Newspaper Archive of
Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
May 12, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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May 12, 2010

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6B Wednesday, May 12, 2010 Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Easy DIY theater project00or indoors or out After painting the canvas, it is covered with a sheet and ironed slowly, for 20 seconds in each spot, to create a wash- able bond of fabric and paint. With little more than three yards of canvas, some "Silver Screen" paint from the Behr color collection, some flat black paint and three bottles of textile medium, one can create a big movie screen for an indoor or outdoor theater. Photos by Alicia Knadler Alicia Knadler Indian Valley Editor aknadler@plumasnews,com After reading two different magazine articles about do-it- yourself home and backyard theaters, I was hooked on the idea, but I was also at a loss, for neither article included more than vague references to the materials needed to do the job. So, after more research, the dream to create a big theater screen for a free movie night in Greenville was finally fulfilled. There are two basic types of screens, canvas and wood. Both can be framed perma- nently or set up in a mobile format. For the free movie night in Greenville, we wanted a canvas screen that could be rolled, or folded up, out of the way when not in use, and one that could be moved outside in the summer. The widest canvas we could find within a two-hour drive was 72 inches, and it was available only at Gates Resale in Chico. A good size for the big screen is 10 feet wide by the full 72 inches, but a wide black border is needed as well. So we opted for a slightly smaller big screen and sewed a pocket on the top and bottom of the canvas, about 2.25 inches, to hold closet rods we had cut to size. For a wooden screen, sheets of plywood can be put together into the desired size using a 2x4 framing and support structure. The seams will need to be filled and smoothed, with wood putty that can be sanded then painted over with a primer coat. The perfect movie screen paint even has the perfect name, Silver Screen, which is a very light gray color devel- oped by the Behr brand folks. For outdoor applications on plywood, an exterior fiat paint will work, or for the washable canvas application, the indoor flat acrylic latex is the right choice. For either application, an extra-fine roller should be used for the smoothest coat possible. From an arts and crafts supplier or store, three to four eight-ounce bottles of textile medium will also be needed for the canvas appli- cation, depending on the screen size --just under 10 feet wide may take only three bottles, though unopened bottles may be returned according to store policy. Directions on the bottle call for two parts paint to one part medium -- we used three parts paint, for we did not plan on washing it with the laundry. The paint will soak into the fabric, and a second coat will be needed, so we placed the canvas on top of plastic sheeting. After it is applied, the paint is permanently bonded to the fabric with heat for 20 seconds. With an iron, this took a while, and we first had to cover the screen with a clean sheet or the paint would stick to the iron. The next step is the light test; hang the canvas up in front of a light source to see if any light shines through thin spots. Those spots can then be spot treated with a disposable foam paintbrush. This would also be a good time to have a practice movie and take measurements for the wide black "frame" on the screen. This should be done at night, or in a very dark room, so that the fully lit image from the projector can be seen. After the perfect projector- to-screen placement is made, and all the image adjust- ments are perfected, one can walk up to the screen while the movie is on and make marks at the image edge. The border outside these marks, especially where there is overflow light from the projector, should be paint- ed flat black, with textile medium added to the paint for the canvas application. See Theater, page 8B The black border creates a crisp frame for the movie and is an important element of the screen. To get it right, the screen should be tested with a movie at night, when the fully lit im- age from the projector can be seen and measured.