Advise for a first time screen buyer


Standard Member
I am a first time projector buyer, and I've already done some turn arounds in what I thought about what I was going to do and what I am doing. I was going to shelf mount my Panasonic AE500, now I'm going to ceiling mount.

I was going to project on to a pointed surface, but now I've come around to the idea of using a proper screen.

I am stuck though between making one using screen material and a wooden frame and a manual pulldown one. As you can imagine based on the fact I was going to use a painted surface, budget is rather tight now. What I did want is a fixed screen, but they all look prohibitively expensive for some reason... are they "special" in some way.

My current projected image (on the wall at the mo) is 75" x 42.5" approx, which looks about the right size. I had a look around links for the various threads here and found DRH ( seem to do good value screens, so I could pick up the screen material for about £86, or a proper manual pulldown for £158. Money wise that is fine. I'm thinking the manual pulldown would be a better made screen (as I wouldn't be making it) - but on the other side of the coin, I am worried having seen the odd ripple in manual pulldowns's I've seen - so really am not sure about jumping in and attempting to build, or going with the pull down one. Any advice ?

Ideally I'd like a good, but cheap (wouldn't we all) fixed screen - so if anyone knows any place where I might look, that would be really helpful.

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
I made a fixed screen for £28 about 4 years ago, and it shouldn't cost much more now.

I used 18mm x 69mm x 2.7m wood from B&Q, though 2x1 will probably be OK. I laid two strips on top of each other, then cut them to 84ins long. Doing that meant they were exaclty the same size. I did the same with three other pieces to make the two sides and the center brace. They all fit inside the two top and bottom pices I'd already cut.

I then drilled two holes long ways (69mm) into the top and bottom pieces so that I could screw through into the center pieces. I had to countersink the holes about 1.5ins so that I could use 3inch long screws to screw them together with. I glued and screwed the frame together that way, and checked that it was square, and it was. :)

Others have used 'L' shape and 'T' shape angle pieces to screwinto the wood at the corners and center brace point whic is probably easier to do, though it adds a little extra cost.

or the screen material, I went to Alders (but most good curtain shops should be fine), and bought 3meters of white blackout cloth. It was £5 per linear meter, and the bolt width was 54ins IIRC. More than enough for my 84inch x 47.25inch 16:9 screen fram.

I then stretched and stapled the cloth to the rear of the frame. My gf helped me, as there is a bit of a knack to it (start at the middle and work outwards).

Initialy it was to be a temporary screen until I found something more suitable when I was more familar with screens etc, but it lasted for nearly 3 years. I only changed it after I upgraded my pj to one with less lumensm, and needed the brightness I was used to back. I bought some 1.2 gain screen material from and attached it in exactly the same way as the blackout cloth. That's been in use for nearly a year now. :)

My screen wall is black, but if you want to make a black border, you can use tape, or get some wooden architrave and make a fram of that to sit on the front of the screen. Cover it in felt or paint it matt black. Felt absorbs light better so would be my choice, but this will add to the cost again. Use the search and see what others have done to do this.

Pics on my web-site if you're interested.


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