Movies at Home – Build Your Own DIY Projector Screen

by craftmin | December 21, 2017

Okay, you are ready to make your own home theater and have bought all the equipment and… made your own DIY projector screen? If you are serious about the quality of your movies, this article is perfect for you with tips and advice, including a mini how-to to help you build your perfect but affordable DIY projector screen.

Note: This DIY screen projector is meant for a wooden fixed projector which will be permanently fixed to the wall.

DIY Projector Screen Materials:

Basic Tools:

  • 35′ 1 x 4 high grade pine lumber (for a 5′ x 9′ DIY screen projector)
  • 30′ primed backband trim for framing
  • white canvas or material appropriate for use as screen projector
  • Utility knife
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Screw driver
  • Drill
  • Miter saw
  • Pockethole jig
  • Staple gun
  • 2 to 4 pieces frame stabilizers or picture hangers
  • Spray paint – black matte
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Heavy-duty staple gun and staples
  • Optional floor joist braces – 4 pieces
  • Optional black cloth

How to Build a DIY Projector Screen:

(1) First, determine your projector’s native aspect ratio.

The aspect ratio refers to the ratio between the width and height of the projector screen.  It’s usually set as 4:3 (squarish), 16:9 (rectangula – becoming the most common aka HD) or 2:39:1 (Widescreen).

(2) Calculate the optimal screen size and ratio for your viewing environment.

First, what are the physical dimensions of your future home theatre? Make sure you have an unobstructed view of the screen from wherever you plan to sit. There should be a minimum distance of 9 feet from the screen to the first-row viewer. Not to mention that viewing angle which THX recommends being 40 degrees to have that perfect “immersive cinematic experience”. Check with ProjectorCentral’s calculator for the most optimal throw distance of your projector.

However, we’re not done yet. We still have to calculate the height of the screen.  Most HD ratios are at 16:9 (if the resolution is 1080p) so we are going to calculate for that now.For this particular sample DIY screen projector, we have prepared a 105-inch viewable screen:

9/16 (ratio) / 105  =  59.0625 or  59-1/16 inches  

(3) Calculating the frame

We now have the viewable dimensions (all calculations are in inches)

  • First, calculate A – 109 3/8 = add 4 to the 105 (viewable screen) and 3/8 (we added 2x of 2 plus 3/16 for both ends)
  • Now, you have to do B63 7/16 = if our viewing height is 59 1/6  we added the same 4 and 3/8
  • Finally, you have the frame dimensions: 109-3/8 inches x 63-7/16 inches

(4) Measure and cut the pine wood together

DIY screen projector

  • First, measure the wood for the length (Calculation A) and the width (Calculation B)
  • You are now going to end up with 2 wooden lengths of 109 3/8″
  • And lastly, two pieces of wood for the width measuring  63 7/16″

(5) Join the pine wood to form the frame

diy projector screendiy projector screen

Assemble the frame, choosing the type of joinery that you are used to.  For the pictures shows, pocket screws were used after using the pocket hole jig. To strengthen the frame, we suggest using the optional joist braces.

Remember that pine isn’t the strongest of woods, which is also one reason why we chose it to frame the diy screen projector – because of its very light weight. When you are hanging something that big on your wall, it’s good to combine strength with lightweightedness so we chose superior grade pine wood.

(6) Staple the projector sheet to your frame

diy projector screen  diy projector screen

  • First, put the canvas or whatever sheet you will be using on top of the wooden frame. Remember that the materials must be stretchable and appropriate for use as a screen.
  • Next, using a heavy duty staple gun for this part, staple the top middle part of the sheet to the frame. Staple the same area several times, securing that sheet.
  • Then, go to the bottom and stretch the sheet across, stapling the sheet to the frame. Don’t be thrifty with those staples – you can staple the same area several times. We do this to properly secure that sheet, so staple away.
  • Go to your left and staple the middle of the sheet to the frame. Remember, use the staple gun several times in the same area to properly secure the screen material. Staple away with abandon, too much is not a thing.

diy projector screen

  • Haste makes waste so don’t hurry this part. Take your time and carefully but steadily staple closely, right beside and over each other. There should be NO ripples on the screen material, we can’t repeat this enough.
  • Finally, when you are done, reinforce the staples in the four middle areas that we used to begin with.  This area carries the most stretching tension so we have to make sure it’s secure and reinforced.
  • NOTE: Do not work in a circular manner.  Remember, staple as you first did it. Top and then bottom.  Left and then right. And then repeat again until you have covered the whole frame and stapled the diy projector screen material.

(7) Finishing touches

diy projector screen diy projector screen

We are almost at the finish line and I know you are getting excited. Don’t hurry this part, we need to put some finesse into the finishing touches. First, cut the molding trim (the wooden molding we attach to the exterior edges so we can make things pretty).  Use the easureents we calculated in Step 4.

Sspray the blackband molding and leave to dry -it does not necessary have to be black, choose whatever gets your fancy. Its your home theater, your choice. Now, attach the backband trim onto the pine wood frame using finishing nails.

Then, after the paint has dried, add felt tape – we used black because the backband trim is black. If you choose another color, you can change the color.  Use your utility knife for this.

(8) Enjoy your DIY screen projector!

finished DIY Projector screen

Now, hang your very own diy home projector screen using the frame stabiliziers or hangers. Put your feet up on your very own DIY coffee table or lay back on your DIY sofa and enjoy a cold tall glass of beer and some nachos.

Source: Your DIY Projector Screen