DIY projector screen paint could be the perfect way for you to create the ultimate projection screen. While it may be impossible to duplicate the picture of expensive Da-Lite, Firehawk, or Elite screens with a painted projector screen you can certainly make your own painted projection screen and save a lot of money. That being said before you jump in and buy some screen paint there are some things you must know.
- Be prepared to repaint your projector screen at a later time. This is the reality that many with painted projector screens face, they do not last forever. If the idea of painting again in the future causes you disdain, then you may want to go with a commercial screen, or a vinyl projector screen.
- Be sure to use the proper base coat. If you use a pre-packaged theater screen paint kit, it should include the proper base coat. If not you will need to use a base coat that is right for the surface you are painting on. One thing to definitely avoid is using water based paint on a wood surface.
- Use the right paint. You may get lucky and white paint gives you a satisfactory picture. Without a basis for comparison you may never know how bad the picture really is. Using proper home theater screen paint can give you a terrific picture. Also choosing the right color is important, and you may want a less reflective color if you know there will be ambient light present. Some of the more popular paints for projection screens are Screen Goo paint, Mississippi Mudd, and Behr Silver Screen.
- The surface must be totally smooth. The surface should not just look smooth, but it should also feel completely smooth. The smallest bump can completely ruin the picture once the projector shines on it. Even with proper movie screen paint this can cause problems.
- Factor in your time. You may think that painting your projection screen saves you a lot of money, but consider that a great screen can last through many projectors. A painted screen could get ruined quickly through touching or fade quickly.
- Avoid gloss. If you decide to go with some paint available from your local hardware store such as Behr SilverScreen for your projection paint then make sure you do not go with a glossy paint mix otherwise you will likely experience hotspotting.
- Do not forget the black frame. The black frame around the screen is especially important if you go with a painted projector screen. You may not be getting the best picture, but it will look better with a non-reflective black border. There are special paints for this, and you can also get glue backed non-reflective black fabric tape just for this purpose. If you go around looking for the best projector screen, the high quality screens will always have a black frame made from fabric, velvet also works well.