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If you have never sat under the stars drinking soda, eating popcorn, and watching your favorite movie with your family and friends, then you are truly missing out.
As you look to set up this opportunity for your loved ones, you might be wondering what to use as a projector screen. Would a garage door be a good option?
A projector does work well on a garage door with the best image quality resulting from garage doors that are white or gray, do not have windows, have even edges, or can support the attachment of another type of screen (such as a sheet).
Check out my top recommendations for projectors.
Of course, not all garage doors are made equally, and they definitely do not function equally when you are attempting to display the image of your favorite movie.
Just like you would want to carefully set up your indoor home theater projection screen, you will need to take a few precautions in setting up your outdoor projection screen as well. Let’s take a closer look at how to make a projector work on a garage door.
What Types of Garage Doors Will Work with a Projector?
We are not just talking about keeping up with the Jones’ when it comes to comparing garage doors for your outdoor projection screen. What this really comes down to is the functionality of the garage door as a surface that can reflect a high-quality image for your media viewing needs.
So, what types of garage doors will work with a projector?
Ideal garage doors to use with a projector are those without windows, painted white or gray, or with an even surface.
If you cannot project directly onto your garage door, you can look for a way to secure a sheet or another type of screen to your garage door to achieve a higher quality image display.
If this list seems daunting to you as you stare out at your brightly painted garage door that boasts a beautiful row of windows and other decorative (uneven) accents, do not let this intimidate you from making this dream come true.
After all, if your garage door is not suitable for direct projection, it can still work as a great option for attaching a sheet or another type of screen.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the best types of garage doors to look for when using them as a projection screen.
Projecting on Garage Doors Without Windows
Ideally, if you have a garage door without windows, this will help tremendously with limiting the reflection of nearby light. If you are wanting to use your garage door without an attached screen (like a sheet), then finding a way to block any windows is critical.
If you are not fortunate enough to have a garage door without windows to use with your projection screen, all hope is not lost. You can cover the windows with a thick white paper or another type of material that directly matches the garage paint color.
While this is obviously a temporary solution that will still be slightly noticeable, it can be a makeshift solution that will help to make incredible memories with your family and friends all the same.
Projecting on Garage Doors that Support an Attached Projection Screen
Realistically, when attaching a sheet to a garage door, this will be much more ideal than securing it to most other locations around your house.
Considering that a garage door will naturally take the shape of a projection screen (or projection screen background), this will make your job a lot easier. Attaching a sheet to your garage door is not too difficult either. Watch this video.
You can choose to open the garage door slightly to be able to secure the sheet between the top of the door, or you can secure it to the outside with another type of fastening solution. Along with that, you will want to be sure to weigh the sheet down so that you do not lose your screen to the wind.
Interestingly, you can even find high-quality projection screens that are specifically made for outdoor use. They have built-in wrinkle protection and can attach easily to your garage door. This outdoor projection screen (Amazon) is a great example.
Projecting on Garage Doors that are Painted White or Gray
As your projector displays the images of your favorite movie, you likely do not want a bright yellow (garage door) paint causing your favorite actor’s teeth to look as if they are decaying.
Additionally, the moon in your movie would look awfully peculiar if it were to be tinted green from your green garage door paint.
That said, the ideal colors for a garage door that will be used with a projector are white and gray.
Interesting, a light gray is the best color for an outdoor projection screen as it can yield a higher contrast that is needed when your outdoor environment cannot completely control the lighting as your indoor home theater could.
However, gray is not as common of a color for a garage door to be painted, but white will still work great. Used just like an indoor projector screen, white on your garage door will help you to see a clear image that is not distorted or discolored by the paint of your garage door.
When using a sheet or another attached makeshift screen, white or gray will work best for this, too.
Projecting on Garage Doors with an Even Surface
The more clear the image that is being displayed, the more easily you will be able to enjoy the media that your projector is streaming. When using an outdoor theater on your garage door, you want to eliminate as many uneven edges as possible.
These can interfere with the image that you are seeing, as a gap in your garage door could be mistaken for the edge of a cliff in the movie that is streaming.
Ideally, your garage door would have a pretty even surface, and it would be closed entirely or have something attached to it that provides a more flat surface. If you leave your garage door slightly opened, one of the edges of the folding door could protrude and distort the image.
However, this is where having a garage door that supports an attached projection screen (like a gray or white sheet) can really come in handy.
How to Make a Projector Work on any Garage Door
Now that you know the ideal types of garage doors to use with a projector, you might be excited, or you might feel dismayed that your garage door does not meet these suggestions. Do not fret. There is a way to make a projector work on any garage door. All you have to do is to follow these steps:
1. Cover any garage windows
If your garage door has windows, you will need to cover them with some kind of temporary solution (unless you are serious about using your projector on your garage door frequently and want to remove them permanently).
If you are using a temporary solution, you can easily use white or gray cardstock or thick paper that can match the paint of the garage door. Ideally, this would be white or gray to provide a neutral background for your projected image.
Garage windows need to be covered to avoid the reflection of light that they would cause when using a projector on the garage door. Otherwise, the projected image will be distorted, and you will not be able to enjoy the movie.
2. If needed, attach a white or gray sheet or tarp
If you read through the list above and saw that your garage door does not meet the desirable traits of a garage door to use with your projector, then it is time to consider finding a King-sized sheet or tarp to attach to the garage door.
Attaching a screen can be done by attaching it securely to the top of your garage door with temporary hooks or another method. You can also stretch it onto the backside of your garage door (the inside of the garage) to ensure a proper fit.
3. Secure all four corners of the screen
Once you have the top of the screen put into place, you will not want to forget about the bottom of the screen. Doing so could mean that the wind will take away your movie screen, or you could have unnecessary ripples throughout your outdoor projection screen.
To avoid this, find some moderately heavy outdoor garden rocks or other weights that can keep the screen in place. Once you have smoothed out the edges of the screen and pulled it taut, you can then place down the weights carefully.
4. Remove any obstructions between the projector and the screen
Of course, in order to see the projected image, you will want to be sure that all parts of the projector are clear. If there are any obstacles between the projector and the screen, be sure to move them out of the way so that there are no shadows on your screen.
This can even include moving people out of the way by creating a no-seating zone. Put down some painter’s tape on your driveway to indicate to your guests where they should not pass between.
5. Set up high-quality audio equipment
After you have set up your projector screen on your garage door, you will not want to forget about high-quality audio equipment.
Place your speakers so that all of your guests can hear, and consider corralling your guests to a central seating location (similar to a more typical theater setup).
6. Warn your neighbors
If you are going to have a movie playing outdoors, you will want to give your closest neighbors a heads up.
Not only will they appreciate knowing you might be a little louder outside, but they might even want to join you (assuming you invite them). Then, you can enjoy an incredible night of memories with family and friends.