Tech Stuff

I have been serving in youth ministry for nearly 20 years, am currently the Director of Student Ministries at Valley Church in Des Moines, IA, and am on a first name basis with several Best Buy and Apple employees. My wife Keri and I have been married over ten years and have three great boys. My four favorite things are Jesus, my wife, Chicago Style Pizza, and fighting off our boys with sweet ninja moves.

video-screenI am no expert on video projector screens but I know there are different sizes, aspect ratios, surfaces, and types of screens (portable, rear projection, pull-down, etc), knowing what you need can be confusing at best. The only other thing I know is they can get expensive depending on the need.

We did a youth room redesign this summer and instead of buying an expensive screen that I am afraid will get messed up or hangs and looks clumsy, I justed used the wall that was there. Here are the few tips if you are thinking of trying this:

  • We added a reclaimed wood wall and simply squared up a space for a screen.
  • We make sure the wall was flat and without pits (basically fixed any imperfections with drywall compound).
  • We painted the wall white with a “Flat White” paint. (DIY screen paint is $65 to $300…flat paint is non-gloss and around $25).
  • I went to HomeDepot to by 1 1/2″ x 1/4″ flat (no design) trim and spray painted it flat black. This became the bleed area of our screen. HomeDepot had the longest available (needed a little more than 9′ and the other home improvement stores only carried 8′), I paid by the foot, and I could cut it any length (did not have to pay for what I did not need).

There are no magic numbers here, you can use any measurement for your screen and trim as long as you use the correct dimensions(16×9, 3×4?) and the trim looks natural with the size screen you chose.  I have never used screen pain, I am sure it is better but $300 vs $25…in the battle of good vs good enough the $25 flat white paint wins.

Are you using a DIY screen? What did you do differently?

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Trim that still needs to be mountedscreen3

Trim is pretty thin and 1.5″ wide and just about as long as you need (HomeDepot).screen4

The screen without trip no projector.screen2

The screen without trip projector on (Same lighting…the bright screen forced a dark pic).screen


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  • Tim Robertson says:

    I feel like this article falls short a bit, a quick web search pulls up this article; which tests and recommends Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Extra White, # B20 W 51 as a solid option for projector screens providing solid performance:

    Hope this helps!

    • Tim, thanks for reading and commenting. I’m not sure how the article falls short, maybe because it’s not a comprehensive step by step how to? This project was completed for $56. Not bad.

      • Tim Robertson says:

        Maybe “falls short” was a bit harsh, I was just meaning that a specific paint recommendation could have been helpful, but as I have proven (to myself as I lost this article and had to re-find it) a simple Google search will give some great starting points. Thanks for your article and input, it inspired me to go this route with my current youth room remodel. Thanks again!

  • James says:

    Great article. This is almost exactly what we did. Except we painted a retro looking TV (black) as the outline for the “bleed” area. Also, I read somewhere, that a few drops of blue tint in the paint, actually makes White text POP out. That may just be a theory, be we’ve tried it, and our “screen” is brighter than the high dollar namebrand screen in our main auditorium.

  • Carl says:

    We did DIY screens in our Life Center, three of them. Just a flat white rectangle where our projectors shoot, two up front and one on the back wall for the presenters to see. Our worship space holds up to 550 and is also used for a gym. Screens would have been at risk for dodgeball injuries. So far, still working great. Did all three screens (two of them are 16×9 at least) with 1 gallon of paint.

  • Gary Anderson says:

    We tried Satin paint thinking that it would be easier to clean scuffs and dings, but eventually went with flat paint for our whole stage area. There is a much less glare from the stage lighting. Thanks for the tips.

  • Erik w/a "k" says:

    Looks like you got some paint on your hands. I don’t like to get dirty.


    J/K. We used some special paint, but it was because someone donated some $$ for it. Looks great!

    I love a good DIY that can save your budget bundles. Thanx bro!

  • justin offutt says:

    I’m a bivo youth pastor and have been in the pro A/V buisness for 14 years. We havw found that the “screen paints” are just hype. If you pay that kinda money for it, just buy a screen. The paintes wall idea is a great way to save some $! Spend the extra $ on the projector if you have the extra.

  • CJ Nissen says:

    If you have a slightly larger budget, here’s an article on how to use stretch fabric: http://www.rosebrand.com/category12/projection-screens.aspx

  • Scott Tinman says:

    Looks like you painted a piece of drywall…is that correct or did you just paint the wood area of the wall?

  • Zach Kelley says:

    Thanks Brandon, we’re just getting ready to start our KidsChurch redesign, and we will definitely be using this! I’ll post pictures after its completed. Thanks again!

  • Jeffsmithnc says:

    We painted the room a shade of green. The front wall we painted a lighter shade of the same green. The projector shines on that wall. Looks great. No extra stuff – white paint or boarder. We the projector is not on – it’s just the wall.

    The original plan was to paint a white square and then for the boarder used the old school 16 mm film look. But it looks great as is.

  • Josh says:

    Great idea. Our youth room had tan walls. We taped off a large square with the projector running to see where it hit. Painted it white. I did the same thing with the black trim. It looks great and people often think it is a projector screen. Nope, just the wall. Thanks for sharing great ideas!

  • Dan says:

    Here is something I found. I think I am going to try this with the rebuild of my AV system that I am working on this next week. Rather than mounting them with grommets, I am going to try attaching them to a frame of some kind and mount them into a wall structure we are building.



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