How to Make a Black Pearl Projector Screen

By Darrin Dortch

Things Needed

  • Projector and cable tuner
  • Pencil
  • Scraper
  • Drop cloth
  • Wet joint compound
  • Heavy wooden sand block
  • 8-foot length of rigid poplar stock
  • 1 roll of painter's tape
  • 1 roll of blue painter's tape
  • Putty knife
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Black alkyd-based paint
  • 2 paint trays
  • High-quality foam paint rollers
  • Clean stirring stick
  • Hobby knife
  • Hard screen edge (frame pieces)
  • Latex gloves
  • Black spray paint
  • Measuring tape
Paint your white projection screen pearl black.

Many people believe the best color for a projection screen is white. White reflects all colors equally, so that perception makes sense. However, digital projection technologies use high-intensity bulbs to project light through the panels. As a result, light often bleeds into areas of the screen that should be black. Most screens now come in gray and sometimes black. Black projection screens sustain a neutral color balance and enhance the contrast of digital projection technologies. Making a black pearl projection screen is a task you can do at home.

Turn on the projector and cable tuner so that you'll know the size of your screen. Outline or mark the corners of the screen with a pencil; you will eventually have to paint over your marks.

Prep the wall behind your projector. Use a scraper to level and sand down any patches in the wall. Your image will project better if the projection plane is smooth. Place a drop cloth on the floor to catch any debris. Apply layers of wet joint compound where necessary; this will fill any holes in the wall. Allow 24 hours for drying, then use a heavy wooden sand block to eliminate any excess compound.

Connect the corner marks with the sweep of a pencil. Use the 8-foot length of rigid poplar stock as a straightedge. Place painter's tape outside of the screen area along the pencil lines. Use a cloth to rub down the tape. Seal the edge by pressing the putty knife over it. Put strips of blue masking tape on the outer edge so that the weight of the tape won't pull from the wall. Use your putty knife to apply a small amount of compound over the inner edge of the tape. Use fine-grit sandpaper to reveal the edge of masking after the compound dries. Use the wide-blade knife to put thin coats of compound on the screen area. Sand with fine-grit paper afterward and apply a coat of black alkyd-based paint over the wall. Allow the paint to dry, then sand down any bumps, fibers or imperfections in the paint.

Mix the black paint with a clean stirring stick. Use a high-quality foam roller to apply the first coat of black paint over the projection screen. Allow this base coat to dry, then apply a second layer of paint. This coat will take 24 hours to dry. After drying, use a fresh foam roller cover to apply a top coat of paint. Allow 48 hours for complete drying.

Put on latex gloves to avoid touching the powdery surface of the frame. Break the sealed edges along the masking area using the hobby knife. Lift away the masking so that you can see the hard screen edge. Cut the frame pieces from the preprimed baseboard stock. Measure the screen for width and height and translate the dimensions to the inner-edge measurements of the frame. Cut the frame members at the corners from a 45-degree angle. If necessary, sand all four frame pieces and apply two coats of black spray paint. After drying, mount the frame pieces and projector screen to the wall.

Tip

Renovated and newly built wall surfaces won't require much prep work, so it is recommended that you mount the screen on a wall that is in good shape.

Warning

Spray paint can fade, so use black pearl paint to coat your projection screen.

About the Author

Darrin Dortch began his writing career in 2000. Since then, his writing credits include 2006’s "Throb," a raunchy black comedy, and "Short Changed," a current sitcom pilot. Dortch works as a coordinator for Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in film production from Webster University.