Movie Night at your house just got a whole lot better. This DIY screen will rock your world!
- White Sheet
- (2) 5 Gallon Buckets
- White Duct Tape
- (2) 24in Lengths of 1 1/2" PVC Pipe
- (2) 5ft Lengths of 1 1/2" PVC Pipe
- (2) 40in Lengths of 1 1/2" PVC Pipe
- (4) 1 1/2" "T" PVC pipe connectors
- Utility Knife
- Drill and Hole Saw (optional)
Unless it’s raining, snowing or storming outside, I think any night is a good time to have people over to watch a movie outside. Projectors are pretty reasonable nowadays, and screens are super easy to make yourself …and the memories you make while watching a movie outside with family and friends? Definitely worth it! (Renting both screen and projector from WTV is also an option for the lazy or non-inclined.)
Pick Your location:
It’s all about location, location, location right? Same with projector screens. You want to make sure you find the perfect spot that’s close enough to electricity, allows for plenty of seating and is a somewhat level surface for your screen. If you’ve got the perfect spot, but it’s not exactly level…then cheat. Prop some rocks under the base of the legs and have at it!
Pick your Frame and Screen Material:
Some people are lucky enough to have a natural landscape that makes it easy to string up a sheet between two trees or flat against a privacy fence. If you’re not one of those, then you’ll need to build a frame. There are countless ways to build a frame out on the interwebs, most involve lots of measuring and cutting and complicated instructions. This is not that screen. This is EASY. The other reason I prefer this screen is because it’s made out of PVC pipe. The pipe, as opposed to using a wood frame, allows you to set up and tear down easily. Let’s face it – you don’t want your big old screen sitting in your backyard all the time.
The other part to the screen equation that determines its complexity is the screen material. A queen sized sheet is perfect and easy for this project, but you can also use a drop cloth, a different sized sheet, fabric from the store or even foam core board. Depending on the material, you can make the screen as large or as small as you’d like!
Make the Screen:
Ok, here are the deets. Don’t let the numbers fool you into thinking this is tricky. Print this sheet off and take it to your local Waters store. They’ll cut the pieces for you!
For my screen, I used 1 1/2″ diameter PVC pipe. You’ll need to cut two 5 foot lengths for the horizontal bars that will hold the screen. You’ll also need two 40″ and two 24″ lengths for the legs. Connect all of these pieces with 1 1/2″ t pipe. Next, lay your frame down on the ground on top of the sheet. Wrap the sheet edges around the frame and leave just enough for you to secure (glue, velcro, safety pins…I like duct tape), but not see a ton of excess. You want it to be tight, but not too tight that it makes it difficult to take off after movie night is over. Leave your screen on the ground and prepare your support system for the pipe legs.
Stabilize the Screen:
You’ll need 2 five gallon buckets with lids and water. Sand is also another option, but I like water because you can throw it out later on some lucky plants and store the buckets easy peasey. You can also attach PVC stands on the bottom for support, but I’ve found the buckets to be sturdier. Cut a 1 3/4″ hole in the lids of your buckets. I am not very precise when it comes to this (see video!), but if you really want to nail it, use a hole saw for your drill. Fill the buckets with water (preferably on site), snap the lids on tight and after attaching your screen frame to the legs, guide them into the holes of the buckets. If the amount of water you used isn’t supporting the screen, add more!
Grab the popcorn (ohmygosh rent a popcorn popper at Waters Rental!), get the fire pit going and watch the movie as you bask in the glow of your awesomeness.