DIY Projector Screen | 8 Super Simple Options to Create Your Own

Projector screens have become very popular in recent years. However, projector screens can be very expensive, so many people wonder: is there a DIY alternative to purchasing a projector screen?

Below, we’ll list all of your options and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

A Bed Sheet or Other Cloth

One of the least expensive options for making a DIY projector screen is using a bed sheet or other pale-colored cloth. This is a good option because it can be used indoors and out, and is easy to transport. It’s a great choice if you’ll be traveling or going camping!

To ensure you get the best image quality possible, you should always use a smooth, wrinkle-free, high thread count, white sheet. A higher thread count means a thicker material, and the thicker your sheet is, the crisper the image on the screen will appear.

Any wrinkles in the sheet will distort your image. Before you hang your screen for the first time, iron it to make sure there are no wrinkles or creases. You should also roll it up to store it instead of folding it, as folded sheets are more likely to crease. 

A Plain White Wall

Another easy option is using a plain white wall as your screen. If you have a white wall with no decorations on it, you already have a built-in projector screen in your home! Using a blank wall is an excellent option because you won’t have to worry about any limitations in picture size. 

There are a couple of things to consider when using a wall as a projector screen. You’ll only be able to use your projector in this particular area of your home, so it isn’t the best choice if you like to bring your projector with you when you travel. You also won’t be able to use it outside, which is something many people enjoy doing. 

If you don’t have a stark white wall, a light-colored wall will work as well. Just make sure the wall is smooth – a textured wall will make the picture look grainy. 

The Backside of Wrapping Paper

A sturdy piece of wrapping paper wrapped around a large piece of cardboard or wooden frame can work very well as a projector screen. Make sure you use a thick, high-quality paper with a glossy white backside, as a thin paper will tear much more easily, and a dull white side won’t show the picture as well.

The downside is that wrapping paper is relatively easy to tear, and any damage at all will be visible under the picture. You also cannot get wrapping paper wet, which limits its outdoor usability. 

A Blackout Shade

A blackout shade is specifically designed to block out any light coming in through a window. This provides an added bonus, as the lack of light will make the picture on the screen appear brighter. The front of a blackout shade is smooth, while the back is made of a thick foam. Since it is so thick, it’s very unlikely to rip or tear and will be wrinkle-free when pulled down.

Some people also like to use a blackout shade behind a bed sheet screen because of its light-blocking abilities. If you have a blackout shade that’s not quite light enough to use as a projector screen alone, this could be a great solution!

A Roll-Down Window Shade

If you don’t want to spend the extra money on blackout shades, a regular white or light-colored roll-down shade will work as a projector screen as well. While they won’t keep the room quite as dark as blackout shades, they’ll still keep it relatively dark and give you decent image quality. If possible, you could even attach a roll-down shade to the wall instead of a window for an easily hideable solution.

While roll-down shades aren’t the cheapest option, they’ll still cost much less than an actual projector screen. If you are attaching one to a window, just make sure it overlaps the window enough to not let any light seep through. Ideally, you’ll want a shade that overlaps each side by at least a few inches.

A Photo Backdrop

This is another option that will give you premium quality, but at an increased price. A photo backdrop will typically be non-reflective and thick enough to not allow any light to bleed through. Most of the time, photo backdrops will come rolled up for easy transportation and outdoor use. 

Some photo backdrops come pre-mounted, and others will need to be assembled to a frame. While this is a pricier option, it makes up for it in terms of video quality.

Projector Screen Paint

This one is slightly more money than the other options in this list, but it is one of the best. Projector screen paint is specially formulated to recreate a projector screen’s appearance and reflect light in the same way. You can apply the paint to nearly any surface, including:

  • A wall
  • A piece of plastic
  • A piece of cardboard
  • A piece of particleboard

Like with a blank wall, you’ll have no limitations when it comes to size or shape. This makes it a great choice for uniquely shaped or extra-large projects.

Hammer and nails on wood

Creating a DIY Projector Screen from Scratch

If you’re up for a challenge, you might want to try building your own projector screen! This can often be done at a much lower cost compared to purchasing one. To get started, you’ll first need to gather your materials: 

  • A white sheet, cloth, or other background material
  • An equal number of eyelets and screw-in hooks
  • PVC pipe

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide what size you want to make your screen. Gather enough background material to accommodate this size and two times the width of your screen in PVC pipe. Once you’ve done this, here’s how to get started:

  1. Layer your background material to your desired thickness. Then, sew the material together on the sides, top, and bottom, leaving enough room unsewn to insert your PVC pipe and eyelets. 
  2. Insert a width-wide piece of PVC pipe into the area you left unsewn at the top. Sew around the pipe, leaving enough room at the top to insert your eyelets into the material for hanging.
  3. Insert your eyelets at the top to allow the screen to hang. You can do one eyelet on either end, or one at each end and one in the middle for added stability.
  4. Now, you’ll sew the PVC pipe into the bottom of the screen just as you did on the top. 
  5. Insert the eyelets as you did at the top so you can roll and store the screen in place.
  6. Screw your hooks into the ceiling, making sure the spacing aligns with the eyelets.

Once you’re done, you’ll have an easily storable projector screen and a designated place to hang it!

Final Thoughts

A projector screen can be expensive, but don’t fret! All of these DIY options are viable ways to watch movies with a projector without having to drop hundreds of dollars on a professionally-made screen. 

To choose the best method for your situation, consider how, when, and where you’ll be using your screen, and consider all of the advantages and disadvantages that come with each option. All of them work great inside your home, for example, but only a few would be efficient outside in the backyard.

Photo of author


Kristen is the founder and content creator at Mom Managing Chaos where she teaches busy moms how to simplify and organize their life and finances. She writes about frugal living, budgeting, productivity and organization.