With projector screens growing in popularity, many people are dishing televisions to set up projector screens instead. And the good thing is that they are flexible to setup anywhere than TV.
But not everyone can afford a projector screen. Luckily, there are cheaper DIY projector alternatives that you can easily find in the comfort of your home. Some won’t even cost you anything.
So people choose to save money by making their own projector screen. But you need to consider how you would want the images displayed before to help you pick the right projector screen.
Today, you will discover some of the most affordable and cheap projector screen alternatives.
What is a Projector Screen?
Projector screen the screen that a projector needs to display its image correctly. A projector is a device that projects the images from the projector on a surface.
For years these devices have been around and were mostly seen in lecture theaters, conference rooms, movie theaters, etc. But in recent years, they have become more popular and are been used by individuals in their homes.
There are many reasons that account for why many people are beginning to use them instead of TV.
However for you to get desirable images from your projector, you need an appropriate background, or screen to display the images correctly. Such a background needs to be plain without any type of decorations.
Lighter-colored items will work than dark colors. White works best, but you can use a colored material if it is not too dark. Pick something pale but bright, so the images are not washed out.
A projector screen may be permanently installed as in a movie theater; painted on the wall, or portable with tripod or floor rising models as in a conference room or other non-dedicated viewing space.
Another popular type of portable screens is inflatable screens which are used for outdoor movie screen or open space cinema.
DIY Projector Screens
With the flexibility that comes with projector screens, many people prefer to make their own DIY projector screens instead of spending extra money to get one of those that are already made in the market. Most of these projector screens can easily be made without spending much money.
If you are into DIY projects, then you may want to make your own DIY projector screen for the fraction of the cost. Some of the screens can even be made with household items that you already have at the comfort of your home.
The good thing is that projector can easily be set up anywhere: indoors or outdoors. It all will depend on you and the type of design you want.
Cheap Projector Screen Alternatives
If you decide to diss pre-made projector screens for a cheap projector screen alternative, then you will find these cheap projector screen alternatives interesting to try.
1). Blank Wall
A blank wall is one of the easiest and probably cheapest projector screen alternatives out there. Using a blank wall as a projector screen is very cost-effective and easily available.
There buildings with walls everywhere you go, so it won’t be difficult to find a blank wall to project your images and videos on. You can set your projector up anywhere you go and it won’t even cost you a penny.
One of the pecks of using a blank wall as a projector screen is that you dont have to worry about your image being cut off due to the size of the screen. It allows you to have large images than if you were to use a real projector screen.
Factors to Consider When Using a Blank Wall as a Projector Screen
Using a blank wall as a screen may have its own drawback. To get the best image quality, you would need to keep in mind these factors when choosing a blank wall as a projector screen.
For the best image quality, you would do best with a solid white or light-colored wall. Mostly using dark walls won’t give you a good image. while a blank wall works excellent as an impromptu projector anywhere you go, it isn’t going to give you the best picture quality.
While a blank wall works excellent as an impromptu projector screen anywhere you go, it isn’t going to give you the best picture quality. The quality won’t be the same as using a proper projector screen.
With regards to the texture of the wall, you get can the best image quality when you use an entirely smooth wall. Textured walls can cause the images to appear distorted or grainy.
You can even sand the wall down to get a smooth blank wall in case you are using the wall as a permanent projector screen. This may not be the best solution for some people. so it depends on your preference.
The wall also needs to be clear of any type of decorations. Otherwise, the images will be competing with what is already on the wall, which is most likely not what you want.
2). Wrapping Paper
Wrapping paper is another cheap projector screen alternative even though it’s not cheap compared to the blank wall option above.
But if you already have some lying around the house, they will come in hand in this case. No need to purchase some again.
When choosing a wrapping paper to use as a projector screen, consider those that are thick, and sturdy with a glossy white bottom. Using thin wrapping paper can easily tear. Also, dont use it if the white side is unshiny or looks dull.
Because wrapping paper is rolly, you will need to cut and tape the appropriate size to a wooden frame or onto a piece of cardboard. One downside of using wrapping paper as a projector screen is that it can be flimsy and tear easily.
A slight wind will cause rips or tears in the paper, distorting your final picture. Any damage to the paper, even just a wrinkle, will show up on your screen.
Also, if water touches it, it will get damaged which makes it limited in use outdoors.
Another cheapest projector screen alternative is a sheet. It is an effective and cheap solution you can easily carry with you anywhere you go and I am sure you already have some at home.
When you use a sheet for your background, you may notice that your images aren’t as bright as they would be with other experiences. If you want a vivid picture, you may want to consider other alternatives.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Sheet
With sheets readily available at home or in the store for very low prices, you can easily get one and take with you anywhere you g to hang it on the wall or build a frame that can work as a stand.
However, there are certain factors to consider if you are choosing to use a sheet as your projector screen.
Sheets work great as a travel screen because you can fold or roll them up for easy transporting. And the setup doesn’t take long, so you can be ready to watch a flick in just a few minutes.
Below are some factors to consider when choosing a sheet to ensure you get the best image quality.
The thread count of your sheet will play a significant factor in how well your images will display. The lower the count, the thinner the layer, which means more light will filter through, disrupting the displayed images.
You also want your sheet to be of thicker material. If your cloth is thin as a single layer, you can make up for that by folding it double.
Another way to solve the problem of a thin sheet is to paint the background that your sheet will be hanged dark color so that light won’t reflect through the sheet. Alternatively, you can use a darker colored fabric to place behind the layer.
One of the downsides of using a sheet is wrinkles, which is almost unavoidable when comes to sheets. If there are wrinkles present on the cloth, it can affect the way your images are shown. The sheet needs to be flat and smooth.
To get the best image quality with sheets, iron the sheet before hanging it up. Also, when storing your sheet, roll it instead of folding it. so you have fewer creases.
You also want to be sure you hang your sheet up stiff and tight, so there’s no movement. Bungee cords work great for stability. Wind or any type of disruption can distort your images.
Choose a plain sheet without any patterns or decorations as this would be too many interferences with your image. It’s always better, whatever screen alternative you pick, that the material is free of decorations and patterns. As those will be competing with your images.
White sheets give you the brightest images, but you may lose out on the darker parts of the picture.
Gray screens allow for better dark tones, but it also keeps the rest of your picture darker. Your projector must display bright images.
Another good alternative to projector screens is blackout fabric or cloth. This material is purposefully designed to block out any light, which makes for highly visible viewing and a good contrast balance.
Blackout fabric is fairly robust and thick. This makes it capable of handling being manipulated into the right position for projecting onto. There’s very little danger of it tearing while you are getting it into place.
Similar to bed sheets or window shades, to work effectively as a projector screen alternative, blackout fabric needs to be pulled tight so that there are no creases. This is easy enough to achieve due to the robust nature of the material.
Another advantage of using a blackout cloth is that it has two contrasting surfaces on the front and back. The front is made of a smooth fabric that is thick enough to prevent light from passing through, while the back is usually made from dense foam which blocks 80% or more of any light.
This double-layered design will ensure that no light filters through the threads of the fabric, as is likely to be the case with a bedsheet.
Alternatively, you can choose to combine a blackout fabric with a sheet instead of using each separately. This will give better image quality provided you choose them appropriately.
If you have large windows, shades are a great alternative to an expensive projector screen. When it’s time to watch a movie, simply throw the shades over your windows and suddenly you have an instant home theater. They can be used as a makeshift projector screen.
The best part is, it’s just a flip of a shade when the film’s over and the sun makes its way in again. Curtain store sells shades specifically for projecting, but you can also use any shade that’s large enough to cover your windows.
You can even DIY a stop motion animation short film using shadows created by shades on the wall that belongs to your house, the sun, and your neighbors’ house.
6). Picture Backdrop
Using a photo backdrop as a projector screen is another screen alternative for projectors. They typically white with a finished edge and a non-reflective surface.
Because of that, light cannot shine through the picture backdrop, making it a great projector screen. This kind of material is flexible enough to move around without it being damaged, so it a great alternative to the pre-made projector screens.
They often come rolled up, thereby making it easy to transport from place to place. Depending on which type you choose, some are already mounted and when you need it, just unroll it. While others may require you to set up your own frame.
7). Projector Screen Paint
Another brilliant alternative to a projector screen would be using specially-formulated projector paint. This method is fairly expensive, but it does produce pretty outstanding results when done properly.
Specialized projector paint can be applied to a variety of materials, including a wall, wood, cardboard, or plastic. It is designed especially for projecting images, and the results are very close in terms of quality to using an actual projector screen.
There is a multitude of projector paints available, such as this projector screen paint on Amazon, and some work better than others. Some considerations that should be taken into account when choosing the best pain are color and finish.
With regards to the color of projector screen paint you choose, you need to choose one that is compatible with your projector and the lighting in the room. This is because different types of projectors have the capability of producing varying brightness levels. So, make sure to check this ability.
Generally speaking, if your room is particularly bright, you will need a projector that can produce around 2000-2500 lumens. For dimly lit rooms, 1200-1500 lumens will suffice. White projector paint works best in most rooms, but you can get away with using gray if there is less light in the room.
Two varieties of projector paint perform the best. These are matte, and flat paints. A gloss-finished projector pain would reflect the light too much, and cause the image’s visibility to be compromised.
Matte projector paints are less reflective and therefore allow the image to be more clearly visible. The projector displays an image using light, so having paint that has a shiny finish will not be compatible.
8). Painted Cardboard
Painted cardboard can also be a good cheap and easy alternative to projector screens and plus, it’s easy to make at home especially if you do a lot of handy work. Simply use a large sheet of cardboard and paint it either white or light grey depending on the lighting in the room.
It won’t necessarily give you the best image quality, but it will be a quick fix if you are not willing to invest in a projector screen yet.
It’s advised to choose cardboard that is as smooth as possible. The paint that you use should ideally have a matte finish, as this will allow the light to be projected onto the surface without reflecting off and tarnishing the image quality.
Final Thoughts in Cheap Projector Screen Alternatives
Overall, choosing a DIY cheap projector screen alternative is a great way to save money and use your creativity to help you get the best out of your home entertainment.
So, you select the one that is best suitable for you to use.