Projection screens can be expensive, and we needed one to use with our FriiSpray virtual graffiti system. After looking into some different screens available on the market, we decided we could probably have a good go at making one of our own.

We wanted to make the project open so others can make, use, modify and alter their own screens and help to improve the project. Accessibility is a big thing for us – we want to enable as many people as possible to make their own virtual graffiti wall – and bringing the cost of it down is a step in the right direction.

Design criteria:

  • low cost
  • allow for rear projection
  • robust enough to survive a virtual graffiti event for children
  • easy to reproduce
  • as flat pack as possible

We have recently had access to a laser cutter and will be soon getting our own and thought this project would be a good way of seeing what we could do. We decided to use sheet MDF as a construction material as it is more durable than acrylic – and cheaper.

Materials

  • 3mm sheet MDF
  • 6mm sheet MDF
  • M5 wing nuts + 35mm bolts (48 of each)
  • GORM timber from IKEA (7x 174cm lengths)

When deciding upon materials we first looked at what we had in our workshop / material store. The IKEA timber seemed to make sense as it was cheap and widely available – as well as pre drilled and cut to lengths. The lengths are intended as shelving legs, but can be bought separately and so are ideal as a material to use. I’d bet that you’d struggle to find similar timber cheaper anywhere else, especially if you only wanted to buy a few lengths.

The basis is simple: we needed to make brackets that could make use of the IKEA timber – we needed to make a frame and supporting legs.

The MDF and hardware side was fairly quick + easy to prototype + get working. We have been having a little more trouble getting a decent looking screen material / solution working – we need your help!

Screen material

‘Professional’ rear projection screens – such as the fast fold type tend to come with quite a thick screen material – this is great for projecting on to but isn’t optimised for allowing infrared light from our LED spray cans pass through it. Other, cheaper materials have proved to be more effective and so we are still experimenting.

We have tried white cotton sheet with bias binding as a border – to try and allow for stretching of the screen. We added press studs to this and the frame – it held the screen material in place but wasn’t as clean a finish as we wanted.

Next up we’re trying some lycra and velcro, any other ideas or trials are welcome. What successes or failures have you had with your own DIY projection screens?

Make your own

You can get all of the materials needed for this project for easily under £50.

Take a look at the links and resources below to get started:

Link to bracket laser files: pdf link

Link to IKEA GORM timber: IKEA link

Example of the M5 nuts + bolts: supplier link

Beta how-to-put-together instructions: pdf link

We will be selling the bracket kits online soon – drop us a line if you’re interested in advance beta testing.