Originally Published on May 18, 2016. Last Updated on March 19, 2020.
Want to create some backyard family fun this summer? Below is a simple DIY on how to make your own outdoor movie screen. Whether you invite the next-door neighbors, a group of kids, or you just want an intimate date night with your other half, grab a bowl of popcorn, a large Coke, and curl up in front of your very own “silver screen.”
Here’s what you’ll need for your DIY outdoor movie screen:
- Blackout cloth
- (2) 10-foot PVC pipes
- (2) 10-foot packages of heavy-duty velcro
- (2) eye bolts
- (2) screws for hanging
- 1 Movie Projector
- DVD player or computer
- Or, skip the following steps and buy this kit
You should be able to purchase all the pipes, bolts, and hooks at your local home improvement store.
Step 1: Do a Walk-around
Where do you want your screen? Find a suitable outdoor wall or standing structure and measure the height and width. Look for eaves or something from which you can hang hooks to suspend your screen. In this project we followed instructions based on a 10-foot long structure.
Step 2: Apply the velcro
Apply the velcro to the top and bottom edge of the screen. Then, put the opposite side of the velcro a few inches from the strip on the edge. Wrap each 10-foot pipe with the screen, securing one strip of velcro to the other to encase the pipe.
Step 3: Hang Screen
Screw in eye bolts into the PVC pipe. Measure the distance between your eye hooks and screw in the hanging hooks the same distance apart. Hang your screen!
Step 4: Set Up Your Audio-Visual
Plug in your DVD player to a projector, set up speakers around the screen, and you’re ready to go!
DIY movie screen not your thing? No problem! You can purchase or rent a number of screen options and inflatable projectors online or from local party suppliers. Or, you could even just hang up an old white sheet against an outside wall of your house and project the movie there.
Once your backyard theater is up and running, check out these tips for throwing the perfect backyard movie bash:
For a children’s get-together we love the idea of kids creating their own cars for a “drive-in” movie out of cardboard boxes. Paint bankers boxes, add on plastic cups for headlights, and let the little ones settle into their cars for an early evening viewing of their favorite movie.
Picnic blankets and nap mats work great for any crowd, but you could also use bean bags or large pillows for an extra comfy spot. We, of course, prefer to settle into a Trex® Outdoor Furniture™ Rockport Club Chair, propping our feet up on the Rockport Club Ottoman.
Don’t have a popcorn machine? That’s okay. Set out a popcorn table so guests can grab their own bags. Add shakers of sweet and savory popcorn seasonings too.
Need more concessions? Head over to your wholesale club or dollar store and pick up packs of candy. There’s nothing like a box of Junior Mints to make you feel like you’re at the cinema.
Keep your beverages cold by filling an old wooden crate or a washtub with drinks—root beer, juice boxes, water. For an adult showing, you can always offer a signature drink. If you’re settling in to watch “The Big Lebowski” with your friends, you definitely need a White Russian bar … and invite your guests to wear their oldest bathrobes!
Too many mosquitoes buzzing around? Light some citronella candles (or spray the area) to provide not only ambiance but to keep those pesky bugs at bay. Here’s a link to make your own citronella candles!
Looking for the perfect summertime feature? Here are a few of our favorite classics…
- The Parent Trap: Watch Hayley Mills in this double-trouble take.
- Stand by Me: Four young friends on a boyhood journey.
- Heavyweights: Go hog-wild with a crazy counselor at fat camp.
- Dirty Dancing: Patrick Swayze dances across the big screen with Jennifer Grey by his side.
- Grease: The good girl, the greaser, and gobs of music.
- National Lampoon’s Vacation: Join the Griswolds on their cross-country drive.
- The Little Mermaid: We had to add at least one Disney movie to the list. Go under the sea with Ariel and Flounder.
- Caddyshack: A destructive gopher and a bold new member on an exclusive golf course.
- The Sandlot: Great for kids, this feature will stick with you “For-ev-er.”
Well, time to pop the popcorn! What are some of your favorite summertime movies?