Types of Paint to Use for Your Projector Screen

Steve Scott

Last Updated on

If you want to achieve the best picture on your DIY home theater screen, then the type of home projector paint you choose matters. You won't get a high quality picture even from the best home theater projector if you don't pick a suitable screening option.

There are various HI-RES screen paints available on Amazon, ranging in price between less than $50 and more than $200. This article will help you choose the best screen paint with optimal value for you. It also offers some other helpful tips for painting a home theater screen to maximize its function and aesthetics.

painted projector screen

Benefits of Painted Home Theater Screens

Many people believe that painting your own home theater screen is much better than buying one made of vinyl or other projector screen materials. Perhaps the most surprising of these is that a painted movie theater screen can actually produce superior visual depth and picture quality when compared to most other projector screens.

Home projector paints are formulated with titanium oxide and other compounds that produce very sharp, high-resolution pictures that even the most expensive physical screens cannot. These paints are made with ultra-smooth pigmentation that reduces surface texture irregularities and produces higher picture clarity.

Home projector paints have superior leafing properties, more binder density, and smaller particle sizes than traditional screens do. These and other factors lead to rejected ambient lighting and an absolute neutral greyscale spectral response that practically eliminates hot spotting and color shifting.

Home projector paints are pricey as “paints” go. However, they are not like traditional paints. They are high-tech formulations that contain compounds that work with various light inputs to maximize the quality of your viewing experience. A painted home projector screen is much more complex than a simple white-painted wall space.

Painting your own DIY home theater screen typically costs hundreds of dollars less than other available solutions. Further, painted screens last a lifetime without any need for repair or the risk of malfunction. The only maintenance they require is periodic washing with only soap and water. They weigh nothing, take no space, are latex and water-based, and can be placed without the need to modify any carpentry.

projector screen cleaning

Painting a DIY Home Movie Theater Screen

Home theater projectors are expensive units designed to deliver high-resolution videos and pictures onto a wall in your home. By adjusting the projector distance, you can increase or decrease the size of the area it displays on. Generally, the closer the projector is to the wall that is used a screen, the better the picture quality is.

For example if a room where you plan on screening movies is pretty small, you better look for the best short throw projectors.

So, the first step of painting your own home theater screen is to choose the wall that you want to paint it on. Of course, the wall will need to be big enough to accommodate the size of the picture you want. For many people, bigger is better here.

However, you have to be realistic about the maximum distance that your projector can produce a high-quality picture. Cheaper projectors usually are limited to smaller picture sizes.

Once you know which wall you’re going to make your home theater screen on, then you should paint the entire surface with a quality white primer. Primer paint is heavily-pigmented and produces an excellent starting ground for your DIY projector screen surface.

Choosing a Home Projector Paint

After the primer dries, it’s time to apply the projector screen paint. Many people get confused about whether to use silver, grey, or white. Here's a good general rule to consider: If your projector has an output of 3500 lumens or more, then grey is the best choice. If it produces less than 3500 lumens, then white is probably your best choice.

Now, it gets a little more complex. Hi-Res home theater screen paints are available in various increasingly-dark shades of grey. Like white reflects more light than grey, a lighter shade of grey reflects more light than a darker shade of grey. If the projector screen is too dark for the projector being used, the picture will be washed out and dull.

projector screen paint

You should also consider the amount of ambient light that will affect your projector’s picture. Light entering the room from windows, skylights, and other sources will detract from the vibrancy and quality of the picture. Many people construct special light-controlled rooms for home theaters. The less light that gets in, the better the picture quality and cinematic experience will be.

Note that a white projector screen will produce very vibrant pictures but not show black or dark grey areas of the picture very well. Comparatively, a grey projector screen will show black and other dark colors well and have an excellent contrast ratio. However, it will not produce as vibrant a display as a white screen will. Personal preference is often the determining factor here.

You’ll also need to think about how much 3D you watch when deciding on the color to paint your home theater screen. The tint of the 3D glasses you wear to watch these movies makes the pictures on the screen appear darker than they do without the glasses on.

So, if you want to watch a lot of 3D content, then you may want to go with a brilliant white projector screen paint to maximize your enjoyment. And if you're looking for the best 3D projector, check out our guide on that.

Merlin Portable 3d Projector

Projector Screen Paint Comparison

Following are details of several of the best-selling projector screen paints on Amazon. Remember that a higher price is not always indicative of higher quality or a better choice of paint for your unique home theater setting and situation. Take your time selecting, and your DIY theater screen will serve you for many years!

1. Digital Image Projector Screen Paint - High Definition | 4K - Ultra White

  • Low odor
  • One gallon costs $159.95 plus s & h ($10.99) and covers two coats on a 16 x 10 wall screen
  • Recommended for churches, conference rooms, hotels, and classrooms
  • 50% brighter than a standard white wall
  • Cured and ready to view on in 24 hours
  • No volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • High contrast/high resolution 1080p
  • Roll on or use a sprayer
ultra white hd screen paint

2. Pro Screen HD Projection / Projector Screen Paint 1080P Full HD Quality

  • Formulated with ultra-high titanium dioxide with powdered glass additive
  • 1 quart costs $59.95 and covers 80 square feet of wall area
  • Compatible with 1080p, 4K, 3D, and Blu-ray
  • Reduces ambient lighting effects
  • Neutral light-grey finish
  • Apply with a foam roller

3. Paint on Screen Projector Screen Paint 3D4K Light Grey Silver with 2.4 Gain

  • Compatible with 1080p. HD, Active 3D, and 4K
  • Provides the most value to large venues
  • Most demanded digital screen paint
  • Available in quart and gallon sizes
  • 1.5 gain or 2.4 gain formulations
  • Absolute neutral color shift
  • Costs $189 per quart
  • Roll or spray on

Once you have the paint, take some extra time prepping the wall space that you will use as your movie screen. Use a sanding pad to smooth out any rough-textured areas. Fill in small holes with drywall mud and sand smooth before applying the white primer coat before the actual screen paint. Going the extra mile at this stage makes a lot of difference in the quality of the final product.

before vs after


High-tech projector screen paints like those listed above can maximize the enjoyment of your home theater setup and save you a lot of money in the long run. Choosing the best home projector paint for your budget and setting is important. Even the most expensive and feature-loaded home projector cannot create a stellar picture when the screen it is aimed at is inferior.

References

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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