What Type & Color Of Paint To Use For A Projector Screen?

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Type of Finish

There are two major types of screen finishes; non-glare and glare. For best viewing and contrast purposes, you should choose a non-glare finish. If your main concern with your projector screen is minimizing glare, you should opt for a glare finish.

Screen finishes are also differentiated by their texture. A smooth screen finish is the most popular and you should use it for most applications. Smooth finish options come in a wide range of opacity levels, while textured finishes are primarily used in situations where the smooth option causes light bleed through or projector glare problems. Textured finishes also have a tighter weave than smooth finishes, so they will reduce the amount of visible seams.

While growing up, I always wondered how it is possible to watch a big screen without any projector or a big screen TV. Only when I became an adult, I realized that there is a thin screen between the projector and the wall which helps render the image on a big screen.

So I wanted to make one myself. I was more interested in the process over the result because I didn’t even know how to get started.

In case you are too wondering how to make a big screen at home and like me are clueless about where to get started, this post will guide you through the process and list some of the materials that are needed.

Note:

You can easily make a projector screen at home without any specialized tools. The website is kind of cluttered and I suggest that you first click the links below so that it loads on the left section in case you are on a mobile.

Which Paint Color is Best for Projector Screens?

Paint or primer: When you paint your garage and the walls were previously painted, you need to sand everything first and then paint, right? Every time my husband has asked this question, I start to sweat. His question includes painting the garage walls, the cement floor in the garage, and even the outdoor shed.

Sand every single thing? YES.

"You said they were previously painted so they will need to be sanded and primed first before painting a new color" I try not to yell too loud. The kids don't need to hear the details of the screen fiasco in our garage. Maybe I should just tell him we need to repaint the screens too. He seems to do a great job with a roller, I'll get the screen sprayer and after I clean the screens and paint them, I'll just spray paint the house as well.

Best Paint or Primer for my screens? I'm going with primer for the main garage room; the paint is peeling off of all the screen panels. I'm going to keep the project simple and paint the screens, doors and trim without priming them.

The Brightness of the Projector

Projector screens come in a wide range of sizes and material, and therefore the brightness displayed by the screens differs with each type. Every type of theater projector screen will differ in brightness, due to both the properties of the material and the room the screen is displayed in. While most common projector screens are made up of white material, other projector screens can come with black or metallic-colored materials, which can greatly increase the brightness of the screen. The brightness of projector screens ranges in efficiency, alpha gain, and luminance. The efficiency of the projector screen is based on how much light it can reflect off of the screen, while the alpha gain measures how efficient the projector is in projecting light. The luminance of the screen depends on the material used in making the screen.

Every projector that is used to display from a projector screen will also have a brightness rating itself, which is measured in ANSI lumens. Another factor in determining the brightness of the projectors is the distance between the screen and the projector itself. Based on the size of the room and the material the screen is made out of, the brightness of projector screens will vary tremendously. The wattages on the projectors may differ, but typically a brightness of 2000Ansi lumens will usually work well in smaller rooms. For larger rooms, a brightness of 2500 to 3000 lumens may be necessary to make the screen more visible.

Ambient Light

Once you have an idea of how bright the images you will be watching will be it will be much easier to select the right ambient lighting. Most projectors are able to display bright colors but are unable to produce deep dark colors. This makes a screen with a dark color like black not ideal. Because of this, you should aim for a white screen. It will enable the projector to produce highly saturated colors while also doubling as the right ambient light for the room.

If you will be watching videos and movies in a dark room you can go for a lighter color. White is the best if you have the option but you can also select from gray or black.

Although a white screen might seem like a good option for ambient light, it’s better to go for a gray or black screen in this case. For one, a white screen will reflect the light from the projector and affect the image quality. Also, a white screen will not be able to create a good color contrast for the images, making it harder to focus.

Personal Preference

When deciding what type of paint to use on your projector screen, the first thing to consider is personal preference. Hard-coating paints have a light diffusing, elegant UV surface and produce a beautiful cinematic-like effect, while hard-coating paints offer high contrast, rich blacks, and unparalleled viewing for high-end home theaters.

Since projectors can be used for both home and business-based projects, you can also look at how you will be using it. For example, if you’re going to be hanging it from the ceiling in a room with limited space, a hard-coating paint might not work that well since most hard-coating paints have a substantial amount of gloss. The gloss from the paint may also require frequent cleaning and upkeep.

If you’re looking for a paint that is more protective and easier to clean, we recommend using Benjamin Moore’s LR2000 SurfaceShield with scratch-proof technology. The paint creates a protective coating for you projector screen that is easy to clean and can hold up under any condition.

Like I said before, my third rule of thumb is always, always check your screen material manufacturer’s recommended application method.

Will You Be Watching a Lot of 3D?

If the answer to the above question is yes then you should consider going for a white screen. But if you’re watching just a few 3D movies a year then you can stay with black.

You’ll also want to be aware of the image persistence in your projector. Some projectors have an issue with the temporary images left on the screen when you switch off the projector being visible for a few seconds before fading away. These images are commonly referred to as the “ghost image” or “after image”.

To avoid problems with these images persisting on your screen you will need to use a projector screen that is highly reflective. “Brighter” colors will also help with this issue as they are more difficult to see as noticeably different from the white screen than a darker color.

If you are going to watch movies that are all ready in 3D then blues are what you’ll want to use. Blues will display the 3D image without as much brightness loss as white screens. This is because the polarization is much more efficient than with 3D movies.

This is a projector screen with a black border and black masking. These features keep the focus on the screen and away from the frame. It’s a high-quality screen that is considered durable and ideal for permanent installations. Be sure to take into account a slight loss in picture quality if you wish to use your projector with this screen.

Got a projector and a laptop, but need an all-in-one streaming device to share your Netflix and Hulu subscription with your loved ones? This projector is a perfect fit for your home theater. It’s easy to use, fully portable, and delivers impressive performance and HD visuals.

Your home theater’s sound can easily be enhanced by a quality sound system. It’s easy to set up, it’ll impress friends and family, it’s relatively affordable and it adds a polished touch to your home theater.

These are the same glasses that Hollywood movie stars wear to watch 3D movies! They’re non-prescription, black and they fit easily over prescription glasses. Ideal to get the 3D experience in your home theater without the need for any special glasses.

How to Go About Painting Your Projector Screen Wall

When it comes to painting a projector screen wall, the options are almost endless, but you can pull it off with a flat black paint color. A flat paint color offers the perfect backdrop for the images projected on your screen. It works because it absorbs light and eliminates the contrast between the screen and the wall. Flat paint evens out the color contrast effect, creating a more appealing image for viewers.

When you’re looking for the ideal flat paint, you need to consider two factors: finish and color. The flat paint you choose will also determine how well it matches your current project screen room. To decide on the right paint finish, test a few flat paint samples on your screen to figure out which flat paint finish works best. To choose the right color, you should also test a few samples on your projector screen wall. Use the paint stick to cover the area you want painted and then set the paint out in the sun for a day or so before you go back to check the color. You may need to repaint if the color is too dark, or you may need to add more paint if it’s too light. Flat paint can be more difficult than gloss or semi-gloss paint, but it offers the best result when it comes to projector screen walls.

Step 1 – Prep the Wall

If you’re planning to paint a projector screen and you’re using paint on your wall, you’ll need to prep the wall before you paint.

Here are the steps to preparing the wall, painting the screen, and evenly applying the paint:

  • Remove the screen and the projector
  • Inspect the surface for any holes, scrabbles marks, and stains that will need to be repaired
  • Sand the surface and repair holes with putty and/or spackle
  • Use a wet steel wool pad to clean and to remove any imperfections and scabs on the wall
  • Mask and protect the floor, adjacent walls, and ceiling
  • Paint the wall using primer and paint (follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions to determine the number of coats needed)
  • Allow the paint to dry for the recommended time specified by the manufacturer (usually 24 hours)
  • Position the screen into place and rehang the projector
  • Train your audience to sit still, quietly, and read the room – because once the lights go down, nobody is moving

Here are some things to keep in mind when painting a projector screen:

Avoid screens that require the paint to be modified by the manufacturer

Step 2 – Determine the Projector Screen Area

We will use the same projector screen area example as we used earlier in this project to determine the projector screen size.

Determine the projected image size.

Image is 24 inches wide by 56 inches high.

Projector has a minimum image size of 24” wide by 48” high.

20% of image may need to be above the top of the screen.

Figure up 20% on both sides of the image.

8 Inches above the Image

20 inches above the image.

So the minimum size for the top of the screen is 31(above image) x 48 (height of the image).

So the width and height for the minimum projector screen size is 31(above image) by 48(height of the image).

Now we will determine if this screen will work with the room size and location. Our room measures 8 feet by 10 feet. So the available projector screen size area in this room is: 8 feet x 10 feet x 2 = 160 sq. feet.

Now you'll need to know what size screen to order to fit this room.

We determined our minimum screen size needed is 31(above image) by 48(height of the image) = 160 square feet.

So we'll go to an area screen store right now and purchase our 160 square foot screen.

Step 3 – Apply Masking Tape to Mark the Borders of the Screen Area

Once you have your projector screen cut to the right size, it’s time to paint the borders of the screen. Use a sharpie pen to mark the borders on the screen and then cover the screen with masking tape to protect the surrounding area.

What type and color of paint to use? Knowing how the various light bulbs and the colors of the projector screen affect the ambient light can help you decide what type and color of paint to use for your screen.

A black border or border with a high contrast color will make the image stand out and look clear, with text and images easily readable. But, depending on the ambient light, the image on the screen may appear to be dark and hard to read in a room with low color temperature. This will most likely be the result of the projector light being cooler than the ambient light. To see a crisp image on the screen, use a projector that does not project light that is too cool or use a projector that has a high color temperature (5,500k or higher).

If you want to gain the benefits of having a projector screen in a room with low color temperature by using a projector with a cooler light, use a black screen. A black screen will reflect and absorb the available light, which is dominated by the cooler color temperature.

Step 4 – Apply the Paint

And Use a Fan:

Once the primer has dried, apply the paint carefully using a roller. As a precaution, put on a paint mask and wear gloves. You want as smooth a finish as possible.

After the paint has dried, use an oscillating fan to blow away the fine hair-like hairs on the paint surface to make the surface smooth.

It is important to note that using a paint that is not labeled as paint for a projector screen will ruin the repainting process and increase the difficulty of the project.

Step 5 – Remove the Painters Tape and Apply a Screen Border

Once the screen is dry you can finish up by adding a border of tape to the edges of the screen. I’ve used tape instead of paint for a border in this project only because I wanted a crisp, clean outline when I was finished. You could use paint instead … but be aware that paint will allow light to shine through so you’ll have to use a dark colored paint. Or you could use stencils with an opaque paint and cut out designs as well.

Final Thoughts

When you're searching for paint for a projector screen, your options will largely be determined by the type of screen material you're using – be it a tweeter screen, a drape, or some other material. As we’ve seen, you're essentially choosing between water-based, solvent-based, or acrylic-based paints and stains.

The good news is that all of these types of paint are very suitable in almost all applications, and should work well for your screen. So you don’t have to worry about choosing a type of paint that will fail at the first outing.

Based on user reviews and my own personal experience, the best paint and stain for your projector screen projects is a highly-rated water-based latex paint that is regularly available at your local hardware store.

You should just make sure that you select a paint that’s designed for use on your screen material. For example, if you’re using a polyester screen, avoid acrylic paint – but look for a water-based latex paint. If you’re using a drape, you may find both acrylic and water-based paints, although research suggests that you will generally get better durability out of a solvent-based product.

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