A backyard movie night makes for a fun-filled evening with family and friends. However, setting up one requires planning and investment. To keep expenses down, you may want to know if a white sheet can be used for the projector screen.
You can use a sheet as a projector screen but don’t expect the quality to be of any great standard. You may save some money but the image you’ll get will be dull and washed out. And that might ruin your entire experience!
Also read: 8 Best Materials for Outdoor Projector Screen
Here’s why a bedsheet isn’t a great option as a projection screen:
- Poor image quality: Since bedsheets allow a lot of light to pass through them, they don’t reflect as much light through them as a projection screen. So the image won’t be as bright and will be difficult to watch
- Wrinkles and crinkles mess with the image: Creases and folds in the bedsheet affect the clarity of your image. And if you’re outdoors, even a slight breeze can cause little waves in the sheet and spoil the show.
- Tedious to set up: Using a bedsheet as a projection screen requires a lot of effort to set up as you need to make the sheet as stiff as possible. You’d have to carefully iron and stretch out the sheet to avoid any creases. It would have to be very tightly pinned or framed to prevent disruption from the wind.
As you can see, it’s not really a good idea to use a bedsheet for a projection screen. If you are on a budget, there are still many affordable alternatives which will give you better image quality.
We’ll discuss a couple of these options here. But if these are still out of budget and you are determined to use a bedsheet as a screen, we’ll also explain how you can best set it up to improve the image quality.
Here are two affordable alternatives that can give a better performance.
Portable standing or hanging screens are a reasonably-priced alternative you can use instead of sheets, giving you a much better viewing experience. Even a cheaper projector screen will have better reflectivity than a bedsheet.
True, some of the cheaper stands may be a bit flimsy and shake a bit in the breeze. But you could always place some blocks at the foot of the stands to make it more sturdy. It’s possible to get a pretty decent one for as low as 20 dollars.
Inflatable or Airblown screens like this one on Amazon.com are easy to assemble and durable. It doesn’t take long to set them up and all you need to do to inflate them is to connect the blower to your electricity supply. They are easy to deflate as well and are portable.
The image projected onto inflatable screens will be of higher quality than any sheet. And there are good ones on the market for around 150 dollars. Since these screens are sturdy and long-lasting, they can be worth investing in. The only downside is you need an electricity supply.
So if you’re flexible with your budget, opting for standing, hanging or inflatable screens instead of white sheets can be well worth the money. They’ll definitely improve your viewing experience.
But if you’d rather not spend on ready made screens and would prefer to use a cheaper, DIY sheet option there are some ways you can improve your image quality.
Also read: 6 Cheap Projector Screen Alternatives
What to Keep in Mind While Using a Sheet as a Projector Screen
If you still want to use a sheet, here are some handy tips that will get you the best possible results.
1. Choose the right sheet
If you really do want to use a bedsheet as a projection sheet then you should choose a sheet that’s smooth and solid, plain white and with a higher thread count.
The thread count is important because sheets with a lower thread count tend to allow a lot of light to pass through, which causes a dull image. For instance, if you were to project on a sheet in a room, you’d find a second image on the wall behind the sheet.
2. Iron out the creases in the sheet
You need to iron out and stretch the sheet as much as possible so that there are no wrinkles at all which can distort the image.
3. Create a backing for the sheet
Select another black or dark coloured sheet to place behind the white sheet. Placing a dark coloured sheet behind helps trap the light and will make the image brighter.
How to Make Your Own Screen with a Bedsheet
As far as DIY projects are concerned, bedsheet screens can be set up with stuff you have lying around at home. Here’s how you can make your own bedsheet screen:
1. Decide on the screen size and cut out the fabric
After selecting a sheet with a reasonable thread count (around 400), decide on the size of the screen and mark it out. You’ll need to add a couple of inches to account for cloth that is lost when you fold and hem it. Next, cut the sheet.
To reduce the amount of light passing through the sheet, you can use another dark coloured or black sheet behind. Make sure the black sheet is the same size as the white sheet.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a black sheet, just fold the sheet a couple of times to double up the thickness.
2. Make the frame
The simplest way to put up the bedsheet screen is to use a clothesline and to hold up the sheet using clothespins.
You can sew in a pvc pipe to help reinforce the screen. This will help the screen fall straight and make it easy to roll up.
Another easy way to make a frame is to use two hook stands (the ones you use for hanging plants) and place a curtain rod in the curve of the hook. You can sew in the sheet over the curtain rod.
If you’re fond of DIY projects, you can make your own portable stand using PVC pipes. Here’s a budget-friendly DIY stand on instructables.
Remember this is only suitable for a makeshift arrangement or for use as a travel screen. Using a bedsheet for projection is not recommended as it will never do justice to your video projector.
Even in the best-case scenario, the image quality will not be up to the mark. It will, literally, pale in comparison to the image projected using a screen that’s been specifically designed to give you the ideal viewing experience.