The following is based on research of numerous sites/people who have built similar screens. I acredit those en masse since I was not keeping track of all the pages I visited.
- Two 8' & four 6' 1x2 popular hardwood ($30)
- 4 "L" brackets, 4 "T" brackets ($27)
- 3/4" wood screws ($5)
- 3 metres of 55" width blackout fabric ($30)
- Four 8' 1/4 round ($23)
First, I determined the exact size I wanted the screen to be. Since the blackout fabric I bought was 55" wide, I knew that my screen height was going to be 52" since I need 3" to wrap around the frame. This is where the quarter round comes into play. My thinking at the time was if I used the quarter round, another inch would be required to wrap the frame. Since I wanted the largest screen, I decided to drop the quarter round (as previously mentioned in another post). I later realized that I did have enough width to use the quarter round so I did. My final dimensions was 92" L and 52" H, 16:9 format with a 106" on the diagonal. Since I'm limited to 3 pics, see the below pics on the frame's construction.
As above, I mitered (45 deg) the outside frame to give me 92"x52". The corners are glued and the "L" brackets are screwed on the back side. At first I centered the brackets on the frame which was a mistake since there was no room for stapling. I rescrewed the brackets to follow the inside edge of the frame (see pic). Following this I cut two support braces to fit between the frame and glued/screwed them with the "T" brackets (also following the inside frame edge). Flipping over the frame to the front, I mitered the quarter round to go around the perimeter of the frame with the curved side pointing inwards. The quarter round was glued and tacked with 1" brads. Note that the brad will poke out on the frame's backside. This was intentional since it creates teeth/grips that aids in the fabric stretching but you could go with a smaller brad if you want to avoid this. I sanded the frame's front side and rounded slightly all corners to ensure everything is even and smooth for the fabric.
So I'm now ready to put the fabric on... I laid out a clean drop cloth (but cardboard would have been better since it doesn't bunch up) and put the fabic down. Blackout fabic has two sides; one side being canvas/weave like and the other being a primed (all most rubbery) side. My first thought was to put the canvas side down so that's my painting surface. After some thought, I went with the primed side down since it was whiter and smoother (though rubbery to touch). According to my research, either side is good though I run the risk of have a different type of blackout fabric. It's only when I paint the fabric will I know if I made a good choice. Here is a pic prior to fabric stretching:
It's fabric stretching time! First of all, use a electric stapler (or air-powered) since I can't imagine using anything else. Also have some form of canvas stretching pliers (wide grip)... I didn't and your hands will cramp up doing this since mine did! Besides pain... such pliers will result in a more taunt fabric. Essentially the technique I used was simple... First some tips: Never touch the screen side of the fabric, just the edges. Keep your hands/work area clean (and if you have a cut/scrape that is (or may) bleeding get a band-aid!). Start by stapling the centre of one of the long sides. Switch to the opposite side and pull taunt until a center crease appears; staple center then staple ~2" on either side. Switch back to the first (opposite) side and staple ~2" either side of center. Do the same procedure on the short length sides noting that when you get the crease, it will be a triangle then diamond. After this alternate sides (going opposite to opposite) stapling the long sides more frequently to catch up with the shorter sides. The hardest part in all of this is stretching the fabric with one hand (pliers would really help!) and stapling with the other. Finish off by adding additional staples and doing the corners which is same as making a bed/hospital corners (learned in boot camp). Here is the result:
It's ready for paint in my case since I want to go digital grey (Goo Systems) to improve my blacks/contrasts. Still... I am impressed with it just as it is. Concerns: Will the fabric loosen up over time causing deformities? Will the paint adhere well, flake, crack, etc.? These questions will still have to be answered... I'm secure in the fact that I didn't spend alot of money if I have to redo something.
Well... that's it for now...