Black Widow (paint mix)

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Black Widow (paint mix) (also known as Black Widow Ultra (EU) or (Black Widow US) is a non-commercial open source project intended for designing a paint mix to be used as the base DIY (do it yourself) projection screen. Led by Mechman Alternators (US), Wbassett (US) and Custard10 (EU),[clarification needed][1] The paint mix is made from easily accessible materials from the United States and the European Union, and could outperform commercial projection screens with this paint mix.

Black Widow Paint is a paint with four special slick agents that seek to be competitive with other projection screen manufactures.

History of DIY painted screens[edit]

Projection screens are primarily white or gray screens. A white screen is better balanced and accurate when it is close to D65 (the international standard illumination conditions). A gray screen is more accurate when they are closer to neutral, based on parameters such as color balance (L*ab and xyY values), spectral curve, and color temperature.

The most popular way to improve a simple neutral gray color, up until now has been by the use of mica (pearlescent) and poly coatings. The problem is mica is that Mica by nature will cause a color shift. To improve on a well-balanced neutral gray, without introducing color shifting, non-interference pigments are used. It was discovered that by adding aluminum-based paint (which is a water-based paint, primarily made out of aluminum and no other colorants), a gray color was created. This paint has been used over the years as a 'silver' substitute since the aluminum's bright and reflective properties are conducive to components such as manufacturing mirrors.

Black Widow US[edit]

Black Widow US is a projection screen paint mix version for US. The original formula is

  • 1 quart (946ml) of “Valspar Ultra Premium Super Flat Finish” tinted (PPG Pittsburgh Paints color code: 427-2 Bermuda Beige) paint from Valspar.
  • 8 oz (227ml) of “Auto-Air Aluminium Base Fine” (code: 4101) paint from Createx Auto Air Colors.

Note: The new formulation of Auto Air Aluminum requires a new base. Bermuda Beige (above) will not work with the new formulation.

When looking at the UPC, there is a number in the following format:


Look at the 2 numbers after the hyphen, "##" above. Old Formulation = 80 or below New Formulation = 81 or above

The current recommendation for the new formulation is:

  • 1 quart (946ml) of “Valspar Ultra Premium Super Flat Finish” tinted (Glidden "Veil") paint from Valspar.
  • 8 oz (227ml) of New Formulation “Auto-Air Aluminium Base Fine” (code: 4101-04) paint from Createx Auto Air Colors. Available online from Airbrush Paint Direct.

Black Widow EU[edit]

Black Widow EU is a projection screen paint mix version for EU.

The formula has changed, due to the Auto-Air Aluminium paint composition changing. See below for more details. The old formula was:

  • 4 parts (960ml) of “Johnstone's Covaplus Vinyl Matt Finish” tinted (NCS color code: S 0907 Y70R) paint from Johnstone's or Leyland Trade.
  • 1 part (240ml) of “Auto-Air Aluminium Base Fine” (code: 4101) paint from Createx Auto Air Colors. (AAA)

Previously, the AAA paint had a blue tint to it, which required the main paint to have a pink tint, so that the combination produced a true Neutral Grey; however, batches of AAA since 2013 have a different formulation that does not have a significant tint. It is now recommended to use a Neutral Grey paint as the main paint - as below, many have used Dulux Grey Steel 2, which has an NCS code of 00NN 53/000 which equates to N7.8 on the Munsell scale. The same ratio of the paints is used instead.

Note 2:In the UK the auto aluminum can be sourced in 120 ml bottles; the only source for the fine version seems to be SM Designs in Northern Ireland. Don't use the other variants, it does not work as well.

Note 3: If you can't find the "Johnstone's Covaplus Vinyl Matt Finish” try the "DULUX Vinyl Matt". I do not know if it works exactly the same as the "DULUX Wash & Wear Flat" for the AU prescription but the codes of DULUX in Europe are:[2]
Grey Steel1 00NN 31/000 ( it is the darkest one )
Grey Steel2 00NN 53/000 ( RGB(184,184,182) - N7.8 )
Grey Steel3 00NN 72/000 ( RGB(219,220,219) - N8.8 )
Grey Steel4 00NN 83/000 ( it is the lightest one - N9.3 )

Black Widow AU - Formula for Auto-Air Aluminium Base[edit]

  • (960ml) of "Dulux Wash&Wear 1L +Plus Kitchen & Bathroom Vivid White Low Sheen Paint” tinted to 'PN2G5 Milton Moon' (this is a DULUX colour) from Bunnings.
  • (240ml) of “Auto-Air Aluminium Base Fine” (code: 4101) paint from Airbrush Megastore.

This new formula produces a reasonably dark end result (approx N7.4 based on the Hometheatreshack forums neutral grey scale). Alternatively, substitute 'Tranquil Retreat' or 'Ashville' for 'Milton Moon' (these are all DULUX colours), to end up with an approximately N7.9 or N8.1 result, depending on the screen darkness you desire. For a darker range approximately N5.5 use Dulux Colour PN2A4 'Timeless Grey'

Recommended painting techniques and safety[edit]

  • Apply with a HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) paint spray gun. If the paint is too thick, add distilled water to dilute it. Add a maximum of 20% water to paint ratio. Use appropriate protection.
  • Use a good quality, low-nap roller. Avoid foam rollers as they have a tendency to create bubbles which then leave bright spots on the screen's surface.


External links[edit]