DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

11:56 AM

Our rental has three large trees off the lawn, and we decided it would be great to make an outdoor movie theater out there for our family to enjoy summer night movies.
It was pretty easy and we've been loving it!

-screen fabric $39 from amazon 
(you could also use a white sheet or tarp, we hope to use the screen indoors someday and maybe permanently mount it in a future home)
the advantage of screen fabric is the correct gray color for projector contrast and black out backing
-1x4s for frame $20-30
staple gun, staples, screws, drill

1. Hang curtain hanging wire between trees or posts
We used 3" long exterior screws.

2. Build Frame
Carls Place where I bought our screen through amazon has instructions to build your frame depending on the viewing ratio you want.  
There's also more steps to create a professional, black border which I haven't done yet in this post.
I did mine differently because our small town lumber store only carries 1x4 in 8 foot lengths. 

3. Staple Screen to Frame
Center the fabric and staple a few at the top/bottom centers, then the sides.

Pull and staple your way to corners, making sure to stretch out any wrinkles for a smooth, tight surface. 

4. Hang with hooks and eye screws
 Using 3 hook screws $1.20 each along the top of the frame, the screen hangs on the wire.

 To prevent it from swinging forward and back, I used small bungee cords to connect the bottom of the screen to the tree trunks.

I put small eye screws in the frame and the tree.

The back of the screen is just the open frame.
I still need to make a cover for the screen as we're storing it in the garage and don't want the surface to get dirty or ruined. 

Our projector is just a basic one we got on ebay that's more affordable and works.

We moved back to my husband's hometown and we have most of our tween and teen nieces and nephews around, so our first movie night we piled them all out on the lawn and watched Gentlemen Broncos.
A movie we've sewn crap about before {moon buggy} and {surveillance does} and a movie we love but wouldn't recommend as it seems most people hate it.
We're having a fun summer and hope you are as well!

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  1. We have an actual screen from an old school. It is mounted to the eaves of our house, and it is perfect! We love the outside movie nights. :) Enjoy your summer!

  2. We do a movie night outside by the pool. It is outstanding!! I made ours with strips of paper and packing tape. Yours looks way fancier.

    1. whoa, poolside movie night sounds amazing!

  3. very clever. I am wondering if there is anything you cannot do. What is the population of your town? how large is you hsbs family and do they all live there? How are your children doing with the transition and having all those cousins- sort of like built in friends.
    Our church has a regular size movie screen with speakers that is lying on the ground and rises up via little machines that blow it up. The neighborhood is invited free every Friday in aug. and their are free things to eat and tickets to win some incredible prizes. it is amazing what an attraction this is. I was surprised by the turn out and everyone has to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs. So, I am sure your cousins will soon want to bring friends.

    1. our town is around 3000, only about 500 kids in the high school so pretty tiny. My husband is the youngest of 6 and wer're the 4th sibling to move back, so there's a whole pack of nieces and nephews, all quite a bit older than our kids, they make great babystitters!

      Sounds like a cool community night your church has going. A full sized movie screen would be awesome!

  4. This is awesome! My mom used to wheel our normal tv out to the back deck for outdoor movies and it was a highlight of my summers as a kid, but this is so OFFICIAL! You're awesome.

    1. oh it isn't too fancy, your mom sounds pretty awesome to lug out the TV for you guys!

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  6. Love this idea!!! I was looking at projectors on ebay, is there anything specific I should look for? The prices are all over the board! Thanks!!!

  7. cyclops there, cyclops there, cyclops there. oh my holy crap... surveillance does.

    1. I hate those. :)

      It's rare to find a G.B. fan, so we are practically instant best friends now.

  8. Which projector did you get on eBay? I am always hesitant about purchasing things off there..

  9. Which projector or merchant did you get off of ebay ? I am always hesitant to purchase off there.. Thanks

  10. What kind of projector is needed to achieve this?

  11. Got my projector at kolhs for $35.00 on black friday just use white sheet with two 2x4s one on top one on bottom roll it up when done. Got it to take to campgrounds.

  12. Can you please tell us details about your projector?

    1. My husband bought the projector, so I don't feel qualified to give too much direction, ours was around $100 to $150 and we just made sure it could get a good image the approximate distance we were planning on with our specific yard. I'd say amazon and reading reviews would be the route to go to get an idea on what projector will best meet your needs!


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