted Jun 24, 2013 10:24 AM PST
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.
jason Posted Jun 27, 2013 4:37 PM PST
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.
Greg Posted Jul 3, 2013 8:03 AM PST
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
Jon Posted Jul 16, 2013 9:59 PM PST
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!
Chris Posted Aug 1, 2013 3:43 AM PST
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.
Amit Posted Sep 18, 2013 9:47 AM PST
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.
Jagdish Dudhat Posted Sep 23, 2013 6:51 AM PST
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.
paul Posted Oct 7, 2013 11:07 AM PST
what about 3D, it works too?
Timo Posted Oct 9, 2013 1:08 PM PST
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.
Rob Posted Oct 10, 2013 10:00 PM PST
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!
Tim Posted Oct 11, 2013 9:34 PM PST

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?
Jeff Posted Oct 14, 2013 11:31 AM PST
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.
Rob Posted Oct 17, 2013 11:20 PM PST
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?
Busterbvi Posted Oct 31, 2013 11:33 AM PST
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.
Tim Posted Nov 4, 2013 5:37 PM PST
I used the exact same paint and paint code shown in the article. It is a satin not a semi gloss
Rob Posted Nov 8, 2013 2:59 AM PST
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.
Chris Posted Nov 24, 2013 10:09 PM PST
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.
Logan Posted Nov 25, 2013 1:44 PM PST
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.
Paul Posted Jan 3, 2014 8:15 AM PST

Fantastic tip! Thanks! It's nice to see constructive and helpful comments.
Strike Posted Jan 11, 2014 4:43 PM PST
How does this work if watching tv during the daytime? Does the room need to be dark in order to view the screen clearly?
Alex Posted Jan 22, 2014 4:58 PM PST
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
Trevis Williams Posted Feb 8, 2014 9:18 AM PST
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?
jkseth Posted Feb 8, 2014 4:40 PM PST
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!
Evan Powell, Editor Posted Feb 10, 2014 3:21 PM PST
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.
Bpositive Posted Feb 12, 2014 12:33 PM PST
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!?

Ger Posted Feb 20, 2014 8:59 AM PST
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!!
Bpositive Posted Feb 23, 2014 4:20 PM PST
Hi Ger. Sounds nice with your great results :-) - Can you tell med where you bought the paint?

Mel Posted Mar 3, 2014 3:18 AM PST
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!
Josh Posted Mar 7, 2014 8:29 AM PST
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?
Evan Powell, Editor Posted Mar 7, 2014 8:44 AM PST
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.
TanyaF Posted Mar 23, 2014 1:23 AM PST
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.
Shane in LA Posted Mar 27, 2014 3:54 PM PST
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!

Jason Posted May 13, 2014 5:42 PM PST
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.
Paul Barwick Posted May 21, 2014 2:26 PM PST
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.
RSA Anon Posted Jun 4, 2014 3:19 PM PST
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?
Jet Posted Jul 25, 2014 9:14 AM PST
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.
Mike Cochran Posted Jul 31, 2014 7:35 AM PST
What color should I should use to paint a Projection Screen on my wall?
Sam Posted Aug 22, 2014 11:52 PM PST
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!
Adrian Posted Aug 25, 2014 2:34 AM PST
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...
Lee Posted Aug 28, 2014 5:41 AM PST
Adrian what sheen did you use with the PROMAR200
Adrian Posted Sep 1, 2014 11:54 AM PST
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
Rednroll Posted Sep 2, 2014 3:04 AM PST
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.
Laurie Posted Sep 20, 2014 9:55 AM PST
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
Petr Spiller Posted Sep 24, 2014 5:44 AM PST
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.
John Posted Sep 25, 2014 11:52 PM PST
I purchased a screen white paint from Viponds Paints from Nth Coburg Victoria and painted 2 coats for about $50 AUS. The screen looks fantastic and no more roll up screen required. A huge image that I can change by refocusing the image for TV or DVD. I can't wait for the AFL Grand Final tomorrow. Bigger is better, so just buy this paint. By John
Ivan Posted Oct 9, 2014 1:55 PM PST
Hi Ger. Could you tell me where in sweden you got this paint? I could imagine that we are a few europeans here, that could benefit :-) Best regards
Ivan Posted Nov 6, 2014 7:48 AM PST
Should anybody have interest, I found it in Sweden as well. Approx. 100€ for 4L Sherwin-williams ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish, including shipping to Denmark. I ordered from this guy: magnus@mpdiy.com
steve Posted Nov 6, 2014 9:17 PM PST
Would S/W paint work for church set up with substantial ambient light?
Andy Posted Nov 7, 2014 7:50 AM PST
I know I am a little late to the discussion, however I am wanting to give this a shot. I do not have the highest quality projector, an Epson WXGA which was about 600$ 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!
Funky projector man Posted Nov 7, 2014 2:13 PM PST
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!
Bob Posted Nov 19, 2014 9:23 AM PST
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!!
Aaron Posted Nov 25, 2014 1:12 PM PST
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?
KennyW Posted Nov 25, 2014 11:54 PM PST
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 ;-)
Atul Patel Posted Dec 3, 2014 3:12 PM PST
Hello everybody, I have applied the drywall joint compound on the entire drywall and sanded it very nicely and got the very smooth surface. But when I applied primer on it with a 1/4" nap roller, it ruined my hard work of sanding. I mean the wall has got roughness as compared to my very smooth sanded drywall. Wall has got small uniform grain-like textures of roller so it got roughness. Fortunately, I have not primed my entire wall yet. I have applied primer only on part of wall. So what should I do to make it smoother like before? I have already purchased Sherwin-William's Pro-Classic Acrylic Arcyd Enamel (Extra White Satin Finish) but not used it yet. I want an extremely smooth painted surface to use it as a projector screen to get highest gain & reflection. Please help me what to do next.

Thank you very much in advance for your co-operation,advice & time.

Atul Patel
Harrison Tao Posted Dec 14, 2014 8:44 PM PST
Hi - I am thinking of getting the same projector and also painting a wall. How is it working out? What paint did on buy? may special prep? Are you satisfied with results?
Chris Bates Posted Dec 20, 2014 9:29 AM PST
Atul, any luck with this and getting it smooth? I'm doing the same soon and trying to find out what your recommendations are. Thanks in advance!
Atul Patel Posted Dec 25, 2014 9:33 AM PST
I have not used the SW Proclassic yet. But I will use it in 2-3 days. Then I will let you know about the results. Thanks.
Paul C Posted Dec 26, 2014 5:45 AM PST
Great article. I have a good tip for those looking to paint a surface and not the wall. I went to my local home depot and had them cut a sheet of vinyl flooring. They come in 12 foot rolls and they will cut it however long you need. I built a 115" screen so I went with a 5' section. The trick is to find a laminate (vinyl) with a smooth backing. There were many that fit this billing. I cut it and stapled it to the wall and was very impressed with the improvement simply on the white backing which had a slight grey tint. I wanted the color to pop more and experimented with several white paints. The latest was a valspar semi matte finish and it produced a lot of glare and hot spots. Honestly, so far the best image was the non-painted backing of the sheet of laminate. I am going to Sherwin Williams tomorrow to buy the paint recommended here and will update my results.
Patrick Schneider Posted Dec 27, 2014 6:49 PM PST
Awesome results. Used a piece of 5/8 MDF. Primed with Kills. 3 coats later with Sherwin Williams Classic Satin Enamel. It is incredible. Colors bounce of the screen. Well done afvice. $70 bucks in!!!
Myron Oleson Posted Dec 30, 2014 7:01 AM PST
We built a dedicated home theater in 2006. A 155" diagonal screen was made from sheetrock, tape & bed mud, lots of sanding. It was framed after we applied the paint. First, two coats of Kilz primer, then we applied Behr Silver Screen mixed 3 to 1 with Behr White Opal Pearlescent (NO.751). The result is a 100% neutral screen, ZERO hot spots, and accurate color. Pro Home Theater companies (Star Power - Dallas) have been over...they were all blown away by the screen quality!

I wonder if the SW paint in the review would be an improvement?
BHJR Posted Dec 30, 2014 7:45 AM PST
Personaly I don't doubt at one time this was a very solid suggestion. But I would like to mention a couple of things.

For the recommended paint to work well, we are talking a perfectly prepared screen. I know it is mentioned, but since you are using a reflective paint, it is absolutely true.

IMO with today's higher lumen projectors I recommend going to your local store who sells paint and get their whitest white in Flat Interior Enamel. This will be much more like your LCD/Plasma screen, so much more forgiving on screen prep, which can be far from perfect using flat paint. Easy to prep and paint and be done. The picture is stunning, not glossy, just solid wow. If you are a silver fan, same idea in the shade you like. I don't believe we need gain, in many cases we are knocking down the brightness as-is.

IMO this can be done for right at $20, with roller, pan, tape and quart of paint and about 15 minutes. Perhaps two coats, depends on where you are starting at, but 1 or two coats when done, it will dry perfect with no spots, if possible project an all white screen to inspect any blemishes.
BHJR Posted Dec 30, 2014 9:14 AM PST
Ooops. I meant Latex, not enamel. Do all the writing and miss type a very important part. :) White Indoor LATEX Flat
Jane Heslinga Posted Jan 2, 2015 1:10 AM PST
THANK YOU for the informative paint comparison! My 2 cents: If you are good - very good - with a brush, forgo the roller for a 3 inch soft brush. Use a soft touch with a very light amount of primer. Brush over each area lightly in perpendicular directions. Let each coat dry a full 24 hours to avoid pulling of the previous coat. Apply a second coat of primer in the same fashion. The apply two to three light coats of your paint also in the same fashion. Softly and lightly will result in a perfectly smooth application.
Vimal Posted Jan 2, 2015 2:43 PM PST
Paul, how did sherwin-williams paint on vinyl flooring turned out. I'm planning to do the same. Could you please provide more detailed specs or products you exactly used.
Kenny Posted Jan 10, 2015 7:39 AM PST
Wrong! I am a painter by trade and I have used this product many times in commercial and residential. With a level 5 drywall finish proper primer and sealer then 3 coats of the sherwin Williams sprayed it's actually smoother then the manufactured screens.
errol Posted Jan 26, 2015 2:29 PM PST
Just now finding this site. Thanks for all the insightful questions, comments and profound answers. I learned a lot just reading. Thanks again.
Dan Posted Jan 27, 2015 9:41 PM PST
HELP!! The author of this article did not mention the exact color of the SW ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish that was recommended over the SW Duration Satin Extra White. Does anyone know the color???
Chris Posted Jan 28, 2015 8:30 AM PST
Paul and/or Vimal - did either of you paint the laminate? I'm about to start this project and prefer not to paint the wall, I want to build a frame with a smooth backed surface. The laminate or MDF seems to be the way to go. Any recommendations or pics would be helpful.
KScreen Posted Feb 10, 2015 4:37 PM PST
Is B20 W 1151 the right paint? Your instructions say B20 W 51, but the can they gave me looks exactly the same and all the same wording, just the extra 11 in the part number.
Brandon Posted Feb 15, 2015 2:15 PM PST
I'm just finishing up this project. Just bought a BenQ HT1085ST and was unhappy with the pull down screen I was using, It just wasn't flat enough. I ended up building a frame and using rolled flooring, aka: linoleum and painted it. I found the sherwin williams paint much too glossy. It had a clear glare visible everywhere not just a few spots. It might have been better it it didn't lay so smoothly. but because it smoothed out so much before it dried instead of helping with brightness it was just reflective. I'm much more satisfied with the ordinary flat white I ended up using.
terry Posted Feb 23, 2015 7:58 PM PST
Has anyone used the acrylic alkyd version of this paint? I picked up a quart of what i though was the right paint but when i got home realized they didn't give me laytex. Can't find the receipt to exchange it so im stuck with it.
Richard Posted Mar 1, 2015 7:46 AM PST
In 2002 I painted a piece of MDF, trimmed to 48" X 85 3/8" (97" diagonal, 16:9 ratio) with Sherwin Williams tint base and hung it on my home theatre wall with an easy-to-level French cleat. Standing clear of the back wall by 1 1/2" It looked so good with an added sense of 3-dimensionality that the planned border was never added.

I am now on my 3rd generation projector and electronics, and have never felt any desire to upgrade my screen.

I strongly recommend this method, with the caveats listed - but would add another: If you are planning to move, just leave the screen in place as a value-add for the next owner or tenant. It's too much hassle to move. Explain it to the landlord who can sell it as a feature to prospective tenants. Another friend did just that and the landlord loved it.
jon wilson Posted Mar 1, 2015 12:23 PM PST
Hey Brandon. I had the same trouble with my short throw optima GT760. Big reflection on top of screen... What flat did you end up using?
Char Posted Apr 20, 2015 8:31 AM PST
I have a quick question, my husband is trying this project. He purchased a gray tarp. Can this material be use to try this project.
Evan Powell, Editor Posted Apr 20, 2015 8:39 AM PST
Char, yes but it will look dull and dim. Plan gray fabric does not reflect light very well.
Anton Bass Posted Apr 27, 2015 5:19 AM PST
Hi there,

I may be a bit late coming into this discussion, but I am about to paint the wall I am projecting onto and came across this article. Thank you to Evan for putting all the time and effort into researching the ideal paint.

It seems that the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish is definitely the one! One problem, I'm based in the UK and thus far I haven't been able to get hold of it. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is there anything available in the UK which is the equivalent of this paint??

Many thanks, Anton
Shawn Posted May 7, 2015 9:19 AM PST
I've seen people mixing silvers and pearls into the white. Is that necessary? What is the advantage of doing that? Will I need to do that to make 3D better?
David Posted May 17, 2015 1:54 PM PST
Great article just tried it, after two coats it looked very good. I gave it a third and it looks even better. So I will go for a fourth coat to see if if mproves further. The contrast is so good that I can watch it with the lights on. The black leves get deeper on each coat. Amazing research. Thank you very much.
Todd Posted Jul 2, 2015 9:53 AM PST
Has anyone tried to mix glass beads such as the ones used in sand blasting into the paint to help with increasing the reflective nature of the screen. I used to work for a older movie theater and their screen used this on it. Something like this. http://www.riogrande.com/Product/Glass-Bead_dash_Blasting-Media,-Fine/336166
Bob P Posted Jul 5, 2015 6:25 PM PST
This is the 2nd wall I have done with the Sherwin Williams Method. I would not fix or change a thing. The second wall I created is a 150" ... yes 150". It is incredible. I currently installed an Epson 3020 Home Theater Projector. Even the 3D is fantastic on it. I only had to prep wall to fill in some dips or nail indentions. Created a black frame with flat paint using floor trim. Easy, cheap and looks like a $1000 project. $35 for paint, $20 for trim, and $5 for wall mud. You can't beat that.
PMukherjee Posted Jul 6, 2015 8:52 AM PST
Hi Joe or anyone else in this group.

I have bought an Epson 2030 , 3LCD, 3D, 1080 Pix, 2000 Lumens projector. What is the recommended paint for the wall? I will have a contractor paint it.
Risto Posted Jul 9, 2015 10:14 AM PST

Any idea how this Sherwin Williams painted screen might compare to the Silver Fire painted screen or the Silver Ticket screen from Amazon? The projector is an Optoma HD50/HD161X
michael Posted Aug 24, 2015 5:55 AM PST
"They each have a subtle color bias that will affect how your projected image looks. If the white has a bright, cold, crisp tone, it is because it is reflecting more blue light than is ideal. If you use this shade of white on your screen, flesh tones will look a bit cooler than the projector is putting out, while blue skies will be slightly oversaturated."

Can this not be counteracted by adjusting the projectors RGB values?
Eric Posted Sep 6, 2015 1:06 PM PST
I've just painted (one coat) of the ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish on half of my wall, and when I played a DVD to test it, yes, the new white half is certainly brighter than the old, flat, beige old half, so painting was an improvement (though, I suspect, if I hadn't done it, I wouldn't have missed it), but I also get glare from the projector. The exact spot that reflects the projector lens is an area of glare. Naturally, I'd get such a thing from a paint with some gloss (satin), so I shouldn't be surprised, but I'm wondering why it hadn't been mentioned here (or did I miss it when I read?). Will the glare disappear or diminish when the paint dries some more or when it gets more coats, or does everyone simply accept it as a fact of life?
Abdul Tayyab Posted Sep 8, 2015 7:57 PM PST
I too just painted my wall and I am seeing gloss streaks everywhere especially on bright pictures. On dark pictures they seem to disappear. Should I give it a super fine sand job? Help!
Eric Posted Sep 9, 2015 6:41 PM PST
Yeah, I was wondering whether I should finely sand or polish the surface to remove texture. But tonight, at a real movie theatre, I saw texture! And glare. I even stood up and walked around to see if the glare followed me, and it did! Hilarious. So, this may be a fact of life, though I'm still considering getting polishing cloths...
Gaurav Posted Sep 14, 2015 5:37 PM PST
Like Eric and Abdul below, I painted my beige Matte wall and now I see glare :( . Most of the screen is beautiful though. The area with glare also shows some slight streaking that is only visible in white images. I am also considering some sanding but am unsure how that will look. I hope it gets better as the paint cures/dries more. I might try a third coat just in the problem area to try and get it perfect and streakless. Any info/assistance will be greatly appreciated.
Evan Powell, Editor Posted Sep 14, 2015 8:32 PM PST
I'm not sure what to say about the three recent posts from readers who are experiencing glare. This article has been up since 2011 and this is the first we've heard of the problem that I can recall. We avoided the higher gloss paints precisely to avoid glare, and the Satin was an ideal solution. It is possible that SW reformulated that product since we tested it four years ago, or it is possible that the users are posting about glare before the paint fully dries and cures. If those who posted about the problem have since resolved it somehow, please drop a comment and tell us how. Thanks, Evan
Josh Posted Sep 15, 2015 9:29 AM PST
Just wondering what your thoughts are on having the paint tinted black or grey(since that is suppossed to be the best choice in screen color)?
Eric Posted Sep 17, 2015 3:19 PM PST
My wife didn't notice the glare until I pointed it out, but then she DID notice it from then on. However, it didn't bother her. I also noticed texture, and it's bothersome too, but it was less so than the previous, flat paint. I also pointed this out to my wife who definitely noticed, but again, it didn't bother her. Later, we found ourselves in a real movie theatre, and halfway through, she said "Look, there's texture." Stunned, I then noticed it too, unlike moments before when I hadn’t been looking for it. So then, I looked for glare and found it, though not as much as at home, and I got up and walked around, and the glare followed me, so I was sure that it was there. Hilarious.
Ben Posted Sep 24, 2015 4:08 PM PST
Just finished using Valspar ultra white base. A day after drying, I could see shiny spots where the paint was a little heavier. Looked like lines from the end of the roller. I smoothed with scotch bright then applied another coat. Before paint was set, I rolled again using vertical strokes only and not adding paint. This evened the roller edge maks out to a nice even coat. Now I couldn't be more pleased with the finish.
Zachary Evans Posted Sep 30, 2015 6:59 PM PST
I just painted my 100" screen with 2 coats of the SW pro classic using a 3/16" nap roller. The color looks amazing but my picture is now fuzzy and I notice very small dimples when the image is bright. Do I just needs to add several more coats of paint?

I've tried adjusting the focus but it is no help.
wes Posted Oct 5, 2015 5:56 PM PST
I sanded as much as i could stand (very messy job), spackled a lot, got it as smooth as i could and put on 3 coats of the sw...it looks horrible. Color is awesome but i can see divets and places where i painted. The only thing i can think of that i did differently was use a foam roller. Is this really what screwed it up? Also interesting is that the wall farther from me looks okay while the wall closest to me looks bad (when i sit at an angle). If i move to the other side of the room - the same thing occurs. Do i need more coats or switch to 1/4 nap?
Zachary Evans Posted Oct 7, 2015 6:35 PM PST
I used a foam roller when I redid mine after using a 3/16 nap roller. In my opinion the foam rollers looks slightly better. Not by much though.

After attempting to sand down the small dimples from the 3/16 roller, which left the screen uncceptable, and applying about four to five additional coats with a foam roller, the screen is finally acceptable, however it is not perfect. Having done all this work I have only about $50 into the entire project looking back I think I would rather have spent 200 on a fixed frame screen. However I've come this far I might try to stick it out
Martin Posted Oct 30, 2015 9:00 AM PST
Use the paint the colors look great.
Venkata Posted Nov 17, 2015 10:35 AM PST
I want to setup a Optoma GT1080 or Benq1085ST (looking at short throw projector) projector in my family room with enough ambient light. Going by the ScreenInnovations website it looks like a Black Non-reflective screen would be good. I am planning to paint my wall, because wall painting in my basement worked good for my first HT. Can anyone recommend a good paint mix for a Family Room, Short Throw Projector (42 inches from wall for 90 inch screen) and ambient light always on. Thanks.
Steve Posted Dec 12, 2015 5:16 AM PST
We got the Sherwin Williams paint that this article recommended (it was even on sale!), and we are thrilled with the results. Before we painted the wall, we were projecting onto flat white primer, and we thought that looked pretty good. With this paint, the colors are so much more vibrant and the detail of the image is amazing. We had a large crowd watching football at Thanksgiving, and they couldn't believe their eyes.
Jeff Posted Dec 28, 2015 9:34 AM PST
I bought a $45 gallon of the Sherwin Williams and am seeing the same hot spot that has been mentioned as well. I am using an Epson HC2000 and the screen is about 115 inches. I have a bright spot no matter where I sit, which does not show up when the wall is just primer. It shows up with 1 coat or two. I re-primed and tried again and same situation.

It just seems like there is too much sheen to this, regardless of the projector settings. I have spent so much time on this wall already trying to get the drywall perfect (still isn't, every tiny imperfection shows) but would love an alternative or idea for the hot spot.
Zach Posted May 13, 2016 4:45 PM PST
I'm thinking the way to go is buy a sheet of drywall at the store either at the size you want or cut it to size, then screw a mount on the back with very short screws(or get thicker drywall) and cut a 2x4 down into a mount and build another mount for the wall and now set in place. Most imperfections in walls are from drywalling, if you aren't a professional it is hard to get drywall right, it takes practice applying and a few tricks and the right touch to smooth it. Even then as the drywaller, you notice the imperfections. A sheet a drywall though won't have that issue and will come nearly perfect, and then you just paint on it(again, if you aren't a professional you may need practice to get it nice. There is a reason there are professional commercial painters that aren't just kids with spray cans.)

Of course typical sheets are only 4' x etc so it can be limiting, but would be fastest/cheapest for best job.
Jerry Shina Posted May 15, 2016 6:55 PM PST
I have had a projector about 10 years now, and I find the best paint to use for a projector is canvas white paint that artist use before they start painting on a canvas. It brings out incredible colors and no glare bothering your eyes. Give it a try. Also, you'll need to put many coats on the wall. Don't worry as the paint is very inexpensive.
Noel Posted Jun 25, 2016 9:37 AM PST
I have an idea for my homemade screen. Since my building is old the walls are made of plaster. Not smooth at all. So, I bought a FATHEAD that was 6 foot wide and 4 feet tall. I will adhere it to the wall face first and paint the back with the Sherwin Williams paint! Should work well I will post the results!
Rob Posted Jul 25, 2016 5:07 AM PST
Thank you for this article, I loved it. I am thinking about doing this in my office. For years I have been hanging a sheet in my living room window and projecting images onto it for Halloween. The lower window panes have a frosted film on them for privacy, and I have noticed that they look pretty decent with the projector. Have you ever tested a piece of Plexiglas as a screen with a frosted window film on the back side? It would be a bit unwieldy for a 120" screen, but for someone like me, looking to make a cheap 60"-70" screen could it be an option? It would be movable, which would be a big bonus in my office.
Karen Posted Aug 21, 2016 7:38 AM PST
I want to paint a very light beige that I will happen to also project onto on occasion. Maybe a movie once a month. Should I still go with the satin finish? Or at that point does it not really matter since I'm messing with the perfect painted screen formula already?
michael rose Posted Aug 22, 2016 8:28 PM PST
I tried using the ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish . It is impossible to paint a clean screen. Streaks of gloss and non gloss lines will always appear that can be seen visibly. Dark scenes will look fine but whenever you see a white or bright scene it is a disaster. I use the Behr ultra pure white #1050. It comes out smooth and uniform without streaks with very little effort. The Behr upw 1050 is whiter then the pro clasic smooth. Whites are slightly whiter. Any other image differences can barely be noticed. Save yourself a headache and go with the behr UPW 1050.
Travis Posted Aug 27, 2016 4:09 AM PST
I am a contractor and have done a few home theater screens. I tried multiple colors and sheens on the screen at once. I found that Saturn Grey flat was the best by far. I spray my screens after sanding with 220 sand paper. Perfection!
Francine Posted Aug 30, 2016 12:32 PM PST
Thank you so much for this article! I followed your directions and recommendations for painting the screen and it came out AMAZING!!! The Sherwin Williams paint went up easily and dried to a nice smooth finish. My family is thrilled with how !the picture quality. I recommend this for anyone to try...you don't need a lot of painting experience. The only thing I would add to the directions is using a laser level to make sure your painter's tape is applied straight.
Tom Schroth Posted Sep 11, 2016 5:26 AM PST
I've looked and looked... What was the best way to apply the paint? Fuzzy roller? Foam roller? Thanks in advance.
Maddox Posted Oct 6, 2016 9:22 AM PST
I would like to share my experience on painting this screen. I looked all over the internet trying to find a solution painting a screen. I wanted near perfect results, and this project has provided just that. I have read the comments and would like to offer some help, and advice. I have followed the direction to the letter. My outcome was as stated near perfect. I would encourage anyone taking on this task to read the entire article, and follow the process in witch they have came up with. I think where most people came into their problems was not following the direction. Or not buy the paint in this article. I say this because I hear mentioned of using other paints. That's fine but do not expect the results to render the same. If you differ from the direction. With that said all I would add is USE A FOAM ROLLER. It is the most important part of the application process. Buy good materials to do this project. The cost is so low don't low ball yourself buy a few dollars on material cost to get unhappy results.
Steve Posted Oct 27, 2016 5:55 AM PST
A couple things...

First, I saw comments about using a foam roller vs. the 1/4" nap roller. I decided to ask the 'experts.' At Home Depot, the guy said, "foam." At Sherwin Williams, the girl said, "1/4 nap." So, I bought both to test it. The difference is very slight, but both my daughter and I thought the foam roller gave a smoother finish.

However, in looking at the areas I painted to compare, I saw how many 'dimples' still exist in the surface (not from scratches or dents in the wall, just from the drywall texture). And, I'm talking about the painted test strips, not just the primer areas. I've sanded several times, using 100, 150, 180 and 220 grit paper. The wall feels smooth, but with the right light you see all the sanding has smoothed the drywall texture, but not removed it. I am wondering how noticeable it will be. Which, I watched a couple things (a football game and a movie) after priming the wall, before painting and it looked good. That wasn't as smooth as the areas I painted to test. ... I'm only doing a 95" diagonal 1.85 screen. I'm wondering if I should go with a sheet of MDF. That would be very smooth.

Steve Posted Oct 27, 2016 7:13 AM PST
Noel - How did the Fathead work?
Steve Vinson Posted Nov 12, 2016 7:58 AM PST
One other thing... The screen is now painted consistently, no streaks. BUT... there are 'bright spots'... 'blooms' may be the term people use. They aren't visible in dark scenes, but are with white. It doesn't seem to be tied to the paint coverage, like the streaks clearly were. It is a bright 'bloom' in the middle of a consistently painted area.

Is this a projector issue? Right now, I'm using a cheap 540p BenQ. I want to know if my painting is done, and I can move onto the frame.

Tina Harshbarger Posted Jan 21, 2017 12:45 AM PST
I'm getting ready to create this screen, step by step, using the exact products recommended. I do have a question, however. I keep reading and seeing stuff on backlighting screens to reduce eye strain, etc. I'm wondering whether there would be a benefit of backlighting this painted screen, and if yes, how would you go about it? I'll be building my frame from 1x4's covered in black velveteen. Could you put the LED lighting on edge of the frame so the light is projected out and away from the screen. Thank you!
steve Jordan Posted Apr 8, 2017 9:39 AM PST
fantastic article, I am just getting started with my home theater project and frankly I didn't know where to begin until I read this article. thanks a million guys, I truly appreciate your sharing your story. Steve Jordan,Minot Maine
Randy Vis Posted Jul 6, 2017 5:46 PM PST
Great article! Just finished building a 25' wide by 5' high screen for a kids camp at a church. Used 5X10 MDF and painted with the Sherwin Williams paint. I am VERY pleased with how it turned out!
Terry Posted Aug 2, 2017 11:03 AM PST
The Sherwin-Williams paint specified here did not work for me at all. I have a Panasonic PT-AE8000U projector sitting on a shelf about 12.5 feet from the projection wall (standard textured drywall), pretty much at a dead center position. The SW paint was way too bright, even at the lower lamp setting, with bad glare and hot spots. I next tried a standard Behr paint color, "Silent White" (which is actually a med-light grey tone) in an eggshell finish and it produced a better -- but not perfect -- result. There was still some glare and the picture was now too dark overall, with skin tones suffering that ashen look -- but the blacks looked very good. So, I mixed in some of another standard Behr paint, "Whisper White", that I had used painting my ceilings, which is a light white color. This paint is a flat-matte finish, which I hoped would tone down the glare I was still seeing, and the white color would lighten the too-dark grey "Silent White" paint. I used a mix of about 2/3 "Silent White" eggshell finish with 1/3 "Whisper White" flat/matte finish. I can only approximate the ratio because I was eyeballing it for color as I mixed it. I still wanted a grey tint but just much lighter than the standard "Silent White". Well, after six coats of paint (2 each of the SW and Behr colors), all I can say is it looks pretty darn terrific on my living room wall. The texturing on the drywall is hardly noticeable, unless one is looking at a pure white scene, and even then it is not bad. I have a screen size that is approximately 120 inches and I'm seated about 11 ft away, so it's very immersive and I'm close enough that if there were issues with the drywall texturing I'd see it. I road tested a few different blu-ray discs. Avatar looked fantastic, as did Tropic Thunder. To see how it rendered darker movies, I used Sweeney Todd. The blacks looked outstanding. The opening scene on the ship, docks and streets of London is a real test for the rendering of black tones. So, for well under $50 (including a cheap roller and plastic paint tray!) I have a screen that looks better than my previous Da-Lite Model B High Contrast Matte White. I will finish it off with some black gaffer's tape around the edge. Whenever I sell the house, the tape will come off easily and I'll just roll over the screen with my standard wall color. ☺
Giuliano Gavazzi Posted Sep 14, 2017 5:28 AM PST
I am going to make my own screen soon, but my plan is to build a removable one. The idea is to use a wall panel that can be hung in place and moved if required. In my case the wall is stone and brick (an old cow shed with vaulted ceilings in a farmhouse) and so painting is not a solution. Given that the materials we have used in the renovation are all natural (the less natural one being lime), we have some experience with the quality of the whiles given by lime based paint, if we can call it paint. Lime white is very pure, the only problem I see is that the finished surface is very sensitive to the method of application. Given that a panel has two surfaces I think I will just try with two methods for the two different surfaces. Note that one of the best lime renders for interior you can buy costs about 40 euros (discounted price on internet) and that's for 15kg, which cover a huge surface, in particular if that's white to start with! A comment about the grey screens you mention in the article. What I read makes sense only if you have a lot of ambient light, as the grey screen lets you pump out the max output from the projector without blinding you and effectively being equivalent to less ambient light. But in absence of ambient light if the screen is dead neutral grey, it should be absolutely equivalent to a white screen with a lower projector output. So, for instance, the colours should appear very similar. Any change in saturation means a non neutral grey. The comparison with mixing grey and a colour does not hold, as this would be subtractive while in the case of the projector is additive.
Sam Posted Sep 16, 2017 8:40 AM PST
First of all I want to say to everyone is that this is absolutely the best site on internet when it comes to hometheatre issue. I had a screen that I made myself which cost me about $300 and 3 hrs of labour with the material bought from Carl's place. The screen was 7 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Pretty big. Worked out great but now I am thinking to paint fhe dry wall instead with silver colour. Paint I have just bought is .999 pure infused silver from for $450. Supposed to be on of the top notch quality since I am using it for dark closed room, it should control the brightness that shoots out to side walls and ceiling. Going to be testing it next weekend. The gain is 1.6 which means the black should be richer than what I had before. The paint is also 3D active and passive ready and supports up to 8K. With the older screen I had way too much brightness reflecting off the screen, almost up to the point where I could count the threads on my couch. The problem with the white colour screen with less than 1.5 gain in a darker room is too much brightness, the black is not great and eyes get tired after certain period of time. If you are going to paint a screen for a closed darker room go with gray or silver and for rooms with lot of lighting go with white paint. Either way do your research properly before painting is because it can be a hassel redoing the whole thing. I will be posting review if the material I just talked about in couple weeks.
Jazzcat Posted Sep 29, 2017 3:49 PM PST
Your wall needs to be 100% smooth (no orange peel) for the ProClassic satin to not reveal blemishes in the hotspot. I ended up painting over it with a more forgiving paint (Glidden white eggshell). To my eyes, the colour saturation and contrast is in the same ballpark. Not a single distracting blemish. Eggshell: a nice compromise between flat and satin. Thank you to the OP for sharing his tips. This has been a big learning experience for me. :)
Jay Plotczyk Posted Nov 9, 2017 10:58 AM PST
Just did a 130" screen w/ SW- AMAZING! Two things I learned from my very knowlegable SW guy. Use the ProClassic in a Satin finish; (which I did); or use "Duration" in a Matte finish; as Duration is more reflective than ProClassic. Also, in ref to rollers- use a "Micro fiber" roller from SW and not a regular short nap Or Foam roller. Short nap rollers have mottling, (little hairs which cannot be avoided) and Foam rollers work well with oil based paint, but tends to cause small bubbles with latex based paint. Thanks for your site!
Sam Posted Nov 10, 2017 7:56 AM PST
So finally got it done. As I mentioned in my previous comment on 16 Sept that I decided to paint the dry wall instead of using my fixed screen. Paint I mentioned was .999 silver infused from paint on screen but eneded up using their flagship product called diamond silver ($899 for a gallon). Very expensive but worth it. The picture quality is very sharp and most importantly it barely reflects the light back. I have designated theatre room which is dark so this silver shade paint with 1.6 gain is perfect. It was spray painted and is also 3d compatible. My suggestion is that this is a very easy project compare to making a fixed screen from the scratch. If you are a hardcore home theatre enthusiast, I suggest investing in this product (obviously there are more shades and different prices available on their web site. I wiuld love to post couple of pictures for you guys to see if I can but I dont see an option here. So all I need is pop corn machine and I am set. :):):)
Bill webster Posted Dec 18, 2017 9:42 PM PST
I just finished painting with the SW paint satin that's in this article and have an annoying glare area when watching bright background for example Hockey.its got to the point I am always looking for it and has spoiled my hockey watching. For movies it is fine but as an avid hockey fan this will not work for me.
Matt Posted Dec 24, 2017 1:56 PM PST
I'm having the glare issues too. Only on very bright scenes. Any hope to fix the sherwin Williams paint or just choose another brand/shade?
Scanr Posted Jan 7, 2018 3:44 PM PST
I bought an outdoor sports bar in Costa Rica (someone had to do it). I upgraded outdoor projector to Epson 5040UBe. The current screen (barely under cover) is drywall with whatever paint was lying around. Inherited screen is less than 1/2 of capable size. Looking to increase to maximum size of 197". High ambient light. Looking for paint suggestions. Will also consider installation volunteers :-)
robinsamuel Posted Feb 10, 2018 2:23 PM PST
Hello, I had the same glare all over. I decided to paint over with a flat white paint. It solved all my issues. In my opinion the satin finish is too glossy. With flat white I am happy with the result
Justin from Canada Posted Feb 18, 2018 12:19 AM PST
I painted my projector screen in the summer of 2014 with Sherwin Williams pro classic satin. It was fantastic and worked as stated on this website. In December 2017, I decided to move the location of my screen and paint a new one. I purchased Sherwin Williams pro classic satin again and painted the same way that I did back in 2014. HOWEVER! The finished product is horrible! There is a bright glare and the paint reveals all the dimples and particles on your wall. It's clear to me that Sherwin Williams has altered their formula in the last year or so, and that this paint no longer works for projector screens. I would suggest to the admins of this website that they update their information, so that people are not mislead and don't waste their money. On the flipside, I'm open to hearing other suggestions for paint that works. I'll have to repaint my screen soon...
Donovan Michie Posted Feb 28, 2018 10:25 AM PST
What I did to create my screen was I mounted my projector and centered the picture on the wall where I wanted it. I then mask off the area outside the picture or projected image, then painted inside the mask area with Kilz. My surface is not perfect but the colors are brilliant and there is no hotspot noticeable anywhere on the screen. So, for about $25 you can have a wonderful screen.
Jason Posted Apr 25, 2018 9:10 AM PST
Had a pro painter do my screen with this product a couple years ago, but recently got a large scuff in it from the kids playing. I was going to get more to touch up the screen and found the comments about the new compound. Not sure what to do now. Ugh.
Monica Posted May 2, 2018 10:39 AM PST
Great article!!!!Does anyone has any updates in which paint to use now? Since the formula for Sherwin Williams suggested has changed.My wall is not smooth, is more like "orange peel" texture like someone mentioned in one of the comments.
audette thompson Posted May 2, 2019 5:37 AM PST
using 3/8 4X8 pretreated plywood to make an all year outdoor projector screen. for day and night viewing. what modestly priced paint can I use and purchase at my local Lowes or Home Depot maybe even Walmart. I am looking to start today. 5/2/2019. Thank You.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 2, 2019 7:39 AM PST
Audette, I have no specific recommendation to make for this outdoor/plywood application, but you might try reading through rest of the comments here from other users to get some idea. I would not anticipate having much luck with daytime viewing unless there is some sort of shroud around the screen, however.
Rushikesh Posted Aug 4, 2019 8:38 AM PST
Nice article, as you have mentioned, the formula for SW has changed now. Any recommendations for to paint a 135 inches screen?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 5, 2019 7:50 AM PST
I'm sorry, we have not current up-to-date recommendations for screen paint. Perhaps our fellow readers will have some suggestions in these comments or can share some recent success stories.
Mark Hernandez Posted Sep 5, 2019 10:59 AM PST
Is there an updated recommendation for white wall paint for projectors to replace Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Extra White?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Sep 5, 2019 6:25 PM PST
Mark, I'm sorry -- there is not, unless another our readers has had some recent success with an alternate they'd like to report.
Kal Posted Apr 26, 2020 12:40 PM PST
So i too fell victim of the Sherwin Williams Pro Classic. I started off with a fresh sheet of drywall, primed it and then put two coats while it was laying flat. At first the results were astonishing...and this is coming from a true videofile and audio. However, because im a perfectionist i notice a small spot, perhaps a hot spot or small imperfection caused by the roller. So on went a third coat while it was hanging on the wall this time. This is where all hell broke loose. The recent reviews on this and sherwin Williams website rang true. I immediately noticed an orange peel effect and hot spotting. The hotspotting wasnt too bad..the orange peel is a disaster. Stay away from this paint. During white scenes and websites u can easily see the texture on the screen.

Time for the sanding sponge. I tried to remove as much texture as i could. This is enamel paint is durable stuff and take a little time to sand down a bit.

So on to the next chapter. After extensive research "enamel is the key factor in a screen paint." When you read about the expensive profession projection screen paints...they always mention how durable there paint is. So it lead me to the conclusion that their key ingredient is enamel!

Because of the Covid 19. Home depot and Lowes were out of the question because i wanted to add a drop of black(i did this with the Pro Classic ) So back Sherwin Williams i went out of desperation. They have an "eggshell!" enamel called ALL SURFACE ENAMEL HP. So i had them add one drop of black and i was off to the races. I didnt re prime the surface,,just sanded. Im an excellent and very fussy painter. Roll marks arent in my vocabulary but unsuspecting lint from cheap rollers are! Use a 10mm lint free roller. Sherwin Williams has a 5$ contractor grade roller that gave me and excellent finish free from lint. Trust me...i saw a quarter inch lint on a previous coat and i redid the whole thing!

I just used one coat and im Extremely happy with the results! and this is just about 2hrs of drying! Still has to dry more to flatten out the sheen bit more. The eggshell made all the difference . Its almost perfect!

Key Factors

-Use enamel based paint. Durable and have the best light reflecting capability. -I prefer white (i have a light controlled room) with just one drop of black to give it a little contrast bump and a true screen look. -Lint free 10mm roller -Try to start with a fresh sheet of drywall or even a sheet of 4x8 panelling which is much lighter and smoother. Less coats the better. The more coats u add, the more unwanted texture you might have. -Matte based enamel exist in other brands will be a good option as well. -100" screen was all i could fit into my basement so 4x8 feet sheet worked perfect. Just needed to cut 10inches off one side.

I will write a follow up in a couple days once the paint is fully cured.
Kal Posted Apr 27, 2020 7:18 AM PST
!No need to look any further, my review is above. I just needed one night of watching some reference movies and this is paint to get!

Sherwin Williams ALL SURFACE ENAMEL HP Egg Shell with one drop of black.

I have a Optoma DLP HDX 146. I run it on eco mode and i really dont see how this picture with this paint can be beat at this price point. Ill go on a limb and say the colors pop as if it was a 100" Plasma!

My settings are RGB Limited on my pc. and cool picture temp on the Optoma. No other adjustment are necessary.

A painted screen shouldnt be painted with just your basic flat paint. It doesnt make the image and movies pop and come alive like the enamel finish does. You have to have a little sheen.
Tom Posted May 18, 2020 1:05 PM PST
Kal- Is there another name for this paint? Can you supply the sales code? Looks like it is in Canada, but not the USA? Just trying to track it down, thanks!
Kal Posted May 24, 2020 7:27 AM PST
Hello Tom. You are correct. I do live in Canada and i purchased the paint here. I was assuming they would sell it in the US. Type in this number in google search 650290034 This is the number on my can. The only modification i made was adding a drop of black. Thats the exact can i have when the image comes up on the website.

I also found that ycbcr 422 10 bit setting is better suited for viewing most movies. I believed i mentioned to lock it in on RGB setting. This is false unless your viewing images on a computer. Youll need two coats. I mentioned i only used one because i already had a very close match the previous time. I also heard Glidden has a Matte Enamel paint only sold in the US. I would be curious to see how that would turn out.

You can contact me at kjasey1@gmail.com i can send you a pick of the info on top of the can.
Jared Birkhead Posted Jul 8, 2020 9:29 AM PST
I cant find this base paint in the US? Is this all-surface still being made? Thanks.
Erroll Martin Posted Aug 23, 2020 1:57 PM PST
I reviewed the entire article in January 2020. I went with the Sherwin Williams brand and it turned out fantastic eventhough the update indicated that the formula was changed from the version used in the writing of this article.
Donnie Balliet Posted Sep 27, 2021 8:10 AM PST
Hi, looking to create a budget, outdoor large screen. Was thinking of using a canvas tarp. Wondering if you think this ALL SURFACE ENAMEL HP High Performance 100% Acrylic Interior/Exterior Eg-Shell might work to pain this canvas as well? Or any other suggestions on things people have tried. Thank you!!!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Sep 27, 2021 10:18 AM PST
A canvas tarp? Can't think of any surface that might be worse; how can that now show visible texture at any reasonably close distance? Let alone how the paint surface will crack from the movement and natural heaving of the fabric from different temperature/humidity conditions.
Dan Posted Feb 3, 2022 4:17 PM PST
Were any of you ever able to find the paint Kal was talking about or an equivalent in the USA?
Sam Posted Nov 4, 2022 1:04 PM PST
Bumping to see if there have been any updates on a recommended paint from Projector Central, or if anyone has found a US equivalent to the Sherwin Williams ALL SURFACE ENAMEL HP that Kal used in Canada.
John Posted Nov 16, 2022 10:25 AM PST
Was the ALL SURFACE ENAMEL HP a quart or gallon with a drop of black. That makes a big difference. Has anyone had any success with Kals recommendation?
Sylvain Posted Dec 3, 2022 6:34 AM PST
Hi Sam and John, I finished this week with a quart and one drop of black. With the wall around being dark, it appear just white. If I compare with a pure white card I can see a slight grey tint. To my taste it is excellent on movie projection. I sanded the wall, primed, sand, first coat, sand and last coat. I was surprise how thick the paint is. I can see one little spot where there is thicker paint, if I project a white page. But in real projection it turn out really good. The family is happy. I'll leave it as is. I'm not sure I have enough for a third coat with a 8 feet wide screen. When I compare with a 80$ screen bought on amazon, I prefer the paint result by some margin. Hope this help! have a nice project!
Henry Posted Feb 21, 2024 5:24 PM PST
Hi Evan, I have read your article and all the posts. Might you have any updates on the SW paint choices? Even if you have not thoroughly tested the SW Egg Shell versus the previous SW satin, might you please give us your opinion about how the egg shell might work in place of the satin, as Kal has described above? Just from your previous testing and experience? Obviously this article is over a dozen years old, but it is still a standard. Thank you.

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